Feels good to put on a number.

Today was the Mach Tenn – a sprint triathlon in Middle Tennessee. I’ve been away from triathlon racing for a while, and this one is a great way to jump back in. I’ve done this race a half-dozen times over the last 10 or 12 years, and it’s always a good time.

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When you’ve lost weight, but wetsuits are expensive. Glue a tuck.

Triathlon is always the same 3 sports: swimming, cycling, running, but there’s a great variance in the distances. Everyone knows the big guy: Iron-distance, which is 2.4 miles swimming, 112 on the bike, and a full 26.2 marathon running. Sprint distance is a little mini-version of all that.

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Today’s race was 0.6 mile in the lake, 14m on the bike, and a 4-miler to close. It was fun and fast, but what made this race special, and different from all the others was my support crew.

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Team Gammy consisted of my ever-patient and most-supportive honey, Eliott, and my no-longer-a-child-yet-not-quite-a-man grandson Aden.

They helped me practice my transitions the week leading up to the race (tri-talk for the frantic moments between events in a race when one drops wetsuit/goggles/swimcap and dons bike shoes/helmet/sunglasses and so forth, while the race timer casually clicks away the seconds).

They loaded the car with all the flotsam and jetsam necessary for triathlon.

They got up pre-dawn so we could drive to the race, check-in, lay out the gear, and talk through our strategy.

They watched for me at every turn, took pictures, shouted my checklist, and cheered me on from beginning to end.

And they celebrated with me as I crossed the finish line, marking my return to triathlon for the next couple of years.

Showing all the restraint I could muster, I didn’t register Aden when I realized he would be in town during this race. He’s an athlete, and has mastered all 3 of these sports. He’s been riding his bike on our annual cross-Iowa family bike ride for years, riding every mile (428) in 2018. We even ran a 5k together when he was 8 years old. One of the things I learned as a parent is that children have to find their own way to their interests; our job is to expose them to as many opportunities as possible.

However.

Just as my evil scheme planned, he has expressed an interest in participating in a race with me. I’ll be looking for a sprint-distance we can do together. My children have raced with me in the past (Amy and Sam), and those moments have been life-highlights. To now share the joy of racing with my grand marks a new point on the spectrum of gratitude and humility.

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Post-race relaxation and reflection

Watch for more race reports to come. I’ve enjoyed my hiatus from racing and blogging, and I’m thoroughly enjoying my return to both.

Thanks for reading.