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Fitness Dilemma.

27 August 2015

A friend of mine is signing up to do a half Ironman. For the past few months, I’ve been thinking more and more about doing that. For those who aren’t familiar, a half Ironman is a triathlon consisting of a 1.2 mile swim, a 56 mile bike ride, and a 13.1 mile run. It sounds hard, and I have no doubt it would test me to my ultimate. I would go in with no time goals other than the ones imposed on me by the race organizers (Finish the swim by 1:10, finish the bike+swim by 5:30, finish the race by 8:30).

I’ve never done a triathlon and I’m not really sure I truly want to. For me, the bike is the big push. I’m comfortable in the water and can swim a long way, albeit slowly. I can run, well, so far I know I can run 16.1 miles without stopping. The bike is a different animal for me. Lately I’ve been biking more, and I’ve gone as far as 21 miles in about 90 minutes. That translates to 56 miles in four hours, if I can keep the pace up. I could probably finish. If I trained right.

For me, the biggest issue isn’t the fitness attempt. I’d like to try that, I think. It would be exhausting and astonishing and I’d be really really amazed with myself if I did it, and I like feeling like that. No, for me, the biggest issue is that in the past two years, all of my fitness goals have coincided with running side by side with BB. And BB is not interested in doing a triathlon.

Now, don’t get me wrong. We’re allowed to have individual goals and personal ambitions. Obviously. No question about it. But I like running with her, and racing with her, and achieving together. That’s far beyond a fitness goal: it’s a relationship goal. We ran a 5K separately last year (same race, different paces), and if felt awful to both of us. We like achieving our fitness ambitions together.

Case in point: when I wanted to extend to a marathon, and BB wanted to run the half marathon faster first, we agreed to train for a faster half, and then extend to a full. Even though we had different goals, we pursued them together and are achieving them together. I like that. It’s important to me. I don’t want to separate our fitness goals because doing these things together is a cornerstone of our intimacy.

I also enjoy pushing myself and finding out what I can do. And a half Ironman would be a really ambitious push. I know I would feel a huge sense of accomplishment from it. So I don’t know what I’m going to do. A lot of conversation needs to happen. But I know I won’t feel right about abandoning relationship goals for personal ones. That doesn’t sit right with me at all. Nevertheless, I want to find out what I can do in new arenas. So I will ponder about it. And talk about it. And see how it sits in my heart.

I don’t have to decide anytime soon.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. aimee permalink
    27 August 2015 12:52

    Maybe while you’re thinking about it you could do some swim training. I know you are a good swimmer (we all are – thanks Dad), but endurance swimming is something else. Over a mile is a very long swim. I think you’d be surprised if you went out and tried to swim a half mile without stopping.

    • 27 August 2015 12:53

      I swam 1000 yards about 2 months ago, which is a little more than 1/2 a mile, and a little less than half what I’d have to do. It took me 30 minutes, and it was exhausting.

    • 27 August 2015 12:54

      But more to your point: I would train several times a week for several months before the race. I wouldn’t just show up and do it. That way lies death.

  2. 30 August 2015 15:49

    Have you thought about trying a shorter tri first? Triathlon is my favorite sport, but I am glad I started with sprints. And the longest I have done is an Olympic distance. A half Ironman might be the only event I wanted to do that I didn’t manage to do.

    Doing these things separately is entirely different than doing them one after another. Entirely different.

    I would have to say that triathlons are my favorite. I wish I had spent more time on them and less on marathons.

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