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Not Married to Triathlon - Geek Turned Athlete

Not Married to Triathlon

Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone!! This past weekend, the hubs and I went to a marriage conference at a friend’s church to enrich our marriage. It was really interesting despite the religious differences that the hubs and I share. Don’t worry, we are doing really great! It is best to go to these things for prevention rather than a last stitched effort.


After the conference on Saturday night, I got to thinking. While living in Germany, a lot of people I know had known a couple or had been the victim of the “Ironman Curse” where the intense training hours supposedly brought on divorce. In my opinion, these people probably had problems to begin with and the long training hours (I get up to 18 hours during my heavy weeks) only exacerbated them. Plus, some people can become quite obsessed with running and/or and triathlon that they put their family 2nd.

I don’t see this happening to the hubs and I, but I did a little research that I thought would help me as well as you guys to keep this from happening. The truth is: I’m NOT married to triathlon or running. Family MUST come 1st. Here are some ways to keep you from catching the “Ironman Curse”!! It sounds like a disease, doesn’t it? ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Don’t just think of only yourself when you are planning your workouts out. Do you have kids? Who is going to watch them? Don’t think your spouse is going to watch them all the time while you go out and train. That is a sure fire way to cause some tension in the house. You shouldn’t automatically get a “free pass” on housework/child care/errands just because you are training for a race. This is a hobby that you chose to participate in. Triathlon/Running training shouldn’t be a higher priority than taking care of your family.
  • Multitask. Cycle/run to work or on your lunch breaks. The hubs and I used to cycle to work while we lived in Germany. A lot of times, it takes the same amount of time to cycle somewhere as it does to drive!!
  • Incorporate the family. If you have kids: have them ride their bikes next to you while you run. My sister and I used to do that with my mom when we were younger. We got some exercise, and so did she! The hubs and I are always going on bike rides together on the weekends when the weather is warmer. We also do some hiking and rock climbing together!! Those count as workouts!! DSC09809.jpg DSC09816.jpg
  • Get up early before everyone else does. Get your swims/runs/cycling (even if it is on the trainer) done in the mornings before work if you know your family will be around after work.
  • Be your family’s cheerleader just as much as they are to you. The hubs comes to all of my races when he isn’t working and carries all my crap around plus takes pictures. He never complains and is always encouraging. He isn’t much of a race person himself, so when he signed up for the Leadville 100 (100 mile running race) this year, I was excited. I also cleared my schedule for that weekend. There were a few races that were happening that weekend that I wanted to do, but there will always be more races for me to do. It is time for me to step up to the plate and support the hubs like he supports me all the time!! (I was trying to tell him good luck on his leg of this relay while being out of breath here, haha).DSC09669.JPG
  • Be present. When you actually do spend time with your family, put your cell phone and laptop away. Don’t go on and on about triathlon and/or running. It can get boring especially for people who don’t really do all the same things that you do. The hubs and I talk about triathlon/running, but that isn’t the majority of our conversations. I am so much more than a triathlete/runner.


When you are old and your body is falling apart, triathlon/running isn’t going to be there to take care of you. Your family will be. And if you died tomorrow, wouldn’t you want to go with no regrets about the time spent with your family?


Ta ta for now!! The hubs and I are staying in for Valentine’s Day with the puppy and cuddling. ๐Ÿ˜‰

What are you doing tonight? ย Anything special?

Do you have any tips to not annoy your family with your training?

{ 24 comments… add one }
  • Lisa February 14, 2011, 12:45 pm

    This is such a great post!

    I am not an Ironwoman but when I was training for Hood to Coast last year I got obsessed. I was running a lot, working out A LOT and really didn’t have time for much of anything. I didn’t keep in touch with friends very well. Which I regret. I just didn’t have time for much of anything.

    My boyfriend is very understanding about my workout schedule. He (almost) never complains about me working out 5 days a week. He’s okay with my schedule and tries to plan his own workouts around mine. That works for us.

    One thing I wish: I wish I didn’t have to go to the gym after work. That cuts into our together time. I miss being able to run at lunch time because it freed up my nights to do whatever I wanted with my boyfriend and friends.

