Ironman Triathlon – An IronWife’s perspective

Dedicated to my IronMan and all the IronSpouses around the world

Ironman Triathlon

Sid at Ironman Nice

Exactly 2 months ago my husband earned the title of his first Ironman at Nice, France. Meet my husband Siddhant – a wonderful man of few words with a crazy sense of humor and works as a corporate communications professional.

If you are wondering, aIronman Triathlon is one of a series of long-distance triathlon races organized by the World Triathlon Corporation (WTC), consisting of a 2.4-mile (3.86 km) swim, a 112-mile (180.25 km) bicycle ride and a marathon 26.22-mile (42.20 km) run, raced in that order.

Yes, it’s extreme and it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. I could have never imagined Sid to ever consider something like this. Though he used to play basketball for his state during school days, pursuing triathlons was not something on his radar. But now this is his way of life, his passion, his dream and my household is mixed with new fitness goals, crazy diet, and endless training hours week after week!

Having zero idea about what a Triathlon is, let alone the devastating effect the training part will bring about in our relationship, I was up for a big surprise.

So if you are a Ironman’s Spouse, Hi-five! I feel you and I understand that keeping our house together was never such a big question, until now. Today I have a love hate relationship with a Triathlon for taking our spouses away from us for hours, but let’s face it – we are proud Ironwives!

Ironman - an Ironwife's perpective

Specially printed to support the Ironman!

 

While everyone focuses on the pride, sense of accomplishment and joy triathlons bring, there is another side that rarely gets the due attention

The husband is Tri but wife Tries harder!!

Triathlons, like other endurance races, have a structured training regime and it eats up a lot of time an athlete that he could otherwise spend with his family. Especially training for an Ironman event can take up 12-20 hours in a week, where you can be spending 4-6 hours on a bike and 3-4 hours long run and and hour or two in the pool. Pre-race peak weeks are the worst!

To be honest there was a point when I almost felt abandoned in a funny way. I hardly saw Sid or had a chance to talk to him, as he would be just too exhausted. I would often joke – Looks like this isn’t your house but a PG for you. We never had so many arguments and I would often feel like a single parent managing a baby, 2 dogs, and a house alone! And then I read this.

Triathlon has been called the “divorce sport” because the commitment it takes to complete one of these run-bike-swim events can leave the non-competitive partner feeling neglected, and perhaps even abandoned

The unexpected shock

Sid’s journey began in 2013 with an outdoor fitness group, where with some practice he decided to participate in a half marathon in 2014. One thing led to another. Soon he bought a MTB (Mountain Training Bike) and was training on this new cycle, participating in races, events and what not. Meanwhile, we were blessed with a baby girl in June, 2015.

He had an interest in triathlon but didn’t have the confidence to do one as running was his weak spot. But post his second half marathon in 2015, he finally made up his mind that he should stat training for one. He would talk endlessly about triathlons and show me videos and honestly, it looked very inspiring to me. It’s funny that I actually thought he was joking then. Nope. Sid – who didn’t step into the pool for 20 years since his school days, now got his swimming pass made to practice in the society pool! Face Palm!

Ironman Triathlon

IronBaby supporting her dad!

Triathlon training and relationships

His regime only got stronger and difficult. Little did I know that our weekends would mean a missing husband at 4-5 am, only to return too tired to enjoy the leftover hours of the day with family. I was too busy with a little baby, so somehow I made peace with it. We hardly got any time together over the days, weeks and months. Slowly I broke apart. I stopped talking or trying to talk. But it made it worse for me. I had never felt this lonely for the longest time in my married life.

Initially, I had loved his new found craze for fitness but now somewhere I was resenting this whole new concept of how it was taking more of his “family “time. Don’t get me wrong, I was very proud of him always. I think he didn’t realize it for the longest time that I was just trying to work around his schedule waiting for a window when he was available – and – was not ‘tired with training’ or stressed with his ‘full-time corporate job’. Nonetheless, I continued to support him, like he always supported me to pursue my dreams. Maybe I thought it will get better? But I had no clue how to make it better.

Finally, in 2016 August Sid completed his first Ironman 70.3 at Bintan and went on to finish his full Ironman at Nice this year! I am super proud of him and I can brag about it for years to come. And as I write this I can’t wait for him to better his timing in his next attempt!

Let’s make this work!

Lets face it. Marriage is hard work. It more than just love. It means sacrifice, selflessness and takes a lot more effort to trudge two individuals with different life goals along, trying to do a lifetime together. Being side by side in the good and bad is harder than just talks. There are difficult talks and times and some outbursts and cries. But in the end, it’s all worth it!

I wish we had talked about this whole concept of training and how it would affect our family life. I have learned and accepted this new life with him. The training. The fatigue. The time away from us. It will continue as he signs up for his next event to get closer to his goals, which he had very clearly chalked out before getting into it. All we have done is, changed our perspectives to help each other to handle it maturely and look forward to a new Ironman adventure!

My expectations are now practical. If he has long workouts, I plan play dates with my friends or we go out. We try and spare an hour to watch our favorite series once miss K is asleep or chat up at dinner about what’s new. Our social life is limited but the first chance we get to go out, we grab it! We have come a long way.

