A tire rolling downhill: my triathlon life

The picture doesn’t do it justice. They seldom do. But this is sunrise after my morning swim.

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate,

A few days ago a good friend told me that I’m like a “tire rolling down hill.” He was talking about my relationship with triathlon specifically.

He said that I build up momentum, training goes great, I get excited, come up with big plans – then I hit a bump, get wobbly, sway wildly from side to side, teeter like a I’m about to come to complete stop and fall on my side – and then I drop off a ledge and start rolling fast all over again. The process repeats itself.

I’ve been thinking about it since he compared me to a tire on Monday. All I could do when he described my triathlon life was nod my head and agree. It’s true. But I think most triathletes are that way. You have a good training session and you’re 10 feet tall. A bad race and you’re suddenly ready to give it up. You watch a youtube video of Kona or Norseman and you can’t think of a good reason not to strive for those goals. Life stress kicks in with work and family and the local sprint distance race seems like it may be too much. I think all triathletes go through that cycle. Certainly those of us with families. Or maybe it’s just me.

I run hot and cold. Always have.

That’s life.

I’d like to believe that life is a tire rolling down a manicured golf course style hill. No bumps, mole hills, rocks, or gigantic fallen trees in your way. You’d constantly gain momentum. Faster and faster. The thrill of nothing but speed and a goal at the bottom of the hill.

That would be great.

But I don’t think that’s what we were promised. Like my triathlon life, my real life has had it’s share of bumps along the way. I’ve gone fast and experienced awesome things.  I’ve also wobbled when I hit rough patches. I’ve even fallen over completely a few times.

I think Faith is knowing and believing that you’ll be picked up and shoved back down the hill again.

Triathlon life and real life are alike in many ways to me. I get tired. I want to quit sometimes. But sometimes there are beautiful moments that keep me going.

I’ve been feeling physically tired lately. I’ve wondered if my season is over – while I’m still 6 weeks away from my final race. I called a local coach who is providing some consulting for me in my final few weeks before Rev3 South Carolina for advice. He gave me a pep talk and encouraged me to follow the plan where I can and take a day off if I’m feeling really bad. He pushed my button: encouraged me to use you kids as my motivation. Works every time.

This morning I got up to swim at 4:30am. It was a bumpy hill moment. I didn’t want to go, but I did anyway. The swim itself was “okay”. 1700 total with 1500 of it straight at an easy pace (22 minutes). I was still wobbling when I left.

As I walked out to my car I noticed the sun coming up in the brightest hues of orange and pink I have ever seen. Honestly, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a sunset so stark in contrast to the dark clouds above it and the middle Tennessee hills below it.  I stood beside my car for a moment staring. I walked towards the sunrise a little ways – as if I could reach where it was. And I could feel myself being picked up, dusted off, and shoved back down the hill.

I think that’s what we were promised. We won’t be alone. We’ll be picked up and set back on the path. And that it will be worth it.

I love you,

– Daddy

ps. I finally gave in and got our family a dog. We adopted “Coco” from the Middle Tennessee Working Dogs Rescue on Monday. I’ll never forget how big the smile on your face was as we drove home with her Izzy. She’s an 8 month old chocolate lab / Chesapeake Bay retriever mix. She’s perfect.


Sat: Rode 50 miles (21mph avg.) / Ran 3 miles at 8min pace (BRICK)

Sun: Ran 12 miles at 8:45 pace


Tues: Swam 1700 (included 3 x 400)

Wed: Ran 30 min at 8:30 pace (first run new Pearl Izumi isoTransitions)

Thurs: Swam 1700 (included 1500 straight)