Wednesday, February 20, 2008

When Triathlon is Not Your Day Job

I am not a professional triathlete. Clearly, as this is a blog about two AMATEUR triathletes. I do spend a lot of time on the blogs of professional triathletes though, in awe over their 5:00/mile run paces or 1:05/100 swim times. When I really think about it though, isn't it just as difficult, if not MORE difficult, to be an amateur triathlete? Training across three disciplines takes an enormous amount of time, energy, organization and most of all...BALANCE. Trying to balance training ("triathlon Jen") with daily responsibilities ("workday Jen") can be a huge drain and I've been an example of that this week.

Yesterday "workday Jen" had a business trip that had me leaving the house at 4:45am (3:45a wake-up time) and not returning until 8:30pm. During the time I was gone I had six hours of very intense meetings, the stress of travel and less-than-stellar nutritional choices. And since I had no possible time to train, this became my "rest" day. Without much rest.

While today's schedule only called for a short 40-minute run, it became a struggle to get it in when "workday Jen" was asked to participate in an early morning conference call meaning I had to be back in the office by 7:30am this morning. My choices were to get up at the usual 4:30am and get the run in or hit the treadmill after work. Given that I never know when I'll really be able to leave the office, I chose the sure thing and set the alarm for 4:30am (which is really 4:20am in our house). When that alarm went off this morning the LAST thing I wanted to do was get out of bed. And the "triathlon Jen" from last season definitely would have gone back to bed. But this season I'm determined to be stronger and more competitive. "Triathlon Jen" reminded me of this and I went to the gym, got the run in (HR was a little high because of dehydration, lack of sleep and stress, but that's to be expected) and was still in the office by 7:30am ready to be "workday Jen." I'm exhausted now and ready for bed, but will sleep a little more soundly knowing that "triathlon Jen" got her fair share of the day.

Finding the balance between your "triathlon self" and your "workday self" isn't always easy. But it's worth it. They work in concert and make you stronger in your life as a whole. How many of my co-workers can say they got up this morning for a 4:30am run after a 16-hour workday? Not many. And that knowledge gives me just a little bit more confidence when "triathlon Jen" sends "workday Jen" off to the office every day. I would love to hear more about how others manage the balance of triathlon training with daily life.

But right now both Jen's need to get some sleep. Good night.

- Her

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