I got into Triathlon about 22 years ago when I was serving as a US Air Force Police Officer at Holloman AFB in southern New Mexico. I had been on a combat skills team where it was my job for a period of time to focus on being an athlete and shooting skills for eight hours a day. The competition was extreme and I loved it. It was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life, and it led me to desire sports that were extreme in nature. I actually get a little rush packing my Tri bag the night for a race, the same way I did when I was in the military preparing my bags for deployment. I’m sure many of you can relate in some way. I had also been exposed to, and had success in, track and cross country in high school but nothing like my time on the Warrior team. My dad, whom a lot on RTB members know, has been a lifelong athlete, and I have watched many of his races since I was a little kid. He has been a major influence on me and to this day is one of the fastest age group Triathletes at the Ironman distance in the world.
Triathlon comes with a unique sacrifice that is usually paid by time away from your family. The sacrifice pays out in many ways, however, like faster splits, less leg cramping, better age group placements, and large meals after races. That is where balancing with a (or at least some) purpose comes in to the picture. If you are single than let it fly. You should be training and racing like crazy. Not that I am bitter, but in my case I am married to an extremely supportive wife, and we have amazing twin daughters. I would say that my training is cyclical in nature where, for example, the last two years I have purposely trained for the Half Ironman distance. Those times are where I just need to be gone all day Saturday for swimming and a 50-80 mile ride with Pops, multiple nights a week running for a couple hours and about 2 hours of training before work. When I do this I involve the whole family in my training schedule and by letting them know that this volume is only temporary. They support me in amazing ways and for that I am grateful. In the season coming up I will only be doing Sprint and Olympic distance triathlons, and I will just have to be ok with not placing as high in my age group, being really sore for about four days after a race and wondering where all my fitness went. But, I will still be training and racing because it’s in my blood. Seriously, I am addicted to endorphins and have a real NEED to train. If I don’t, I can’t sleep well, I get agitated easy and the whole family tells me to get back to working out. I know now that I am seriously goal oriented as well. I always need a race or a season of racing to get me serious about training.
As our girls get older we keep introducing them to the “fun” of triathlon and endurance spots. We have done several years of triathlon racing at home with them and last year they did the Chelanman kids’ triathlon. They had a blast because we kept it low key and made sure it was “FUN.” They see their grandpa, grandma, aunts and uncles out racing triathlons and just want to play with us all. I plan to introduce my girls to more triathlons this season and maybe some cyclocross perhaps? So, I have had to learn to take a big bite of humble pie and just go with the flow with my training and racing. I have that deep down need to race, compete and train but at the same time I recognize I need to be home encouraging the next generation of endorphin addicted racers. It’s really about balance and knowing when to back off a little. It’s not all about me all the time. So come out and have some fun with the Partridge family this summer. I promise I will at least ask Pops “aka grandpa” to go easy.
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