Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Lessons Learned

This will be my 3rd Ironman start. The first 2 Ironman journeys where awesome for me, but not the same for my family. The family is often the forgotten part of this journey. They are the ones that get to stay home on countless weekends, while we do multiple hour rides, runs, and brick workouts. I have made a commitment to do another Ironman but have one additional goal this year. To focus more on the family journey as well. They are every bit as involved with this. They do not, however, always get as excited as I do about the process. Let me give you some examples:

What NOT to do:

1) I had just come home from a 6 hour ride. It was 80 degrees and sunny out. The day was perfect. My new bike rides like a dream. My new nutrition plan came off without a hitch! I come home with wet workout clothes, looked at my wife and started talking about my awesome day on the bike. She looked at me as if she would rather listen to me talk about how fast the grass grows.

2) Not 2 weeks later - My first long brick workout of the year (a brick is a combination workout the involves at least 2 sports like a swim and a bike, or a bike followed by a run). This was awesome. I tried my new Fuel belt (a way to carry water on your waist) and salt tablets to help deal with heat. Another great day - can't wait to tell my wife and kids about this 5 hour workout. I get home, start the same conversation of a week ago, and get the same looks. I think this conversation ended with "I'm going shopping with my girlfriends. The kids are outside. See you later."

Lesson Learned:

I think what I've learned from this is that she would be MUCH more open to the conversation if I would NOT talk about it 24 hours a day. Note to self - make sure every other sentence DOES NOT contain the words "workout", "Ironman", " Bike", "Run", or "Swim". How is that for a start? I will tell you that I absolutely love the sport of Triathlon, get so super geeked up about it, so I need YOUR help to make sure I do the right thing with my family and try to help yours as well.
What are lessons that every Endurance Athlete NEED to learn? What have YOUR learned? Care to share?


Manitoba Guy said...

This is Mrs. Manitoba Guy...So glad to have a place to share some common views on being an IronWidow!

The good thing about Ironman:
The 'honeydolist' gets started after the race is over, and I can make the list really long if he keeps talking about doing another.

Why I'm glad it's over, for now
Not every conversation is about training, race strategy, or 'needing' a new thing for the bike.

No more color coded nutrition charts lying around (it even had formulas, Stu has proof!)

The bike is no longer sharing our bed, jj - but I know he'd love to have it hanging in the living room so he can stare at it!

That's all for now, hope to read some more from everyone else...way to go Stu, I'll keep checking back!

Anonymous said...

Mrs. Manitoba Guy - You are right. My hubby got a new Cervelo and he kept it in the BEDROOM. He said, he didn't want the kids to tip it over. I'm sure if he could hang it over our bed, I KNOW he would. It is actually kinda funny. On the To-Do List thing. You are right. My hubby is working his butt off as he signed up again. Hehehehehe

Anonymous said...

Stu - thanks for doing this. I really need some advice on this shaving of the leg thing. I think my boyfriend has nicer looking legs than I do. Is that really needed? Why do guys do it? Can you tell me the REAL reason??? Jenny from Tampa, FL. PS - Sorry for the anonymous, I will get an ID soon.

JohnnyTri said...

I can totally relate. Funny our wives must be related b/c I get that same look after a great workout. Note to self, follow the rules from Ironwidow on what not to say...

Hak said...

Stu...great idea! My best advice coming to triathlon again after a 13-year gap:

1) Get the family's permission first. We don't do the serious "family meetings," but we did sit down at the beginning of the season to get an understanding and buy-in of the journey I was about to start.

2) No matter what good intentions the family had at the beginning, that support will erode over time if you do not nurture them.

3) Rather than flaunt that I'm missing breakfast with them again on the weekends (one of our long-standing traditions), I've discovered it's best to do my training when everyone is sleeping. Yes, that means getting up early and hitting the road or pool before the crack of dawn. Training in "stealth" mode lessens their sense of you being "gone all of the time." (That quote is from my oldest daughter, not my wife!)


bbieberitz said...

Some things are better left unsaid to the SO. That is what these blogs are for. My wife just doen't understand the importance of a 15 second PR on a timetrial (training course)or the 7 bikes taking over my parking space in the garage. Thanks for being here :)

Mr. Wil said...

