29 November 2009

Why I Should Be Given A Mandatory 10-Minute Head Start At Every Race

I love my children, all one hundred and fifty, er, uh... I mean, five of them. It only sounds like I have one hundred and fifty children at any given moment in my house, or when I call my wife from work to say hello. I especially love it when I call home and my wife stops listening to me every three seconds to tell the children to stop doing something that will either: 1) put them in immediate danger, 2) annoy my wife enough to the point when she says "I have to go" many times in quick succession. Whenever I hear the excessive noise in the background through the phone, I often think that perhaps my wife has invited a couple of girlfriends and their children over for a play date resulting in a small army of kindergartners romping around the house. I am amazed to find out that not only is it only just our children, but at several points throughout the day, exceed maximum decibel rating at a Who concert.

Every Sunday my wife leaves for rehearsal around 9:30 a.m. I get to fly solo with the children until 1:30. Have you ever tried to get a couple of kids—let alone five—dressed, fed, and out the door to go anywhere? Fed and dressed you say? How difficult could that be? There are times in the morning when my wife and I feel like short order cooks. Getting the girls dressed has become increasingly more difficult as they seem to have a very particular idea about what types of shorts they should wear with their winter boots and tights. Look, I am not complaining at ALL. The real goal here is to help illuminate my training partners—sans children— just why exactly I am completely tapped before I ever begin any workout.

It always seems especially taxing when you have to try to get somewhere at a particular time, as is always the case with our family. This Sunday, as with most Sundays, I went to the YMCA for my bi-weekly Masters Swim. It never fails though. By the time I arrive anywhere with the children, they usually have me so mentally spent, that I'm tapped of a great deal of physical energy as well. The ten minute car ride to the YMCA can be a fun little jaunt, singing our favorite one hundred children songs (literally, we have a CD of one hundred children songs in the car,) or the longest ride in the slowest moving machine on the planet that you would ever want to experience. I think the incessant bickering is the most mentally draining. You know... "Yes you did!" "No I didn't" "Yes you did" "No I didn't" "Yes you did" Voice a little louder now "NO I DIDN'T!" Ah, yes! This could go on for minutes. A close second is having one of the girls sing "Happy Birthday" the whole car ride without ever modulating to the V chord (obviously suffering from voice modulation disorder,) thus leaving me in a constant state of post-minimalistic tension. To up the ante, one of them might try to flex her vocal muscles at the same time with a song that she feels more appropriate for the car ride, or perhaps they are just really into Charles Ives.

Our 2250 yard workout last week consisted of four 50 yard sprints. My training partner Adam whipped me pretty good on the sprints, and of course, let me know it in the locker room on the way out (I would expect no less. It keeps the ego in check.) My response was "I think what makes you faster is that you have five less children than I do." To which a fellow father in the locker room shook his head affirmatively and added his own "they'll drain you good." I told them that I should get a ten minute head start at every triathlon I race. Adam agreed that two minutes per kid sounded like a fair handicap system. I called Adam later on that afternoon to see what he was up to and he informed me he was taking a nap. A nap! On a Sunday afternoon! I can not imagine!

Okay, here is where my diatribe takes an unexpected turn. I believe that all the mentally and physically draining days I spend with my kids actually makes me a more efficient and faster triathlete. When I go away somewhere to race a longer event, I am usually somewhere quiet away from home, and getting more sleep than I have throughout my training, or any other time throughout the year. I have five alarm clocks that go off around 6:45 every morning, not to mention that one will invariably crawl into bed to cuddle with me during the night, usually kicking or slapping me in the face at some point, leaving me pinned like a burrito between them and their mother.

This Weeks Goals: Run 25 good miles sans pain
Run in Boise
Write a ridiculous amount of music

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