One of our favorite guest bloggers and tridaughter, Lindsay Berkebile, is back with a new series on being single, 20-something, and tri-ing. Her original article had so much information that we decided to turn it into a series. In future posts, Lindsay will be addressing having roommates, tri-ing on a budget, maintaining a social life, tri-fashion, and whatever else she comes up with. To start, enjoy Lindsay’s take on dating…
Let’s face it. When one goes to an Ironman event, trains with a triathlon club, or joins a triathlon online community, the vast majority of athletes are 35+ aged men (even less women). Even when surfing the web for triathlete-related articles, there are a ton on “how to balance being a mom and ironman life” or “I was fat flabby and 40, now I’m racing Kona. How I turned my life around”. All are inspiring to read, but not relatable to myself and a forgotten demographic of triathletes: the 20-something’s. We are young, wild, free, and training for a 70.3! But, seriously, what is it like being 25 and living the triathlete lifestyle? How does one deal with the challenges of two clashing lifestyles? I want to touch on my experience and trial-and-error wisdom of how I’ve balanced roommates, dating, a social life, and working, with an “I’m-20-and-poor budget” while living the triathlete lifestyle.
It’s hard enough to find your love muffin through a slew of first date duds, heartbreak endings, and OK cupid blunders, but throw in a complicated training schedule, nutritional regimen, and sometimes intimidating lifestyle in general and it can feel impossible.
Many triathletes are already married when they fall into triathletehood and therefore, have a partner who is there through thick and thin and has to adapt to a trisupporter role. But, there is nothing forcing your boyfriend/girlfriend/love-interest into supporting you in this selfish and life-consuming sport and sticking around while you indulge in it. If it’s too much for them, they hit the road. So what do you do? Are triathlons your new permanent boyfriend? Do you have to give up triathloning to have a love life? Well, I’m here to say NO WAY! But, it does take balance and communication. I’ve found that it takes some understanding and sacrificing from both parties.
DATING A TRIATHLETE: THE ISSUES
You have no time for me!
I’ve had guys write me off, because my schedule is too demanding and I “don’t have time for them.” But, I’ve had guys (my current guy actually) learn to schedule things a little in advance, so I can adjust accordingly (Want dinner and a movie at night? Cool, I’ll make sure to get up at 5 am to get that bike in before work so we can!). We’ve also found fun ways to combine my training into our date days. A recent example: We wanted to spend the day at the beach, but, I had my long run. My guy suggested I go for the run along the beach (fun!), while he played ultimate frisbee. Then, after, we’d cool down in the ocean and continue our day.
Get creative and plan in advance. Don’t be so rigid about your training to be unable to take a day off to go enjoy your date’s company too. Sometimes you need a full day at an amusement park or to just lay around in your pjs, binge-watching Law and Order with each other. Life is about balance!
I can’t drink or stay out late, because I’ve got a 6 am ride tomorrow.
Ah, the no social life conundrum. We’ll hit more on this later. Some people have trouble dating you, because you only eat grilled chicken and go to bed at 9 pm. You either have to find a date that likes doing different kinds of things (Run date? Hike? Brunch? Early dinner and a movie? Trapeze lessons? Trampoline park?) or you compromise by once-in-awhile scheduling your date on a night when you either don’t have a 6 am workout or you plan to do your workout after work for a day…or slip in a lunch run…
Triathletes are intimidating.
This has been a huge one in my past, especially being a girl who kicks butt and takes names. Sometimes, if the guy I’m dating isn’t an athlete, he can feel intimidated and self-conscious about himself. This is a hard one. I’ve found that you have to be just as supportive in their hobbies (They have a passionate trivia night team? Awesome, go cheer them on!) and be very reassuring and uplifting of their accomplishments. Let them know how amazing they are (Cuz they bagged a catch like you right?! So they got to be amazing!). However, sometimes this problem can manifest into an unhealthy relationship, too. If your date tries to tear you down to feel better about themselves, then maybe it’s time for you to take your kick-butt self out of the equation.
DATING A TRIATHLETE: TIPS AND TRICKS
- You’re a triathlete. That’s hot. You’re hot. You should find someone who thinks that’s cool, too!
- Maybe date another athlete, so they understand you, so to speak.
- Involve your date in your workouts. Spend that day at the beach as I mentioned above.
- Bring your date into the triathlete world slowly and who knows, maybe they will love it, too! Make day trips out of local races and invite them to cheer you on.
- But, don’t be afraid if they don’t take a liking to your world…it’s YOUR thing it isn’t theirs. Remember that. Relationships are more than just finding a trisupporter…I mean if that’s all you want, go hire a coach.
So, I hope you enjoyed and learned something from my take on dating as a triathlete. As you will see with this and upcoming articles, you CAN have a life as a single, 20-something, triathlete. It can be done. I’m proof. The key is time management. I got some great advice once. I think I read it somewhere.
The individual said that they think of their life like a fridge door with magnets. Each magnet has one facet of life on it, friends, boyfriend, triathlon, work, chores, relaxation, family. Only 3 magnets can go on the fridge at a time for the day. And, that’s how you should live your life – you can’t have just one magnet, because that’s not healthy. But, you also can’t overload it with 5 or 7, because then the time spent on those things won’t be quality time. I wake up every morning and think of this visual and sometimes realize, hmmm, I haven’t put the friends magnet on in a bit, I should do that today. Or, I haven’t moved the triathlon magnet from the door in 3 weeks…maybe I should do that. Food for thought!
Keep being young, wild, and free, you sexy, single, 20-something tri-ing triathlete you. And, go PR on the course and in life!