Cold. Early. No, not cold. Freezing! That is how our day started. Race day means get up at some unheard of hour before the sun, stand around in the freezing cold, (doesn't matter what time of year it is) and wait for the race to begin. When I looked at the temperatures on my phone, it said it was 25 degrees Fahrenheit. I helped Levi get his number and then I went and sat in the truck with the heater high and blasting.
Meanwhile, The SM, stayed in the cold and helped Levi get his bike ready and the other equipment that would be needed. The stroller, the bike trailer, and the raft. All of this special equipment was donated for our use by a non-profit organization called: Team Kid Courage . If not for them, doing races with Levi wouldn't be possible. The equipment needed is so expensive and is purchased by donations from kind giving people. It overwhelms me how amazing and incredible people are and the things they do for others.
Meanwhile, back at the truck. Even Levi has abandoned The SM for warmth. I wish I had taken pictures of the 'behind the scenes' that took place getting the equipment ready for Levi. Those besides The SM who were out in the cold assembling bikes trailers, strollers, and blowing up the rafts. But alas, I was too busy sitting in the truck keeping warm.
As was this gremlin and the photographer who never gets photographs of herself, Miss Henny Penny, but was very much appreciated for documenting this whole experience. Miss Henny Penny should get a medal for all of the hours sitting in the cold waiting, waiting, waiting for fleeting moments of picture taking, running from event to event to try and stay ahead of us so she could get the perfect photos. That girl, she is a treasure!
Do we look cold? We may be smiling but it is through clenched chattering teeth! Who thinks of racing in the cold months of fall, spring, and winter?? Then again, when we're dying of heat in the summer we'll be complaining that it is too hot! We're fickle that way.
Finally! Time to begin!! We start to head to the starting line! The running part of the triathlon is first.
We had Levi get in the stroller for a picture at the beginning of the race. When it started, he jumped out and ran about fifty yards by himself. Sprinted more like. He was so excited and rearing to go!
This little girl next to Levi. Her name is Izzy. We had the privilege of competing with her. Team Kid Courage as I've written before, not only supplies the equipment for these events but also the athletes. Izzy is being helped by an athlete who's name is Dan. Again, humbled by the goodness and kindness of so many willing to help others. What a blessing!
So, we're off and running. Literally!! Meanwhile...... back at the ranch........
The waiting begins. Sitting in the freezing cold waiting for Levi and I to run our 3 point something or other miles. Waiting....... and waiting............
And waiting........ entertaining one's self as best they can...............
|Look closely. You can see Levi waving both hands in the air waving to the crowd. He's in his element!|
And then! A glimpse! I wave frantically to Miss Henny Penny to get the camera ready because here we come! Levi sees the crowd of people and decides that he wants to get out of the stroller and run for the crowd. Go Levi! He cracked me up. At the beginning of the race he ran for the crowd. As soon as we left the crowd he was done. And rightfully so. He'd sprinted in his excitement and gave all he'd had there at the first. I knew the run would be the hardest event for Levi so was not surprised that most of the run I needed to push him in the stroller. I was prepared for that. As we were running, Levi chatted with me non-stop about this and that, things he'd see as we passed, laughing when we'd pass people and say that we were winning, ask why other's were passing us and for me to hurry it up, seeing some chickens and needing to stop and watch the chickens for a minute.......
Wait! Hold on a second!! Where's the finish line?
Still looking for the finish line. Levi can see the end of the run, the transition spot for the biking up on his left but.........
Levi! We still have further to run! We still have a loop to go around before we can get on our bikes!
Stay in the cones, Levi! What?!! Where's da finish?
Come with mummy. I'll show you. Do you want to get in the stroller?
No, not yet. I wanna still run.
Okay. We'll run together. Hold mummies hand. We run a bit further and Levi has again given his all in the run. He hops back into the stroller and we continue around the loop. As we get closer to the transition, Levi again sees the crowd and hops out of the stroller and sprints to the transition spot.
Time to get on our helmets and onto our bikes.
