This happened. So let’s talk about it. Just so you know, this may lean way more on the marriage and family side than the training side so hang with me. It’s important stuff.
On Saturday my husband registered for a full Ironman. With my consent, and maybe even my prodding. This may seem insane to you, but I want him to have this. Like, really bad. And not because I’m super wife. I’m so not. But because he’d want the same for me.
We got married really young. Like, really young. As great as it was, it meant we gave up some stuff. We missed some of our younger carefree days by working full-time jobs while getting ourselves through college. After a few years……..we had a baby. So I guess you could say we skyrocketed ourselves straight into adulthood right out of high school. We trudged our way through the new waters of parenting after years of being physically inactive and eating way too much Chipotle. We both started working out in an effort to get my preggo weight off and discovered a mutual love of running and racing. Who knew?
Rob dove into triathlon before I did, but I caught up and did some sprints while he was figuring out this sport for himself. I moved on to just running because it was more manageable. And I had these crazy desires to run 26.2 miles, over and over and over again. He supported those. He stuck with triathlon and worked his way to 3 half Ironman distances. I knew the day would come for him to do a full. And I knew it would be soon.
He went back and forth for weeks. He was afraid, still is I think, of the sacrifice it will mean for our family. It scared me too. The time away. The fatigue. The training. The demands of work and life. Who has time to train for something of this caliber? No one really. So, we decided there is no time like the present. This is it. It’s his time. I’ve had 3 marathons for myself over the course of the last 18 months, two of them this year. I’m good. I did what I wanted with that distance and I’m chomping at the bit to get back to triathlon. My body needs the change. The pool and bike have always been good to me and it’s time to give them the attention they need. Our kids are at great ages, besides the messy one. But she’s just Lila. That won’t change. It just feels like the right time. And with my big running goals behind me, I can shift gears (pun intended) and train some with him. And you know it’ll mean I’ll be itching for this eventually. But for now, it’s his turn. With no big races for me this year, it means I can jump back into this sport so we can both be on the same page.
So, here’s the deal. Marriage is such hard work. Yes, it’s WORK. It takes effort and selflessness and sacrifice. It takes doing things you don’t always want to do. It means having really hard conversations and trudging through the loads of two people trying to do an entire lifetime side by side. But it’s so worth it. We’ve decided that having these big goals and dreams make us better together. It gives us ways to cheer for each other and push each other. It gives us more common ground and common interests. We literally lay in bed sometimes til all hours of the night talking about tri kit’s and heart rate training and why our stupid Garmin’s (that we LOVE by the way…but having two of the exact same watch can be a pain) get mixed up. It’s a hobby, but it’s also a way to have this fit thing for life. Because we love it. It’s a sport we adore. It may not always involve big races or time commitments. But, it’s something we can do together.
Wives, let your husbands have hobbies. I know it means they’re gone more…but they need an outlet. Yes, this comes with balance and sensitivity to timing and family stuff. But they carry heavy loads. They need a way to release that sometimes. Yes, being a mom is hard work, but girls…so is being a husband and daddy. It’s heavy. And it’s hard. And it is never-ending. So, encourage your man in something. Help him find something he’s good at and give him a healthy push over the edge. He just might be better for it. And your family might too. Let your kids see you guys shooting for the stars. Living healthy lives by doing something fun that you love. And let them follow in your footsteps.
Here’s what I know. Rob’s experience with Ironman hinges on me. My attitude. My demeanor. My attitude. My sacrifice. My encouragement. My influence. My words. Did I say my attitude? Because if he comes home to a bitter woman after every swim, ride or run, this thing will be a waste. A waste of time, energy, and money. And I don’t want that. I want him to accomplish big things. Because life is short. I want him to train smart and train well. So I’ll be coach. I’ll be his chef. I’ll be the babysitter. I’ll do everything in my power to help us come out of this thing even better on the other side. I’ll be a training partner……which means I’ve got some work to do.
So I guess my point is this. Do big things together. It doesn’t have to be an Ironman. I mean, this is sort of nuts. But be a team. Encourage each other to do what you love. What you’re good at. You may have totally different interests. That’s ok. Do your gifts and don’t be afraid to chase big crazy dreams together. Don’t be selfish. Know when to give and when to say no. It may not always be the right time. Don’t be afraid to speak that truth. But don’t crush a spirit in the meantime. Use wisdom and discernment and work it through together. And when the time is right, just go for it.
If you or your spouse are considering a full ironman, a friend shared this article with me. I found it super helpful!