A bit of a reminder of life's priorities today. Today has been a busy one from a sporting perspective. Unfortunately it wasn't the sort of busy that had me out and about doing sport, but rather the sort of busy had me stuck in front of a laptop all day writing training programs.
Spending the day writing programs has meant that I have not been the most engaged family member today. In fact the family has had to more or less get on with their day without me. Not ideal. Being in front of the computer all day also meant that by the time I finished I was quite keen to do some actual exercise myself. The runs up in Darwin went quite well this week and so I was thinking of continuing that this afternoon.
However, once I got to a point where I was able to go for a run I was faced with a pretty clear decision point. I could head out for my run or I could stay at home and help out my wife around the house and perhaps even talk to my children. Given the lack of attention throughout the day, it didn't really seem like I had much of a choice at all. As you may have guessed I stayed at home.
I have absolutely no problem with my decision either, as you can probably see from the above paragraph, the choice wasn't really a choice at all, the decision was a rather obvious one. I am not training for anything and so there isn't really any justification to be absolutely selfish.
Does that mean family should always come first? Well, depending on a person's goals, not necessarily. That probably sounds quite harsh, but sporting success never comes without sacrifices. Those sacrifices can be things like a social life and fun nights out, but it can also mean sacrificing bigger things like money, career progression and time with loved ones. Whether that sacrifice can be justified is a bit personal, but for those looking to be the best in the world, then the answer is usually yes it can. That is the unfortunate reality of somebody chasing sporting success in the upper realms of their field.
For the rest of us mere mortals that justification becomes a bit harder. I have no grounds at all to justify inconveniencing my family, which is why I try not to do it too often (I still do though). I would say most amateur athletes would be in a similar situation. In the end we are simply racing for pride and bragging rights, how much family inconvenience can you justify for that. Some, but not much I would say. That is what the art of compromise is all about. For somebody training for an Ironman, some sacrifice is going to be necessary due to the sheer volume of training necessary. However, that is a fine line that needs to be trod carefully. What may seem justifiable to an athlete may not be so to the rest of the family. I have seen Ironman cause divorces in the past and I am sure it will cause more in the future. When somebody asks me about doing an Ironman, one of the first things I ask is whether they have discussed it with their family, because it is a very hard thing to do without their support.