One of the main reasons I started attempting to get fit was my deluded mind-set and frankly appalling treatment of family life at that point. (https://budjude17.wordpress.com/2012/10/07/in-the-beginning-2/) (its strangely emotional re-reading some of the original blog posts)
I am certainly less chubby than I was then and as a family we are definitely a million miles away from what I put us all through. Thankfully the child was too young to remember (and rather unfairly mostly thinks the sun shines out of my arse) and I think Sue has blocked out that period of time so she too doesn’t reference it.
So how have a repaid them for the faith, loyalty and belief – especially Sue – have given me in the almost 10 years we have been together.
In part by ensuring that in the last two years I have dragged them increasingly around the country to watch me bumble about at stupid o’clock in the morning dressed in some inappropriate tight fitting clothing, whilst generally swearing and being bad tempted until I am united with a litre of ice cold Fanta and the biggest possible ice cream, where upon I usually fall asleep.
I have taken Sue to such glamorous places as Chirk, Market Drayton, Flint, Conwy, Chester, Tenby, Bala, Keswick, Nottingham and Whitchurch. Sometimes I have made her go back the following year to make her stand in a similar spot in the rain again.
Hardly places which scream glamour, glitz and excitement. I will gloss over the semi exciting trip to London and Hyde park – where I ‘nearly’ beat a brownlee, as the only shop she saw all day was the KFC on the service station on the way home.
On top of this she puts up with the usual mood swings (heightened this year by the knee issues / the operation / recovery process / ‘Tenby blues’) the general tiredness, the early starts when I lug my ample frame out of bed, the daily mountain like pile of washing I generate due to my ability to sweat after 15 seconds of anything approaching exercise.
I often only do some events, because I am a medal hoebag – having never received any tangible sporting reward in my life before that first dangerously slow 10k but let’s be honest Sue deserves the biggest medal for putting up with me. She even got me a medal cake for father’s day last year (when we were all away in the lakes….because I was doing an event there)
Clearly I don’t get away scot free from the situation – I mean I sit / sleep through a lot of episodes of Emmerdale and the such upon an evening, I occasionally have to deal with the mountain of washing I produce and put up with her increasingly vocal dismay at me still having not done all the DIY I promised last year, this year – but you know it ‘might’ get done next year.
I am not going to sit here and type that it’s all going to change in the future – clearly it probably won’t; I will likely still be a medal hoe, I will be doing two big events next year (the ironman distance ‘Lakesman’ triathlon in June and hopefully the TTT (https://budjude17.wordpress.com/2015/06/24/top-to-toe-tit-testicle/) and no doubt if the wonderful people at 9bar haven’t figured out I am less sporty inspiration and more 9bar aholic then hopefully I will be able to do a few events for them as well, added to the fact I was promised a club place at the London marathon next year and things already look busy on the racing front……..
I used to have weekends away with my best mate – covering off the majority of the culturally (beer laden) significant European countries. I have done many a stupid thing on weekends away – I have taken part in the world lilo raft race, which akin to my triathlon performances resulted in injury and a mid-pack finish, I have spent a night in prison (it was a hostel), I stayed awake from a Friday morning till Monday afternoon in Riga powered solely by beer, flaming shots and an abundance chips, I have pretended to be homosexual to get on to a big gay party cruise liner, I have been completely lost at the world’s biggest beer festival and I have also taken part in the Pamplona bull run – which also again akin to my performance in lyrca resulted in me injuring myself by falling over.
Sue worried massively about me when I was away doing these stupid things – especially in Spain when I was getting chased by a pack of bulls and terrorised by Sangria but she didn’t voice her opinion to loudly – they were short snaps of time. I mean the bull run is pretty much less than a minute of being terrified – an Ironman swim is over an hr and given I tend to almost drown or get beaten up for at least 10 minutes at the start of that.
However when I am training and racing she has to think about all the stupid things I can do to myself for hours at a time – not knowing if I was to be the one not to return in Bala, (https://budjude17.wordpress.com/2015/06/16/its-a-new-dawn-a-new-day/) or having the recent increase in cyclist accidents / incidents out on the roads on her mind whilst I am off playing on my bike, or just the general fact I seem to manage to be in some sort of situation regards of the actual situation I am in ( I mean how many people swam head first directly into a big static mooring buoy in Tenby?!?) but never once (ok, once she did) has she complained about these actual events or the consequences of training – like me falling asleep on the grass at Chester Zoo last year or the need for an occasional granny nap on the weekend or how upset I get if I run out of coffee and dates.
See what my wife lacks in height she makes up for with the biggest heart I have ever encountered.
Regardless of how big the crowd is or how much she has to fight her way through to the barriers – she always does, she is always heard loud and clear (something which my daughter seems to have picked up as well, as she was found shouting at me from on top of a bin at Chester Tri last year). And it never fails to motivate me, put a smile on my face and give me that little bit extra pace to continue to stumble towards the finish line. I only wish that at every point she has ever taken a photo of me, I could have taken a photo of her – to show her much it means to me to see her (and her smile) and hear her when times are tough (apart from at the Gauntlet this year when she called me an idiot for doing the third lap, when I could have quite happily push her into the stream)
The fact she has learnt to swim, from being openly scared of water and has taken part in two running 5km events and one 10km event delights me – despite claiming to not enjoy either running or swimming. And it fills me with an equal amount of pride as when I see my daughter practising triathlon in the back garden (although she has yet to fully master the paddling pool open water 100m) or when she shouts genuine encouragement out of the car window when we drive past a group of cyclists on a Sunday afternoon ride.
If you are ever really unfortunate and meet Sue, she will openly tell you that she doesn’t really like me doing the long distance events and doesn’t understand why anyone would put themselves through the pain and discomfort to get to the start (let alone the finish) line of a triathlon but she never wavers in her support or encouragement and for that I will be forever grateful. She doesn’t discriminate either, seemingly shouting at everyone and anyone come race day with the same amount of volume and passion. It’s not much of a surprise that she is normally more knackered than me at the end of race day – shouting encouragement whilst being worried for hours at a time is physically and emotionally draining. After the traditional cheat meal post an event (usually the biggest, dirtiest pizza we can find) its usual for her to collapse into bed long before the adrenaline of the day has left my body and I, usually painfully and gingerly, follow suit.
Triathlon training, especially long distance, is an extremely selfish indulgence and despite my willingness to attempt to do most training at silly o’clock in the morning it still involves hours spent away from family and family activities and if I am honest as a result dictates what we do as a family.
So I feel now would be a goodtime to tell her I have entered Challenge Roth next year.
What’s not to like – it’s in Germany with a mini rave / party / beer festival, its scenic, it tends to be toasty hot and she will get to see people dressed like this, which I think would be super exciting for everyone involved.
Only joking – I want to do it in 2017.
Then I might stop messing around with all this long distance business and focus on Olympic or half ironman distances.
Thanks for the continued support my gorgeous little family.