Ironman is all about the work/life/family/triathlon balance for your average soon to be fortysomething Age Grouper.
My children are still malleable enough to accept that daddy trains and does stuff and that this is 'important' to him, my partner however is far more acutely aware of the balance and the variations thereof. Hence the necessity for early morning training and the need to be able to shrug of the fatigue from a 6 hr ride and take the family out for an afternoon of fun. like all things it has to be worked out but it helps if you can take time out from training, even if what this really means is talking about it less and accepting a few missed sessions. Summer holidays provide significant challenges to a training programme and the balance when there are two working parents and 7 weeks before term starts. This combined with going away to foreign lands for your hols leads to a more flexible approach to training.
To which end I found myself running up an alpine mountain with 2 special forces trained fortysomethings (retired, and if I told you their names they would have to kill me :-) ) used to such alpine pursuits. Whilst I was doing this my children were swimming in a lake on the other side of a mountain. I let my two mates have their fun on the way up and then punished them by runninng down the other side. We did about 2000m ascent, 2500m descent and covered in the region of 18 miles in 5 hours, and as it was a holiday we had two beers along the way by way of refuelling. Nutrition being the fourth discipline of triathlon we then ate an enoromous meal with plenty of wine whilst the kids ran around and watched the firework specially laid on for us (and the other 40,000 people alongside the lake).
Apart from this I admired the people cycling up the mountains and wished I had brought a bike with me (alas it was not to be). Instead I did a Via Ferrata 350 m of vertiginous ascent hanging of the side of the mountain. I think it was payback for running down the mountain.
For my third and final session of training I took the dog for a run. Said dog has different ideas on running and after 10 minutes decided we had gone far enough and wanted to return home. After a further 5 minutes of cajolling the dog won over and we turned at which point the dog finally started running properly racing me back home. Strangely enough after 30 mins of running I felt like a rest too.
Too fill in the work life family balance I spent the rest of the time doing dad things, like letting my kids fly down a zip wire, quad biking and trampolining. All in all being dad is more important than everything else, but like many others I choose to be a dad who does ironman and I hope they see it as something positive. too which end next week I am back on the programme.