The Mum. Not the fastest at transition. Need to work on that.
Part of the pit crew helping Levi and I with our bikes and equipment. Always supporting us and loving us through our crazy endeavors.
The salute. I have to stop for a second in my story telling and tell you about one of my favorite things in the race that Levi did. Since we are out racing in traffic, the local Orem, UT police department helped by standing at intersections of these busy roads directing traffic so that the athletes could be safe. As I would pass through the intersections, I would call out to them, "Thank you"! and Levi sitting either in the stroller or in his bike trailer would do just what you are seeing in the photo. He would salute them. It was so adorable! He'd put his hand up to his helmet and then give a nice sharp salute!
What in the world is taking your mummy so long???
Okay. See the man in the photo on the right? He's making sure I don't run something/one over with the bike trailer. He's the reason we are able to do all of this! His name is Allan Sumnall and he is the man behind Team Kid Courage. He's the one who early in the morning showed up and helped us get ready for the race with all of this equipment. He's the one who before the race, let the race who ever they may be's that are in charge of the race know that we were coming, he set everything up. He's the one who when Levi and I got on our bikes, got in his car and followed us around and around the course making sure we were okay and when Levi got tired, took Levi's bike and put it on the back of his car and continued to follow Levi and I around. Talk about amazing. His entire Saturday morning was a gift to us.
Here he is making sure the seat belts in the bike cart are ready for Levi when Levi needs to get in. Lovely shot of his back. Seriously, I am the lamest for not getting better photos of Allan and all he did for us! What I can do though is encourage you to go to Team Kid Courage and make a donation. Also, he is the owner of SBR Cycles here in Orem, UT. If ever you need anything bike or triathlon related, go to his store. He and his staff will take fantastic care of you.
Eventually, we do make it out on the bike part of the course. Well, Levi does. I'm still back at the ranch sitting by the fire roasting marshmallows and having a cat nap apparently.
I think I forgot the memo that this was a race. La-dee-daaa!
Okay, for reals. We're finally off. The bike part of the race is a course that we have to do 3 loops on. It is like, 12-14 miles. I can't remember how far. Doesn't matter. What matters is that Levi did almost an entire loop by himself! I was so proud of him. I could see he was getting tired at the end of his first loop and would ask him if he needed to rest. He would tell me no, and he would go a few more feet. You need to understand that at the end of each loop was a massive hill. I'm talking, massive. And from where it started, it was a bit less than a quarter of a mile. A long massive steep hill. Several of the bikers we passed were off their bikes and pushing their bikes up the hill.
About 3/4's of the way up the hill, Levi needed to rest so we set his bike on the side of the road where Allan picked it up and put it on the back of his car and I pulled Levi in the bike trailer.
And......... through all of this............. the photographer, Miss Henny Penny and Mr. J sit in the cold and try to amuse themselves while waiting for us. The photographer starts to take random pictures......
I'll save you from the photos of open mouths showing the back of throats, up noses, and other random photos that obviously were quite amusing to the person pushing the camera button.
Here we come. First loop. And here is where it gets really cool/neat/emotional. The crowd starts cheering and calling out Levi's name. What? How do they know Levi's name??
I later found out that at the beginning, before the race started, (where was I?? probably still sitting in the truck trying to stay warm) Allan had told the crowd about Levi and to call out his name when ever they saw him!
Not only did the crowd of spectators call out encouraging words to him but also athletes. As they would pass us, they would call out to Levi. Levi loved it!
Look at the smile on Levi's face! He's just had a large crowd of people yelling out his name.
Thumbs up. Team Levi!
You can see Levi's little hand waving to the crowd as we pass.
Loop number two. We've made it to the top of the hill. Where that street light is there in the back, that is where the road disappears. Down. Did I mention steep? And long?? So, back story to this photo. The first loop around, The SM rode in the car with Allan keeping an eye on Levi and I. When Levi started to struggle on the hill coming up, The SM got out of the car and came over to Levi and walked next to him encouraging him. He got behind Levi and helped push him a little bit. When Levi was needing to rest, The SM helped grab his bike as I continued on with Levi in the bike trailer.
