140.6. Yep, that’s one hundred and forty point six miles of torture. My husband is doing his first Ironman this Sunday. He’s done marathons, half-Ironmans (70.3 for those of you mathematically challenged ;) ) and grew up a swimmer but he’s never completed “the big one.” He’d always talked about it and since he put on a bit of sympathy weight when I was pregnant, he really wanted to get back into shape. lol So, unbeknownst to him, I randomly signed him up for a full Ironman one day and emailed him the confirmation while he was at work. He called me and asked if I knew anything about it?! I’d always told him ‘no’ because of the time it took to train and we now had the little one. But, I knew he’d never be satisfied until he competed in one and I’d feel guilty if I held him back. So, we. were. off! :)
He started his training and was kicking butt- he lost 20 lbs and I could see the stress just float from his shoulders- he was fulfilled. Yes, I wasn’t too hot on the schedule- including double days and 5 hour bike rides on the weekends- but I knew I was the responsible party and I had to suck it up ‘til the end of June. But then came the tidal wave of work. (I forgot to mention my husband started his own law firm while I was pregnant.) Of course we were/are very fortunate to have so much work but all of a sudden I never saw my husband. He was in the office by 5 and didn’t get home until 9 or 10… He was exhausted and there never seemed to be enough time. He’d go to work before Nolan got up and come home after he went to bed and I know that crushed him, and also, there’s the Ironman; two months out and the training started to slip away. There was no time and the time he would take off on Sundays was set aside for the little man and I. My heart broke for him. He’d been so focused on not just finishing, but competing in this race, knowing he’d been as prepared as possible.
We were talking over dinner one night and I could see the disappointment in his eyes and I said so. He looked at me and said- “What choice do I have? There is no choice; my family comes first. You and Nolan are my life and I work hard to provide for you both and be the best I can be for my family. That will always matter most… I want you both to be proud of me.” As it did when he said it, it brings tears to my eyes now. He has always put me first, always sacrificed whatever necessary to take care of me. If I was having or am having an epileptic episode, he drops everything and is by my side. Even if it’s just a twitch; he won’t leave me. I know I’ll be okay, yet he’ll exit a meeting, a dinner, social plans, anything, and then blame it on himself. Or if we’re out together, he always bears the responsibility.
That’s my husband.
And so I know when we’re all up at 4 am to get ready to send Daddy off on his first 140.6, he’ll be filled with a mix of emotions- nervous energy, excitement, and just a bit of sadness that he isn’t more prepared, but he won’t show it for my sake.
That’s my Ironman.
He always has been and always will be… If all goes well, many long hours later I will hand him Nolan right before he crosses the finish line and watch, with admiration, the two of them cross together. As I hug and kiss him congratulations, I know I’ll have tears of pride in my eyes… and seeing that, he just might too :)