Friday, 16 December 2011

The demon bottle

Being pregnant is basically like being a triathlete.

Mine and OH's worlds have collided and we are now living one mirrored co-existence. Let me hit you with the evidence:
  • I have to watch what I eat (brie, I love you and miss you every single day). OH watches everything he eats to make sure no one steals it (think Joey and his food sharing issues).
  • I can't drink (chilled champagne is on my rider for the delivery room). OH has self imposed sobriety.
  • My body has changed shape beyond all recognition (oh, toes, to see you again). OH bulks up at the gym in the winter ("guess how much I can bench press?")
  • I have acquired a whole load of pricey equipment (yes, a glow in the dark colour change room thermometer is an absolute essential). OH's eyes light up when we talk about the P5.
  • My life seems to now be a single one-way track to a specified date in the future (I'll give you a clue, it's not my birthday). OH - when is that qualification race again?
See? See how similar they are? To be honest, I don't know how OH has dealt with this kind of life all along. The worst, of course, is the no drinking. Don't get me wrong, I'm not an alchy, just your regular binge drinker - but by God I miss the bubbles. Especially at events. Like weddings. Without the honey-coloured reception-drink-induced haze, weddings are a whole different ball game. Clearly the ceremony is pretty much the same for the Sobers and the Non-Sobers (I've never turned up fully drunk to a wedding ceremony so far), and the bit for photos, just the same. The minute you rock up to the reception however, it's like a new world of weddings opens up. As soon as those lovely silver trays laden with drinkies appear, floating along and mingling invitingly with the guests as if by magic, the wedding becomes something else altogether for the Sober.

Firstly, that slightly awkward bit before the food where you're not yet drunk but you have to talk to people you don't know for the sake of being sociable. This becomes like a team building event you might get forced to do at work. Comments are no longer throw away, disappearing on the breeze like they do when everyone is a teensy bit tiddly and giddy on the fumes of the afternoon Pimms. You can't fill the void of the empty rumbling stomach (empty because OH has hoovered up all the canapes before you could even get a look in) with beer - you are just plain starving. As everyone else starts to get that tell-tale tingly feeling behind the eyes indicating that they are on the super highway to Wrecksville, you have to take joy from the beauty of the flower arrangements and the artisanal hand crafted place settings.

I'm aware that I sound like a raving drunk. I'm also aware that people will think I'm one of those who can't "have a good time" without being drunk. But for a Cripplingly Shy like myself, a little of the good stuff does help to lube up proceedings. When are you ever so hilarious and such great company than after a few glasses of vino? Never before has the dancefloor witnessed such spectacular moves! Never again will you moan about your life because it is AMAZING! You know the drill.

Anyway, the upshot is that weddings are actually quite hard when you are pretty much the only Sober. You become aware of how stupid people are when they are drunk; how much conversational drivel gets spoken; how terrible the dancing is. Of course I am bitter! I want to be under the illusion that I am a charismatic comedy genius with all the moves. I am not. And with the Sober God as my witness, it turns out that none of us are.

Also, please don't go away with the impression that I am at all miserable about not drinking - I am utterly delighted and excited about the impending birth of our child and would do nothing to risk it. I'm merely pointing out that I've had the realisation that all of those nights where OH has resisted the bottle for the sake of a race can't have been that great. He must be really committed...

So, rant over and onto other matters. To keep the record up to date (ah, the irony), triathlon is in its underground phase at the moment - all of those miles in the cold dark garage on the turbo will hopefully bear fruit later in the new year. Flights and villa booked for a "cycling training camp holiday" in Majorca at Easter with some dear (and possibly slightly deranged) friends - all being well The Baby will be about 7 weeks old - and I wonder what on earth we are getting ourselves into. But I suppose It (and by It, I mean The Baby - I can't say he or she, we don't know the flavour) will need to get used to the other members of our family (and by that, I mean triathlon). We have yet to see how the battle for supremacy between The Baby and triathlon will go. But let's just say that it cost us more to book a space on the plane for the bike than it did for the baby.

Right, enough for today. I have to log off to go and see which of my party dresses I can squeeze myself into without bosting the zip. It's the work Christmas party later on tonight. It's on a boat. Great. All I need is to be the only Sober with no escape route. I've already selected a book to take with me so at least I can keep busy until we dock.

But anyway. Happy Christmas everyone! Have a drink for me...

Monday, 15 August 2011

The race - number 2

OK. For my loyal lycra-clad follower I am pulling my finger out and finally posting another post. Actually, news on the tri front is pretty limited – after Spain, OH has given himself a break and the only training he has been doing is with his drinking hand (that’s not intended to be as filthy as it sounds). I could regale you with stories of late night drunken lunacy and all day Pimms benders but they all end pretty much the same way (slurred “I love you” and regretful “I’m getting to old for all this” – yeah, whatever) so with that in mind I will leave you to imagine these things and I’m sure you won‘t be far wrong.

For posterity, I’m going to briefly recap about the race in Spain despite the fact that it feels like it was a 100 years ago now. España: land of tapas and sunshine and cerveza and most importantly the ETU Triathlon European Championships in Pontevedra. Boring stuff first, OH did well, both very pleased with his result as it looks like he might finally be making some progress on the swimming front (let’s just say in his wave of 45 I was expecting to count 43 green caps before I saw him get out of the water – I was pleasantly surprised to spot him at number 21). I did try to film the momentous occasion to share with you all and thought I was doing so ever so diligently only to realise that I had forgotten to press the record button. Whoops.

