The good news is that my fitness remains high. Since taking a month off after laying my bike down, I've managed an 82-mile bike and a 2.5 mile swim. Neither was as easy as perhaps I'd like them to be, but both were completed with relatively few issues. (Getting lost doesn't count, as it was on the bike. If I get lost in the pool, I'll let you know.)
With the race completed, the time dedicated to coaching will now go to training.
Finally, I once again witnessed the strong sense of community that thrives in triathletes. I only wish those who look on endurance athletes as a disruption to their schedule could have been at the park.
Shortly after all three of the kids showed up, I heard an announcement that the race staff needed a helmet for a racer who had forgotten his. With three kids racing, I had every possible piece of gear with me, including two helmets that weren't needed. I ran over to the announcer and handed the guy my helmet, only asking that he drop it off at the finish when he was done. I didn't worry about his name or bib number. To be honest, I didn't even think about it.
After the race, I was heading to my car when I remembered the helmet. I stopped by the announcer at the finish line, and there it was. I picked it up and a handmade envelope fell out of it. Inside was $5 and a note thanking me for the use of the helmet. It was signed, "The happy triathlete." He asked that I grab myself a drink by way of thanks.
It was fitting, as I was getting hungry by that time. I picked up some pretzels and a Gatorade and had a bit left over. It worked out pretty well.
Driving home, I thought about it. Imagine a community where someone can reasonably expect that a request for gear will be answered. Imagine a community where people hearing such a request will actively try to help. And imagine a community where people are so truly grateful for that help that they go out of their way to express their thanks.
That's the way I see the triathlon community. Countless times I've witness people assist others in ways big and small. It's great to watch. And it's great to be part of it.