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Destinations, Dreams and Dogs - International adventure with a fast-track family (& dogs) of Old World values, adopting the Russian-Italian-American good life on the go…!

Triathlon Triumph

Our family’s three teens and one tween from Russia, one of whom was a bonafide “invalid” (although we never saw anything physically wrong with him other than being starved to near-death) entered their first triathlon.  With heavy Russian accents and excitement in their hearts, they would swim for 200 yards, bike for 10k, and run for 2k.

Their racing numbers attached to their t-shirts and the front of their bicycles, they were ready for the ride of their life.  During training this past week, each one had reason to quit:  falling off the bike and taking a nasty spill when another child swerved in their path, in the middle of the race hitting a bump and the chain falling off the bike-!, getting sunburned the one day they forgot the midday reapplication of sunscreen (which some call sunscream).

But they pressed on.

The kids learned to pass in the swimming lanes without wiping out another swimmer.  They used bike etiquette and called out, “On your left!” and used hand signals when turning.  The four of them staged their helmet, shoes, socks, and clothes to hop into when transitioning.

They were ready.  They were determined.

The swimmers took their ready positions.  Our three oldest started in the first wave.  Our youngest, Sashenka, would start in the third wave of competitors 14 minutes later.

They were sore.  They were exhausted.  I was exhausted-!

“Speh-SHEE!” (Hurry!) their crazed mother called from the sidelines.

“You can DO it!” their proud Papa shouted, sports enthusiast that he was.

“Keep up the pace!” I encouraged, wondering how much longer I could stand in the hot sun, rivulets running down my back.

The police had blocked the roads from traffic, with many of the younger racers becoming disoriented on the course lined with spectators.  They turned in to ditch their bikes before completing the necessary laps around big blocks, or they kept biking and spotters had to check their numbers and bellow out “Number 432, come back!  Dismount and transition!  It’s time to run!”

As with most parents involved in sports, we cheered, hooted, and hollered for every child passing us, as though they were our own.  And they responded.  Those who walked a ways, started running again.  Those who looked about ready to pass out, smiled and picked up the pace.  That’s what any child needs in life:  someone to cheer them on, and be in their corner.

They flew past us outside, biking around and around, running lap after lap, and finally sprinting toward the finish line.  They proudly sported their medals and t-shirts,  grabbing some water and apple slices, slathering on more sunscreen while waiting for the others to finish.

Our goal was for them to complete the course… and not to die in the process-!  Our big guy, Petya, took it one step further.  At age 14, his first triathlon ever, he came in first place.

I know that winning isn’t everything, but somehow today, it was.  He had a heart to win, and to prove their pasts wrong.  They were going places in life, no matter how slow and rocky their original start.

We loaded up their bikes and helmets, while the whole group headed to their catered awards luncheon.  A TV newsperson asked if he could interview my son who was breathless in more ways than one.  I wondered if he would credit his win to a big bowl of carb-rich pasta and motivationally-rich prayer, making a mental note-to-self to watch the evening news.

“Invalids”, indeed.  “Least likely to succeed.”

Look what the Lord has done!





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23 Comments : Leave a Reply

  1. avatar Greg says:

    Yeah! I love the picture of the kids with their back to the camera…..and Sashenka with her arm around her sister. So cute!

    • avatar admin says:

      Thanks, they’re flying high today… I see ice cream in their future!

    • avatar Gwendolyn says:

      Is IS sweet.

      We have a very similar photo of our younger daughter doing the same thing to her older and taller sister, the day we re-united them in the DetDom, for the first time in >15 months, the day the judge said, “Yes, I approve this adoption.”

  2. avatar Sybil says:

    Competing in this triathlon had to be such a highlight in their lives for each of them – and for you, Mom and Dad. Congratulations kids; you did phenomenally.

    • avatar admin says:

      Thank you, the fact that they stuck with the training and did not quit spoke volumes. We’re hoping that it will translate into other areas of life–if I could do THAT, then….

