Ya know, for all the moaning and complaining I seem to do about everything, the fact of the matter is that I really don't have things so bad. And truthfully, I recognize that everyday, but I feel I need to take some time to fully acknowledge it.
As I have often said, I am single, have no children, work a painfully flexible job (that allows me to work at home a lot) and am emotionally supported by a family that, minus some minor dilemmas here and there, seem to hold it together. So to do an IM in this manner, with this schedule and support, is really not that much of a challenge.
Wait, wait, wait - before you say, "Humph, aren't you a smug b-word, kinda high on yourself, don't ya think?" what I mean is that, sure some of the workouts suck, and my own mental demons sneak in an wreak havoc on my confidence, but seriously, I fully appreciate this opportunity because obligations outside of myself are minimal. I am taking full advantage of being selfish. And to be honest, a huge part of the reason I chose to do the IM Arizona (despite living in Chicago and having to train in this winter) is because I knew that life would not always be this flexible. Five years from now, I may be married with three kids (shudder), a mortgage and a real 9 to 5 - getting up at 4AM is SO beyond what I will ever feel capable of doing.
So I just want to take a second to be grateful to my life, and to give serious props out to people that are trying to manage this training with all the other elements in their lives. I know, I know - we chose this for ourselves. But in doing so, we are choosing to do what so many other people can't even conceive of, and we are choosing to better ourselves for not only ourselves, but so that we can physically and mentally be better wives and husbands, mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers. This training is far beyond anything I ever imagined it would be, so time-consuming and mind/body challenging, that I absolutely cannot imagine having anything else that needed my attention.
And to that end, props to the families who deal with us, our obsessions (who else gets excited about pool paddles, fog-resistant goggles, heart rate monitors and aero bars?), the early morning swims and long weekend workouts. You let us spend time with ourselves while you juggle the rest of life, and cheer us on throughout it all. You allow us to deplete bank accounts, sacrificing family vacations for coaches, physical therapists, gym fees, outrageously-priced registration fees and traveling expenses. You indulge our bike envy, and sympathize with our injuries. You never complain about protein bar wrappers you sometimes find under the bed (oops), the dried sweat on the floor that we forgot to clean up after trainer ride (oops again) or the Triathlete magazine we keep forgetting in the bathroom (hey - at least we crack the window).
AND AND AND you always, always smile, nod, ooh, and ahhh, when we regal you with our day's accomplishments, be it a 3500 yard swim (right on!) or a 4-6 hour brick (ouch!), even if inside, you actually don't care and really want us to just ask about your day in return (which, because we are so absorb in said feat we sometimes forget - sorry! hugs and kisses!)
I am grateful for all of this.