Qualifying with Preschoolers
by Ron Tribendis, D.C.
Kona is tough… raising children is tougher.
When Gordo suggested I write this article, I laughed out loud. Who am I to provide advice on this topic? Yes, I qualified for Kona, but I hardly think I’ve mastered the art of juggling preschoolers with Kona goals. On the day I started writing this column, I overslept and missed my run (up all night with a screaming toddler), I ate a less-than-nutritious breakfast with one hand while holding a baby bottle in place and I left the house for work with two kids in hysterics. At some point, I think I passed by my wife and said, "Hi." On second thought, I think we just grunted at each other. The bottom line is that I have no brilliant gem of advice. I feel lucky to be going to Kona this year. So this article really isn’t about “How,” it’s about “Why.”
My wife knows me well and could probably mark the calendar in advance for which days I’ll say I'm going to retire from triathlon in a given year. The stress builds and very often, it feels like it’s just become too much. Before kids, I had all the time in the world to train and at a price that was minimal. Now the time is limited and the cost is high. I have to get up early and stay up later than I’d like. I miss my kids on Saturday and Sunday mornings. I miss my kids when I go to camps and races. I feel guilty that my bikes could fund their first years of college. So I ask myself repeatedly, why continue with a sport that’s so stressful and selfish? Why not chuck it all, sleep in and hang out with my kids?
It's because my kids are watching me. They’re seeing me set a goal and work hard to accomplish it. They’re seeing me do research, look for improvements, invest, focus and put in the effort to achieve my dreams. I hope they’re also learning how important it is to have a support system and to show gratitude and appreciation for that support. I can only hope they have the same drive and commitment in reaching their own dreams someday. When they do, I’ll be right there supporting them, cheering them on in whatever they choose to pursue.
Getting to Kona is getting harder for me every year. The competition is tougher, the toll on my body is harder, and the effort to balance family/life/triathlon is exhausting. All of this makes the reward of Kona that much better. The message I hope this sends my kids is:
Effort + Commitment + Risk + Gratitude = Immense Rewards
I often ask myself, will it ever be too much? What would cause me to stop? It seems impossible to answer. As long as my family is safe, healthy and happy, I can keep going. (Hopefully with a little more sleep, a solid morning run, and a kiss from my wife.)
Ron Tribendis, D.C., is a member of the Endurance Corner coaching network. He has been competing in triathlons for 10 years, qualifying for Kona and the 70.3 World Championships. He has also coached multiple athletes to Kona and Clearwater. He currently lives in Frisco, Texas, where he operates a sports medicine chiropractic clinic, North Texas Performance Chiropractic. He is a USAT Level 1 coach and active release (ART) full body certified.