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Welcome back.  This is Part 2 of my awesome interview with Claudia Maizey, whose husband is a triathlete and who has progressed through this lifestyle from no kids to one child to soon to be 2 children. In Part 1, Claudia and I discussed how they got involved in triathlons and what compromises they have had to make.  The interview continues with a discussion of  traveling to races with children and Claudia sharing her best advice as part of a triathlon family.  Enjoy…..

TWC:  Has a child impacted your choice of race locations?  Local vs destination and the location itself – do you look at the venue as being family-friendly when deciding?

Claudia:  I do my research first to check out the race venue.  Things I look at include how far away the race is and can we get a direct flight; how kid-friendly the races and town are, such as if they have playgrounds, beaches, and pools; and how far away from the race site will we be staying.  It needs to be easy to get to.  We had a bad experience at one local race and I learned my lesson.

We do a lot of races through Ironman XC, which is really great for me.  They keep track of where Adrian is, so I know if I miss him and if I do, there’s always someone there cheering him on.

I certainly won’t go back to Kona with 2 small children.  It’s very hot and there’s not much to do with young children.  Plus, it’s just too long of a trip.  It’s difficult to fly with Jonathan, especially on flights over 3 hours.  He will calm down a bit to watch a movie, but there’s just too much excitement for him otherwise.  He’s very active like his daddy!

TWC:  Does the age of the child make a difference?  Did you travel with Jonathan as a baby?

Claudia:  For me the age does make a difference and I’ve traveled with him at all stages.  When Jonathan was a baby, he slept in the stroller and it was easy.  He would be happy to play on a blanket with some toys; he was easily entertained.  As he’s become a toddler, he’s much more active, doesn’t sit still well, and needs more of an outlet for his energy.  He also won’t sleep in the stroller now, so we have to go back to the room for him to nap.  He took his first steps at 10 months and was running by 11 months!

On race day, I really have to go by Jonathan’s schedule and so I may miss seeing Adrian during the day.  If you want to see the start you have to adjust their schedules to get up so early.  For Florida last year, I took him down in pj’s and a blanket so he could see the swim start.  But, you get to see the athlete so infrequently and Jonathan doesn’t understand when you tell him we’ll see daddy and then you see him for 2 seconds.  He wants to see daddy and it’s hard to explain.  I didn’t realize they cut off the path to get back to my room, so I got stuck outside with a kid in pj’s, no shoes, and no food left.  That was not good and a lesson learned.

TWC:  Do you travel with help – hired or family?

Claudia:  No, I haven’t.  Our families don’t live close by, so that hasn’t been an option.  I probably should though, especially on race day.

TWC:  What’s a typical trip like?  I’m thinking in terms of:

  • packing – Packing is packing.  I really don’t do anything special for the races.  It’s the same as for vacation.  You need all the same clothes, food, toys, etc.
  • traveling together – We don’t always get to travel together, but it’s much easier to have more hands to help.  It seems like we have bad luck with traveling to races.  Something always seems to go wrong.
  • how much space you need in hotels or do you rent a house – You really need at least 2 bedrooms, so the kids can sleep and not be disturbed when the athlete has to get up early or is packing.
  • do you look for a place close to the race site or does it matter –  I think it’s ideal to be close to the race site, but it’s not always possible to get one with enough space.  Being able to give the little ones some quiet or down time during the race refreshes everyone for round 2 and the race finish.
  • do you eat most meals in or out – I probably cook more than go out, so having a kitchenette is also important.  So is having a grocery store near by.  I take what I can and buy the rest.
  • what do you and Jonathan do during the race – It has changed as he’s gotten older.  As I said, as a baby he either was in his stroller or playing on a blanket.  It was easy to spectate.  But as he started walking and not sleeping in the stroller, it’s important to have things to do at the race site or having a room close by so we can go back for a nap.  In Florida, they had a Bouncy set up, so we spent hours there.

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TWC:  Who packs up more for the race – Adrian or you for Jonathan?

Claudia:  Oh, Adrian.  He packs up the whole house for a race and then sorts it all out when we get there.  He doesn’t do this before we go.

TWC:  How are meal times?  Who is harder to feed in season – Adrian or Jonathan?

Claudia:  Adrian is a good eater and we eat healthy anyway.  On the other hand, Jonathan can be difficult to feed.  The only difference during race season is that the quantities get larger as the race gets closer.

TWC:  Do you ever feel like Adrian is just another one of your kids?

Claudia:  Absolutely, especially when he’s pushed himself and ends up in the medical tent, like sprinting to the finish line to get a Kona slot.  It’s just another loved one you have to worry about when Adrian races and I do worry – like you would for a child.

TWC:  Do you have any friends involved in triathlons?  Local or long distance?

Claudia:  We have friends who do triathlons, but we haven’t traveled together.  Plus, Adrian tends to train by himself, so he doesn’t go for a ride with a group; maybe with a friend every once in a while.

TWC:  What’s the best piece of advice you can give supporters traveling with children?

Claudia:  In terms of specific recommendations, I would say to get accomodations that have multiple rooms, especially for race am, so the race parent can prep and the kids can sleep as long as possible.  Also, make sure the venue is kid-friendly.  Do your research before you go and yes, travel with help if you can.  It’s also nice when you find the kid-friendly activities to meet other people for the kids to play with and for you to talk with.

Thank you so much, Claudia.  This was a lot of fun and should be very helpful to other families going through these transitions.