EMPATHY FOR THE TRIATHLETE - TRIWIVES STYLE
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Enjoying a ski trip (happy to be in upright position)…

My husband and I recently enjoyed a wonderful ski vacation.  He’s an expert, I’m an advanced beginner/intermediate on a good day.  Last year was the first time we had skiied in about 15 years, but he remembered how much he loved the sport and was on his “pause” from racing, so decided it was going to become a more regular activity.  Hence, we were back in the same place one year later, even adding an extra day to the vacation.  Besides, as a benefit, it’s a great cross training activity for triathletes.  Oh, don’t get me wrong, he still ran on the treadmill, swam in the indoor pool, and rode the stationary bike before or after hitting the slopes.  Skiing was just a bonus workout……

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Managing to get the workouts in on vacation. Skiing isn’t enough…

And while he was busy working out, I was busy taking pictures of the sunrise….

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Sunrise in Deer Valley, Utah.

I decided to ski 3 out of 4 days and of course, he was doing all 4.  On day 1, we skiied together in the morning, him being gracious to ski with me on the easy blues.  In the afternoon, he went off on his own and I took a lesson.  By the time I got back to the room, every bone and muscle in my body were aching.  See, the sport for me is both physically AND mentally stressful.  I have a healthy appreciation for tumbling down a mountain at full speed……I laid down for about 2 minutes, but knew if I didn’t get up, that’s where I’d be for hours.  A hot shower helped a bit and I took solace in the fact that I was having a massage the next day.

We went out for dinner that night.  We first had a drink at the bar and then went in for dinner.  As they brought my entree, my energy level just faded.  I have never had this feeling in my life.  Seriously, it was like the life just went out of my body for a fleeting moment.  My eyes glazed and I sort of went limp.  Even my husband noticed this event.  “Are you okay?  What happened?”  While I came back to life, so to speak, I was left with the fatigue.  I mean it was a satisfying fatigue; that feeling that you’ve done something beneficial for your body and it’s worth the interim suffering, BUT still draining.  It was at this point that trihubby stated, “Guess what.  You just bonked.  Now you know how I feel after some races”.  Hmmm….

Some time later it struck me that I have been at his side at the finish of every Ironman full-distance race and have seen first hand the effects it has on his body.

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A happy finisher at Ironman Florida.

Some races it’s like he just went for a training run, while others it’s how I felt – like the life had drained out of him; several times he’s even ended up in the medical tent.  Not having experienced that feeling before, I had never quite had the empathy for what he had been through.  Oh sure, I always worry about him, but never realize how truly awful he must be feeling.  But, I think I do now; if only to my own smaller scale degree.  As they say, until you walk in someone else’s bike/running shoes…….

Oh, I’m not comparing my day of skiing to an Ironman, but I am saying I now have a better appreciation for what his body feels like.  I may never, heck who am I kidding, I WILL NEVER DO an Ironman distance triathlon, but now I know that our “shared” experience has brought me much closer to my triathlete, which is always a good thing….

 – SHERRY

WHAT EXPERIENCE HAVE YOU SHARED WITH YOUR TRIATHLETE?