Andie & A Parenting Manifesto

Scroll down for the Manifesto. :)

So I dropped out of Florida 70.3 for April. But the Expert is still hot on the Florida 70.3 trail.  I agreed to go with him for a brick today (plus, I am heading to Greenville for the Two Twenty Two Duathlon next weekend and I hadn’t ridden Andie outside!).  (BTW – if you are near Greenville – come out!) Our sitter came at 8:00 and we drove to BFE for the non-construction-fied entrance onto the famed Silver Comet Trail.

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Pretty uneventful day except for the fact that I have been pretty slug-like and my last few days look like this: 1) Thursday:  Hot Yoga; 2) Friday:  Swim workout written by a masochist friend of mine; 3) Saturday: 5k PR; followed by a bunch of valiant attempts at yoga crow pose; and 4) Today:  Brick:  25 miles / 5.4 mile run I’m so, so  sore today. But here’s the things I love: 1) ANDIE. She is a really fantasic bike. I know you guys are rolling your eyes (“I KNOW she’s awesome, stop rubbing it in!”) …but I’m saying– many bikes are pretty. But this is a pretty, but GREAT bike. There’s a difference. Smooth gearing, wonderful ride. I really love it.

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2) I LOVE RIDING. I haven’t been out on the road, since, I don’t know - Augusta 70.3 in September.  Going outside to ride? I said, “Aw hell.”  I dreaded it. But why? I love to ride!  I love to ride!! (I have not loved to ride since Ironman. I mean, the hours I spent in the saddle leading up to that… 8-10 hours a week? Lawd! The Queen was removed on that fateful race day, and I have been pretending that the Queen is a starfish that can grow back.) Okay that was dramatic and too much information. But all my Ironman people are nodding. Crotch death happens.  It does get better. But the pain is not forgotten. Long live the Queen.

Today, I remembered why I loved to ride. And run.

Freedom. The freaking freedom that comes with a ride. There’s nothing in the world like it. Free. And to get off the bike, and run for another 5 miles? It’s freedom at it’s most painful/finest. When can we, as 9-to-5 people say the words “free”?  Never. Unless on a bike.

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3) THE MANIFESTO

Okay, here’s the Parenting Manifesto. The Expert and I have been exactly 71 days without a day away from the kids. Seventy-one days.  (Yes, those of you with parents living near you. Hug them today. Like now.) We have a babysitter that comes sometimes so we can ride. But we have been that long… without time, without kiddos. We have no family, no back-up in Atlanta. It’s me, or it’s him.

And the kids.  (Not complaining, but seriously…everyone needs a break sometimes.) Parents need time away. Today, we spent our four hours of “free” time on saddles and then followed it up with a duo of painful 5 mile runs. And that was just perfect.

As the Expert and I sat at dinner with the kiddos, we were FAR more patient parents. Far better. Just with a little ride and run. I get it now. We need to TRI. We need it.

And I won’t apologize ever again. I see what today meant.

Breathe. Ride. Run. Parent. 

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Yes. You can do it all. And sometimes, doing it ALL means for a better WHOLE. Who knew. Oh, that’s right I did. It’s what I preach.

The children matter. But before the children was a human, a couple of married people, who also mattered. Sometimes we forget that if Mom/Dad isn’t happy/healthy that the kids won’t amount to much. Today, we returned home and I went upstairs to shower.

The Expert sat outside in his folding-I-watch-kids-chair while the kiddos did laps around the cul de sac on their bikes.  They went up and down (we have great hills!) and then they put up the bikes.

The girl child said, “Daddy, I would like to run now.”

He said, “Go!”

She ran at least 1/2 mile and said, “I feel good!”

I hear often,  ”What you do, as a parent triathlete ‘does not matter.’”

You are “wasting your time running when you could be with your kids.”

You as a “triathlete are selfish.”

Whatever.

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The Expert and I have kids that have absorbed triathlon by simply watching. No pressing. Just watching. We don’t even talk about it. We don’t make them run. They have limited swim lessons. No biking. They just see it.

Our daughter biked and ran today without us saying a word.

For all you naysayers… here’s something: kiss my ass!  As parents, we lead by example. (Which means my kids will have a potty mouth, I guess. Whoops!)… Anyway, we parent by proof. By action.

I’d rather my daughter see me sweating, working and hideous more than anything else. I want her to know that “pretty” is a nice thing–but “strong” and “confident” are the things that makes women survivors in this world.

I care about little else. I care that my children survive this life …knowing less that I was their friend–and knowing more that I was someone that could save them from the shit this world has to deal.

I’m a mom. I’m a triathlete. Now, girl child, let’s run that dumb boyfriend away.

