Life of an Age Grouper: Official
Life of An Age Grouper was the chosen title for my blog because I thought it accurately represented my intended purpose, to chronicle my experiences with triathlon. I thought it would provide a unique perspective from an average guy navigating through a brand new sporting adventure.
A majority of my blog posts are regarding training or racing with a few interviews sprinkled in. As I re-read through my posts I don't believe they accurately align with my intended vision because they lack any depth into how triathlon impacts my life or vice versa. I also don't believe that most of my experiences reflect a triathlete with an average life. After all, for many years I was single, living in an apartment with no real obligations or commitments. I could essentially train 24/7 without impacting any aspect of my life. Then I became engaged and soon after married. Married life had little impact on my training do in part to Meliss allowing me to pursue my passions. Marriage was followed by the purchase of a home which yet again yielded little change other than the inability to purchase more toys (bikes)! Maybe I should have initially named my blog, "Life of a Single Guy with No Obligations"? Well, within the past two months I feel that I can now write from a more authentic perspective, that of a true age-grouper, because I'm a new father to an amazing boy, Noah.
Starting on February 28th at 6:45 p.m. I went from a life of no true obligations to one of complete obligation. At 6:46 my perspective on everything changed. For the first time, in a long time, training has to taken a back seat, as it so rightly should.
So here is the first true entry of, Life of An Age Grouper.
Here is what I have learned, experienced, observed and toiled over since the birth of my son as I attempt to pursue my passion.
1. What Are You Willing To Sacrifice? Im not willing to sacrifice my responsibilities as a father, husband, son and brother. Nor will I sacrifice my professional responsibilities or that of a coach. So, I need to figure out a way to get more than 24 hours out of a day. I established my goals at the end of last season and have no inkling to change them so, in order to get more hours out of the day I have opted to sacrifice sleep. I calculated that pre-baby I was averaging 56 hours of sleep per week. Post baby, I'm averaging an interrupted 30. A 50% reduction in sleeping hours has had a dramatic impact. There is a reason why sleep deprivation is a form of torture. The lack of sleep has made me keenly aware of and reinforced the significance of sleep as a tool for recovery. This season will provide an insightful experiment between the correlation of hours slept and athletic performance. My advise to a new a parent pursuing their athletic goals is to sleep whenever you can because without proper recovery the success of your training sessions will be severely handicapped.
2. "I Don't Want to Train Like a Pro, I Want to Recover Like One". I have truly taken for granted the benefits of sleep as it pertains to recovery. Fitting in a mid afternoon nap used to be easy now, it's not even a possibility. Within in the first few weeks of attempting to regularly train I have certainly felt the effects of sleep deprivation and dealing with the frustration of prolonged periods of recovery. I have opted to improve upon my nutrition in order to counterbalance the negative effects of sleep deprivation. I consider myself a good eater that believes in making healthier choices, greener choices, but now I need to up the anti. I need to vigilant about putting the highest quality, nutrient dense food into my body. Obviously this is easier said than done but it is a door I must open in order to reach my goals. My advice to a new parent pursuing their athletic goals is to prepare larger meals in order to have leftovers and smoothies are a quick way to consume a lot of food.
3. Straight Up, No Chaser. I cannot afford to have any "junk miles" in my training schedule. Every single session must have a specific purpose otherwise it is not worth doing. If a session is not going to improve some aspect of my fitness and allow me to take a step forward in reaching my goals then I will not do it. My advice to a new parent pursuing their athletic goals is that you are better served sitting on the couch holding your baby than spinning for two hours on the bike. Getting your feet up lets your legs recover quicker and banking time with your baby and family is priceless.
4. By the Numbers. With such a small window of time to train each day I need to make sure that from the starting second until I stop my watch, that I'm performing each training session perfectly. My efficiency is of the utmost importance. That is why I find myself glued to my watch and focused on my technique. I monitor my swimming biking and running with a combination of computers, watches, heart rate monitors, cameras and video to guarantee that I'm hitting my marks and training as efficiently as possible. Any wasted movement or effort negates my efficiency during the training session . My advice to a new parent pursuing their athletic goals is to invest in a bike trainer and treadmill. This way you can be home in case of an emergency and maximize your allotted time to train. Obviously it would also be nice to have an Endless Pool in the basement as well ( I'm working on that).
5. The flexibility of a Cirque Du Solei Performer. Pre-baby I had a very solid training routine, train before and immediately after work followed by an evening with Meliss. I grew very accustom, and comfortable to this schedule and was able to make a lot of progress. The second Noah was born that schedule went right out the window. My current "schedule" revolves around Noah; when he feeds, needs to be changed, sleep patterns (or lack there of), moodiness, my duties as a husband, homeowner and professional plus the million other things that unexpectedly pop up. I cannot truly say I have a set training schedule rather, I get it in when I can (which translates to training while the rest of the world is sleeping). I have managed to figure out that I can train about 9 hours a week. Fortunately over the past couple of years, working alongside my coach, Matt Wontz of Organic Endurance, we have really been able to figure out what makes my body tick so, there really isn't any guess work in what I have to do. I know what needs to be done, it's just a matter of getting it done. My advice to a new parent pursuing their athletic goals is to forget about a set schedule or routine and be extremely flexible with when and how much you train.
6. Burning the Candle at Both Ends. I'm constantly trying to figure out how to be "my best". How can I be the best husband, the best dad, the best son, the best coach, the best "me", it is an exhausting task. I refuse to accept that this is an impossibility and that sacrifices must be made in order to do so. I will figure out a way to achieve my best on every level and I think it starts with a little sleep : ). My advice to a new parent pursuing their athletic goals is that if you try to do everything then you will crash. Be prepared for it and make sure you and your significant other don't crash at the same time.