Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Am I better for doing IM?

Is this heresy? Last Sunday I was suffering from motivation issues since having got up early to do a long ride I was faced with a Deluge of biblical proportions outside combined with thunder and lightning made seek shelter on the sofa with a scared cat for company. The option to get on the turbo at that time would have meant waking the household which is probably a bit unfair at 6.30 so I elected to wait and read a bit. Children stumbled downstairs at 7 and we spent an enjoyable half hour just chatting and watching rubbish on the tv. Eventually at 7.45 I thought it not unreasonable to start up on the turbo since my wife is usually getting up at this point. Sure enough the rain stopped and outside was looking better but at this point I was committed to 150 mins of turbo hell.

As the house sprung into life around me kids and cats wandering in and out of the spare room where I was spinning away and time passing incredibly slowly as it always seems to on a turbo I got to wondering whether the life as an Ironman was still a force for good. A recurring theme at ironman races where I meet with other racing dads is that its the wives who suffer. Is it fair me shooting out the house every sunday even if I am back by 12. Do my children understand why I need to go out for a 2hr run on Friday evenings and does the time I take out of the family through chasing my personal goals compensate by enabling me to have a better balance through the rest of my week?

Undoubtedly through being fitter I have more ability to cope with the stresses of general life. But training for Ironman actually involves a lot of time trashing your fitness through further cycles of training and can leave you feeling a bit ratty some times. I guess this is however no more than I get anyway and in fact I feel more calm since IM than in my preIM days and I often find the process of training helps me to work out the day to day stresses of life.

With less than 3 weeks to go to IM swissroll I am feeling solid but nothing spectacular. I have a traditional midnight 100 miler (38 laps of Regents Park) to be knocked off and a few more runs then a whole year before I do another IM


Jevon said...

To be honest I don't think children understand but we have to believe its worth it because it ultimately makes us better balanced and happier within ourselves and therefore better parents.
That's my theory anyway.

Tom said...

a fascinating question... and one which I have recently been thinking about to some extent...

My initial thoughts are that continuous years of 'full on' Ironman training is not likely to be a succesful strategy for a long and happy life but if a suitable exit strategy is planned and then executed, the long term benefits can be significant.

only time will tell ;)