Ironman Arizona: A Case Of Mami Guilt

There is melancholy when a project is over, and I think that is where I am now.  During my week of craziness, where I attended Hispanicize, received the 3M Positive Impact Award and then competed with Kerry on the South Beach Triathlon I was running on adrenaline.

It’s not as if I have lots of experience being on the front page of the Miami Herald, or on the nightly news.   But more than the actual appearance in those, what I loved about that week was the intensity. It was one thing after another.  Doors opened left and right and Kerry and I went through them all.  I loved picking up the phone from an unknown number because it would most likely be a producer from somewhere trying to cover the ThumbsUp story. Kerry and I had worked hard for this to happen … promoting Kerry’s positive attitude was the goal of this whole thing so to see it, feel it, and make it come together was phenomenal.

Lorraine Ladish took this picture of me at Hispanicize.

Lorraine Ladish took this picture of me at Hispanicize.

At Hispanicize, I saw my face on posters all around, met incredible people including the other award winners, and felt like a movie star walking the red carpet of the 3M Positive Impact Award.

Red carpet for the 3M Positive Impact Award. I'm the one with the white and black lace dress

Red carpet for the 3M Positive Impact Award. I’m the one with the white and black lace dress

And the race? Another incredible experience as you can read here.  At the South Beach Triathlon we were stopped several times by people who told us they read about ThumbsUp on the newspaper, or saw us on TV.  A woman yelled “TriathlonMami” and gave me a big hug, said she followed my blog, and wished me luck.  It’s exciting to think someone actually follows my blog!

Team ThumbsUp celebrates as Kerry Gruson becomes a triathlete

And then the end of this project came, successfully.  We got covered in the news for completing the race, and a couple of days later crawled back to anonymity.

The tornado had passed.

So now what? I have ideas, and am working on them.  I have three races coming up: Swim Miami, a one mile swim I am doing with Kerry this Saturday; a half ironman in May, and Ironman Arizona in November.  It’s not like that’s nothing … that is a whole lot of work but I need to find a way to give it meaning.  I am not sure, but getting faster doesn’t really get me out of bed at 5:00am in the morning as I did today.

And then there’s these guys:

triathlonmami boys, brothers

During my week of excitement their conduct cards from school came with lowered letters; their grades suffered, they didnt make it to most of their after school activities and from what I was told … getting them to shower was no easy feat.

When we came home from South Beach last Sunday, and all of the following week my kids were glued to me.  Granted, they usually are, but it wasn’t enough for me to be next to them on the couch … I had to be LOOKING at whatever it was they were watching on TV.  Being near wasn’t enough, they wanted my attention.

I do know, that two weeks of bad behavior does not outweigh all the positive things my kids have seen and done from the whole ThumbsUp experience.  And as a family, we are all proud of finishing the South Beach Triathlon.  And as a family we have adopted Kerry as one of us.  So all that is good.

Yet I come back to this: I don’t HAVE to race an Ironman which causes me to spend 6 hours training on a Saturday, eat everything in the refrigerator and pass out at 8:30pm.  It’s a choice.   It’s a grateful choice because Got Chocolate Milk  is sponsoring me.

As much as I want to go out there and conquer the world I tell myself I have two young sons that need me.  I’ve already done an Ironman so it’s not as if they haven’t seen me train for an impossible goal either.

Of the two, this guy clamors for my attention more.

Of the two, this guy clamors for my attention more.

Perhaps this is just a case of mami guilt for wanting to do something that I enjoy just because I enjoy it.  I mean really, how sorry for myself can I feel? Joe, my husband, is 150% supportive and picks up the slack so I can train; and even the boys are excited about going to Tempe. They tell me they like having a Triathlon Mami.  So I am well aware the problem centers in my brain.  It’s my inability to do something “just because.” But  if I can get over it by giving my future races some meaning … well then I guess I can search for one.

Any ideas?

8 thoughts on “Ironman Arizona: A Case Of Mami Guilt

  1. Ok so you aren’t doing the 5k with me. Oh well. Say hi as you zip past me in the mile. 🙂

    I have no advice on the mom stuff. Strangely I rarely feel like this and I know I’m in the minority. Most women I know who do long course feel exactly like you. I know a few who stopped racing because they hate this feeling. And yet for me the fact that I’m with them every day after school, fixing all their meals, putting them to bed 7 days a week, sitting through any and all performances and competitions … I’m okay with being gone a lot on the weekend mornings. I’m an oddball and I’m okay with it.

    1. In my family, I am the only one concerned about this. No one else seems to be. Just weird I guess. Yeah, I finally decided to do a mile with Kerry. She loves the water and there are few chances here to do OWS in a race, I wasn’t well trained for a 5k, and figured why not. See you Saturday!

  2. Balance is the key…your boys are rewarded by your incredible example and courage. Yet, they are boys who are in probably the most formative years of their lives. It is also some of the most precious years for any parent. This next 10 years will fly by and young men they will be.
    Balance, the three races you have scheduled give plenty of room for balance. Go for it but remember every minute precious.
    Your fan and friend,

  3. It’s tough to balance training and family — but if you have a spouse that’s 150%+ behind you, you’ve won half the battle. I have three young kids as well (3,6 and 9 years old), Ironman Arizona will be my second IM. I had some guilt when I trained for my first one, but I did have to remind myself that it was temporary (6 months worth, max?). I am usually training for something almost year round, but IM training was an entirely other time commitment. Luckily my husband was also very supportive and I hope that my determination and commitment will be a lesson to my three girls. I also know that I’m a better mom, wife and person if I’m pursuing my dream. And what’s wrong with doing something “just because”? I think the just because turns into bigger, multiple lessons for your kids: find your passion, pursue it, the road isn’t always easy but you work through difficult days, an active lifestyle is healthy. I also agree with Amy’s comments above…focus on all the ways you are present in your kids’ lives and don’t feel guilty when you’re not.

    1. Thank you Erin. I am not sure why “just because” doesn’t seem “good enough”. In part it’s because of the huge time commitment that IM takes, and with work I feel like I am not always available for my guys. In part it’s also a bit of my ego, thinking that they can’t be just fine without me! As my husband has all this time with them, they have created a bond that is just their own …. and it’s lovely to see.

  4. What else do you do to take care of yourself? By that I mean, what else do you do that you enjoy and is just for you? I agree that balance is key, but I also think that it’s good to do something you enjoy that’s just for you because it means that you will be happier and a better mother to your boys. The most powerful message you can send your kids is that you dream big, work hard, and make those dreams a reality. They will see that and know their dreams are achievable, no matter how big. What’s stopping you from spending a Saturday training and then doing a mommy-son date Sunday mornings where each child gets alone time with you?

    My girls are 4 and 2 and the 4-year old really feels it when I’m away. There are times when I feel bad about doing another race or leaving for a run, but that is my outlet and my time to feel free and like myself. I know that for as much as I invest in my training, I also need to invest in some alone time with each child so that she feels safe and loved by me.

    You’re a mom, follow your instinct on this one and good luck!

    1. Thank you Stephanie. It’s true … follow your instincts is always best. Thousands of women and moms do Ironmans and don’t go through this turmoil. It’s not so much my kids, but me … believing its not selfish of me to go for Ironman number 2.

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