When I got back from the last race, I had a realization – being a triwife can be a very lonely experience. Not only are you left at home alone while your triathlete does his/her countless hours of training, but unless you go with someone to a race, you spend much of the spectating day on your own. This is often true even in the days leading up to the race. Of course, the situation is worse with full distance races.
I started Ironman 70.3 Oceanside with a group of people and it was great. We caught up with each other; I met new triwives; and we shivered together at the swim start.
But, as their triathletes started racing ahead and got closer to the finish, they kept leaving me one by one. Or, they were with their families and had kids who needed to eat or nap and in other words, had other things to do, until I was left spectating by myself.
This was certainly not the first time I have experienced this loneliness. I clearly remember the Ironman 70.3 World Championships in Mont Tremblant last year, where pretty much I was left on my own the whole day. This was basically due to the age group swim start and my triathlete going off in the last wave! And, this is just the recent races. I’ve been a trisupporter for over 10 years now, so think of the number of races I’ve been alone to yell, “Go Carl!”
When the loneliness dawned on me this time, I looked around to see if it was just me or if there were other trisupporters standing around by themselves. Sadly, I found it all too common…
I’ve always lived by the premise, if you see a problem, you devise a solution. So, for all you solo trisupporters out there, this one’s for you!
Here are a few tips I came up with to make your trisupporter duties a bit less lonely and don’t include sitting in your room alone…
Lets put an end to the lonely life of the triwife…
If you know you’re going to be alone, check out what the area has to offer and see if there’s something you can do while you’re in town. See if there are any special events going on, a Farmer’s Market, or if there’s a tourist site you’d like to see.
We do a lot of Food & Fun posts for the races, so you can certainly check with us or google “visit” and the state you’re going to or try Trip Advisor for a place to start. But, on race day, you need to consider if you can actually get in and out of the race venue or if you need to stay put.
This is a great way to meet people and to occupy your time. The races are always looking for volunteers. Just go on the race site, like Challenge America or Ironman, and they will have information for volunteers. You don’t have to make this an all day event. You could volunteer for just the swim or at the finish line. I did this at the swim for Lake Placid one year and met some really nice locals and ended up spending the rest of the day with them. Plus, they knew all the best viewing spots and where to get an ice-cold beer!
DO SOMETHING FOR YOURSELF
Go have a nice meal by yourself AND include a mimosa or a glass of wine. Don’t worry about what people think, because trust me, they are not concerned about you or feeling sorry for you. Take a book along or your iPad if you’re uncomfortable.
If it’s a full distance race, think about going to have a massage or even check out if there’s a movie theater near by. This is especially true if it’s a one loop bike and you have at least 4 plus hours to kill. I’m serious here. I know friends who have gone to the movies in downtown Lake Placid.
DON’T BE SHY
This is something that has taken me a while to conquer, but I will go up to total strangers and talk to them at races. I’ve actually found if you go stand next to someone who’s alone, the situation usually takes care of itself and it’s really easy to strike up a conversation. I have met some very nice people this way and gotten great ideas for articles for the TriWivesClub!
BRING ALONG YOUR OWN SUPPORT TEAM
If you have the opportunity and particularly at local races, ask someone to come along with you. Our family joined us in Kona last year, but hey, it was Kona.
I’m not sure they’d feel the same about Houston in the summer, but I can still ask! It’s also nice to have companionship in the days leading up to a race as your triathlete is often preoccupied or off doing chores.
LEARN A NEW SKILL
I’m serious here. I decided at Mont Tremblant to hone by photography skills. I was literally all alone on this stretch of highway waiting for Carl to come by on his bike. So, I decided to practice some photography tips I had learned and actually found that time flew by. Plus, I got some really cool pictures out of it and made myself a better photographer in the process.
Think about a foreign language you want to learn or practice or that book you’ve always wanted to start. The possibilities are endless and think of how much you can accomplish by the end of race season!
So, I hope this gives you a few ideas of how to occupy your time. It’s not fun being by yourself and feeling lonely at a triathlon; add to that the stress of sometimes having to worry about your triathlete…
The event should be a great experience for both the triathlete AND trisupporter…
HAVE DO YOU OCCUPY YOUR TIME WHEN YOU’RE ALONE AT A RACE?
Sherry is one of the TriWivesClub and LifeDoneWell co-founders and contributes to multiple blogs. She is a former co-owner of the California Apparel News and had a career in the healthcare industry. Her passions include traveling, real food, the environment, and animal rescue/welfare. She lives a healthy lifestyle and has been a vegetarian since 1987. She and her husband are parents to two rescue pups and reside in Connecticut.