Mom and Son Dynamic Duo!
By Lorinda Christianson
My son Ian and I decided to compete in the All Ability triathlon on August 12th. Ian has only been riding a bike for a year, ever since he attended NWDSA Bike First camp last summer at Concordia College. We love to swim in our pool during the summer, and although Ian has never had traditional lessons, I have taught him a bit and his love of the water led him to be able to swim. I recently started athletic training myself and lost 15 pounds this past winter, so when I learned about the Tri4Youth I knew I really wanted to participate with Ian.
It was good for him to have my support during the race and it was fun for me too. I was able to use this triathlon as a way to get Ian to train with me and push himself more. We would do training days where we would ride then run. When it got too hot and smoky outside we used our spinning bike and treadmill to keep training! As I continued telling him about our upcoming race, it really motivated him to keep going and continue training. Because of his Autism he doesn’t really care about winning but he loves to participate and he really looked forward to getting a medal.
I was relieved the weather wasn’t too hot on the day of the event because I was concerned about how we would do in the heat. It was harder than I thought to run with wet shorts on but we really enjoyed the experience! Even though we were leaving town the very next day I really wanted to participate in the Tri4Youth and I’m so glad we did! We are already planning for next year and will continue to train and keep active this winter so we are ready for the next All Ability Tri4Youth!
First Time Triathlete, Kaliah Silverman!
Kaliah is thirteen years old and about to begin eigth grade. She has three siblings, ages eight, nine and ten, who all competed in the triathlon alongside her. She enjoys reading, going outside, making slime, and singing. Kaliah sat down with her mom, Nicole, and shared some of her experiences at the Tri4Youth.
Nicole: What did you first think when you heard about the Tri4Youth?
Kaliah: At first I was a little unsure about it. I’ve never done one before.
Nicole: How did you participate in the Tri4Youth this year?
Kaliah: I was on the KDS Rockin’ Sibling Team with my 10 year old brother and 8 year old sister. We all did it together. For the swimming portion, we pulled my sister in a raft.
Nicole: Were you nervous?
Kaliah: I was worried about the biking portion because two miles seems like a lot of biking but after I completed it I felt really good about it.
Nicole: What was your favorite part of the Tri4Youth?
Kaliah: Probably biking because it was kind of a challenge but the three of us (KDS team) did it together.
Nicole: What did you do to get ready for the Tri?
Kaliah: Well, for the running we went to the track and ran a full mile. And then every night a week before the tri we went biking for a ½ mile. For swimming, we went to THPRD aquatic center for an open swim session and practiced there.
Nicole: Would you do the tri next year?
Kaliah: I would!
Nicole: What would you tell those people who weren’t quite sure if they could do a tri?
Kaliah: I would say that if you aren’t sure about it, continue to think positive because you do anything you put your mind to and try in the “tri”!
Insights from Two Tri4Youth Volunteers
By Jennifer Tenario
The All Ability Tri4Youth was my first time volunteering with FACT Oregon. I do not have a close direct personal connection to anyone who experiences a disability, and therefore, did not know what to expect going into this event. I have, however, participated in several dozen-sprint triathlons and was so excited to cheer on the next generation of athletes. To me, sports and exercise have always been about the joy of community and working to be a better version of yourself (a prize you win just for showing up and trying). The youth who competed at the Tri4Youth showed courage, strength, and determination – and the parents and teammates displayed such a strong sense of community and love that propelled each athlete forward. It was such a joy to experience and also an inspiration to see the hard work and love families put in daily to increase awareness and community.
By Asena Lawrence
I am very grateful to have had the wonderful opportunity to volunteer at the All Ability Tri4Youth. People who experience disabilities are among the most marginalized in our community, with perceived limited opportunities. This event focused on the athletes’ abilities and accomplishments! To attend an event dedicated to celebrating youth experiencing a disability, their family, friends and community was incredibly fulfilling and motivating.
My volunteer role was at the snack booth at the end of the course. I was able to witness and cheer on the youth as they completed their race and then headed over to our booth to get drinks and snacks. They were exhausted; yet, they were shining and full of smiles! It was clear that they had a great deal of fun, and were very proud of themselves. Many of the youths’ families celebrated with them and their parents, siblings, and friends were clearly very excited and proud of them as well!