5 Things I’ve Learned from my Husband’s Ironman

I consider my husband and I active people. However, my husband is much more than active. He’s actually an athlete – he wouldn’t admit it as humble as he is. He started running about three years ago, but I remember how I laughed at him 3 years before when he told me he would become a marathon runner. I don’t know why I laughed, but I surely regret it now!

Not only has he run half-marathons and three marathons since then, but he also did two Ironmans. Yes, you read correctly. I’m talking about 2.4 miles of swimming and 112 mile bike ride, followed by a marathon (26 miles of running). He didn’t win any of these trials. But it truly doesn’t matter. His experiences have definitely taught both of us many things. Here is what I will surely remember for a lifetime!

1. Never Laugh at Others’ Dreams

Surprise, awkwardness, incomprehension and many more feelings can lead to this reaction. I will forever control this reaction, especially with my kids. If someone shares something as special as a dream with you, listen and encourage.

2. It’s Never Too Late to Discover a Passion

As a kid, my husband had two religions: hockey – yeah, we’re those Canadians! – and golf. He played these two sports like there was no tomorrow for many years. He was really good at them too – and still is – especially golf. As an adult, he started working like many of us, met me, got married, had his first child, etc. The time wasn’t there to put as much energy into sports. That’s when he tried – just for the fun – to run. He discovered a new passion and a new way to feel proud of himself. There’s even an inside joke between us. He just can’t stand himself after two days in a row at home, which annoys me as well. Every time, I look at him and say: “Why don’t you go for a run?” He always comes back as the man I fell in love with! 😉

3. Never Give Up on Something You Truly Desire

A couple years ago, I was unfortunately not the only one to laugh, question, doubt. I was afraid he would get hurt, that we wouldn’t have time together anymore or that he wouldn’t have enough time to train. Our family was also wondering if he would be able to make it and thought he didn’t gauge the importance of such a challenge. Basically, many thought he had lost his mind! He just kept his eyes on his goals, paid the entry fees to the next Ironman and told me: “Now I can’t go back”. He succeeded. He made it. It happened… because HE didn’t give up – although he had failed and stopped part way through a “training” triathlon two weeks before his first Ironman.

This side note deserves its own paragraph though! 😉 I think my husband did underestimate one thing in this incredible challenge. He was already capable of running a marathon when he started his Ironman training. After he trained a little on bicycle, he thought that was it. He thought he could make it… But he really underestimated the swimming difficulties an Ironman consisted of. At his little triathlon training, two weeks before his Ironman, he stopped as he couldn’t breathe properly while swimming. He didn’t even make it a third of the distance he had to do two weeks later!! He was discouraged at first, but told me he didn’t want his son to see him as a deserter. I showed him the little I know about breathing while swimming and he practiced that for the two weeks he still had. Believe it or not, he made it with this slight training! His mental attitude was definitely the key and he sure learned a lot during those two weeks… so did I!

4. Lessons Learned by Examples are Worth More than Any Paid Courses

During the whole year my husband trained for his first Ironman, he inspired me to pursue my dream of participating in horseback riding competitions, something I had dreamt about since a young age. I did win some ribbons, but my biggest achievement had nothing to do with winning or losing. It was about surpassing myself and giving all I had.

Our son is 2 years old. He came to almost every running event my husband participated in. This year, he says a few sentences. Hearing him say: “Let’s go Papa” – yeah, we also speak French – and taking my hand to ask me to run with him are the best rewards we can have as parents. Our son is already learning something bigger than the actual act of running. He’s learning perseverance, family support, pride and self-esteem.

5. Your Attitude towards a Sport Often Reflects your Attitude towards Life in General

I know this sentence might sound a little too much. Not all of us like sports and that’s just fine. But once you’re engaged in one, your attitude towards this engagement often reflects how you engage as a person in many levels of your life. Only the best out there can finish an Ironman because it demands physical abilities, mental endurance, decent self-esteem and positive attitude. From now on, I’ll see every financial goal, every professional objective or any other little achievement as an Ironman – something I have to be 100% committed to, physically and mentally.


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