Choose Wisely


Last night I read ANOTHER article about a successful age group triathlete stating this was his last year in the sport. He listed various reasons, but the primary one was that he spends too much time training and racing instead of with his wife.

I kid you not, this is the 3rd piece I’ve read, in the past month, where someone has justified leaving the sport by saying it’s a selfish endeavor.

I have a hard time with this line of thinking.

Yes, it takes an enormous amount of time to excel at this sport. If putting in that time is no longer desirable, I totally “get” that. But, by claiming the sport of triathlon is selfish, these athletes are not only stating THEY are selfish, but they also place every other triathlete on the selfish boat with them.

Using this same type of rationalization, golf could be considered just as selfish. I know people who play 2 rounds 3 times a week. That, my friends, is MORE than 24 hours of club-smacking selfishness right there.

What about the infinite number of hours spent watching football Saturday, Sunday AND Monday? World hunger could be solved during the time wasted spent watching football from August-January. 

What about baseball? Nascar (round and round…all damn day)?

Don’t get me wrong… I love my sports. Nothing is better than coming home from a long run in the winter, putting on the compression pants and flopping on the couch to watch football all day. But really, let’s be honest and call a spade a spade. They are ALL equal opportunity time suckers.

I would never fault anyone for deciding it was time to hang up their aero bars and move on, but to claim they are doing it because the sport is selfish is not only inaccurate, it sets the wrong tone about the sport in general.

Triathlon, to me at least, is about balance and choice.

I choose to get up early and get my training/workouts in while it’s cooler, before my son get’s up, and before my real day starts. I balance training volume with key events and holidays so not to miss an important moment or disrupt anyone elses life.

Most importantly, I include my husband in my pursuits so he never feels left out or cast aside in my quest for Ironman glory. As a result, he’s gone from being known as the “go to” guy if you need a swimmer for your relay, to one of the fastest male runner’s in his age group. He now shares many of the same goals and while we don’t train together daily, it’s a treat when we have the opportunity to do so.

I suppose people could say we’re selfish, but it would be because we hold down a job, pay our bills, keep our son out of trouble and making good grades, workout 14-18 hours a week, go bed early, rarely drink, and don’t have much of a social life outside the family.

Anything construed as selfish. ANYTHING!

They key is making the right choices at the right time, to find the balance to do what you love and yet still maintain the love of those around you.

It’s not always easy, but nothing worth having ever is!

Swim Happy, My Friends!

13 thoughts on “Choose Wisely

  1. Yes! Yes! Yes! I often think about what others do during the time I workout. TV. Golf. Video games(yes grown men and video games!). Repeated evenings at a bar for hours. There are sacrifices we make all over the place to have the life that fulfills us(or not as may be the case). My kids think running, swimming, biking is just the stuff all families do. And will do together. Traveling to some far away place and racing or just exploring the woods with a pair of running shoes. We all have normal. I kinda like mine.

    • I always get a kick out of people who say they “don’t have time” to train like I do or they blame their kids and their kids schedules. Nope, sorry. I know too many people (like yourself) who have multiple children and little help and manage to get it done. It’s all in the want and desire. And I totally agree, we all have a different set of norms. One isn’t better or worse than the other, just different. And I like mine too…esp today because tomorrow is a REST DAY 🙂

  2. I couldn’t have said it better myself. Balance is the key to anything we do. That’s what makes something like training for and finishing an ironman so special for us mortals. I appreciate all the hard work pros put into their training but I have a hard time relating to them since I don’t just sleep, eat, train and race. Work, significant others and kids put a whole different spin on all of that but we do it and we do it well. 3 cheers for the mere mortals of the triathlon world. Don’t blame triathlons for your selfishness. Selfishness is a choice that has nothing to do with sport and everything to do with the person.

  3. Don’t blame triathlons for your selfishness. Selfishness is a choice that has nothing to do with sport and everything to do with the person.
    By the way, when I used the pronoun “your”, I wasn’t referring to you. I was talking about the people you were referring to in the stories you have read recently. Didn’t want you to think I was directing that to you : )

  4. I’ve got to say I agree. The small amount of time I spend exercising, in the early morning. is nothing in comparison to the amount of time and impact on my family, wife +5 girls, if I had let my Diabeties, Cronic bad back and Heart condition get the better of me. I’m now diabeties free, my back is painless and my heart condition is better than ever. I think what matters is the quality of time spent with the family. Let’s face it – my family is asleep when I’m exercising!

  5. I love this post because of my “lonely” post I made earlier. Everyone has such different scenarios as to why they do things. I do running/triathlons because I don’t have anyone to check in to. While others are moms, wives, etc, and I think HOW do they DO it?
    I don’t think most people are selfish for doing triathlons, but I can understand how one with a busy family life might feel they are selfish. Especially those with children. But you’re right, it’s all about finding a balance.

  6. Great post! Unfortunately people need to validate a “real” reason for giving something up. If people found joy in training and triathlon in the first place, I don’t think they would hold that view of selfishness as it is more a part of who they are. Will there be times triathlon conflicts with “real” life, yes, and that is where your priorities had better be straight and make the right decision. Will that 100 mile ride you want to go on instead of a family event make you that much faster in your next race?

    There has to be balance, but at the same time, if you are with someone who doesn’t understand how you want to live your life, that’s a whole other problem.

    • Excuses…people are full of them for everything instead of just owning up to the facts…it is what it is…just say it LIKE it is and make peace with that decision instead of making excuses.

  7. Agreed! It’s all about balance! I NEED to take time to train….it makes me happy, which makes me a happier person/wife/mother. Too much of anything is a bad thing though. Balance, peeps!

    • I’m like that..I am not someone who is happy just going to gym working out. Some people are and that’s fine. I physically NEED to have a goal…something to train for to get me out there and “do it” …hopefully a bit better every day. And hte races and something i really really enjot. it’s my reward for the hard work. Its not about winning (although it’s nice when it happens), but just being in the condition to show up at the starting line is my carrot because I simply love race day! It makes me happy!

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