Vacationing with your triathlete
Whomever has made jokes about woman packing for a trip has obviously NOT traveled with a triathlete in training.
Eric and I recently took a 2 week trip back to see his family in Upstate NY and the irony, while packing was not lost on me… During our first family trip back east together, 4 years ago – I remember being urber nervous and packing a large suitcase full of clothes, a smaller one for shoes, my laptop and camera bag and feeling weighed down… At the time – it was just us and Eric’s 10year old daughter.
My oh my have times changed.
Not only are there a total of 6 of us traveling: two adults, 1 teenager, 6yr old, 3yr old and 6month old.. but the luggage is a bit more complex… long gone are the days of an extra bag for shoes alone.
On this trip the suitcase breakdown went as follows:
Teenager = 1 suitcase
Infant and 3yr old = 1 shared suitcase
Myself and 6yr old = 1 shared suitcase
Eric = 1 large suitcase for clothes and misc food items that could not be found in upstate NY, 1 Tri bag full of training gear (helmet, running and cycling shoes, tri gear, running gear, wetsuit, swim paddles, googles, fuel, etc…), 1 hard bike case
Then we carried a Diaper bag, 2 carry-on backpacks and the infant.
Just figuring out the travel arrangements to the airport was a challenge – but a good race prep exercise.
Things like calling the airport to compare the cost of traveling with the bike as opposed to shipping the bike was key – making sure the hotel near the airport was large enough for the bags and that there was a shuttle to transport us – ya know..since we needed to drive ourselves in the recently acquired mini van – since no one else has a vehicle large enough to fit 6 of us plus all the bags and bike, etc..
Then there was the simple coordination of getting us and the bags to the front counter… thankgoodness for a 14yr old and 6 yr old… help with the bags and can hold the hand of the 3yr old and well.. the infant rode happily in her carrier.
Getting on the plane was nice.
Of course we had snacks galore packed: whole wheat mini bagels, lowfat string cheese, nuts and fruit that was purchased after getting through security… Traveling while watching sugars, calories, carbs, ingredients, etc.. can be challenging…
We all survived and actually got through the experience, better than we may have expected. Prior to leaving – eric got a run down on breaking down and putting his bike back together.. again – good prep for events.. what we need to pack and don’t need to pack and how to make it all work.
The Zoot tri bag we bought has been great so far.. it helped keep the gear organized and all in one space… we did put a TSA approved lock on the bag – which disappeared.. but it is an extra step I would recommend.. it sure is a lot of cash in gear to put in one spot.
I know we were all thrilled to be spending the next 14days together as a family and I believe that Eric was nervous about how he was going to balance his longer training sessions in this extended family setting. He did AWESOME! Though I think he got even less sleep on our trip than he does at home.
This is where vacationing with a triathlete can get a little challenging.. for all involved. Just because it is a vacation doesn’t mean that the training stops… So Eric found himself staying up much later than he would at home to visit with family members but would then still get up before everyone else to go for his swim, run or ride – so that the family time wouldn’t be compromised. On top of that – while we were in the town that he grew up in, running and cycling is VERY different in Horseheads, NY than it is in Santa Cruz, CA. The weather is the most obvious.. its hot and humid and beyond that – you just don’t see as many runners or cyclists on the road.. so that’s where my worry comes in… I worry – EVERY.SINGLE.TIME that he goes out for a run and even more so if he is on his bike… I worry about him being hit by a vehicle or wiping out and not being seen, not having cell coverage.. I worry about all the unthinkable things… and being in a place that doesn’t have as large of an active community means smaller shoulders, less aware drivers, etc, etc, etc… and it even has less cell coverage… So his training was different.. that being said – he did an excellent job at staying on track and keeping his events in his sights.
He and his family (2 sisters, Dad and BIL) all ran a 10k together and Eric placed 3rd in his age group (after not doing speed work for 10k’s)… remember this at the end of this blog when I talk about the podium… 🙂
As I have said – we try very hard to approach his training as a family.. to provide support and balance to each other… and in the moments of desiring nothing more than a long weekend alone and without a training schedule – you have to remember the bigger picture and goal…and rewards.
We got to spend 14 amazing days together as a family.. we spent more time with our kids in those two weeks than we have in months and months.. it was not broken up by work or day-to-day life… Eric got his training in – and for the most part, was never missed from activities since it often took place before anyone (other than me) was awake. We were both able to keep our nutrition on track for the most part… we both only gained 3/4lbs from his Mother’s cooking… and his training moved forward instead of backwards… I am sure on the nights that we crawled into bed at midnight, as opposed to 8pm were not helpful.. but he was able to get up at 6am instead of 4:30am….
Tri’s are not for the faint of heart or the non-committed… I am in awe, often on a daily basis, at his commitment and perseverance – especially on the days that he just DOESN’T want to RUN – or Cycle or Swim… and I can just see the TIRED in his eyes.. but he gets up and straps on his shoes and does it. He is our family’s hero on a daily basis. I often try to remember this as I grumble over a bowl left in the sink or the shoes left at the top of the stairs… This journey takes its toll on us both.. in different ways.. but allows us to support the other as best as we can.. because we approach it as a team.
This is the type of commitment that keeps our family strong and makes me know – without a doubt – that he will ROCK his upcoming events.. and while he often says he is not going out for a podium.. I know him well enough that he is going out to do his absolute best… and at some point… he will have that podium in sight.. in one form or another… and as he says.. he doesn’t do this type of training to get beat..
So stay tuned… we have his first two Olympic Tri’s coming up in September… His first IM 70.3 in Austin at the end of October and he is registered for Ironman Mont Tremblant for next August… We are hoping to get him registered for ironman Los Cabos for this coming March but we have some very significant and exciting things that we are working on in our personal life that has to align right for the timing and financials to all work together… we are keeping our fingers crossed on multiple things…. And learning to work our lives and family around this journey to Ironman
And.. I also need to write up our “First Family Race”.. which took place the Sunday before our vacation.. and this is well a reminder since I would often forget my own head if it was not attached..