Last summer, Colin had a very exciting and fun week at TriRidgefield's Kids Camp. For about a year before, Colin had great interest in running and that extended to triathlon training the more and more he heard about it.
He had no hesitation about signing up again this year. When I asked Caleb if he wanted to go, he said. "No, that's Colin's thing. My thing is baseball." I could not influence him to change his mind.
Then his school held a Rod Dickson Kids Marathon training event and Caleb got the bug. His interest did a 180 degree turn. He was in for Kids Camp 120%.
I was thrilled to see Caleb excited about this discipline, pleased to see him and his brother share an interest and tickled to know that he would be under the tutelage of Coach Cliff Scherb, Ironman.
Caleb had a fantastic week. He had so much fun. I was worried it would be a little too intense for him. He said the workouts were exhausting, but only when I asked. His consistent reference to his days at camp were "That was fun. Camp is so much fun. I can't wait to go back because it's so fun. Fun, fun, fun!!"
Since last year's camp experience, Colin got a new bike. It is just about the only thing he got for Christmas this year. He saved up every penny that came his way and asked anyone interested in getting him a gift to contribute to his bike. After the first day of camp he felt validated in this investment. I wouldn't describe camp as uber competitive, but there are some serious kid athletes in attendance. Colin made a great improvement this year over last and finished second in his age group.
Caleb didn't place, but he did fabulously. I was so proud of both of them.
When I interviewed Cliff in 2010, I asked for advice on Colin's behalf. He emphasized swimming for the younger crowd. I saw firsthand how important this part of the race is. Colin was not the fastest swimmer, but he came out pretty strong and made up some time in the bike and run. I could see how not having any prior swim experience other than goofing around in the pool impacted Caleb's performance. He and Lila are now in weekly swim lessons! But I have to say that the improvement in his technique in just the one week of tricamp was astounding.
It's been said over and over what a terrific guy Cliff is, but you'll have to tolerate me saying it yet again. He really is one of the nicest people I've ever met. This was not a diabetes camp, but Caleb and Cliff had that connection. Just knowing that there was someone around him that understood was a great influence to Caleb, and the fact that it was Cliff, a humble, kind and skilled athlete, made the experience even sweeter.
I was lucky enough to contribute to an article in Diabetes Forecast that featured Cliff that I invite you to check out. He talks about being an Ironman and living with diabetes and balancing the two. It's really no joke - this guy is an expert when is comes to endurance training and managing blood sugars. Every time I talk to him I get a new tip. I am so blessed to have had so much direct exposure to that brain trust. If training of this nature is at all an interest of yours, please read Cliff's story. He is the founder and principal coach of TriStar Labs in Norwalk, CT. We're looking forward to cheering him on this August when he races in the Ironman US Championship in New York City.