I recently had a conversation, well text conversation, with a fellow triwife who was out on the course supporting her triathlete. He’s been out of the competition for a while with several injuries and surgeries and is just getting back into racing this year.
While she was with a group of other triwives and trisupporters through the swim and bike, their triathletes were ahead of hers, so they started heading to the finish line one by one, leaving her to stand there all alone and in a foreign country. (This situation certainly rang a bell with Dana and me, which had prompted us to write several posts on the lonely life of the triwife.)
This time, however, our conversation led me to think about what happens when the end of the triathlon lifestyle may be near. It’s an inevitable conclusion to a lifestyle that has been replete with incredible highs (that first Kona) to incredible lows (that first DNF). At some point, however, the triathlete will either fall out of love with the sport, get too busy to devote the time, or just no longer be up to the task, whether due to injury or age.
While we may complain about the travel, some of the venues, the alone time, the time away from the kids, the training, the expense, the diet….we still love our lives, this lifestyle, and the community we’ve built around it. And, it will be hard when the time comes to give it all up. Now, I’m speaking here strictly from the triwife/partner viewpoint. I can’t speak for what my triathlete will be going through.
When this does come to an end, our whole lives will seriously change as so much of our time, conversation, friends, travel…have been focused on triathlons. Now, my husband has taken a pause for almost a year, so I have gotten a taste, but he continued to train and we always knew he’d jump back in with gusto when the injury healed. But, when you know that pause is not just a pause…
Okay, we will undoubtedly survive this event as we have other losses and things that came to an end in our lives. We will just have to figure out what the next phase will be and move on. It may also depend on if it’s a clean break or done in stages. You know, he stops doing full distance and does a few half distance and then down to Olympic and Sprints and then…But, regardless, our dynamics will certainly change as a family and require major adjustments. Here are some of the ways I’ve thought about…
- We will now be spending much more time together, which in truth is both positive and negative. You get used to having that alone time and doing things separately. Will it now be too much together time? Will I resent him being home all the time?
- We will no longer discuss topics of conversations such as training schedules, races, or purchasing a new bike. While we do talk about other things, triathlon is a big part. What focus will our conversations now take? Will we have long periods of silence?
- What about this blog? How can I write about something I’m no longer participating in?
- He will have to find ways to occupy all the free time and not bug me. Triathlons have pretty much occupied all of his free time. What hobby will he find to take its place? What if he doesn’t find anything?
- We may now be on similar sleep schedules. Wow, he may stay up with me past 9:30pm and sleep in past 6:30am on weekends. And then again, probably not, after all these years of early to bed and early to rise. Speaking of which though, I may now get a good night’s sleep, as no alarms will be going off and lights going on at 4:30am.
- What will we do with all the space allocated to his “stuff”? Not to mention all the “stuff”.
- Will we start to break away from our friends still doing triathlons? Will he feel uncomfortable and or sad listening to them talk about their races and training and he can only reminisce?
- Then, there are the friends we’ve always had, but who drifted away a bit when we were off doing triathlons. Can we reconnect with them and spend more time enjoying their company?
- My washing machine will die of loneliness. I will have so much free time not doing multiple loads of laundry.
- We can now take those bucket list vacations that we’ve been saving up for, as we didn’t have enough time to take them when we traveled to races and had to allocate vacation time to that.
So, as you can see, a lot of issues popped into my mind. Now, granted, I have no idea when this time will come for us; it could be next year or when he’s 80! All I know for sure is that the inevitable will happen; the triathlon lifestyle will come to an end and it might help to be prepared, as it will be a huge adjustment for us both…