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Training For Life Like an Ironman

Finding ways to devote to time to all the parts of life that really matter.

Ironman – Bike
Getty Images

I’ve got a screw loose somewhere. Under the category of, “It sounded like a good idea at the time,” lies the tale of me suckering my buddy Bart into training for a full Ironman with me. That’s a 2.4-mile swim and a 112-mile bike ride followed by a 26.2-mile marathon for dessert. When I write it out I see it as you might see it. Insane? What’s wrong with me? Plenty.

I tend to get a little carried away with constantly challenging myself to achieve more while never content with any level of success for more than a few minutes. I’ve been doing this my whole life. Somehow selling Blow-Pops on the school bus in third grade morphed into endurance racing and obsessing over business growth. Clearly some wiring got crossed up along the way and here we are.

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Bart and I hired a coach to get us through the Ironman. We’d never done anything like this before and both of us decided that dropping dead on the course was probably no fun. Coach Rob has been everything you’d expect. He’s intense, positive and currently drowning us in run, bike, and swim workouts daily as we build towards September’s race. We track it all in an app called TrainingPeaks. Every workout, heartbeat, footfall, pedal stroke, and flip turn is carefully measured, packaged and dissected by Rob on a daily basis. Each morning begins the same way — the alarm goes off at 4:15 AM and off we go. Tomorrow is a light 16-mile long run. As crazy as it sounds, I’ve grown accustomed to the cadence, and it’s becoming routine. I’m also in amazing shape right now, eating whatever I want and my clothes fit better. I can’t keep this up, but it’ll be fun while it lasts.

Here’s where the kicker comes in. I’ve been following TrainingPeaks precisely. I’m obsessed with doing a good job for myself and probably for Coach Rob. All of this hasn’t come without affecting other parts of my life. It’s slowly dawning on me that the other imagined apps in my life (DadPeaks, HusbandPeaks, and WorkPeaks) are all up or down because of all the time I’m spending on Ironman training. I’ve been guilty of not focusing on my role as father, spouse, or colleague nearly as intensely as I have the Ironman. As a result, I’ve taken a step back and actively started making choices to not necessarily complete ALL the assignments in TrainingPeaks.

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Last Saturday that meant sleeping in a bit with my family and enjoying a little Saturday morning TV while cooking breakfast for my daughters. Had I not been thinking about it as DadPeaks, I’m not sure it would’ve occurred to me that leaning into that window of time required the same intensity as my physical fitness. I’m 20 years in on my marriage and 14 years in on fatherhood. Am I waking up every day and actively focusing on those parts of my life or putting them on autopilot?

My HusbandPeaks score tracks closely to my fatherhood score. I’m now actively trying to carve out time to spend with my wife on a more regular basis. It’s so easy to let things settle into a groove, but this wake-up call courtesy of the Ironman will hopefully incent me to adopt some new long-term habits.

WorkPeaks might be my second highest score next to TrainingPeaks. I’m constantly challenging myself to do more and help others succeed. I realized that running my own business, Livewire, for the last 20 years has taught me a lot, but I was robbing someone else of the opportunity to learn how to run a business. Effective May 1, I promoted Stacy Hicks to chief operating officer at Livewire, and I’m happy to report she’s running the company better than I ever did.

I fully intend to keep focusing on the family, personal, and professional parts of my life with the same intensity as my physical fitness. I know it will be challenging because not working out produces pretty immediate negative effects, while putting a marriage or kids on the backburner may not show up as readily for months or even years.

How’s your Dad/MomPeaks, Husband/WifePeaks, or WorkPeaks score? What are you doing to preserve or enhance it?