  3. avatar Kathleen says:

    Wonderful! Congratulations to all the athletes. They are definitely all winners today!

  4. avatar Gwendolyn says:

    Next time, Mamochka, wear WHITE and carry a parasol!

    GREAT JOB! I cannot imagine either of our kids doing this. AMAZING! WONDERFUL! Our God is wonderful indeed.

    • avatar admin says:

      Yes, I hear you…. All of the bedouin that I know wear either black or white. Maybe it’s a blond thing, lol.

      You can’t imagine your kids doing this? I think our oldest, who is very sporty, inspired them. I cannot imagine MYSELF doing this, except that the athletic director came zipping up to me in her golf cart and said, “Next year I’m getting YOU out there!” Either she thinks I’m in the under-18 crowd (entirely possible…), or she’s heard of my Couch-Potato-into-Tater-Tot-Transformation-! I could give it a shot at the biking or running, not sure my hair would appreciate the swimming….

      A parasol would be nice, but there are only so many hands (water bottle, camera, sunscreen…). I’m becoming a bag lady….

      • avatar Gwendolyn says:

        There is a weird logic in the choice that Bedouin make to wear black. Oddly enough (or: I didn’t take enough physics to explain this), beyond a certain ambient temperature, black is cooler than white. So says my engineer husband who designs radios to be used in desert heat and arctic cold… Black has a maximum re-radiating level that is LOWER than the ambient temperature…

        OTOH your location almost certainly didn’t qualify for the re-radiation effect, in which case white and flowing (and natural fibers, and lots of miniature holes in the cloth…) are better. And my artist’s umbrella (silver reflective above, black below) …

        I’m not modest, in fact I hate wearing clothing!, but this combination often results in me being covered from neck to toe, because that (i.e. a dress or skirt) is less ‘touchy’ than pants. And I’ve experimented. The best cloth so far (for non-desert temperatures) is some gauzy white stuff that I bought in Russia one summer. Sadly, it is so gauzy, it requires me to wear underwear, both types. You can bet I’m not a big fan of the ????-?????? in summer! But I do wear them, having turned into my grandmother in that region of my anatomy.

        So, the very best bet is a hat (no longer made by Chaco) that has light reflective fabric and a spring steel rim (i.e. VERY light weight), with a white mosquito net or gauze veil to cover the back of the neck (removable if not needed), and a loose one-piece floor-length caftan made of gauzy cloth, with inverted kick pleats built into it so you can walk freely…

        And BK and B +30#, I did indeed own and wear exactly this outfit, with great comfort and ??? style.

        In other advice, at night I changed the white gauze veil for a beautiful multicolored georgette veil, and had automatic mosquito protection!!!

        Park Avenue wife with the back-woods option, as in my SIL’s toast at our wedding:

        “Chuck, I’m sorry the LLBean wife in the back-woods models was out of stock, but I WAS able to get you the Park Avenue model with the back-woods option!”

        • avatar Gwendolyn says:

          ????-?????? = BUST-GALTER. For some reason, the Web often chokes on Cyrillic letters.

          • avatar admin says:

            For our non-Russian-linguists, Gwendolyn is referring to that apparatus that goes around the… bust. Apparently, the Web is censoring your use of the 3-letter b-word!

        • avatar admin says:

          The bedouin have always claimed that black is cooler and less “dirty” than white. They make an exception of course for those who have made the “hajj” to Mecca and they are allowed to wear white. Naturally, that’s my reason for sticking to black (don’t want to confuse anyone, hah). As to what they wear underneath, I guess my husband would know, he used to live in their tents and was part of the family for some months…. I’ve always liked the French Foreign Legion khaki hats with the flap in the back and on the sides, but it seems a bit too sporty for my overall look. Maybe I should try it for sports-!

