Before a baby enters the picture, the triathlete lifestyle is quite simple. It’s as simple as routine. If I want to do a run, ride, or swim, I just go do it. The only complications may be pool availability or weather conditions that require an adaptation to the workout to perhaps make it an indoor one. There does require some strategy, some planning, but in comparison to life with a baby, it’s much more like putting together the edges of a puzzle instead of the middle, especially if the puzzle is something insanely difficult like a black cat. Throw a baby into the picture, and life becomes even more complicated. Sometimes you can do all the planning and strategizing to make a training session happen, and all of your plans still end up being thrown out the window.
There have been stretches of times, days on end even, where I have been able to get in everything I set out to do. Some days I’ve even surprised myself with all of the extra household tasks I’ve also been able to get done. Then there are the other days. With the fall and onset of winter, there also arrives the flu and cold season with it. The best-laid plans and intentions don’t stand a chance against it, and our household has not been able to escape its treachery either.
The plans for a day like today? I could capitalize on the 8-11:30am drop-in childcare at the Y in order to fit in a swim, my lifeguard shift, and a quick run on the treadmill before picking Baya up and heading home. Sounds like an excellent morning to me! Once home, I could eat a quick lunch and hop on the trainer and bike for an hour if she stuck with her “schedule” of taking a long nap at that time. That should even leave me some time to do the dishes and work on some writing. Instead, however, after Andy left for work, Baya couldn’t stop coughing and ended up throwing up. Again. I got me and her cleaned up and changed, called into work that I would be missing my shift, feeling that I should not take her into childcare with her having thrown up 3 times in the last 12 hours. This also meant that I would miss my swim.
Yesterday became quite nice out so I was able to run outdoors with her, but we awoke this morning to snow and cold, and I do not feel that is a good option for her today. There goes the run. I am pretty adamant about running everyday too, so this is where it also becomes a mental battle to accept the situation that I am in. Good thing I can at least bike still, right? What should have been a 2.5-3 hour nap was cut short and I missed the entire ride! Of course.
Yes, there are days like today that make it tough to be a mom and seriously pursue triathlons at the same time. Days like today also test mental toughness. I can push through hard workouts and races. It is actually easier to push through them than miss them altogether. This is also a great reminder for perspective, because in the grand scheme of things, missing today’s workouts (or even a few more), aren’t going to make that big of a difference. Triathlon is a lifelong pursuit, but so is being a parent.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not going to be one of those people who say to embrace and cherish all these moments. Cleaning up vomit and listening to seemingly endless whining and crying is not fun, nor is it something I will cherish. She does not suddenly turn into a little girl who just wants to cuddle. She does not like to be cuddled much, there is just too much to see and do (much like her mom I guess). However, being there for your kid when they really need you, definitely surpasses the importance of any workout. There will always be another day, and another opportunity to train (and this is only the off-season after all). Being a mom will always come first. Now it’s time to finish the laundry and celebrate having clean clothes again, at least for a little while.