Monday, March 21, 2011

Why It Matters

“Nothing can beat the CRR of the Open Corsa EVO CX II”

“Tuesday's ride put me at -23 TSB, I need to back down a bit for this part of the season.”

“There's no real reason to race that 5k, I need 50 seconds for the next VDOT and that's not happening in two weeks.”

“I got you a 2010 team GXP BB to go with your new crank.”

These are all small parts of conversations I've had in the last week. Living the life of a triathlete, chatting with other athletes, leads to a lot of conversations just like this. Bike mechanics, running, swim drills, and the stuff that goes with swimming, biking, and running, occupies are scarce free time. That's ok. It's fun, it's interesting, it keeps my mind as engaged as my body in this demanding lifestyle. It's a healthy outlet. It's a bonding opportunity. I wouldn't have it any other way.

There's more to being an athlete than training and polishing your bike though. Sometimes I forget that, but this weekend I was reminded in a big way.

Most Saturdays I wake up, eat some oats, do a bike workout, take a shower, and then get on with life. But there was something bigger on the agenda for last Saturday. Since the previous week, my six year old son William had been asking for me to take him to the track to run. He's been running the kids runs at our local 5ks, and he's really caught the running bug, to the point that he decided he wanted to practice.

By the time I was off the bike on Saturday, William had his running clothes on. We had lunch. “Dad, I'm going to eat good food so I can run really fast today,” he annouced. “That's a great idea, what do you think you should eat?,” I asked. “Umm, apples, bananas, and probably not ice cream,” he said. “That's all pretty good stuff,” I said. “And ice cream is okay sometimes too,” I added, “especially after really long runs.” William smiled and asked “Like 50 miles?” “Yes, I answered, especially after 50 miles.”  Apparently he's an aspiring ultra runner...

A few minutes later we were at the track. Like any kid, William only knows one way to run. All out! And that kid is fast. We would slow down to a trot every now and then, but as soon as someone was anywhere near us, he was determined to run them down. We had run about 4 laps on the indoor track when I told him that 9 laps was a mile. After that, it was on. He was determined to run a mile. So we did. And we learned about pacing along the way!

My 6 year old has a better handle on eating, and can run a faster mile, than I did at 30. He loves his chocolate chip cookies, don't get me wrong. But there is room for cookies and fast miles in life.  And after all that running, we had some cookies and played some playstation. There is room in this life for relaxing on the couch on a Saturday afternoon too.

Living the life of a triathlete has probably saved my life by giving me something healthy to throw my type A personality into, but if that weren't enough it now allows me to lead by example for my son. Sharing a run with him Saturday meant sharing lessons on pacing yourself, balancing work, and play, and making good food choices. It meant bonding with him, and lots of quality time.

So, it's monday now. I'm still talking about gear ratios and training stress scores, but my run with William is still at the front of my mind. I won't see him again until thursday, but he's already asking about our next run, and that's why it all matters.


  1. Mike! What a great post! I have yet to meet William - sounds like a COOL kid!!

  2. Thanks Laura. You were smoking fast on the bike Tuesday, looks like you've been working hard this winter!

  3. Hey there Mike, I came over here from Laura's blog and just wanted to say YOU ARE FREAKING AMAZING! What an inspiring story you have. Good luck at IMWI (I like to call it IMOOOOO)

    I love that you ran with your son and are teaching him about living a healthy lifestyle.

  4. @Caratunk, thanks for stopping by! I'm doing my best, and it's a struggle almost every day. That's what life should be though, and that's why a little suffering on the bike or run is sooo good for us I think!

  5. Mike, like Mandy (@CaratunkGirl), I found your blog through Laura. I must say that you're an inspiration. I'm so very impressed after reading your bio and weigh loss tips. So many people claim to want to make changes in their life and yet never do. You wanted to, and did. Congratulations!

    You've got a new follower!

  6. Thanks Joel! And thanks to Laura for all the kind words on her blog too!