Don’t judge people.
Just be yourself.
Because at the end of the day it is truly up to you. You are making choices daily of how you want to live YOUR life. Obviously, with help from a few previous choices 🙂 (i.e. kids, significant other, etc.) After all, it isn’t about the label. Or what you do, it is about why you do it – and what you get out of it.
When you participate in endurance racing, the subject of “being selfish” no doubt comes up a lot. There is a certain “aura” that triathletes have, a certain stereotype of being really into themselves; i.e. selfish.
Some people are nodding, some of you are laughing and some are most certainly rejecting this theory.
People assume since you train anywhere from 15-25 hours a week you are self absorbed.
You could argue committed.
People assume since you are on a bike ride till noon or 1 on a Saturday you are missing out on good family time.
You could argue you are a better parent because of that bike ride.
People assume because you aren’t readily available to go out with friends (seemingly because you are too tired), you are boring.
You could argue you are a ton of fun, just not always. (Is anyone always fun?!)
People assume since you missed your child’s baseball game, you don’t care.
You could argue you love your child, and you love watching them play. Period.
Of course, I go through many periods of doubt, of guilt, and questioning why in the world I have these goals that I set on myself. But – it’s just that. I have goals. How cool is that? It can’t be any different than people who want to get par on 18 holes of golf right? Or win a tennis match? Or finish their crossword in a few hours? Or run a 5k? Goals are goals, so why is this any different? Maybe it’s because it’s not tangible to most? They just can’t get their head around it (because, let’s face it – endurance athletes are a bit wacky).
What about the people who need to relax / unwind so they spend a few hours at the spa, or a few hours getting their hair highlighted, or any other “optional” beauty experience?
Watching TV for several hours a day? Is that any different?
We all have 24 hours in the day. Hopefully you are doing something within those hours you are truly enjoying. And if it’s a 5 hour bike ride whose to judge? 😜
There are certain things that make us better. A better friend, a better wife, a better mom, a better person. I am simply recommending you find what is going to make YOU better. I truly feel my passion with fitness makes me more grounded and composed to face the everyday. It isn’t about the miles, or the medals, it is what I get out of it personally. Hopefully you get something our of your day too? Because remember – you still have 24 hours to do with your life as you choose. That’s pretty cool.
As my children get older I see the example I am setting for them, and while I constantly strive to be the very best mom possible, I sometimes wonder if missing a pancake breakfast with them will make me less of a person/parent. Or is being late to a soccer game really “ok”. As parents, we are constantly questioning everything right? I question myself daily and this is no different.
I believe I am setting a good example for my children because of what I hear (directly from them or from others). My son thought I was “famous” at school because I did the Kona Ironman and he was so proud of telling everyone about his experience watching and cheering for me. His friends asked me if I was tougher than a hockey player. Yeah, they were intrigued too.
Just the other day I was on a run with my son biking alongside of me. We had one block to go (I was ready to walk / warm down) and he said “Mom, pretend you are about to cross the finish line”. This took me by surprise as I was thinking he was just biking a long not really into it too much. Then he said “Introducing Jen Temperley, Ironman Champion” (even more amusing and awesome of him ha ha!)… followed up by (in a different voice) “Mom – is that ALL you got!? I could run faster with my eyes shut!”. Gotta give the kid credit. He gets it.
My daughter who just started running local races and in our schools’ running club, wrote a sign that said ‘Run Run Run. As Fast as you can. You can’t catch me, I’m in running club”. She knows it takes hard work and dedication to reach goals.
While exercise gives me that balance that I long for (the endorphins are constantly calling for me!), it’s the exercise I do with the family that is the most rewarding. And I truly believe they WANT to do it because they SEE what I do.
They see through my actions that dreams can come true. That hard work pays off. That it takes dedication, sweat and a lot of pain to achieve something that you might have doubts about.
It is so hard finding balance, but it’s the key to “triathlon survival” — Everything in moderation. If I didn’t have my sweet kids and hubby to come home to, would I just ride another few hours? Would I eat, sleep, dream, and talk about triathlons nonstop? Doubtful. I know a lot of triathletes without kids, and they have balance (and selflessness) too. But we can all see how easily it can suck you in.
Can’t you become obsessed with anything? Especially if you love it?
I think at the end of the day I make up for it. I think most of us triathletes do. We are better people because of our lifestyle. Triathlons don’t consume me. It is a true healthy joy that keeps me motivated and moving (and healthy).
How do you want to spend your daily hours?