Interview with an Iron Kid

After writing up Colleen’s Iron Kid saga for yesterday’s News-Sentinel column, I thought it would be interesting to get her perspective on what it’s like to compete as a “metabolically challenged” 9-year-old athlete.

The week after the Iron Kid Triathlon, in which she wound up running most of the bike segment after her chain broke, she ran the 1-mile kids event at the Swiss Days Race. She came in last in her age group, but cut nearly 2 minutes off her time from the previous year.

Q. What made you want to do the Iron Kid Triathlon?

A. Well, I just saw it one day during swim practice and I thought it would be fun, especially since you and Ben did one.

Q. Were you nervous about doing it?

A. No.

Q. Why not?

A. Because I knew I could do it. I’m on the swim team. I bike a lot. And I run. It’s pretty much in my blood, since you do triathlons and mini-marathons.

Q. Yeah, but a tendency to overeat is also in your blood — you definitely get that from me as well! Were you concerned that you might be the  heaviest kid there?

A. I knew the other kids would be skinny, because whenever I do something like this, like the Swiss Days Race, the other kids are always skinny.

Q. Does that bother you?

A. No. Because whenever I do something like this, whether it’s running the Swiss Days Race or playing my best in baseball, I don’t focus on the other people. I just focus on playing my best and doing my best.

Bike chain dangling, a tearful but determined Colleen jogs toward the transition area.

Q. What were you thinking when your chain broke?

A. Well, there was one of those people who tell people where to go right near me, and they came over and fixed my chain. Then I started riding again, but it broke again. Then a policeman offered me his bike, but I couldn’t ride it because it was too big. And so I just got off and started jogging, pushing my bike.

Q. Why didn’t you just stop?

A. Because I knew I was going to finish whether or not my bike worked. And jogging is a little faster than walking. I knew if I jogged I could get to the running part faster and be done faster.

Q. Were you worried that you couldn’t make it that far? That’s farther than you’re used to running.

A. I didn’t think about that. I just, every time I came to a turn, I would just turn and keep going and not think about how far it was because I knew I was going to make it.

Q. Why was it so important to you to finish?

A. I wanted my first triathlon to be good, at least that I would finish. I was going to finish. I knew that. Even if I came in dead last.

Q. So you’re going to do it again next year?

A. Yeah.

Q. Why?

A. I mean, it was fun even though I had to run two portions of it. Because I like working hard. I like finishing.

Colleen at the Swiss Days Race, where she shaved nearly two minutes off her time from last year. Running isn’t easy for her, but she wants to do a 5K in the spring.

Q. Which was harder, the Iron Kid or the Swiss Days race?

A. I would have to say the Iron Kid, but it was a lot funner. Because it really showed people what I can do. When people first look at me, they probably don’t think that I’m going to do stuff that I do.

Q. Do kids ever make fun of you?

A. Only Ben. (Her older brother.)

Q. Do you have anything you’d like to say to other chunky kids out there?

A. I don’t know. Try your hardest. And show people what you can do.

Q. Do you have any other athletic goals?

A. I hope to make the All Star baseball team again next year. I hope to play good in soccer and basketball this year. I want to do a 5K in the spring and sometime I’d like to swim a mile without stopping.

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One Response to Interview with an Iron Kid

  1. Triathlon is in your blood–I love it! 🙂 And, by the way, I love that you have a newspaper column–that’s so cool!

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