Triathlon is an amazing shit-buffer.

It breaks through the barriers, the garbage and makes things more clear. You swim and bike and suffer and LEARN how to handle the real world. I believe that whole-heartedly.

And I applaud all of us trying to TRI.  Especially the Swim Bike Moms and Dads of the world–because lawd knows, we gots our work cut out for us.  So here’s to all of us, trying to balance the Tri-Fecta (family, life and triathlon)… #justkeepmovingforward We’ll get there.

Comments

  1. says

    I love love love what you say in here about being a better parent when you take time for yourself and for your relationship. I totally agree. It’s the whole reason I decided to do this triathlon thing. And I firmly believe I am a better mother because of it and I’m a much better wife (way more energy, sorry…TMI)!!

  2. says

    Testify! Triathlon is indeed the best shit-buffer, and hard as it is to strike balance, soooooo worth it. Just got back from a 3 mile run with my 8 year old, we both loved it :)

  3. Katie P. says

    I am in a HUGE training slump right now but love love love this post. I know my kids would appreciate it if I’d get out of my funk and get back out there. Maybe I should hang this one on my bathroom mirror……

  4. jane says

    I love love love this!! It all makes complete sense- and everything you say I am nodding my head enthusiastically to!!! Go girl!!! Positive strong female role models!!! You are amazeballs xxx

  5. Karin W. says

    Amen! Love this post! I am a 3x marathoner, and training for my first sprint tri. My kids have watched me morph into an athlete, and while I do feel a twinge of guilt now and then for the time I spend running, biking, and the like, I KNOW it is setting a good example for them, and allows me to return as a better mom. My 8 year old daughter just enthusiastically begged me to sign her up for the chapter of “Girls on the Run” which will begin meeting at her school, and inside, I can’t help but scream “YES!!!!!” I never push, never suggest, but it is comforting to see what comes out of just doing, and them seeing it!

  6. Laura says

    I find that I’m spending more “down time” with my boys -playing games, doing puzzles, learning guitar from my teen, etc. I do my workouts and them I’m tired! But not too tired to do these kinds of things with my boys. So not only am I taking care of me and having fun, but I’m more engaged with my boys. Just don’t look at the cob webs in the corners… :)

  7. says

    This hit me so hard. Yes, I’m much better after a workout. Happier, more patient, and more pleasant. But still, I find myself guilt ridden trying to balance all of life’s obligations. I think I need to search for a short list of really good babysitters.

  8. says

    WORD!!! Couldn’t agree more!! My 11-year old is begging me to register him for a sprint triathlon – and I WILL too – just because he watches me bust my ass every 6 days per week and thinks I’m the coolest mom around. I love that! :)

  9. says

    AMEN! Thank you. I am not a happy parent when I haven’t worked out for days on end (as was the case during our recent snowstorm–cooped-up family = The Shining waiting to happen). I am less patient and more tired.
    Now that I swim 2-3 morning a week, my preschool-aged kids just assume that is where I am going whenever i leave the house. I can’t complain that they think of their mom as active. Kids are sponges, and the best we can possibly do for them is lead by example.
    Now, to get the hubby to quit his soda habit … ;)

  10. says

    I couldn’t agree with you more in terms of parenting – show your kids how to live a healthy live through your own actions and they will grow to be happy and healthy. Your body is so much more than the way it looks when you can do amazing things!

  11. says

    My mom is the rest I started triathlons. It took a few years for me to get the bug, but when I decided to start losing weight and getting healthy, we signed up for a triathlon together. This year we have 3 triathlons and two half marathons together.

    Your kids will appreciate having a saner, healthier mom. Yet another thing to thank triathlon for giving us.

  12. says

    I nodded my head with every sentence! My 4 year old finally became confident enough to ride his bike up hills because he has watched me do it. I felt so grateful for the opportunity to teach him something that will stay with him, confidence and strength. In this house they learn about strong, fit, healthy not which celebrity is dating who, or what is the latest cosmetic surgery craze.

  13. says

    I needed to read this today! After spending the last decade pretty inactive, I started running last year with Team in Training and ran my first Half in October. Since then I’m training for another half, and I’ve biked, and done a couple of adventure races and trail runs.

    Looking at my ‘want to do’ schedule for summer, I was having some serious momma guilt. I’ve never really taking much time for myself (kiddos are 9 and 7 now) and having some event almost every other weekend this summer was freaking me out. Most will be no more than 1/2 day and are pretty local.

    I’m super excited to try them (more Adventure Racing -canoe, bike, run, orienteer, couple Triathlons!) but nervous on how to fit it all in.

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