Ah… multi-tasking. My favorite subject. Like most people, my life is best described in one word: BUSY! I have 4 super cool kids (the oldest two were born while I was in college, one in med school and one as faculty. Hence, my multi-tasking background started early in life). Add in somewhat busy careers – my husband is also a physician, and we have pretty tight schedules. Add in some Ironman training, and I think you can see where this is going…
After being a triathlete the past several years, the best plan I have come up with is simple. 1. I avoid workouts after work or evenings if at all possible. Workouts are for early mornings, with friends, and before the kids are shuffled off to school. 2. Work is for the day and family time is for after work, and for chauffeuring kids all over the city for a variety of reasons. 3. The weekends take creativity. Every week, I look ahead to the weekend to determine when to ride and run “long” with the least amount of family interruption. Having a strong support system (aka great husband) helps tremendously. Many of the other soccer parents have seen me roll up on my bike, while they roll up in their SUVs. I have skipped workouts, especially those pesky open water swims, so that I could spend time with the family. I enjoy going out to dinner with friends or date nights with my husband, even if it means a late night with an early wake-up call. Got to have balance, right?!
So, last year, Ironman Florida race week rolled around. I felt good about my training and my “life balance.” I tapered at Disney World (excellent idea, by the way). Race day came and we took what has become one of my favorite race photos, although I assure you we all look better in person. I am all ready for the swim. It is freezing outside, kids bundled up and looking like they would rather be warm and cozy in bed. The picture is snapped, everyone gets a kiss and off into the water with Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing” blaring in the background (thanks Journey!) The day goes fairly well for me. I see my family at the start of the bike and on the run at the beginning, mile 13 and then at the finish line chute, with my husband yelling, “We are going to Hawaii!” My first thought was that the kids will kill me for training for another Ironman, but then they quickly reassure me they want to swim with dolphins, so all was well with the world if I got the Kona slot. Smart kids!
I didn’t see this picture until after we returned home. And when I saw the adorable pout on Alexi’s face, and her body language, I asked her what she was thinking. She said, “I was frustrated.” I asked her why and she replied, “Because you were going to be gone ALL day.” Ah, yes, she knew exactly what an Ironman meant. Let’s be honest here, triathlon is a fairly selfish sport. And she was right. I was “gone ALL day.” And there is no way around those long training weekends. 100 miles is a long way, even in a car, but choosing the best day to ride long to minimize interruption in your family’s busy schedule typically makes for a happier family and a happier athlete. Putting your family above your workout schedule is important. Actually, there is nothing more important than your family. So, get out there and train, but don’t forget to make that ballet practice, soccer match or date night with your husband! Here’s to hoping there are all smiles on race day in Kona. Either way, I am sure it will make for a great picture!
Alana Kennedy-Nasser, SOAS Ambassador