Monday, June 28, 2010

Boats, Bikes, and Bricks

Boats, Bikes, and Bricks
(click on image for more photos)

On Saturday I participated in Boats, Bikes, and Bricks (pdf), a ultra-mini triathlon put on by the Flint River Corridor Alliance.  It was the first time I'd ever participated in such an event, and it was a blast.  I entered as a beginner, since I just learned of the event a week earlier and have done no training, and I'm satisfied with my results.  I completed the 3k paddle, 7k bike, and 2k run in 57:08.  

I could ramble on about my experience, but this post isn't really about my race.  It's about the joy I got having my boys cheer me on during the event.  I was already excited to run the race, but when they arrived, their interest and energy were fun to watch.  I've written on this blog about wanting to be a good role model for my kids, and I think being active is an important aspect of that.  

With our society's modern sedentary lifestyle, it's easy to sit on the couch, let kids watch tv, play video games or fight with each other until one draws blood.  My wife and I try to limit all of those things, and we try and get the boys outside to play as much as possible.  Our youngest would live outside if he could, but the other two need occasional prodding.  But just being outside isn't enough.  We are often outside and still sedentary.  Related to the sedentary lifestyle is the problem of obesity, but I'll leave that for another post.  So, participating in this event, and having the boys see all the excitement and energy surrounding an active lifestyle was nice for me since I grew up on skateboards, bikes, surfboards, athletic fields, etc.  I played both sandlot and organized sports and found value in both for all of the stereotypical reasons people advocate participating in them.  But I'm not 18 or even 25 anymore.  I can't keep up as well as I could have and my recovery time is much slower. In fact, I'm dreading getting off the couch tonight and crawling my way up the stairs to bed this morning.  

Back to the race.  Our youngest was bothered by my being in my kayak, but the twins loved it.  They cheered me when I was on my bike, and they escorted me to the finish line as I dragged myself over the finish line.  They may have been more excited than I was.  And like flipping a switch, the all three lost interest in the race and wanted to check out the river and look for the elusive three-eyed carp.  

But a funny thing happened on our way back to the bike.  The twins decided they wanted to do a triathlon, too.  And since that time, they have continued to talk about racing, including making their own races from the back gate, through the back door and kitchen and into the living room.  

Now we're planning to ride the 15k ride in the Tour des Lacs on August 7th in Fenton.  They opted to be passengers in the trailer for the mid-range ride rather than to ride in the Tiny Tot Tour, but that's fine.  I get a longer ride, and I think the 15k will be more exciting for everyone.  I'm just glad they want to participate and begin to join the larger community of active humans.  And supporting babies born with heart defects by helping raise money for the U-M Congenital Heart Center at C.S. Mott Children's Hospital isn't bad, either.  But trying to raise kids to have a social conscious is a topic for another post.   

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