It was a beautiful morning. After a light rain the night before, the sun greeted us with great anticipation of shining all day and quickly dried the remaining dark patches on the street. It was definitely going to be a hot and humid one in Des Moines. However, Viv was not quite as eager as the sun to rise and woke up in a rather cantankerous mood complaining of being tired. Apparently, the king bed which Scott and I freely gave up so the kids could enjoy a good night’s sleep before the race, housed one too many kids and Viv felt the older two were up late talking. Scott and I did not hear a thing in the other room so I am not sure how much of that was valid. There were also complaints of a tummy ache, sore big toe, bruised knee, eyeball popping out (not really) but a whole list of excuses and issues. I knew it was nerves as this was not the first time to hear a laundry list of reasons she might not be able to perform. We informed her that if she didn’t want to race, she did not have too, but as soon as that option was mentioned she was providing another hundred reasons why she could even though her body was falling apart.
After laboriously pulling together our race bag, suit, and water bottle, we scurried down to breakfast and the kids once again devoured their food. I don’t know if we will ever be able to keep up with their appetite levels as they always seem hungry, but I was thankful to have such a great breakfast spread. As I have mentioned before, we have stayed in many different establishments throughout this journey. Though our views were not that of the Tetons, the Marriott and the free upgraded suite complete with made to order omelets, was a nice start to the final leg of our trip.
Unfortunately, when we arrived at the course, Viv’s mood had changed from bad to worse as she was on the verge of full dramatic combustion and it appeared coaching from her sister or I were helping matters. Now there were issues with her brakes and her tire and her googles and her head. We explained we could get all that fixed but her attitude was up to her and that if she could not pull it together, we were pulling her from the race. Of course, that was not an option in her mind and after we explained this was only a race for fun and that she had already qualified for Nationals, it seem to diffuse some of the anxiety. As Scott took her bike to the onsite mechanic, I helped her get situated in transition. Once that was complete, the Viv we know and love was back on track ready to do a warm up and race strong.
This by far was the largest HyVee youth tri they have had with over 350 athletes participating across the six age groups with kids from as far away as Florida. Viv aged up this year and though she just had a birthday two weeks ago, she has been competing in the 9-11 year old group. HyVee for years has been such a strong supporter of triathlon and they know how to encourage and support this sport, both youth and adult, even issuing pretty spectacular hardware for each age and gender. So even though you compete with kids potentially two years your senior, you can be awarded a medallion that Mr. T would be proud to wear.
Viv was in the final ten youth to race as we had not signed her up until two days prior. First, she had already qualified for Nationals and second, the weather report indicated a strong possibility of showers over West Des Moines for the weekend, so we were waiting to complete registration. Vivian has since informed us that she would prefer an earlier registration as to move her up in the line and in the water instead of waiting around which contributes to her nerves. Dually noted, we have registered her for both HyVee and USAT nationals.
After many practice starts the day before, she looked like a pro entering the water, complete with a butterfly arm pull to propel her further out into the lake. Her swim looked much stronger than earlier in the season and a lot had to do with the numerous practices she completed with her siblings during this trip. Though she in no way can complete the yardage of her older siblings, she was able to train beside them in a lane and I think that really pushed her to another level.
Strong in the water, strong on the bike and a strong run, she finished as the second nine year old securing a silver medal on the podium. The girl who beat her in Sioux Falls still beat her today, but she was gaining ground and for that she was thrilled! She has big goals on securing gold at HyVee Nationals and with a little more hard work and some faster transitions, she may just be able to accomplish that.
The rest of the day brought course training for the older two, lunch, pre-race meeting and several beach starts with a team out of Texas. The water entry was very shallow and it took the kids some getting use to, especially Kenzi who now tours over Zach and needed to find her arm counts.
With a full day underneath us, Scott picked up noodles again and we called it a lazy night watching TV. I hooked my back and neck up to the Compex (thank you Lukas Verzbicas for the recommendation) as it has finally given out on me from the nights of crumpled sleep in the car, hikes carrying 20 lb packs up steep inclines and trying to keep up with training and just being mom. I am surprised it has taken this long before acting up but I had definitely pushed my neck past its comfort zone and will look forward to sleeping in my own bed soon.