We went off to a triathlon and came home with a TRIATHLETE!

Hello Kitty had her first event this past weekend. It was the UNC Wellness Super Sprint Triathlon in Chapel Hill. Myself and HK got to be Team Merrill supporters.
On Saturday, we drove up to Chapel Hill to check into the hotel. After we did that, Merrill and I (by default) got to check in for the race and pick up our t-shirts and race numbers. I was nice and turned in my number since I wouldn't be participating. That was a bit of a letdown, but entirely expected.

Since this was the first triathlon either one of had been to as a participant we went to the transition area (where you switch from swim to bike and then bike to run) to see where Merrill would rack her bike.  HK got to imagine where her spot would have been. It was fine, she knows there will be another time that will be her time.
After that, we met up with some awesome people that we know from a Facebook group, The Sub-30 Club. We can now officially call them friends. Thanks Kim and Alanna. Then we went back to the hotel because we needed to be up super early. Thankfully, we had a hotel that was only 5 minutes from the race.
Race day dawned EARLY. Well, I can't even say it dawned because the sun wasn't even up, yet. Merrill got all of her things organized. I got the event bag ready for myself, HK and anything Merrill needed me to bring for her that wasn't going to be in the transition area.
Merrill began the pool swim at 8:01:15 a.m. That is the exact time, trust me...I missed it. HK and I watched from outside because the area around the pool was limited to only the race participants. Merrill looked great in the pool for the whole 250 yards, up and back five times. She even passed someone!

As she was waiting to go into the pool area the overall winner of the race, who was already done, told Merrill good luck and to make sure she hydrates. "It's hot out there!" he said.

When she go done and came outside the official cheerleader, photographer and all around do what needs to be done person went into action. That would be me. Carrying HK, taking pictures and cheering was SO MUCH FUN! Merrill got to the transition area to get ready for the bike ride (9.25 miles). She executed it perfectly and was out on the bike. We had driven the route the night before, so she knew what to expect...HILLS. But as she discovered, what goes up MUST come down. I think she rather enjoyed doing that.
HK and I sat watching the bicycle riders coming back off the road to the transition while waiting. There were all kinds of racers, those who have been doing triathlons for a while to those first-timers like Merrill to several kids who were incredible.

Merrill came back looking strong! I was so proud of her! She got her bike back to the transition area and changed to get ready for the 5K (3.1 mile run). It was nice because I could walk with her from the transition area to the start of the run. Granted, I had HK in tow and a bulky backpack on. It's always fun to observe the looks I get while I am carrying HK. Based on what she had already done and the heat, I tried figuring out how long it would take Merrill to get back from the run. Amazingly, I was off by about 5 minutes. She did better than either one of us expected!
HK and I waited to see Merrill cross the finishline. We weren't disappointed. As she came sprinting towards the finish the announcer called out her name, she raised her arms and smiled through it!
Merrill is now a TRIATHLETE!!! I couldn't be any happier to say that about her. She is one awesome wife.


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