During the winter and early spring months, I embraced the workouts and looked forward to them. I could train for a couple of hours while the kids were asleep, or take an hour or two out of the day while they spent some quality time with dad. I would get a quick break, get my workouts in and get back to the kids without feeling like I missed a beat.
Now the training has ramped up and things feel different; it is starting to interfere with my life. I have to take some significant time out of the day to get my long ride in. I have to tell the kids, “Sorry, I can’t stay and play because I have to go for a long bike ride.” Not that I want to, but I have to. The guilt creeps in. It’s not just a quick break anymore. It’s an entire chunk of the day that I’m missing because I’m off riding my bike.
Ask Yourself Why
I am forced to ask myself, “Why am I doing this? Why am I making these sacrifices? Is this what I really want to be doing?” As an Ironman athlete, you need to be able to answer these questions. I have several reasons why I have committed to embarking on this journey. First, as a coach, I need to live this experience along with my athletes. It’s such a unique, inexplicable experience; one that you cannot understand unless you have lived it. Secondly, I want to see what I can accomplish out there on the racecourse. I want to see what kind of endurance athlete I can be.
Nevertheless, I continue to put things in perspective. It’s not all about this one race, but the journey—the commitment that I have made to give it my all and see what I can accomplish. And there is a very valuable lesson for the kids in showing them how hard you need to work when you are trying to accomplish a lofty goal. Sure, I will miss the kids when I’m out on those long rides, but they are only once a week. The kids will be doing the same things they do every other day – playing with cars, drawing pictures and running around the house. It’s refreshing to miss them and to eagerly return home to see their smiling faces. It’s energizing for them to miss me as well.
Know Your Priorities
When the journey is over I can reflect upon whether or not the sacrifices were worth it, but now I’m all in. I still have a clear understanding of my priorities in life and that certainly won’t change. Family undoubtedly comes first. In fact, I pat myself on the back if I miss a workout when I think the needs of the kids are more important. It reassures me that although I’m on this very consuming journey, it’s not the most important thing in my life.
This past week, my long brick workout culminated in racing our two boys around the circle back to our driveway while holding our 20-month-old in my arms. I embrace these moments when my family can be a part of my training. It feels like we are in it together; it feels right. Although these moments are few and far between, they are the moments that keep me moving forward on this Ironman journey.
Inspired to start a fitness journey of your own? Read Kim's guide to achieving your ultimate goals and learn how to "get uncomfortable."
Kim Webster has been competing in triathlons for over 15 years at all levels from age-group racing to the professional ranks. She earned her master's degree in sports psychology from Boston University in 2013. She now juggles her time amongst triathlon training, her three young boys (ages 5, 3 and 1), serving as a USAT and Ironman certified triathlon coach through Breakthrough Performance Coaching, sports psychology consulting and teaching part-time. Kim currently lives in Framingham, MA and can be reached via email. You can also follow Kim on Instagram @mindfultricoach and Twitter @mindfultricoach.
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