      • avatar Gwendolyn says:

        PS As to hands…

        Put good-sized slits in the sides of your caftan and wear a light-weight slip underneath, with multiple pockets for the gear. The camera goes in a pocket on the outside of the caftan, of course…

        • avatar admin says:

          The slip has pockets-? Now, that’s a new one. I can’t imagine a slip holding my 95-liter, two-camel-sized water bottle.

          My girls were wearing white gauzy dresses today (you would be proud) and I glimpsed little one (yes, with her slip), and you could STILL see through the thing-! Nothing to see except little stick legs… but still… I may need to start sewing some 3-layer slips….

          • avatar Gwendolyn says:

            Make her a skin-colored slip. Less will show through than with a white slip. True, if unexpected. Ditto the LIFTCHIK I mentioned yesterday. Beige is better than white, at least as far as invisitbility goes. 🙂

          • avatar admin says:

            Look at this: “my people” keep me in the know! I love you, my people-!

  5. avatar Connie says:

    It was great that all of your kids could complete this task. I am very impressed. My oldest daughter recognized the pool and might just to it next year, if we still live here. My youngest still can’t ride a bike, so it might be a bit much for her at this point. By the way, your boys getting really tall!
    I agree with Gwendolyn. You should consider wearing white. You must have been so hot that day.

    • avatar admin says:

      Connie, your oldest has to try it, and yes, you have to stay “here” whether you like it or not. You are a very capable person, so somebody will just have to create an ultra-high-paying position for you and our community will be all the better for it. 🙂 And don’t worry, our youngest just learned to ride without training wheels, and could not figure out the brakes no matter how many times I told her to squeeze the handlebars–she would simply crash into our bushes! Next thing I know, she’s in a triathlon. Only in America….

      Now here’s the rub: I read in the newspaper that somebody else won-?!?! Sun, or no hot sun, I WAS THERE, and not hallucinating. Oy, I have lost a little sleep over this one. Now they say that our son won 1st in the 13-15 age group, and this other boy was in the 11-12 age group and he won with the best overall time (20 sec. less than our son). Not to be a sore loser, but this other boy was not in the first wave of competitors at all. During the week of training, the kids told me every day about a boy who constantly cheated–cutting corners, etc. They said he couldn’t do this on the day of the race. And now the newspaper had him listed as first-! I would imagine anything’s possible. Another news source seems to indicate our son was first.

      Then when the waves of kids were coming to the finish line, one mother/grandmother? next to me said, referring to her daughter/granddaughter, “But why is she running to the finish line? She only ran around once.” So I replied, “All of the kids have to run two laps around the course.” She said, “I think she’s in a different group….” Yet I knew that all of the groups had to run two laps, it was the swimming and the biking that were different distances for the 10 and under group. So, there were, shall we say, some irregularities here and there. Overall, it was run very well, lots of bike-riding police coaching, too. The kids did not really choose this camp (though they loved it), it was one of the few in a broad age range that could accommodate them all. They were so happy that they made it through.

      I’ve told you guys that I’m playclothes-challenged. I thought I did rather well with a wide-brimmed hat, flowy longish tunic and pants, sunscreen slathered on the 2 sq. cm. of hand exposed…. 🙂 I tried to stay under shade trees whenever I wasn’t out in the road directing traffic, lol…. I may have to design my own Burqa Beachwear for those longing for non-melanoma-inducing modest attire….

  6. avatar meant2be says:

    AWESOME!!! That is so incredible. It just amazes me at how far our kiddos have come in just two short years. Not just physically, but emotionally, intellectually, and spiritually as well. My girls went to a Christian camp this summer. Everything that we and/or the private school taught our youngest had been going in one ear and out the other, but 6 days of camp and she comes home a new person!! I’m thinking of sending her once a month! lol!!!

    • avatar admin says:

      Someone else reported the same kind of situation, same kind of transformation. That’s great! The kids need input that will speak to them on so many different levels. There’s something about a 24/7 setting that has impact-!

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