is a partner's body image affected by their triathlete

It has been a LONG time since my triathlete husband has done a triathlon; we’re talking since Ironman 70.3 California in March of 2015. First, he had plantar fasciitis which was crippling enough, but then he bent down to fix his bike shoes one day and ended up with a slipped disc and sciatica, which really took him out of the game. He even put his coach on hold.

To be honest, I wasn’t sure if he would ever go back to doing triathlons again. He seemed to adjust to life without the 4 am workouts and 9 pm bedtimes pretty well, not to mention being able to have desserts. And, when he was cleared to work out again, he ended up skipping more than he completed, which he NEVER did when he was in full-on training mode.

But, he put on a few pounds (sorry dear, but true – and so did I). He watched a friend of his, new to triathlons, start to train in earnest and do his first half this year. He listened to a friend at dinner talk about qualifying for Kona. He followed his other friends at the IM 70.3 World Championships on Facebook. While he was genuinely happy for them all, because that’s just the type of person he is, I know it gnawed at his spirit.

how a triathlete got back to doing triathlons after an injury

Guy at the Ironman 70.3 World Championships.

I’m not sure which one was the biggest motivator for him and, of course, there was more than a little ego involved. But, it wasn’t until he called his Purple Patch coach, Matt Dixon, to discuss a new training schedule, that I knew he was back and it didn’t matter why…

He quietly signed up for a local Olympic race and told me a few weeks later. “It’s no big deal. I just want to see how I feel. I won’t be racing it”. Yeah, right. No easy task to do a triathlon and not be a bit competitive. So, he started training again, got out for a few 3 hour bike rides, and didn’t miss many training sessions. I knew he was serious…

The race was this past weekend. I opted not to get up at 4:30 am and go to the body marking, but I made sure I was there for the start of the race. Hey, sunrise on the water amid the smell of wet rubber is an unbeatable combination!

how a triathlete got his groove back at westchester triathlon

It took me a while to find my husband among all the same color wetsuits, but when I did and called his name, he turned around and smiled. I knew in that instant he was back in his element and I knew in that instant I couldn’t be happier for him…

how one triathlete found his way back to triathlons

The only bad thing was that he was in the last wave and had to wait 40 minutes to get going and that is always nerve wracking. I was concerned it would throw him off, so did my best to keep chatting. I didn’t bother to ask how long he thought it would take him to complete, because after all, he wasn’t racing the race and to be fair, he really didn’t know how he’d feel out there.

Just to reinforce how great this community can be, the triathlete who we came to support several years ago returned the favor and came out to cheer Carl on and his wife came to be the triwife supporter! I think this is one of the aspects of the triathlon world that keep both of us coming back.

The swim went well for him, but since I was out of spectating practice, Debbie and I totally missed him go off on the bike. We had plenty of time to get to the transition and we were looking in the right area, but after 15 minutes had passed by and no Carl, I knew we had missed him and he wasn’t in the bathroom, which was my only other option…

So, I tacked on five minutes for transition and figured out when he got off on the bike and how long he should be on the course. This meant we’d have time for breakfast – meaning coffee – before getting our spot at the bike in. We didn’t miss him this time, although of course, we were chatting as he came in and all I got was a butt shot off the bike. No doubt now that my spectating skills are certainly out of shape.

My co-supporter left me at this point, so I was on my own for the run; happy it was only 6 miles. I REALLY wanted him to finish in under 3 hours to give him that mental boost and confidence. Just when I was getting a little worried and trying to tell myself it didn’t matter, up the last hill he came with 15 minutes to spare! Yeah…

how a triathlete found his way back to triathlons

I ran to the finish so I could see him cross and the first thing he said was “Whew, made it under 3 hours. That was my goal”. So much for not racing the race…

can a triathlete get their triathlon groove back by competing again

I think this means there are more triathlons in our future…