    • Nicole February 14, 2011, 12:48 pm

      It is soooooo easy to get into that downward slope of ignoring friends and your spouse!! Sometimes, I need to be reminded of what is important in life too. That is great that you have a supportive boyfriend!! Those are really hard to find. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Erica February 14, 2011, 12:54 pm

    You and the man are so cute ๐Ÿ™‚ Great tips and thoughts!! I think its very important to make any training work for your life vs. make the training your life. Hope you two have a SPECTACULAR valentine’s day!! We did a mini celebration last night and will do another mini one tonight. Nothing too crazy ๐Ÿ˜‰
    Erica recently posted..E- Joshโ€™s Birthday &amp Pregnancy Update

  • Kelly February 14, 2011, 12:58 pm

    What a great post! I can’t imagine being married to someone who wasn’t supportive of me and my marathon training. Lucky for me, my husband is a runner too. We’re training for my second and his first marathon together. But he is just a supportive person anyway, so I imagine he would still be supportive even if he didn’t get the whole running thing. I imagine when kids are involved it get so much tougher. I totally agree with you on all these tips, but especially the last one. Quality is better than quantity, when it comes to relationships.
    Kelly recently posted..Love in photos

  • Jess February 14, 2011, 12:59 pm

    Great post. I am trying especially hard to focus on the “being present” piece. It’s something I KNOW I have a hard time with – between blackberries (where long convos with my sis on BBIM can take over my focus) and my laptop with oodles of blog friends to keep up with, plus my own blog – makes me feel very scattered and unfocused sometimes. I try to balance when I do these things for me with my time with the hubs. Same goes for my workouts – I try to work them into “our” time together when schedules allow, or work them in as my “me” time for the day. But it’s a constant balancing act that I try to keep…it’s not easy though. The last thing I want is for my hubs to feel like he’s not a priority when he SO is. It’s so important to always put in that effort with your marriage that you’d put into anything else that means a lot to you. Marriage SHOULD be work in my book. Work that’s worth it. (and apologies in advance for such a rambly long blog comment!)
    Jess recently posted..Word of the week- surrender

  • Bill February 14, 2011, 2:18 pm


    Matter of fact, my last post touched on this topic:

    Balance has been the key to my training for years. I’m backed off of Ironman/Ultramarathon mainly because of Goddess.

    She’s the one that completes me, not the races.

    Luckily she’s very supportive of my shenanigans.
    Bill recently posted..Rudderless

    • Nicole February 14, 2011, 3:04 pm

      Bill, I love the fact that you call your wife “Goddess.” I need to teach my husband to do that! ๐Ÿ˜‰

      • Bill February 14, 2011, 3:06 pm

        There’s no teaching. He already knows. And it shows.

  • Jessica @ How Sweet February 14, 2011, 2:41 pm

    How how are you guys? Sorry, I’m distracted by your gorgeousness as a couple.
    Jessica @ How Sweet recently posted..To My Valentine

  • Jessica @ How Sweet February 14, 2011, 2:42 pm

    Gah! I meant how “hot.” ๐Ÿ™‚
    Jessica @ How Sweet recently posted..To My Valentine

    • Nicole February 14, 2011, 9:24 pm

      Ha! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Joanna Burgraf February 14, 2011, 2:47 pm

    Good and touchy subject to bring up. So wonderful that you are promoting this discussion. I think it’s easy to get carried away with training (or any new hobby or new found passion) especially for people like me who put my mind to something and get tunnel vision.

    I’m lucky that my bf is a personal trainer but he doesn’t do long distance stuff that I like to do. Last couple of races he did 5k while I did the longer runs. At the same time he got me, the former cardio queen, to hit the free weights and I love those too now.
    Joanna Burgraf recently posted..Happy Valentineโ€™s Day

  • Rose February 14, 2011, 3:46 pm

    Excellent post! After my first year in triathlon last year, my bf thought I lost my mind. This year, he is joining me in the sport and is crazier than I!! Turns out he’s much faster than me, so while we start our runs and our rides together, he pulls ahead. All that matters is that our time is spent together, we support each other (he took photos & cheered at my 1/2 marathon) and we are living a healthy life. An extra perk is that now he’s okay with all my tri stuff (and his) all over the house and the living room has become a perfectly acceptable place for the bike trainer! Hah!!!

