sailing the BVI

We recently spent 9 days with another couple, 7 of which were on a sailboat. We had no idea what to expect going in. While we’ve known each other for quite a few years, we’ve never spent any serious time together. And, what made this trip even more interesting and a huge question mark was that both husbands are triathletes who would be trapped on water for a week with little to no access to training.

Would they be able survive without driving themselves and their spouses over the edge? Where would we, the triwives, find to escape if indeed this happened? Then, what would happen if the couples didn’t get along? Couples travel can go either way. You may think you’re compatible and have a lot in common, but many things can happen to “rock the boat” during your travels. Our only recourse would be to throw ourselves or better yet, them, into the vast Caribbean Sea….

sailing the bvi

I know my husband had great concerns about maintaining his training going into the vacation, because it is after all, prime training season. But, neither one of us was going to pass on an opportunity to sail for a week in the British Virgin Islands AND get a break from work. I made sure he spoke with his coach and together, they made a plan for how to get some training in while on the boat, but it certainly wasn’t going to be optimal. Too bad, I say…

sailing the bvi

The week leading up to us leaving was full of training; not a minute of time was left open. Getting in bike rides was priority number 1 as there would be no way to make up this activity on land or at sea. As he was packing, he decided to wear his running shoes on the plane – just in case – and threw in a pair of shorts and a t-shirt that he could wear even on the boat. Life would be in ruins if we went ashore and he saw he could run and was unprepared!!! Then, the TRX and elastic bands were packed away with the snorkeling gear, so he was as ready as he could be. And, we were off…

Both triathletes started off with good intentions. We were on land the first night before boarding the boat, so they went for a bit of a run, while the wives enjoyed happy hour. Hence, we had no real qualms about them running off and I had long ago decided I wasn’t worrying one bit about working out or watching what I ate or drank.

But, once on board the sailboat, things changed and actually quickly. All it seemed to take was getting out onto the water with such incredible shades of blue, the sails going up, and an amazing warm breeze hitting their face that they left the world behind, including the world of triathlons…

sailing the vvi

So, for the 7 days we were on the sailboat, here’s the extent of the training they put in:

  • a daily paddle boarding workout or should I say a SUP cruise around the harbor
  • a daily snorkeling adventure or should I say a kick around the harbor
  • kite flying off the back of the boat
  • walking along a beach to get to the next bar
  • climbing the mast to hoist Polly the Parrot to identify our boat in harbor
  • pulling the dinghy out of the water up on the beach
  • getting up and down from the bed in our berth

triathlete workouts while on vacation

The TRX and bands stayed packed in the spare berth. While they could have gotten in a few good swims, they chose not to. There was even another island where a run would have been possible, but they passed on that for renting a jeep and exploring with their wives. The sneakers were put away in exchange for flip flops and Sperry dock shoes.

The Pain Killers flowed both on the boat and on shore. Even my husband said “I’ve drank more in one week than the past 10 years. These are great”. The diet went to hell, too. They ate not only a lot of food – seriously, a ton of food – but things they never eat like 2 lbs. of lobster and BBQ spare ribs and chicken and relished absolutely every minute of it…

what triathletes eat on vacation

But, probably the best from the triwives viewpoint was that there was very little, if any, triathlon conversation. In fact, the only reminders were the Ironman baseball caps worn by our traveling companions and the backpack carried by my husband. No one talked about training or races. They even forgot about their friends who were doing Ironman 70.3 Puerto Rico that Sunday. Instead, we talked about things like our families, our new houses, favorite wines, the presidential race, and the recipe for Pain Killers. Oh, I forgot, there was one other reminder that needs no words…

how a triathlete prepares for a race

In case you haven’t figured it out, we ended up having a simply glorious week on that sailboat. As couples, we got along swimmingly and much to our relief, we received confirmation that our conversations as husband and wife are not unique. I can’t remember the number of times Carl and I laughed when our friends were pleasantly disagreeing over things like how to tie off the mooring and who’s right about which harbor to spend the night at on Jost Van Dyke. It sounded, oh, so familiar…Things could have gone very differently, but fortunately, they didn’t. We disembarked much better friends then when we started our journey…

As far as the triathlon world goes, that’s a different story. Now that we’re back on land, it only took a day for training to resume in earnest. He didn’t miss a beat. I knew it couldn’t last, but it was so nice for that brief time. I think it’s obvious they both just needed a break from triathlons and the world for awhile, which was a huge and pleasant surprise. It was great to see them turn it off, but not so great to see them turn it back on…

Here’s hoping you get a vacation that turns out to be so good that training becomes a distant memory and you get a week free of triathlons. It was simply glorious…