Grace all smiles as she crosses the finish line of her first triathlon.

Learning about the sport of triathlon for a young athlete can be a bit like drinking out of a fire hose. There are a lot of details and things to remember. As a coach it’s easy to get caught up in force feeding as much information as possible especially on race day. I have to step back a bit, slow everything down and communicate what is the most important information. At the Chula Vista Challenge I wanted Grace to know there would be neutral bike support on the course and exactly where it would be in case anything went awry.

Good thing, because Grace punctured half way in to her bike. Fortunately it happened within a short walk of neutral support. After a quick tire change she was able to continue her race.

I rarely race when coaching an athlete but this time I was out on the course and didn’t see Grace on my second bike lap. Worried, I asked her mom at T2 if she was OK. “She had a flat!” was the response. I felt bad for Grace because no one wants to have additional challenges in any triathlon let alone your first one. As I was on the last mile of my run headed towards the finish line I suddenly saw Grace running towards me. I had been stressed my entire run about her, worrying if she would finish and what the flat tire would do to her morale. As she ran towards me, she had this huge smile on her face and gave me a high five! She had overcome adversity and was on her way to accomplishing her goal! I was so surprised by Grace’s positive attitude even after suffering a puncture on the bike course. Her entire race experience was everything she had hoped for.

Categories: Athlete Grace