It’s been really busy at Courtney Lively Photography this fall and we are not complaining — except for the fact that there hasn’t been a whole lot of extra time for our inspiration project. We have photographed so many amazing kids already and we are so anxious to tell their stories!

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Today I am excited to tell you about a little rockstar named Shea. Shea just turned 12 and in his short time here on earth he has already competed in 11 triathlons! 11! That is 11 more then I have ever done (I did run a half marathon once but I promised myself I’d never do that again). For those of you who don’t know, a triathlon is a horrible race of endurance that consists of not just running, but running, biking and swimming, while simultaneously trying not to die. They take incredible amounts of training, commitment, determination and mental strength.  Shea has done 11 of these, and that’s quite impressive if you ask me! So, with that said, I decided it was worth getting my butt out of bed at the crack of dawn one morning to check this guy out. And boy am I glad I did! Here are a few images I snagged during his race. But please, read on, because I haven’t gotten to the good part yet!

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Shea and his dad getting his bike set pre-race, and pre-sun. I, for one still had my coffee in my hand — This is as good as it gets for me pre-sun. Don’t mind dad’s UofA shirt, I promise he’s a good guy. 😉

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12 year old Shea, waits for the race to start

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Broke from the pack and in the zone

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Just keep swimming, just keep swimming – I feel like that’s what I would be singing to myself… But really I’d probably just be doggy paddling begging for someone to fish me out.

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Exiting the pool Michael Jordan style (he probably won’t get this reference… but I know you do parents!) and making his final dash for the finish line!

Watching Shea compete was so incredibly fun and inspiring. But after spending the morning with him, there was one thing about him that stood out to me —  and that has stuck with me since that day.

At the end of his race, before standings were announced, I asked Shea a question that came very naturally to me. I said, “Shea, how do you feel when you get beat? Does it piss you off, make you angry? Frustrate you?” You see, I am (or was) a very competitive athlete. It’s in my blood. And I hate to lose. Don’t get me wrong, I am by no means a sore loser (sore losers are the WORST!) but I still hate to lose. Shea’s answer caught me off guard. Without hesitation, he looked at me and said, “no. I actually kind-of like it when I lose.” —— Ummmmm. I’m sorry, what? said my internal 12 year-old uber-competitive self. I must’ve heard that wrong. And then I realized I actually said it out loud, “wait… what?” (clearly, I’m really good at this interview stuff) He said, “yea, I like to lose, because it means that I can do better, and it motivates me to work harder.” And yup, that’s about the moment that a 12 year old man-child blew my mind. A few minutes later the standings were announced and Shea took first in his age group. Shea is a winner, because he likes to lose. And that is a winner who deserves some major recognition!

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His parents couldn’t be more proud of him. And obviously, I see why. They dig his “can-do” attitude and how he always gives 100%. But what makes his dad most proud? Two things… his incredible leadership skills and his ability to be a genuine and true friend. In the short time I had with him, I saw both of those amazing qualities loud and clear.

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Shea cheering on a fellow racer who was finishing behind him – Nobody prompted him to do this. Actually, I was walking him over to the bleachers to take some photos with him and he stopped in his tracks to give this little guy some extra motivation to finish the race. I was taken aback, and adoring him with a huge smile. I was so proud of him. And then I was like, oh shoot! I should take pictures of this! Let’s be clear, I have no background in journalism. 😉

You guys, with all of these amazing qualities, this kid is going places. And good news, he’s one of us!! Phoenix, did you even realize how stacked we are!? Let’s pat ourselves on the back because we are raising some pretty impressive kids – and I am so enjoying sharing their stories with you. There is just so much they can teach us.

Cheers to the people in our lives who motivate us to work harder – cheers to good friends who offer love and support – cheers to this little man for opening our eye’s up to how lucky we are to lose sometimes – and cheers to our future! I’m proud of us Phoenix, and I’m super-duper proud of this amazing dude and his family!

If you’d like to learn more about getting your children involved in triathlons here in the greater Phoenix area, check-out www.trifamilyracing.com.

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