Is your partner/spouse a triathlete? Maybe an Ironman? Then you might be familiar with this term. The triathlon widow is defined as:
‘Any person who was once human, but has now transformed into something super-human, and can no longer hang out with other mere mortals. They must spend all their spare time swimming, biking, running, and shaving themselves in order to keep their new-found sport god status. During this time, they are technically still married, but their wife/husband considers them dead due to their lack of normal human function.’
When I’m in my peak training season, 16 – 18 hours per week, my husband feels very much like a triathlon widow. His colleagues at work joke with him about it, because I’m not really around. We sometimes eat meals together, but usually I’m just sitting in front of the fridge shoveling in as much food as I can find. Then I’m straight into sleeping. We’ve developed a way to ‘spend time together’ as he’ll watch a movie/tv/video game and I just fall asleep next time.
Apparently, that isn’t quality time…huh.
There have been some published figures on the cost of an Ironman. I found one that was pretty good, read that here.
Where I would disagree with the above article is where they state ‘maximum cost’….the sky is really the limit when it comes to triathlon. Realistically, there is a lot more that goes into a race then just entry costs. There’s also the cost to your spare time and time with your family, or missing out on life events because you’re training (life events = drinking on nights out with your friends).
When I started dating my husband he quickly began to understand what was required from the beginning. This video sums it up and is absolutely hilarious:
He was well aware going into this relationship what dating/marrying me meant. He has absolutely been an amazing supporter for me. He’s usually supporting me at my races with this t-shirt:
Recently I was speaking to a friend who is going through a divorce under some tough circumstances, they had found out that their spouse had been having an affair. My husband looked at him and said, ‘It could be worse. You could be married to a triathlete.’ The friend laughed, but the husband was right. We live together, but I train, work, eat, sleep, and repeat, he barely sees me (let’s not forget that I travel for work).
We sometimes don’t see much of each other. My husband has survived several years of triathlon training and racing with me, in that time I have completed 4 Ironmans, 9 half-Ironmans, 5 olympic distance races, 3 sprint tri’s, and 4 duathlons. Not counting the other events and races across the globe (half marathons, marathons, 10k’s, cyclo-cross, TT racing, sportives) and probably more races I can’t even remember. We also get to travel to some really awesome locations.
Regardless, for some crazy reason, he stands by my side through all this. Even more so, he’s up at the start line with me, taking photos and cheering me on along the course.
If you’ve ever supported a middle to long distance race, you’ll understand how exhausting it is to support. You rush around to a good point to see your partner, waiting for hours, then seeing them fly by for a couple seconds at best. Most importantly though, he’s there at the finish line for me.
For all the fellow triathlon widows out there, thank you for your support. Without all of you we would not be able to have the incredible support we have day to day.