Sunday, May 13, 2012


A few weeks ago I completed (won't say competed) the Kemah Olympic triathlon for the third year in a row. I was excited about my training and about the race. My run has come along a bit and I was not injured or sick. 

Two weeks before my race my husband Ken was riding with our daughters Kerianne (9) and Avery (8) when Avery took a bad spill. She was showing signs of a concussion immediately and had some severe road rash so off to the hospital we went. Thankfully nothing was broken but the CT scan did show a serious concussion. We had to give her brain time to heal and not do too much too soon. No reading, exercise, school work, computer or TV for a week. This also meant no activities she would normally participate in while I am training. My A race became a B race but that was fine with me, Avery was going to fully recover.

The Kemah swim proved more difficult than the two previous years. The swells were big, I never got a break and felt like I was swimming in place, there were some terrifying moments. I met a great guy named Dennis when he let me hang on the end of his kayak for a couple of minutes in an effort to get my heart rate down almost a mile from shore. Finishing that swim was one of the hardest things I have done.  I drank a lot of the gulf that morning which had an immediate intestinal effect but considering all factors I had a pretty good race.

Today was my first race after Kemah. I was going back to my very first triathlon because Kerianne begged me to do it with her. She did 4 triathlons last year but they were all pool swims.  Avery wanted to race the duathlon but with her recent accident she wasn't ready. Kerianne and I talked about the race and open water many times. This past Friday we swam 300 yards in Towne Lake so she could get an idea of what it is like to swim in open/dirty water, she was awesome! I asked the race director about swimming together but the only way to do that was to swim in the beginner wave which is the largest group, I was worried there would be too much traffic and contact so we decided to race in our respective age group waves.

My group of women 40-49 was two waves ahead of Kerianne with the 19 and under and 50+ women. Once I started swimming and realized how choppy the water was I didn't want Kerianne to swim. I tried to swim faster so I could get to her before she got in the water. I came out of the water and couldn't find her, couldn't find Ken and thought she was already in. I went to transition where I waited, this was the plan. I went over to the corner closest to the swim exit waited and prayed. After a few minutes I saw Ken with the girls, Kerianne was crying, she got pulled from the water. My heart broke for her. I am glad she asked for help when she needed it but I was so sad she was ever that scared. I have been that scared and I was crushed I wasn't there for her when she needed somebody.

Children are great at giving us perspective just when we need it. Avery's accident was a lesson in slowing down and not doing much of anything other than reading aloud and playing board games for a week.

Today Kerianne's swim taught us all a lot. As a parent it is hard to let your kids do things that are scary. You need to do your best to honor their feelings while encouraging them. After the swim Kerianne told Ken she wanted to finish the race but she was still very emotional. I gave her two options "I can wrap you up in floppy towel and hold you or we can go get on our bikes and ride." She chose floppy towel which made me very happy. I wrapped her up and held her. We both cried. After a while I wondered if I should have encouraged her to finish so she would have the victory at the end but there will be plenty of victories, I won't always be able to wrap her up in a towel and hold her on my lap.


  1. what an amazing mommy moment! and how fitting on Mother's Day! :) sorry she couldn't finish, but so glad she had you there to wrap her up! :)

  2. Oh my goodness- thanks for sharing this. Didn't see you guys after the race- I thought of you in that water, knowing Kerianne was in there too. I wondered if you had stopped her before hand- she's so tiny. I was thinking about Morgan wanting to do a race with me and thinking there was no way I could let her swim in that- problem was I really didn't know how bad it was til I was in it. You and Kerianne are so brave! You are an awesome mom and such a great example of health and fitness. So glad she is ok, and you too! :) Hope to see you soon!

  3. I did the kemah tri and the Trigirl as well. My little girl is only 3 but she was with my husband on the sidelines at Trigirl cheering me on. She keeps expressing interest in doing a tri with me so me and my husband agreed that when she is of age we will let her. Reading this scare me and made me cry. How courageous and understanding you are. Best of luck to you and your family imam glad y'all are ok.

  4. I had a very similar experience at Tri Girl. My 9 year old daughter started 4 minutes before me. I had chosen the first timers wave so I could be closer to her. She became quickly unrecognizable in a sea of silver caps. Before I even started she was coming back in a boat. I had to start my swim disappointed and not knowing what went so wrong. We had trained so hard, paid the fee, talked it up about who was going to beat who, drove in from Beaumont, etc. Not long into my swim, I realized she made the best decision of her life asking for help. There were multiple adults around me hollering for help. The noodle rope was broken. After my race, she was still visible shaken. I assured and reassured her of how proud I was of her for making that choice. More proud than if she would have "beat" me or everyone else for that matter. My husband and I have been kicking ourselves ever since that we even let her in that water with such horrible conditions. Hopefully they are not scarred for life and we will see the both of you around soon!

  5. Keri, my friend mentioned your blog to me because I was telling her about the awful experience I had during my swim which wound up helping two little girls and another woman to the boat and then onto shore. I had to see if your little girl was one of them. Unfortunately, the day was a blur and without the swimcap and emotion, it's hard to discern if this was one of the girls I helped.

    But I have to share... this was my first tri experience and I totally panicked after swallowing a bunch of water. I screamed for help and lifeguard came over to help me when I saw a little girl terrified. Amazing how maternal instinct kicked in, my fears subsided as all I could do was think about helping this little girl and the lifeguard went to another one just a few feet away. Within seconds, I was trying to help the girls calm down as we waited for the boat to come get them when an older woman started to panic. I told the lifeguard I would take care of the girls and she went to help the woman while I helped the girls onto the boat. Then the boat guy started to say his boat was sinking and asked me to hang on the front of the boat while he made his way back closer to the start. He couldn't get close enough, so once I was able to stand - I took both girls in my arms and brought them to the boat strip. One father was there and took one of the girls and the other ran off. I wondered how they felt and assumed that a parent was there to gather them in for comfort. Whether it was your daughter that I helped or not, I can say first hand, these two girls were extremely brave and wise to ask for help because as you know, that was one scary open water swim. I'm so happy to read your blog and know that the girls are okay.

    1. Rosey,
      I think you may have helped my daughter. My husband was on shore to get her and watched the whole thing unfold. He mentioned yesterday that he hoped to find you and pay your fee for your next race. See my story above. No matter if it was my daughter or not, I can't thank you enough for sacrificing your own race to help these brave angels. God bless you!

    2. I think I have a picture of you bringing these girls in. I seen you as I was going in the water and I assumed those were your kids by the look on your face! Only seconds later my own daughter and I were in our personal hell... Although we survived and made it, it was without a doubt the scariest thing I have ever done!:) So glad you were there to help! If you have an email, Ill send the pic to you both!

    3. My daughter Kerianne is sure you are the nice lady that helped her and wants to thank you very much!

  6. Keri and Stacy, I am sooooo happy your girls are okay, that's what I was most concerned about. Becky, I'd love the picture - it's all still a blur and would love to see it. If I friend you on FB, you can post the pic to my timeline. This way you can send the picture and it will be viewed in a more controlled cyber environment. Ladies, be well. What a mother's day!!! You are great moms to give your daughter's this gift. I hope that they will continue with Triathlons knowing that it was a fluke and help is always nearby.