    However, we make a conscious effort to have time for us. Downtime, together time, cuddle time. It’s too easy to get swallowed up in training, healthy meal prep, stretching and sleeping! Great post ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Karen February 14, 2011, 3:57 pm

    I saw your tweet about the marraige retreat and wondered how it went. Good information, thanks for sharing!

  • Nrmrvrk February 14, 2011, 5:37 pm

    My wife is pretty reasonable about my exercise addiction. I think she went into the marriage knowing how much I was into endurance sports. I compromised and switched from 200+ mile bike races to 50KM (and shorter) running races. (take < 1/2 the time to train for and complete) I do my best to be flexible with my training, often letting her tell me what day/ time going on my long runs works out best for her and I'll take one of the kids with my in the jog stroller when I can. I try to give her equal time without the kids and work out date nights for us. Not perfectly equal but she's not much into sports.

    Questions for you:

    Has your husband ever run an ultramarathon before? Awesome that he's taking a crack at Leadville!

    What's the religious difference that you two have and how do you deal with it? The wife and I have a bit of a difference as well.
    Nrmrvrk recently posted..House full of sick and a sparse week of training

  • Fit Chick Britt February 15, 2011, 9:13 am

    Thanks for this post and tips! Sometimes it can get hard when we get caught up in training. When I was running with a running club some of the wives of ironmen in training referred to themselves as “Ironman Widows.” Sad, but I think they were ok with it.

    I know I need to find a better balance between work, working out, blogging, household chores, and spending time with the hubby.

  • Abby February 15, 2011, 9:47 am

    Great post, Nicole!!!

    I like that Dave bikes because in the spring, summer and fall, we’re both busy with our exercise at the same time and then we spend our free time together!
    Abby recently posted..Leโ€™go my Puffins!

  • Samantha @ Health, Happiness & Skinny Jeans February 16, 2011, 12:18 pm

    These are excellent tips! I think sometimes we forget that while our partners support our passions they don’t necessarily share them. Its good to keep things in perspective. I try to find ways to be a fan for my boyfriend even if it means attending “just for fun” hockey games.

  • Karolina February 16, 2011, 3:26 pm

    Excellent tips! I think there needs to be more conversations on this topic…as a child who often felt abandoned by the workouts of my father, I can say that it is never worth having your children feel like they come 2nd in your life to exercise (or 3rd in life to exercise and work)! Like you said, when that form of exercise is gone due to age or injury, family will still be there, supporting you!

    Props on going to the marriage retreat too! I think people often wait until they are in crisis, and prevention is ALWAYS better, easier, and healthier then treatment:)
    Karolina recently posted..Characteristics of Love

  • Caitlin February 17, 2011, 1:37 pm

    This is such a great post, Nicole! It reminds me of something my Mum always tells me…remember to keep your individuality as a couple, that’s what drew you to one another in the first place. I think despite what your partner does or is passionate about, there has to be a lot of balance there. I love what you said about a tri/running not being able to take care of you when you’re old – spot on.

    Also, you two are so freaking beautiful. I kind of love looking at you.
    Caitlin recently posted..Horizons

  • Chloe February 17, 2011, 1:42 pm

    I love this post! I am in a very different stage of my life than you but I completely can understand what you are saying and the value in it. I actually wrote a post today on the importance of rest and recovery and I think that there definitely can be a common link…taking time off to stop and smell the roses ๐Ÿ™‚

    Have a great day!

  • Julie February 20, 2011, 11:49 am

    I found you on BlogHer and enjoyed your post. My hubby and I both started training for tris but are on much different levels. We often ‘train’ together but that only means we leave the house at the same time ๐Ÿ˜› Still, having a common goal has given us something fresh in our marriage. It is so easy to get wrapped up in the racing life, so thanks for reminding us to keep it all in perspective!
    Julie recently posted..Take a Chill Pilates


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