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Guest Post: Race Day Jitters

Hi World! Virginia here!

Sometimes when I look around, I feel alone in the world of triathlon. While I know it is a huge sport that is growing EVERY DAY, I don’t know many folks who do it. So, when I meet people who are tri-ing HARD, I am excited. When I meet people who are tri-ing AND including their kids, I get SUPER excited. SUPER. RIDICULOUS! Literally, I want to make these people my best friends. Am I nuts? Certainly.

But…I digress. Last summer I was picking up my kiddo from a sleep over and I met Jason Gibson who was picking up his kiddo. As he left, my friend Claudia said, “You would love him. He’s a triathlete and a tri coach.” It was SUPER nice of her to tell me that after he left (kidding). A few months later I decided to get my husband some triathlon coaching as a gift, and I contacted Jason. He has been working with my hubs and really helping him out. As I chatted with him, I discovered that his kids are triathletes as well. AWESOME.

Because I am HERE FOR YOU GUYS and want to give you tons of interesting reading, I asked Jason to write a guest blog for me to talk a little about triathlons with kids. I am hoping he will do a few guest blogs as we go to keep you guys entertained and informed. When asked, he was very willing and has shared a great story with me to share with you. I hope you enjoy!


Hello Swim Bike Kid readers.  My name is Jason Gibson, a part-time personal trainer at, loving husband and proud father of three boys. 

 I have been sharing my passion of fitness with my family and friends for many years and if you are anything like me, you want everyone (including your children) to find that passion.  Well, with kids, that is not as easy as it sounds.  If there is one thing I have learned by getting my kids involved in the sport of triathlon is that they are kids.  We can only share knowledge, have patience and provide the support they need to reach their own goals.  I am very proud of my kids and always love seeing them compete in all their sports and fitness activities.

 Here is a little information on my boys.  My oldest is in 8th grade, plays soccer and ran track the past two years.  My middle son is in 4th grade, plays soccer, flag football and loves to run.  He got his first road bike last year and competed in his first kid triathlon.  My youngest is in 1st grade, plays soccer, flag football and loves all sports.  He has competed in two kid triathlons.

 I have a whole mix of stories of my kids going the distance, quitting at mile 1, quitting before the start, stopping on the first lap, as well as many successes. Here is one such story.

Virginia_Jason_RaceDayJitters The Race Day Jitters

 The pre-race National Anthem is playing; Our hearts pound, minds race, knees tremble, and stomachs feel like butterflies.   We learn to let the pre-race nerves motivate us and some of us actually look forward to this rush of endorphins before pushing ourselves to the limit.  These jitters can bring out your best or get the best of you.  Here’s a little race day jitters story from my boys’ triathlon this past summer:

 My boys loved training with me all summer long as we would make up our own tri workouts at our neighborhood pool.  Nothing formal or even planned, just making it up as we went along.  We would ride our bikes 11/2 miles to the pool, swim laps for 15-20 minutes then run a bit before enjoying our victory with some pool play time before riding our bikes home.  On many of these “workout” days our uphill ride home would end with us pushing the bikes up the final hill.  We trained this way several times over the summer and the boys set their sights on a kid distance triathlon.  The age group distances were shorter than our training days plus the boys were really getting good at our mock triathlons before race day so we were all excited.

 If you are already a tri-athlete, or any kind of athlete for that matter, you will relate with my six year old son’s race day jitters.  He had already competed in his first TRI earlier in the summer and was really excited about competing in his second one with his older brother.  He was selected to lead the line into the pool area and was going to be the first in the staggered start (what a nice advantage, huh?).  He looked confident as they kicked off the race “On your mark, Get set, Go.”  Whoa…..The cold water made him stop in his tracks and swim back to the start wall and ask for his dad J.  My heart sank as I knew how he was feeling and that he was well trained, but the race day jitters got the best of him.  He quickly calmed down once he had his towel around him and joined me as we cheered for his brother.

 Here are a few lessons learned from our father-son triathlon race day jitter experience:

–          We all get race day jitters & it is ok to talk about them and to help others cope with them.

–          You  & your kids should always take a pre-race swim to get acclimated to the water temperature and the swim course.

–          Never assume that race day will be just like your training days (You must account for the jitters.)

–          Even when your child does not succeed at reaching his/her goal you are still proud of them for trying their best!

 I hope to see you and your kids at a triathlon this coming season.

 Move More.  Live Healthy.



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