What's Next? You May Be Surprised (or maybe not)!

I'm sitting here willing my impending cold to just go away. My throat hurts, my body aches, and I just want to take a nap. 

This is my third illness in about two months. I'd blame the start of school and all the germs that come with it—and I am sure that is partly at fault—but I think my immune system is on the fritz. As most of you know, there's been some stress in our family of late—some good, some bad. Stress in itself can compromise the immune system, and add to that the need for constant comfort food, I haven't been nourishing my body the way I should. At the end of a hard day, all I want is a pint of Ben & Jerry's while I catch up on Outlander. 

Jamie "Hall Pass" Fraser

Jamie "Hall Pass" Fraser

Training has been relegated to the back burner as I try to focus on more "important" stuff, like my increasing copywriting workload, family demands, and my marriage (not in order of priority!). Workouts have been missed and my fitness has taken a hit, but all in the hopes of re-building the strong family foundation I need to get me to my next Big Goal.... 

But before I get to that, a story:

The day I finished Ironman 70.3 Coeur d'Alene in June, Bill presented me with a gift: his blessing for me to train for a full Ironman. I was shocked, excited, and terrified all at once. I'd just endured almost 6 hours of racing—was I ready to more than double that? What about the hundreds of hours of training leading up to it?

And even if I could handle the intense training load, could our marriage? After all, we'd just been through a really rocky time. Could we really stay focused on keeping our relationship healthy while I put in 15-20 hours of training each week? Divorce by Ironman is not just a myth—training takes its toll on families, sometimes even breaking them up. I am, admittedly, often selfish, but even I am not willing to risk my family for a one-day athletic event.

Despite the risks, Bill convinced me that he would support me, as long as we kept making progress in our marriage throughout the training period. I could saddle him with chores and childcare, but there could be no backsliding or neglect of our marriage. 

So, I'm taking the leap.

Barring any unforeseen events, on July 29, 2018, I will be diving into Alta Lake in Whistler, BC, for Ironman Canada.

I am hoping you, my friends and family, will support me on this journey. It is the ultimate selfish pursuit, and I expect some of you non-triathletes may be trying your best to withhold judgment, so maybe this will help:

The kids with pro triathlete Andy Potts after their fun run.

When I told my kids I was hoping to do an Ironman, they jumped up and down and said "YES, you can do it!" I told them this meant I might not be able to spend as much time with them; their enthusiasm didn't waver. Yes, I realize that they may be telling a different story 6 months from now as I leave for yet another ride or run, but if my kids come away from this experience realizing that anything is possible with hard work and dedication, I will have accomplished far more than I set out to do.

However, if at any time the training becomes too much for my family to bear, I will defer my entry (an option if I register soon). Ironman will be there for years to come; if I lose sight of what's most important, my family will not. 

Until my training begins in earnest in a few months, I will be enjoying all winter in Bend has to offer. Another season of skiing as much as possible, spending time with family, and generally not being too concerned with TSS, FTP, and MPH (not to worry, Coach: I won't completely abandon my fave acronyms).

Thanks for everyone's support, and stay tuned for more updates!

Goals

Cait and I went to Herbivore Clothing (leather boots and all ... oops) in Portland last week to see Matt Frazier speak about being a vegan athlete. Matt is the author of The No Meat Athlete blog and book, and Portland was one of his many book tour stops. Vineman 70.3

Matt opened his talk with an invitation to choose a goal--preferably a big one. Right. Lately, my goals have simply been to get out of the house for a walk and to not eat my weight in cookies. My list of priorities is so incredibly long, and athletic pursuits always seem to fall in the "too selfish to spend time on" category. When faced with the choice to work out or spend precious time with my kids, the kids usually win out. So, choosing a big goal felt a bit uncomfortable. I thought to myself, "I'll play along, but just for today." After all, I'm a mom; Matt's a dad. He's wired differently.

To be a good sport, I chose Ironman as my goal. Insane, right? Those who know me know that I have repeatedly said I would never do an Ironman race. After all, I barely survived my 70.3 race, which is a mere half the distance of an Ironman. I trained 9-10 hours a week for more than 6 months in 2009 to bake for 6 hours and 45 minutes under the hot sun in Sonoma. It was not pretty. I was sick to my stomach for days.

So what was I thinking choosing Ironman?

Matt's instructions were to go big or go home. I chose a goal that was attainable (albeit with some effort), but outside the realm of anything I'd considered in the past. Now I will be honest here--I am not too naive to know that Ironman is a huge effort. I'd have to give up weekends and vacations and lunches. I'd be (more) exhausted all the time, and I'd have to spend a fortune on food and gels. Ironman would involve buy-in from everyone in my life. My family, my employer, and others would have to make sacrifices for me to pursue this selfish goal. But it wasn't impossible.

By then end of Matt's talk, I began to realize that setting athletic goals was, in fact, somewhat selfless ... or rather, not entirely selfish. Let me explain:

  • Exercise makes me happy. Happy Meg means happy family. Done and done.
  • Seeing mom run, swim, and bike shows the kiddos that fun can be had and happiness attained without a glowing screen.
  • Setting goals and achieving them is an invaluable life lesson.

I know you'd all like me to say "all of this is why I am registered for an Ironman in 2014!" Well, sorry to disappoint, but that ain't gonna happen. At least not in 2014. My goal next year is another Half Ironman (I can't believe I just typed that). If I can come out of that alive and still married, I will consider the 14-plus-hour torturefest called Ironman for 2015.

Who's with me?