So as I approach Ironman Lake Tahoe in 3ish weeks, I find myself reflecting on the experience so far being a married father of two trying to juggle it all...I didn't not sign up on a whim. I knew it would take a toll on me and my family to get in enough training to at least allow me to complete the event. There were levels I was willing to accept to get the minimum in and other levels that would make it more comfortable.
Each long day is a sacrifice...When you take a 7 hour ride or run for 4 hours, it takes a toll. You, your family, loves ones... you are out there slaving away and something has to give. That's time you cannot multitask and you are sacrificing something to get that workout in.
Personally, it means trying to cram in house work, bills, work and other stuff in where you can or you have to accept that some things on your list won't get done. At all costs I have been avoiding taking the time out of family time. My to-do list is endless to begin with (by my own fault) and for a type A personality, it sometimes is a struggle to decide what goes and what stays.
In the past I had skipped on a few long days or shortened them to get other things done. This year, there has been one or two exceptions on reduction of a long day.
I have been a lot more inventive to incorporate kids in the workouts. Running with a 20 pound stroller and 80 pounds of kids can be a great strength workout. Don't be afraid to get them out there, but make it worth their while with a playground stop at the end. ;)
It's been hot a few times here in KC. After 5 hours in 90 degree heat, going for 2 more hours when the heat index reaches over 100 sucks. It's been a struggle at times and I'm ready for fall. Some workouts are just thankless jobs that you better have your own internal motivation for, because sometimes you're wife and kids need you more than you need a 7 hour bike ride and you may not get much pity at home. I'm not calling anyone out, but Ironman training and racing is a selfish sport, so don't expect your loved ones to accept it all with open arms. You better be ready to get into gear when you get done with your long days and not just want to slouch on the couch for a nap.
It takes some deep desire to go long more than once a year...Unless you make money while you sleep and don't work, how would you find the time to get the training in? Maybe some are gifted athletes and only need 10 or so hours a week for a full IM? But, at the 18 to 19 hour training mark per week, things get tight. I could not image doing the peak training more than once cycle a year.
It takes dedication to maintain the training and the normal life schedule. If you're not organized and ready to stick to a timetable, might as well toss out the idea of an Ironman triathlon.
Your plan isn't set in stone.
Our oldest started Kindergarten and our youngest started pre-school to get into some OT help to get him ready for school in the future.
Now we have a set time they go to school and it's two different schools, 15 minutes apart. Workouts are pinched and the old schedule isn't working as well as it once was. Sometimes you have to go back and jiggle the schedule to see where the time falls out and it may not be where you want it. Read : more morning work before kids are up. Yes, most people already do that, but being self employed has allowed more flexibility in the schedule and work in the evenings after kids go to bed = solid rest time. We'll see if I can get back into a different routine (which I have failed at so far).
It's not all shits and giggles out there when training...Don't think every long ride will be glorious and every long run will be epic. Some days suck. Some days you don't want to do it. You may have a 4 hour run scheduled, but by 9am the temps reach 90 degrees with no mercy in sight. You have to accept that some workouts will be painful and some may be very painful. They are teaching moments to find ways to get through tough moments. Let it wash over you. Go with it. find something that works. And, for pete's sake, don't ditch the workout.
You may even question why you are doing this, but by the end of the workout, you'll be glad you did it instead of walking around with the guilt for not doing it or the angst of trying to figure out how to make it up. Been there, done both, have the shirt.
If you thought the gear cost an arm and a leg, wait till you out some real miles on it...I thought I was already paying enough for gear... and so did my wife. That was until I started putting hundreds of miles on my bike in a week and huge miles on my shoes and gear.
- My phone screen stopped working once on a ride = new screen.
- My bike needed a MAJOR tuneup after a summer of training and still needs more work after the race. More bike work.
- I've obliterated a couple pairs of shoes. More shoes.
- The workout clothes just barely hanging on went threadbare and ended up trashed. More clothes.
- I didn't have too much cold weather swim gear. Tahoe can get chilly and I need to be ready. Full wetsuit. Neoprene swim cap and booties, just in case.
- Did you know you can wipe out your workout snack supply in one week? Luckily I have great products to review and utilize, but sports drinks, mixes, chews and snacks are just consumed instantly after being bought.
- It's been the summer of flat tires. Loaded up on replacement tubes.
- Need to update my Garmin 910XT firmware. Keeps turning off on rides and elevation data is wonky. Hopefully I don't need to send it in for repairs.
Don't read too much into it...Facebook is great. Keep in touch, share pictures... etc. But, when there are 5 Facebook pages for the Ironman training for your race, you can run into a lot of people spewing out their anxiety for the race. If you get too sucked in, you might expend way too much energy yourself worrying about the uncontrollable.
There is a fire near Lake Tahoe that has been sending smoke towards the race area rendering the air quality to poor. One tri got cancelled for bad air quality. People are wigged out with daily reports and weather reports and altitude fears... oh my.
Know the course. Pick a plan. Prepare accordingly and bring backup (cold weather, hot weather, wind, etc) and train your plan. You can't control mother nature, so stop worrying about it.
Don't get me wrong. When race day comes and goes, assuming I get to the start and finish line in one piece, I'm sure I'll love every minute...And I may not want to race one again right after, but I probably will.
Already my neighbors are talking IM Louisville 2015 and I'm looking at Ironman Chattanooga 2014 to partner with Ride to Give. Some may say I'm crazy, but it's a lifestyle, not a hobby.