Sure everyone is familiar with a triathlon: swim, bike, run. But where is the challenge in that (OK maybe it is the distance associated with each activity as well as the stamina it takes to complete them all back to back, but besides that?) I’m proposing the new triathlon of Swimming with Kids, Rollerblading and Zumba! Yesterday I successfully completed my first triathlon of such. The olympics are upon us so you may watch preliminary races of swimming but if you really want a spectator sport watch a mom(or dad) swim with her kids. It’s like swim races but with a lot more screaming: “Mom, watch this!” “Mommmmm! Watch THIS!” There’s the parents screaming “Walk!”, the parent screaming “Don’t spit the water!” the parent screaming, “Do you have to go to the bathroom?!” Followed by the parent assisting the youngster out of the pool walking quickly (more excercise) to the bathroom, keeping one eye on the peeing toddler and one on the rest of the kids in the pool. The toddler says, “I don’t have to go.” The parent helps them get their wet suit back on and return to the pool. 4 minutes later this is repeated (those who are the betting type could place bets on how long that period is.) At the end of the event the timekeepers could time how long it takes each parent to successfully get all their children into the changing room with deductions given for each tantrum and each child that hops back in the pool right before reaching the changing room door.
The Rollerblading event would be more exciting than running because it is faster paced and in my case involved 5 of my kids. I took all the kids to the park. Lexi and I brought our roller blades, Johnny had his bike, Josh brought a soccer ball and Cassie and Callie had their trikes. There is a trail around the park with the playground at one end so you can see the kids the whole time. I told the girls to “Stay” on the playground so Lexi and I could roller blade around. I read an article once that stated that dogs can learn 7 verbal rules, “Sit”, “Heel”, “Stay”. Apparently it’s more like 3 for children and “stay” is not one of them. When Lexi and I were half-way around (her jumping over cracks two feet in the air with a ‘yahooo’ me trying to avoid wiping out at every crack) I saw the girls peddling their tricycles as fast as they could go on the trail. As I was skating back toward them I look up to see Josh booting his ball into a tree, retrieving it and repeating. This required a verbal cue from me (apparently there is a lot of screaming involved in this sort of triathlon.) Got back to where the girls were and they were so excited to “catch” me. Then made one lap around at the pace of a 4 year-old tricycler.
The last event is Zumba! More hip-shaking than biking AND my hair looks great afterwards because I don’t have to wear a helmet. Although less entertaining to watch, much more enjoyable for the competitors (5 words: fitness club child care center). I get to work out alone so I don’t really care what kind of music it is or whether there is coin-laddend shaky skirts. I just get to do something for an hour without getting interrupted! I take a class at our local community center so there is me, a bunch of other “moms”, a couple of gals home from college and a group of 60+ ladies that can cha-cha-cha like the best of ’em.
I’m not sure how to measure the successfulness of each event or how to train to be better at each one but I’m sure this new type of triathlon will catch on. If you are looking for a real challenge, stop swimming laps, running in a circle and biking a little on the road. The true athlete will have to work their way up to the S-R-Z triathlon. Get your rest, you’ll need it!