26 The Try-athlon
(By Heather Klassen)
Out of my way, short stuff. I have to train!
Addie braced herself against the kitchen counter as her older sister,Miranda, blew by, just a blur of motion in a swimsuit, bike helmet , and running shoes.
As the back door slammed behind Miranda, Addie's father appeared in the kitchen.
Is your sister going to train for her triathlon ? he asked.
Addie shrugged. "I guess," she replied. Addie certainly didn't keep track of Miranda's schedule. Miranda had always been annoying, but since she had started training for the triathlon, she was even worse.
Miranda thinks she's so great just because she's doing that triathlon, Addie couldn't stop herself from blurting out.
Well, Addie, why don't you do it, too? her father asked.
Addie stared at him. "Me? Do a triathlon?" Miranda had trained and trained for this race for months. "How could I do that?"
Can you swim? her father asked.
Addie laughed. "Of course I can." Addie swam every afternoon, chasing her friends and racing them across the pool.
Can you run?
Sure, Addie replied. Every evening after dinner, Addie ran outside to meet her friends. They ran while they played tag and kickball.
Can you bike? her father asked.
Dad! Addie exclaimed. "You know I can bike! I keep you company every morning while you bike on the trail for exercise."
So look, her father said, pushing the triathlon informational flyer across the counter toward her. "For your age group, the distances are just half of Miranda's age group. A 100-yard swim in the lake; that's like four times across the pool. A three-mile bike ride; that's less than the distance we go every morning. And a one-mile run is only four times around the high school track. You could easily do this."
Addie didn't feel quite as certain about that as her father did. She thought about the triathlon all afternoon while she swam in the pool and all evening while she ran around outside with her friends.
Before bed, Addie bumped into Miranda in the hallway.
Boy, am I beat, Miranda said, stretching and yawning . "All this training is really wearing me out .
Addie rolled her eyes at Miranda and headed to her room.
While Addie and her father cycled along the bike trail the next morning, Addie thought about the triathlon. Maybe I wouldn't even have to train that much, Addie thought. Swimming, biking, and running are things I do every day.
As she and her dad wheeled into the drive way, Addie made her decision.
I want to try the triathlon, Dad, Addie said. "But don't tell Miranda, OK?"
That's great, Addie, said Dad. "And don't worry; it'll be our secret."
I don't want Miranda bugging me about it, Addie thought, because I'm sure I won't win. But I know I can try.
Addie swam, biked, and ran a little more than usual the next two weeks to get ready.
The morning of the triathlon dawned cool and clear. Addie and her father left after Miranda and biked over to the high school. The triathlon would begin at the lake, then continue on the bike trail, and finish on the track.
Addie's stomach lurched when she saw the hordes of kids clustered on the lake shore. I can do this, she coached herself as she moved toward the water's edge.
Short stuff! Suddenly Miranda stood right in front of her. "What are you doing here?"
I'm going to do the triathlon, Addie told her sister. "Or at least I'm going to try. I figure that's why they call it a triathlon, because all you have to do is try."
Addie waited for her sister to say something snide or snarky .Instead, Miranda smiled.
I'm so glad you're doing this, Miranda said. "I wanted you to all along, but I knew if I suggested it, you never would."
Addie stared at her sister. "So that's why you acted so great about training and everything?" she asked. "You figured I might try if you acted like I couldn't do it?"
Exactly. Then Miranda did the most surprising thing of all. She reached over and hugged Addie. "Now hurry," she said. "Your age group's up for the swim."
Still stunned by her encounter with her surprising sister, Addie positioned herself next to the other kids at the edge of the lake, ready to try her best in her first, and maybe not last, "try-athlon".