Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Why it is Important to Bring Family and Friends Along for the Ride

*WARNING* This post is going to contain a lot of pictures.

I am not the first and definitely will not be the last person to talk about how important it is to have the support of family and friends through this triathlon journey.  Understanding this is important for many, many reasons.  Some things that you should make them aware of:

1.  During big training blocks, you will probably be grumpy at some point(you will definitely be grumpy at some point), and if they do not support you in this, they will not understand.  They will get mad.  And most likely there will be fights(there may be fights anyways, but at least you both will know they are coming).

2.  You will have odd and somewhat annoying eating habits.  AKA you will eat a lot and more often than not try to eat healthy.  They may not understand this, but again hopefully you can get them to support you and this habit.

3.  You will have a lot of smelly things around.  You will use a lot of laundry detergent.  And you will probably smell.

4.  You will have a lot of stuff that may take up a lot of space.  They will need to understand how this may affect their living quarters.  How I convinced my parents to allow me to put my Compu-trainer in their room during the 3 weeks I am home for break is beyond me. 

5.  You will have an odd schedule and will need to travel to many places.  Traveling with supportive family and friends is awesome, and makes the experience so much easier/better.

My mom and me with Leanda Cave
in PR before my first half ironman.
6.  The list goes on, but I will stop here.  The other reason that it is important to bring them along is that I feel that it is a fun and enjoyable means by to live your life.  It keeps you healthy and the enjoyment that you have sharing a moment after a race with a person from your family or friend is hard to compare.
My own endurance story started during the second part of my senior year in college.  I was done playing soccer and like most college students, I continued to exercise, stay in shape, and eat healthy(i.e. I didn't move from the couch, the only exercise I did was a 12 oz curl to my mouth or walk to the fridge to grab another beer, and I ate a lot of pizza.)

One of my roommates/best friends, Ryan(I do believe that you can have many best friends, and having only one would suck) decided one day start training for a half marathon.  I had absolutely no ambition to run a half marathon ever, and at the time 13.1 miles seemed like well.....too far to run.  However, I saw his plan, and decided that I could at least help him through the first few weeks and even run a few miles with him when he got to the longer weeks.  During these long Saturday morning runs, we would typically go out run 6-8 miles at a pace that is about a minute  to a minute and a half slower than my marathon pace right now, get really tired, decide that we earned a reward and go eat a giant burrito from Pancheros(it was delicious, and definitely did not ruin all the training we just did).

This got me started in my own races.  I started with 5K's.  And eventually built up to 10K's and half marathons.  I have never done one of these races where I was by myself at the end.  I have always had great support from my parents, other family, and friends.  Here are a few of many examples.   


Best Friends waiting at a finish of a race with free beer.....awesome
Sister ran a half marathon with me on my birthday as a
"Birthday Present"
Dad and me after Tough Mudder
There are so many more of these pictures, and I am so blessed to have all these people and their support in my life.  It is because of these people that I am able to do this and enjoy every moment of it.  Even if they do not like to run, ride, or swim, bring them along for the ride.  You only get to live once and why not share every moment of enjoyment that you accomplish in this sport with the people that you love.
"I have learned that it is not what I have in my life, but who I have in my life that counts." - What everyone should be saying.