Lessons Unclear, Boundaries Pushed

I’m lucky to have a very supporting wife.  We’ve missed each other terribly as I was gone for a couple of weeks and we had much to do to prepare for Thanksgiving and spend time with the children but she also gave me as much time as she could to maximize my sports activities.  The 5 days at home flew by much faster that I imagined and I loved every minute of it.  It’s amazing how much I miss my wife and children when I’m gone and I did try to spend as much time as I could with them (within their attention span of course which isn’t always particularly long).  We also spent lots of time with my younger brother and his fiancee, my older brother, my wife’s sister and fiancé, our respective parents and of course the boys.

The youngest (for now) having fun, the oldest pictured above.

Our youngest displaying his excitement, the oldest pictured above.

From a pre-thanksgiving dinner to the actual dinner, shopping, post dinners and in between food, deserts, wine and cheeses, it was a good thing that I worked out as I did.  My older brother accompanied me on the 5K turkey trot and the Saturday morning 5.2 mile run that we did.  I also biked twice, swam once and even made it to the gym.  6 work out in 5 days was great but it turned out to be too much.  By the time I finished my 2-hour frigid bike ride on Sunday and headed to the gym I knew I was in trouble.  The headache started and a cold was coming.  I had to head back to France for 2.5 weeks worth of work the following day and there was nothing I could do.  I tried my normal overdosing of medicine but it failed this time and my travel of months, lack of sleep and stress at work finally caught up with me.  There was nothing I could do.  As I write this I’m at the end of my cold trying to prevent it from becoming a sinus infection, we’ll see where we end up of course…

Being sick would set anyone back while at home, but away in a foreign country makes it particularly painful.  Not only is the lack of facilities or equipment difficult to overcome, but the need for additional sleep to attempt a recovery makes it useless to even pretend to try to fit in a workout or two.  My first week here was empty of any workout and only this past Sunday did I manage a run on the french countryside.  The 5 mile run was slow but successful and I hope helped put my body back in shape.

The plan for the rest of the trip is simple, run a few times, get healthy and start a solid 6 week training period when I return.  Though the weather is cold and I’m sure I could find lots of excuses, I’m very confident now that I’ve been away for a while that I can find the time and means to train when I’m at home.

As I look at my schedule while working on this important project and my access to facilities and nutrition habits, I’m honestly not entirely sure how I could do better.  As I evaluate my decision to maximize training which likely resulted in my being sick I still wonder whether it truly was a bad decision.  On the one hand it set me back a bit this week but on the other I don’t know that I would have done much more with my brutal schedule here.  I had to get a bike in and a swim in so as to not go a full month without riding or swimming.  Either way is a tough decision and is precisely the difficulty in finding balance between the priorities of our lives.

My brothers and a family friend by the Fish Market, an old-town landmark and tradition

My brothers and a family friend by the Fish Market, an old-town landmark and tradition

The thought further makes me wonder if I have reached a limitation in what I can and cannot do while maintaining a balance between work and my lofty goal of an Ironman.  Though I feel comfortable that I will be able to complete the 2010 season, a full Ironman would not be compatible with this schedule and foreign travel.  Choices will eventually have to be made but for now, I’ll focus on what’s important and that includes completing my project successfully, getting healthy and returning home to see my family and train hard.  As for tonight, it includes going to sleep quickly and planning to go on a short jog in the morning.