Thursday, June 20, 2013

It's a Slog but it's OUR Slog

Last year was my--Tara's-- year to get reacquainted with being a physically fit individual.  I had spent way too long making excuses about being a full-time working mom with two small kids.   
I had excuses galore but to me it was reality.  No time, no desire to leave my kids (after leaving them all day), no energy from middle of the night wake ups, etc.  I was just too tired to pull myself out of bed at 6:30 – forget about 4:30!

I used to enjoy working out and John had been prodding me (frequently!) to get back to the gym.  In January 2012, he suggested I run a 5K.  My perception was that he was calling me fat and lazy.  Not sure if I verbalized my response or if it was just in my head but it went something like “Fu#$ you and your 5K, I will run a 10K.”  I am sure he felt he was being supportive.  I just felt put upon.  I downloaded a Couch to 10K app and completed a 5K, a 4 miler, and a 10K by October 2012.  It felt good to be running again and have accomplishments to call my own.

The couch to any distance apps are designed to get you over the finish line.  That is it.  No thought to speed, heart rate, nutrition, pre-race nerves, etc.  I blew up on every race and felt like crap by the time I crossed the finish line.  I burned out after the (very hilly) 10K, and took a few weeks off.  I realized I wanted to take my running more seriously and increased my workouts, now getting up at 4:30 am, trying to stick to a training plan, and reviewing my diet.  I am not a natural runner.  This was going to be hard work for me but I realized how hungry I am for accomplishments to call my own – maybe a better time on my 10K or a half marathon in 2013 – something that tap dances on the fine line of unattainable (for me).   

After my first 5K in 2012
As the wife of a Triathlete, so much is about him – his training, his goals, his body’s abilities, his races, his accomplishments, etc.  I could easily allow this to consume me and lose sight of my own athletic aspirations.  In speaking to wives of Triathletes (Triathlon Widows as I refer to us), we seem to take a number of approaches to coping with our spouse’s unrelenting passion for their sport: hostility, fear, total disinterest, indifference, and “if you can’t beat him, join him”.  I have daydreamed about pulling into the garage and accidentally running over his bike.  I have referred to his bike as his mistress.  I have rolled my eyes so many times I can’t believe I am not permanently staring at my brains!  

So after the other approaches didn’t work, I joined him.  Let’s face it, Triathletes are pretty inspiring.  They do epic shit almost daily.  Instead of hating on John’s single minded focus, I could find inspiration in it.  I have tapped into my own inner athlete and have made peace with this crazy sport.   
Looking more like an athlete
one year later 2013

For sure I thought my training (running and cycling) would add a complexity to our lives but instead life got easier (not easy!)  We now had a unified battle cry.  Our family took on a greater purpose.  We became a more focused unit – where we spent our money, time, energy.  Our master schedule provides time for John’s training, my training, and family activities.  It’s not perfect but it is better. 

Now that we are both getting up in the four o’clock hour on most days, we are both going to bed early and neither of us complains about it.  No more glasses of wine to fog my mind the next morning.  No more heavy dinners, food is fuel. No more staying up to the wee hours on a Friday or Saturday night (unless built in ahead of time).  TV is watched sparingly. Training became a way of life.  Training is 24/7 around here, living with purpose gives life a beautiful energy.  People may read this and think “what a slog.”

It is a SLOG but it is OUR slog.  

Leave us comments below, we would love to hear how other families try to find balance...or not.

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