By Athlete Ambassador, Lesley Maisey
I consider myself an easy going, positive person to be around, but reflecting on my most recent race weekend in Calgary prompted me to put myself in my husband’s shoes and take a good long look at what living with me is like. I am caring and loving (and even bring him coffee in bed in the morning) but there is usually a lot going on during training days and race weekends; so I rely heavily on his help and support.
Firstly, there is a requirement for local and far away travel. This season alone, I am racing in Victoria, Kelowna, Calgary, Peachland, Vancouver, Mont Tremblant, Whistler, and Cozumel. Some are drivable, others require plane travel. Most of our travel involves some form of athletic event! Even discounting races, my training can take me anywhere in the Greater Vancouver area. I recently exited the vehicle en route home from Kelowna one Sunday morning to ride from Bridal Falls (near Aggasiz) to home in North Vancouver. This left my spouse driving the rest of the way on his own. On another weekend, I rode from Abbotsford to the top of Mount Baker. I made it to the top but after 3 flats on the descent, needed rescuing which meant a long drive and border crossing for Rob. I will often run to Kits Pool and Rob drives there to meet me with my swim gear.
Secondly, a triathlete generates a LOT of laundry and doing the laundry is a scientific process. Anyone who runs knows about the piles of sweaty shorts, tops and socks but add in swim towels, swim suits, and cycling gear and you get mountains. And of course, these garments get washed on their own and are never put in the drier so stuff is hanging all over the place until dry enough to put away.
Thirdly, there will be water bottles everywhere you look but be careful which ones you use. I recently cleaned out my car and found no less than 4 empty bottles rolling around. I have my favorites; certain ones fit better on my bike, some are used strictly for Perpetuem, while others are water only.
A fourth consideration is the “want” list. We once went into a high end cycle shop to check out new wheels and I started off with “I am in need of…” when the clerk stopped me. He said, “We don’t have anything here you NEED…but we do have lots of things you WANT.” The want list resurfaces on birthdays, Christmas, pay days or really any day when the opportunity presents. Cautionary note, the want will probably be presented in such a way to demonstrate a need.
Living with a triathlete also means you become well versed in compression garments. You will know the difference between compression socks, calf sleeves, Race/Recovery tights. You might even have a pair or two yourself and start to appreciate the bright colors.
You will also become very well educated in sports nutrition. You will know the purpose of a gel, what flavour of Endurolytes Fizz you prefer, and what a 4-hour bottle means (for those of you not living with a triathlete, this is a concentrated bottle of Perpetuem mixed up to be consumed over 4 hours). And when it comes to regular nutrition, you will learn that triathletes might be hard pressed to share ANY of the food on the plate if it has been a long training day or a post-race meal.
I train for a lot of hours each week, some of them on the trainer in the living room (oh, that’s another thing, you will likely have a bicycle in the living room and a treadmill in your garage…). I am up early so most mornings are alarm driven or I am training after work which cuts into evening relaxation. We do capitalize on the time we have and take those stolen moments to remain connected (like the unexpected long drive back from Mt Baker) and we do swim together most times.
I do appreciate that Rob is up just as early as me on race day, because, well, he keeps me calm and helps settle the pre-race nerves as he chauffeurs me to the start line. In reviewing all of these, maybe triathletes are not that hard to live with after all. These points don’t seem that onerous do they? Perhaps you’d better ask Rob…