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Balance – Not The Inner Ear Kind


March 2012

I’ve come up on a rock and a hard place in my training for my Rev3 Half Ironman in September and I’ve got some serious thinking to work through over the next week or two.  I started out with the goal this winter because it seemed like the next right step in the progression of my fitness.  I did a couple of Olympic Triathlons last year and they were really fun but rather easy – the bike leg wasn’t long enough for my liking and the run was easier than anticipated.  The swim was never much of a worry and we ended up doing that and then some after the second Olympic just for fun when Steve, Pete and I took the kids out swimming from the pontoon boat (we were in the lake for easy another hour and a half horsing around with the kids).  I’ve never had a desire to place on a podium so double the distance seemed like it would be double the fun.

Well, I’ve come upon a few unexpected struggles that have me rethinking the goal, strategy and more important, the upset in balance the training is causing in my every day life.

The Training

First of all, I’ve been having a tough time enjoying the training like I did last year.  This year it’s real training, I’m not just going out for a ride or a run (or both).  I have to run so far, in such and such a time so I can make sure that I’m ready when I start adding the serious biking in next month.  That requires a few very tough choices.  First, to stick to my training plan, I can’t ride my bike down to the running club until mid April so I can get my legs in shape for the half marathon – and Saturday’s weather made that a tough choice, it was beautiful but I just wasn’t ready for that yet.  Second, I’ll have to slow my pace down on my rides so I’m not burnt for my long run on Saturday – this really reared its head this last week when I had to cut my run from a scheduled 12.5 to a 9 because I went out on two excellent, but fast, rides on Wednesday and Friday and my legs knotted up about 4 miles into my run (I also went out a bit too fast).  I get the most from cycling – I really love going as fast as I can as often as is humanly possible and I’m finding it difficult to temper that excitement which is causing me to constantly train on the edge of injury.  In short, in order to reach my goal, I have to slow down my rides (the fun part) so that I can build up my running miles (the not so fun part) and I’m finding that it’s really sapping my ability to love the training.  Add to that a constant nagging in the back of my head that’s always saying, “You should be doing more, right now, to get prepped” and my life is turning into something that I don’t want it to be.

The Family Life

Mrs. BgddyJim and I are in a really nice place in our relationship right now.  It isn’t without its challenges, marriage is no place for a nervous person (to steal a quote from Mickey Redmond), but we’re getting into a nice little groove and I like it.  I’m only in the first few weeks of real training and that training is only going to demand more time from here.  The more time I put into training, the more I have to take from my wife and kids – and that’s not appealing right now.  In fact, I went for a walk with the wife and kids yesterday evening after dinner and my daughters wanted me to chase them around a bit.  My legs still felt like cinder blocks from Saturday and I was just too nervous to put the strain on them from running around so I let the girls run around with my wife while I lagged behind.  That’s a half an hour of laughing and playing with my girls that I’ll never get back and it’s not setting very well.  There isn’t any finish line worth that.

The Diet

More than any other time in my life (including after quitting cigarettes 13 years ago), I am hungry all the time.  I’ve been maintaining my weight well but it’s getting hard to stuff enough food down my gullet to feel satisfied for more than 25 minutes and that’s causing me to feel “off”.  After doing the math on my normal caloric intake, I will say that it’s nice to have to fit a few Big Mac extra value meals in just to make my weekly calories, but I’d get that just sticking with the Olympic length Tri’s.

In The End

After speaking at length with both my mentor and with English Pete, I believe it will best suit my recovery and my family to forgo the Rev3 Half Ironman in September.  I just don’t want to sacrifice what I will have to in order to cross the finish in that race.  All of my other goals will remain as is.


  1. andygis33 says:

    It’s a tough decision, but you’re right, family always comes first.

  2. As a amrried man, I think you would be better off taking the family over that particular training. It no longer sounds fun either. We all love when you reach the happy place in a relationship. You don’t want to throw that off. And the time with the children in precious. They become less and less as they grow. For me training is best when you enjoy it. So I will side with your mentor and English Pete on this one.

  3. lampenj says:

    That’s a great example of putting the large rocks in the jar first (if you’ve heard that analogy before). That’s a tough choice, but I think it really is looking at the long term (the benefit of your children and your family) instead of the short term. Very cool.

  4. Really enjoyed the honesty in this post, my vote is you made the right choice and my bet is that the 70.3 tattoo is still in your near future. Cheers!

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