What I didn't know, is that The SM didn't get back in the car. Allan continued following Levi and I but The SM walked back down to the end of the hill and waited for us. When he saw us coming, he came up behind us and started pushing from behind. He helped push me and Levi up the hill. It was a real struggle for me to do by myself. I was so grateful for The SM's help!! As we got closer to the top, I told The SM we were good and he jumped back in the car and was driven back to the race site because he needed to get ready for the swim part of the race where he'd be helping Levi. (I still can't swim......... gonna fix that this winter......). Anyway, like I said. So many behind the scenes things that didn't get photographed that I want to make sure people are recognized for!!
I'm going to digress here for a second and embarrass The SM but I have to. What he did yesterday. All of the quiet behind the scenes things. That is The SM to a 'T'. Always pushing and supporting us, his family, and loved ones. Quietly going about doing good. I love that man!
Thank you for divulging me that moment of shmarmy. Back to the race. Here we are coming to the transition spot where we will dump our bikes and then run to the swim. Actually, I didn't dump the bike. Allan came and got it for me and told me not to worry, he'd take care of everything and to go with Levi. See?? More behind the scenes goodness!
Again, Levi waving to the crowd. I think Levi thinks he's in a parade.
Oh wow! Both hands up waving!
Getting out of the bike trailer. He's still smiling! Having a blast!
Running to the pool to get geared up.
Thumbs up! We're ready to go! Oh wait! Where's Levi's goggles??? I know I packed them!! Can't find them. Another friend and support who you can barely see on the right of this photo, well, you can see her hand holding goggles, came to our rescue. She let Levi use her goggles. Thank you, Amy!! Guess what?! Found Levi's goggles later in the truck. See?! I knew I'd brought them! Pfffft. What ever!
The SM jumps into the pool with Levi following. Time to swim the 350 meters! We were going to have Levi ride in a raft that The SM would pull when Levi got tired but decided it might be easier to put a life jacket on Levi and when he got tired, for The SM to pull him along.
I love this sequence of photos.
Such a caring, loving, daddy guiding his son along.
Right there if needed but letting Levi swim on his own offering words of encouragement.
First lap down. A few more to go!
And go he did!! Levi swam pretty much the entire 350 meters all by himself! He was given the option to take short cuts and swim less laps but he didn't want to. He wanted to do the whole course.
Our friend Amy jumped in and swam with Levi the last length of the pool. So much support. So neat!
And then, the finish!! Here's Levi finishing his triathlon!! Way to go Levi! You won!!
Fun surprise! Guess who came to support Levi and cheer him on?? Grandma Kaye!! The Natives adopted grandma from down the street. She came and stood in the cold and cheered on Levi and brought him balloons.
It was so funny. Levi caught site of the balloons while he was swimming and that is all he'd look at for awhile. We were cheering him along and his eyes were riveted on the balloons. Stopped in the pool. Cool! Balloons! Levi! Keep swimming!!
We are so blessed to have so many who have adopted our family and loved us and supported us.
Finally!! You get to see the beautiful Henny Penny who took all of these photos. Another behind the scenes blessing and sweet heart. I could see her running her little legs off with the camera through out the race as she'd see us so she could get from place to place to take pictures. She's a gem!
|Not pictured: Levi's bigger brother, Mr. B who came with his friend Darren at the beginning of the race to tell him, "Good luck" before he had to run to work.|
Family. Loved ones. Friends. Complete strangers willing to offer support and cheer. This is what it's all about.
Our champion that inspires us each and everyday.
Another funny Levi story. We wanted to get photos of Levi up on the podium but needed to wait for everyone to get their awards and to clear out a bit. Levi saw a dog that he wanted to go and pet.
He kept asking, "Can we be done wiff pictures? Can I go pet dat dog?" Another Levi lesson. He could care less about ceremony and details. He wants to enjoy the moment, in the moment, when it is happening. What ever that moment is. Put the camera away mum and enjoy the moment!