do triwives and triathletes speak the same language?

Are we speaking the same language??

As most of us think about the New Year, you hear things like: Goals – I need to set what I am going to achieve in 2014. Starting the first of the year, I am going to …… My New Year’s resolutions are…..and so on. But, if you live with triathletes, at least in our households, it seems to be a much different conversation. The only talk we’re hearing at the end of the year is about off season ending and race season beginning, which for us is pretty close to transitioning. Chatter becomes about dropping a few lbs. and increasing the number and length of workouts, which I guess could be construed as “their new year’s goals”.

What we recently happened to notice, however and found very curious, is how we, as, seem to feel very different emotions about family dynamics and lifestyles during the off season than our triathletes. It’s almost like we’re speaking different languages. What we see as positives, they often see as negatives and vice versa. We’ve heard the term “tri speak” before, but this is much more about how trisupporters and triathletes view their worlds and not just about a group of words. Are we really this far apart in our thinking? Here are some examples of our different “speaks” in the off season:

During the short-lived off season, the triwife says:

  • It’s really nice having you around more, even the kids think so.
  • It’s great that we can run errands together on the weekend.
  • Let’s go to the movies this Sunday afternoon.
  • I love off season so much, less laundry, yeah!!!!
  • Groceries are so much more about real food and not GU, Gatorade, and oatmeal.
  • It’s so nice to have the dining room table back to it’s original purpose – eating off of.
  • We’re all sitting down for dinner tonight – together and we’re eating at 7:30.
  • Shall I open a bottle of wine with dinner?
  • Do you want to stay up and watch a movie? It’s only 9:30.
  • It’s so nice getting up at 6 am and not 4:30.

But here’s what the triathlete says:

  • When will this end. I know my coach said I need to workout less, but what do I do with all this free time?
  • I’m 16 weeks and 3 days out from my first race. About to get serious.
  • I’m antsy. Can’t sit still. I’m going into work.
  • This helping with the kids and around the house is exhausting. I need a nap.
  • I need to start working on getting back to race weight. Just water with dinner.
  • Can we eat early, I’m hungry and sleepy?
  • The kids are at swim practice? I should probably go and see how they’re doing. I’ll just take my swim bag in case they need anything.
  • I’m used to going to bed at 9:30 pm. It’s bad for you to change your sleep patterns.
  • This sleep thing is overrated. 4:30 am – eyes wide awake. Now what do I do?
  • One brick shouldn’t hurt anything. I just need to run a little to work off these bike legs.

So, as this is being written, we must admit that our triathletes need race season training; this off season schedule just doesn’t work well for them. By the time they truly get into the groove and can relax a little, it’s time to start race training again!! Although our happiness factor appears to be improved during off season and we get more family time, they don’t seem to quite share this sentiment. In fact, one of our trihubbies actually seems to get a bit depressed off season.

So, with that said, we realized we have to take their inability to embrace the off season into consideration. Besides, over the years, we have managed to work around their training schedules and carve out some good quality family time. We do, however, plan to revisit this topic during race season and see if we’re still experiencing divergent emotions and speaking different languages; our guess is a resounding yes to both. But until then, here’s what we say:

Do not be upset when the off season is ending, but instead, embrace it (except the extra laundry, of course)! Realize your triathlete is an athlete and it is a part of them now and you and your family. Complain here, not to them. We are here for conversation and support. Work with them to find the balance during race season and go along for the ride. The vast majority of the time it will be worth the effort.