My Ironman Dilemma

Recently I read an article about Ironman’s attempt to get more female athletes involved in triathlon. I’ve been thinking about it for a few days. My first reaction was that it really didn’t apply to me because my spouse is very supportive (he is a parent-athlete too after all!) and I generally feel like I get to race & train when I want to do so.

Contemplating the fine line between obsession and dedication.
Contemplating the fine line between obsession and dedication.

This morning as I follow my friends at Ironman Wisconsin, dreaming of being there and racing an Ironman distance race it hit me that I AM one of those female athletes.  The Madison, WI race falls on the weekend after Labor Day which is ideal for training outside all summer. Except that my main job is to parent my 3 boys, who are obviously out of school for the summer.  When they are in school I am a dedicated athlete and I never miss a work out or a meal or let myself become dehydrated. That all changes in the summer.

Honestly all of the obstacles just begin to sprout up and quickly tower past my ability to just push them aside and sign up. If I choose to spend 4-6 Saturdays riding 6 hours on my bike, won’t I miss out on my kids and their fleeting childhood? How many compromises am I willing to ask my kids to make? How do all those male athletes reason away all these worries? Are their spouses/co-parents just incredibly self-less? If you know my husband, Jesse, then you know that he’d make that sacrifice for me. The issue is: why train for the 140.6 race when the 70.3 holds plenty of challenge for me still and requires just slightly less time away from my family?

In my heart the answer is: because I want to know what that 140.6 accomplishment feels like. I need to see how I will handle that unique challenge and I don’t want to be 65 and still wondering.

As usual, The Indigo Girls have assessed my internal struggles and written a great song explaining it much better than I can!

From Watershed:

“How recklessly my time has been spent.
And they say that it’s never too late, but you don’t get any younger!
Well I better learn how to starve the emptiness
And feed the hunger
Up on the watershed, standing at the fork in the road
You can stand there and agonize
Till your agony’s your heaviest load.
You’ll never fly as the crow flies, get used to a country mile.
When you’re learning to face the path at your pace
Every choice is worth your while.”

I’m not sure what I’ll chose yet. Anybody out there have great tips or insights on how to balance it all?


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