Heh, you think the post workout blank stares from your wife are bad, try going to family gatherings and explaining to other family members (who don't know what a triathlon is) why your spouse isn't there with you.

There are only so many times you can explain why she's going to ride her bike for six hours and then run ten miles immediately after. Yes, on purpose. No, she didn't slip in the tub and hit her head.

SimplyStu said...

Mr. Wil: "No, she didn't slip in the tub and hit her head." That was way too funny!

Mrs. Manitoba Guy said...

Hello everyone. It Mrs. Manitoba Guy and I have my own profile now.

It's wierd, he only went for 1.5 hour bike ride, and since the knee is sore he'll be taking some time off. Even our dog wonders who this person is hanging around the house all the time!

Great comments eveyone!

Anonymous said...

My boyfriend trains multisport but won't race it until 2007. Until that time he's "only" racing marathons and ultras, but still talks about his bike rides and swims also.

I don't mind too much except that we don't have conversations about ME, or philosophy, or books. I do get tired of watching him watch the most recent bike race on the web... or pouring over bike mags. I don't even mind talking about his race or training strategies because that seems to mean he respects my input.

I guess it just starts to feel funny that instead of the old looking at me, he looks at his bike the same way --- thinks about 'what his bike needs' --- wonders how he can improve --- while I'm left not having any attention except those training conversations.

And he's too tired after training to talk, too cranky (tapering) before races to talk, that I simply have to 'understand'. I can only imagine what his child thinks, too young to understand why Daddy is short-tempered and distracted.

The point is, that I DO understand. I help. I go to all his races and sherpa. I help with his nutrition. I help with it all... and still I feel like I don't make the cut. The bike (or the run or the swim) are far more important now. I've called the bike "his mistress"... and it darn well feels that way.

Steve S. said...


I've been on the receiving end of many “conversations” like that (conversations is in quotes because it’s mostly SLS yakking about her workout with me nodding every minute or 2 so she knows I’m still awake). Your post is GREAT advice for IM in training.

But now I’ve crossed over too. I’m training for IM WI 2007. So now people will walk by SLS and I when we’re in the middle of tri-yak, and they’ll think were nuts! They’re her words like “chafe,” “trishort,” “cockpit,” “pearl izumi,” “carbo-pro,” “chamois butt-er,” and “mashing.” Yep, we’re all crazy.

Can’t wait to be a part of this journey! Tri Spouses, stay strong!


simplywife said...

Okay, so I've been patient. This blog was the result of a bunch of non-triathelete spouses who cant figure out who or what possessed the person they committed their lives to. No mention yet of the line up of dripping, lake scented wet suits continuously draining in the garage or basement? And they think that qualifies as the "lake home"? How about the dinner out with continuous coverage of fat/carb/protein ratio of yours compared to theirs? Don't forget that on race day they expect you to drag all of the children around to multiple locations loaded with signs saying "We love you" when your thought cloud is saying something different???
But wait...he could spend an additional 20 hours per week blogging with other tri-geeks about the rush you get with 16 hours of continuous exercise.

Drew Holmes said...

STU you are SOOOOOOOO right~!!!!!

Kyle said...

This site will be great for me on getting ideas of what not to do. I'm single and I don't necessarily want to stay that way. He, ha. This will be my first Ironman. ...although, no sig. other makes it a heck of a lot easier to go for a swim on a sat night. ...it would still be better to have a sexy momma for the hot tub afterwards. lol.

Siren said...

I learned not to spend a 4-day weekend at IMWI and then get irritated that he wants to go spend a weekend at a seminar that he's interested in because we "shouldn't spend the money." He looked at me like I had completely lost my mind and it actually took me a minute to figure out why!

Pooch2 said...

Once again Stu, you have taken tri and blogging to a NEW level. Can't wait to follow your journey, I couldn't get my wife into Tri's but she likes to run so we are running NYC marathon together, a 26.2 mile bonding experience.

If you think a six mile bike ride causes problems, try a 13 mile couple run. On a route that I mapped out but failed to scope out. A route that looked fine on goggle maps but included some silly steep hills. I would have settled for some blank stares!

Once again, thank you for another great site.