But then there are cookie points. We have been able to enjoy 2 international trips where we clubbed the event with a small vacation. This was a fabulous way to celebrate the Ironman event as a family and also enjoy some much-needed family time! Time to check the map to see where we can go next!

Ironman Triathlon

Triathlon training can make marriage as tough as an Ironman event

What is new? A new healthy lifestyle, that Sid has inspired me to take up. I did my first 3 km run at Pinkathon (more on that later) and trust me I hate running! but I did it! I love that I am already on a weight loss journey and quite close to a pre-pregnancy weight 😀

So to all the spouses out there. Let you’re your husband’s pursue their dreams and hobbies.  It’s their outlet – to release all the stress and workload. Being a mom is tough but so is being a husband and daddy. It’s hard, it’s never-ending, it’s tough! So encourage your man if he finds his dream or a hobby and push him over the edge. As long as we keep the sensitivity to the timing and family it will all end well. Nothing like having role models for your kids right at home!

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  1. What an experience for participating in Triathlon! Indeed it takes a toll on family time but you saw the positives in this entire experience which shows your love for your life patner. And you got to visit two countries, that’s the icing on the cake. And your daughter learns important life skills by observing her parents. I loved your post, Karuna! All the very best for your future!!!

  2. Whoa! I feel you ! Husbandman started his new venture just as baby 2 is here .. and I have always wanted to have him follow his dreams .. But it really is exhausting .. to just not have around for days together .. without .. any tentative date when he is back! More power to you! and congratulations IronWoman! much love ..

    • Gayathri, being an ex-entrepreneur I can understand his state of mind. I have been the peon to the CEO so it’s tough. But managing sensitivities to our roles at home is equally critical to having a fulfilling happy life

  3. I applaud you for highlighting the negative impact on relationships when one of the spouses commits to such an intensive program. It must be mentally exhausting but like you said, one must work at making the relationship stronger than ever.

    The post reminded me of Tendulkar’s farewell speech wherein he thanked his team and their families for allowing them the time away from family and focusing on Tendulkar.

  4. It is difficult as a wife and mother juggling around your husbands schedule. I am a pilot wife, so though my husband is not actively engaged in a sport he does have a lot of studying and prepping to do between flights. This eats away from family time. It’s a constant juggle. But as you put it, somewhere you have to start being practical about what can be done and what can’t. In the end it’s about making things work with our amazing partners. What enriches them does affect the ecosystem at home positively.

  5. Kudos to you as a family for struggling through this experience and achieving what you have achieved. I really loved the Tee(s) that you and your son adorned in support of the man of the family

  6. Jaw drop!!! What have I just read, frankly speaking, I can never ever imagine myself at your place. So, first of all, take a bow till the knees and a salute to say what a lovely lady you are. Thanks for sharing the inside story of Ironman Triathlon and what all efforts go into the making of an Ironman. All the best to your new fitness journey!

  7. This is such a journey. Your post inspires me. I can easily call you an ‘iron woman’ too as the hardship you faced required similar determination and patience. Hats off!! Kudos to you and your hubby!

  8. I am a marathon runner but never tried Triathlon. I agree we should let each other pursue their dreams.,Marriage is all about teamwork and helping and supporting each other.

  9. I did follow your iron man journey through France in your Insta stories. Hats off to your husband and you for doing This! And of course, to Kenisha ?

  10. Thanks for taking us through your triathlon journey.. my husband is a runner too, wish to see him participate in triathlon too.. your contribution in this feat is indeed commendable!!

  11. I had seen the stories on Instagram and was so impressed and awestruck as how difficult it could be for the participants. Hats off to you for being a continuous support to your husband.

  12. Wow! Me and Siddhant go all the way back to our first jobs in Patni. When I read his detailed post about the Ironman experience, he earned my deepest respect. I have also been sharing it with my friends proudly telling them that I know him personally. But it never occurred to me that such a feat is not possible without a solid support from his family and spouse. You put it all so well. Now you have earned my respect deeper than what I have for Siddhant. Hats off to you and my best wishes to all 3 of you to achieve all your dreams.

  13. I can relate to every words shared here as I am a Sportsman wife myself. The wardrobe in my house has more jerseys and football shorts than normal clothes. Every 3 months I am throwing a pair of studs coz they stink right from 1st floor. Every weekend I am alone at home,great that I have company of my baby now, we both are home and he is playing & captaining some or the other football tournaments in the region. I have made peace with it. He loves playing which keeps him sane and makes sure let me do what I love too.

  14. This is so insipiring! My husband has been trying to get back into shape, and I feel like me and the baby get abandoned over that, but I can understand how important it is for him as well! So thankyou for showing that this is so doable, and important!

  15. This was a beautiful read Karuna. I watched all your stories and pics on insta and it is so humbling to know all that went behind it. And i have much renewed respect for you and all wives and mothers who let their husbands pursue such passions. Wish you and Sid many more laurels.

  16. His dedication is commendable. It takes a lot to start something and see it through till the end no matter how difficult or exhausting, or (in this case) both, it is. He deserves every praise that comes his way. Many congratultions to you all for achieving this milestone. Can’t wait to read about your next adventure.