The other week I had the honor of recording a podcast episode with Arshad Bahl, founder of Amrita Bars and the Nourish Your Passion podcast. I was guest number TWO, y’all! Arshad and I chatted away for about an hour on all things family, sport, and life. Oh, an we dished blogging and social media too.
Part of the discussion focused on my support of John, Family Sport Life’s resident Ironman Triathlete. Today, I am elaborating on how I became a Sherpa Wife. The beginning wasn’t pretty!
When I wrote the Sherpa Wife Chronicles version of our experience at Ironman Lake Placid I was flooded with emails from athletes who wished their spouses supported them the way I support John. What I want everyone to realize is this is our middle. And you can’t ever compare your beginning to someone else’s middle.
THIS was our beginning…
A little over three years ago I was waking up on a beach. In a tent. The light rain falling from the pre-dawn sky was the calm before the storm. It was barely 6 am. I pat the spot next to me on the air mattress to check for my husband, he wasn’t there. I curse and stumble across the dark tent to check on the kids. At the time they were five and three.
We had planned to sleep on the beach with neighbors but it was the weekend of John’s first triathlon. A sprint distance not too far from where we were camping. John was going to wake up early (is there any other time for triathlon), go to the race, then come back to the beach. The night before the weather looked bad and I asked him if he was planning on racing. With never having completed a triathlon, he was already a triathlete. Yes, he was definitely racing regardless of weather.
As dawn broke, the rain became torrential. I sat there alone, in a flooding tent with two scared kids, and not a clue as to how my life would change over the next few years. The Sherpa Wife Chronicles had begun and I didn’t even know it.
I left the tent cursing John and triathlon (that didn’t take long) to check on my neighbors. We definitely had to get off the beach. Our skin was already pruning and my kids were terrified.
John had taken the truck and I couldn’t drive my volvo wagon onto the beach. I sucked it up. I got the kids to the car, bundled them up in blankets, shoved a bagel in their little hands and locked them in the car while I proceeded to decamp. Running back and forth on a beach with heavy loads of gear on my back. While John was trying not to drown somewhere in the Great South Bay , I endured in my own way.
When I finally got home, I dropped my freezing kids in a hot bath and lied in wait for my prey to walk through the door. I am not going to lie, the second he walked in the door I pounced. I was all sorts of ticked off at being abandoned on a beach in a rain storm while he went off to do this “triathlon thing.” But as I was trying to vigorously make my point, he was already plotting his next race.
It took me a long time to stand beside John and truly support him in his passion for triathlon. I spent much of 2012 resisting what was happening in our home. It was a contentious triathlon season. I attended no races out of a combination of spite, protest, and someone had to be at home with the kids.
By the time the 2012 season ended, I realized there was no way I was going to win this war. Nothing worked, not even indifference. John was determined to make triathlon a lifestyle. Even if I did win this war, what did that mean? John quits doing something that gives him purpose? When I stepped back to reflect on that, it hardly seemed like a win.
In 2013, I made a commitment to shift my perspective about triathlon and embrace my role in supporting my husband. It was not an easy shift to make and something I continue to work on.
Looking back on the last three years, I can tell you that triathlon has strengthened me in ways I didn’t expect and I am not even a triathlete. It has taught me more about motivation, goal setting, performance psychology, and human behavior than any graduate class I have ever taken. It has taught me that the world is big enough for all of our dreams. Standing is the shadows of someone else’s achievement knowing you played a role in that success has brought me a level of confidence I didn’t expect. A confidence that has allowed me to step out of the shadows and stand in my own success.
I wouldn’t be where I am today without John’s competitive spirit, triathlon, Ironman, and all the friends we have made along the way. It’s been a great ride and just wait till you see what we have in store for 2015!
If you listen to the podcast (which you are all rushing to do RIGHT NOW), I would love to hear your feedback!