24 May 2010

Iron Reflections: 20 Weeks In

I have come to the realization that trying to train over the course of a week with five children, and lives as insanely busy as ours, (well everyone's,) I pretty much have to take what I can get sometimes. I have to constantly remind myself that I am—despite dreams of racing Crowie towards the finish line to inch him out at the tape—not a professional triathlete, nor am I single, independently wealthy, or willing to interact with my family for only twenty minutes a day.

To be a good father and husband, I have to be around. Being around often means sacrificing the number of hours that I can train in a day, or over the course of a week. It is hard psychologically—at least for me. The first 10 weeks of training were far easier, but as they weeks progressed, and the volume increased, my body is unable to turn it around as quickly for the workout the following day. Well, let me throw a caveat in there; it would be able to turn it around if I went to bed earlier and got more rest. I do not get enough rest, for sure. Thus, the part about being a good husband/partner/significant other. You can not come home from training, have dinner, put the kids in bed and crash without the risk of divorce papers. One thing that I miss is the occasional night out to have a beer or two. Not now, not with ironman training. I have two beers and I feel terrible the next day. Case in point: Friday night, an old student came by the house to visit, stayed for dinner and we talked over a nice bottle of red (the wifey helped too.) My Saturday training session felt sluggish.

I tried to think what the reason my wife and I stay up too late and feel tired the next day. I think I've figured it out:

Our life constantly revolves around little people. All day... "mommy this, daddy that...." There are times when we are driving in the car and three of our children will be arguing over one toy. It would seem as if the fate of the human race depended on this one particular plastic toy—manufactured in China for pennieslied in the hands of each one of them from how adamantly they argue over it. Meanwhile, our baby is crying because she wants to listen to "princess music," and one of the twins is whining because she forgot her picture she colored at the Y (which get set down outside in the mulch in our landscaping, or on the grass, or in a stack of a million other pictures that they colored from the Y as soon as they get home to be shortly forgotten and never heard from again.) But to them, these issues are current and larger than keeping oil from hemorrhaging into the Gulf of Mexico. The wifey and I will look at each other in the car sometime, and realize that our only recourse when this kind of thing happens late at night—which it often does—is to announce the bedtime rituals (shower/bath, teeth brushing, jammies, books,) will commence immediately upon arrival at our home.

My great week of training capped off with a mediocre Saturday ride. The plan called for a 3:25 ride, followed by a 50 minute run, but we were all resigned to the fact that was not going to happen. I feel bad, but my training partners know that I can not be gone from the house for six hours (length of time it would take with loading gear and the drive) on a weekend. Not going to happen. I spent my morning at the diamond with the boys, then we ran to the bike shop to talk about my new rig (more on that later.) We were about 10 miles in when I started pulling way from Manuel and Adam on the bike. Every once minute or so I would look back to see where they were. I did not feel particularly strong on Saturday. I felt really tired—even before I got out there. It's the sleep thing! About five minutes later I heard my cell ring and it was Manuel—his chain had broke. To make matters worse, I had to bike two miles back to them to learn none of us had an extra link or chain tool. Here are Adam and I making fun of Manuel—not for breaking his chain—but for not showing up with the required Crankskins gear. This gear makes us at least .0001% faster.

Sunday's workout was a bit crazy. I was suppose to run a race in the morning. A 5k followed by a 10K. There was a deal in which you could run both races for $27. I was going to run the 5k to warm up my legs, and then race the 10k. I had forgotten that my wife had a 10 a.m. rehearsal and I was not going anywhere. Good thing too, my body was still in rest mode. I did get out for a run though, 8.5 miles during the hottest part of the day. It got up to 84 with about 600% humidity. Seriously, I was sweating like crazy before I even left my driveway. I could not be happier with my respectable 8:14's. I took a few endurolytes before I took off and a couple on the run every half hour to stave off the cramping. I had all four bottles in my fuel belt loaded up with liquid, but my drink turned out to be a wee bit too sugary and I only brought one bottle of water. I drank half the water and poured the other four ounces over my head and back and chest.

Speaking of the diamond, I took the boys there Saturday morning to practice their game and have some fun. They never want to leave once they are there, especially Luca, and it shows. He went six for six in his game the other day, caught five pop-ups, and switch hit for two doubles. He certainly does not get his coordination from me! Julian and I played some football alla rest of the world in the field next to the diamond while Luca had his game. Here is Luca batting lefty, just before he connected for his first double.
Here I am with the boys during the game. I love Little League. I mean, when am I ever going to be able to pull my son aside again anytime during his sports career, give him a hug and take a picture again in the middle of a game? Hey... technically, I guess I could do that anytime I desire. I think that is one of the spoils of parenthood we enjoy. Whenever my kids ask me "why?" in response to something my wife and I tell them to do, I say ".. because I use to change all your stinky diapers, and this is your way of paying me back."

I capped off my weekend with a trip to our favorite ice cream joint. Here is Stella letting me try some of her Superman ice cream. Our family does not go out for ice cream often (and it's a good thing—$18 for seven "baby" ice creams!) but when we do, we throughly enjoy it!

More on the new rig later this week.

Train Smart!


Medievalist said...

Are you at LuGia's? Love the pictures! Looking forward to mile repeats tomorrow...


And you have time to blog...
I took it on the chin after my 4 hours yesterday of training... the wife said I had a closer relationship with bloggers than the family..... and I'm the ONEHOURIRONMAN for God's sake!!! What about every one else that averages more than 1 hour per day??

Good luck, partner!!

Barbie said...

I get such enjoyment out of reading your posts. It is hard trying to fit in parenting and training, makes you wish there was an extra 3 hours in the day. You are doing a great job.

Molly said...

Hey, I have that shirt you're wearing in the shot of you and your daughter......did you watch LOST? I'm a sap, I cried at the end.

Kathleen said...

Great pics!
I enjoyed your post.

Caratunk Girl said...

Awesome pictures. Seriously, I feel strapped for time and I don't have a family, so I don't know how all you amazing parent athletes do it! I bow to you guys!

Jeff - DangleTheCarrot said...

Very good post but you lost me right at the point where you said you had a "new rig" .... Mark, dude, you can't leave us geeky bike guys hanging like that? C'mon spill it!