Sunday, August 2, 2009

Family and Ironman

***As you read the conversation, you must use your finest sweet southern accent when reading my mother's part***

Mom: Now, just how far do you swim in this thing, Missey?
Me: 2.4 miles Mom
Mom: Oh Heavens! You can't be serious?? and then??
Me: the bike Mom. You ride for 112 miles.
Mom: Missey, that's like going to Tampa (actually its farther..but please don't tell her that)
Me: Yes Mom...and then you run.
Mom: And how far is that?
Me: its a marathon Mom...26.2 miles.
Mom: This just can't be healthy! Missey, this is just crazy!!

And this is the conversation I have had with my mother about every other month since I decided to become an Ironman 2 1/2 years ago.

Now you can't blame her. She loves her daughter..and she's a worrier. She is scared that her only little girl is going to end up in the medical tent, the hospital or worse. I mean, give her a break. She has already had to sit through a conversation with my Doctor 11 years ago telling my family I didn't have a prayer of living past a year if I didn't consider the gastric bypass.

But what she doesn't understand is that Im in the best shape of my life. Im still overweight, but just like my doctor told me last week as I left his office still frustrated with weight issues and thyroid: "Melissa...it is better to be fit and fat...than thin and out of shape." "You have a strong heart, leaner muscles and a rock solid bone structure. You are in better shape than most of the women that walk through my door."

But Mom is going to worry. It's in her contract as a mother. I hate to see her like that so when she asks me about my weekend, I try to leave out details like : I ran 13 miles and did an 80 mile bike workout.

My concern now is that...Mom and Dad are considering attending Ironman Florida. Don't get me wrong. This is a HUGE STEP for them..in relation to me. A year ago, they didn't want to hear about the race. They didn't think it was proper for a southern lady to be doing such a thing so for them to want to support me is an honor. I am humbled....BUT...

And like the one I sit on, this is a BIG BUT...I think I would be so nervous with them there. I would be a total mess. I would be worried about them worrying about me!! My fear is I will be nervous and snap at them...or say something wrong...or do something wrong that would offend them.

Last year, I was a bundle of nerves. This year, my goal is to take one day and just be a mess...and then let it go in the knowledge that I have done all I can for my Ironman day and what will be will be.

Has anyone else had to make the decision of having their family attend or not attend their first ironman??

6 comments:

IronBob said...

Couple of notes: "Yes Mom, the race actually is not that healthy, but the nice thing is, the other 364 days a year I train are, and the Ironman is the celebration of that other 364".

Vacation: I did my first IM distance event in British Columbia at the end of a family vacation. I spent all my time worrying about what my family was doing to stay occupied since it was not a viewer friendly course. I would respectively tell your Mom that you are honored but this guy on line recommends Mom stay at home (blame it on me).

ps: You can borrow my parents this year as surrogates. But interestingly enough, last year around 11pm, my Dad ended up in medical (not me) when he fell in the bleachers.... On second thought, maybe I should leave mine home too.

Tri Mommy said...

While I can't comment directly on the IM distance, my 1st Half Ironman approaches and with the twins and Bill, I told them to stay home because there isn't much to keep two 3 year olds occupied and I'd spend energy worrying how they were doing and how Bill was holding up through it all. Iron Bob is right, there is not much for them to do to stay occupied and they won't really get to see you that much during the event as it is. Blame it on me too!

Kendra said...

I have this family debate in my head all the time. My parents don't want to go. They live in AZ and said "if you did AZ we'd come" but during my initial plan to do AZ they said "can you just tell us what time to be at the finish line?" so I decided to do a race that interested me, not them.

My husband is the one person I really want there. No kids, and he likes to sit and read. I need him there for moral support before, during, and after the race. He reassures and comforts me and encourages me to never give up. But he might not be able to come due to work. I need/want SOMEONE there.

So do I invite my brothers to come share my condo with me? They've always forgiven me before when I've lashed out at them in an emotional fit. But they are night owls so the concern is they'll mess up my sleeping habits.

At the same time of all this, I just did my first two big races with no friends or family there to cheer, and it actually wasn't so bad. It's a tough choice!

Keep up the fight Missey! Maybe if you decide you want/ don't mind their presence, you could encourage them to volunteer, so they'll be occupied?

Irene Odell said...

I didn't have family attend my first HIM.....for 2 main reasons.
1. They did not express any interest in attending, or even asking about how my training was going and if I was scared.
2. In the likely event that I did not finish, I didn't want them to be witness to my humiliation.

Once I crossed the finish line, I was very sorry that I hadn't INSISTED that they show up. It would have meant a lot to me for them to be there to see my success.

RBR said...

My parents came to IMCdA and it was the first triathlon they have ever been to.

I was very worried about them being there as well, but they let me do what I needed to do and did not fuss after me, which I appreciated. I had other friends as well that do triathlons and that helped me stay focused on what needed to happen. Maybe I am just selfish, but I did not worry about them much. They are pretty self-sufficient.

My mom cried the entire swim. It totally freaked her out, but I did not know this until after. They begged me to not try this again, but now they are fine with it (I am going to do one that has a MUCH easier swim so that made her happy)

I have to say that the pressure of them being there actually helped me finish that godforsaken swim when I really, really, at the core of my being, wanted to quit and get pulled out of the water. Finishing that swim and the IM bike (even unofficially)is one of my proudest accomplishments in this sport.

Having my family there at the end when I needed to cry and be sad was actually a big help. Even though they are not triathletes they are my biggest fans and I needed them at that dark moment. Even if I wouldn't have thought so before the race. Just my experience.

The Running Girl said...

I haven't had to make that decision for Ironman...yet... but I'm not sure what I want when I get to that point. While it would be fun to have lots of people there for support, I am use to going to races by myself and think having them there may be added pressure. Maybe they could stay somewhere else and still watch? That way they won't be in your way but they are still there to support you.