I think one of the highlights of the trip for me however was when OH got asked for his autograph. Cue large belly laughs. Actually, I was in the loo, and so missed the event itself, but when I wandered out I noticed OH in a mutually-unable-to-speak-the-other-person’s-language tangle with a Spaniard who kept holding out a pen and gesturing for OH to scribble on his programme. OH (being cripplingly shy) of course refused. On closer inspection of the programme however, it became apparent that said Spaniard thought OH was Alistair Brownlee. Bless him. So a quandary for OH. Does he leave this guy feeling absolutely distraught because his favourite triathlete isn’t as nice as he seems by refusing to sign? Or does he leave an unintelligible moniker on the book and make the guy’s day but know in his heart forever that he is a cheat, a player, a wannabe, if you will? Options considered OH couldn’t sign and as we wandered off to the café to get our Fanta Limón the Spaniard’s wounded-puppy-dog-eyes-stare bored into the back of our heads. The image will stay with me forever.

Actually I can’t really remember much else of the race now – I suspect this is down to my new addled Baby Brain state. Yep, OH and I are thrilled and excited (and a little worried, if I’m honest, in case the kid wants to be an actor and not an athlete) to announce that we are having a little mini-me-mini-OH in February next year. Don’t panic! Plans for any triathlon events next year are unchanged. Of course the arrival of a screeching little bundle of joy couldn’t possibly ever affect the Master Triathlon Plan (cue dastardly but quite possibly naïve laughter)! OH even thinks 2 weeks paternity leave will work very well as an intensive training camp. We’ll see. But really, it’s nice that finally “new arrival” in our house means what it traditionally means (rather than me announcing that OH has bought yet another bike).

I do have concerns though. Serious concerns. OH is already lining up our friends' kids to race against our kid. There's talk of a show down at Windsor in 2029. Apparently interval training in the pool begins in March ("babies can swim before they can walk, right?"). I keep trying to gently suggest to OH that our little darling might inherit my absolute hopelessness at any activity vaguely categorised as sporting. He won't hear of it. He's convinced that I'm perfect Mother DNA material because I have such huge feet - (@drfothers : "the missing link") - whatever happens the kid will have stable platforms so is bound to be good at something sporty, right? Hooray. Can't wait. Actually, my feelings are pretty much summed up by the comment of a good friend: "might be a good thing if your offspring is not such a mentalist on the sports front - OH’ll be outnumbered then..." Couldn't have said it any better myself.

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

The podium

So! You may be able to guess from the title of this post that we (I love that Royal We) have made it to the heady heights of the podium! OH cooked up a storm, quite literally as it happens, and powered on to a fabulous 3rd place finish at this weekend's three quarter distance warm up race. Not too shabby if you ask me. So I thought I ought to blog about the event, for posterity, you understand.

First point of note was the crazy crazy wind. The place where this event is held is pretty open to the elements as it is (it's going to make for an interesting 2012 rowing event) but this weekend the wind was brutal. So brutal they ended up taking down all the bannering for the event as it was smashing about all over the place. Taking it down seemed quite sensible to me - I thought as soon as I arrived that they looked like they had the potential to do someone an injury (get me and my Health & Safety thoughts) and I really could not be doing with taking OH to the hospital because he'd been knocked out by rogue signage. All the bike racks in transition kept being blown over; OH would have me believe that his dreadful time in T2 was a consequence of this. During his bike ride, the officials had taken away one of the racks near OH's station as it wouldn't stay upright (there were no bikes on it, don't worry). Upon entering T2, for some reason, this removal got OH into a right dither - he knew he was 3rd rack from the left and suddenly there was no '3rd'. What to do? You'd think a man of OH's intelligence would be able to work out where his rack space was, non? But no. He couldn't. For approximately one whole minute. And then when he did finally locate his space, he tried to convince me that the dastardly wind really was well and truly against him seeing as it had blown his running shoes away and he couldn't find them either.

But, anyway. Onto the swim. You know how he hates the swim. And to be honest, looking out at the white crests of the waves (really, actual waves) crashing over the surface of the water, I wouldn't have fancied it either. Down by the shore line (where I positioned myself later for filming and photography purposes), I kept thinking about that dreadful movie with the boat and George Clooney and the fishermen and my hands started to sweat. Urgh. But actually, even in these conditions, I think the boy did good. I think he was out of the water in about 12th place, which is a marked improvement on last year's efforts. Of course OH thought the whole thing was terribly distressing and will probably require some kind of post-traumatic swim therapy now. This will be the triathlon-related story he will dine out on for the next year: the tales of breathing in the gaps between the peak and the trough of the wave, the point at which he nearly gave it all up, the smashing of the water against his face. Chuck 'Fedex' Noland's final escape was nothing in comparison to this! Hmm, ok, yes darling, whatever.

So, for completeness, he did a blisteringly good job on the run (maybe those 3 pairs of super pricy running shoes were worth it?) bringing him over the line in a most well deserved and pride-inducing 3rd place. The prize, I hear you shout? £20. Really. He's actually out for a few drinkies tonight to celebrate. Let's hope he doesn't spend it all at once.

Monday, 9 May 2011

The race day

Hooray! I am overjoyed and overcome! Thank you Dr Fothers for becoming my first official follower! This is getting a bit Paltrow Oscar-esque but I am quite thrilled :-)

But now, on with business. With OH stuck on the train just outside Taplow and the promise from him of a massive swim session, I have a cheeky little window to update my blog in peace and quiet without the constant questions of where his next meal is coming from. Today we received notification of the start time of the first race of this season. It's only the warm up race, a cutesy sprint to flex the legs and stretch the muscles, but it got me thinking about the races themselves and what they mean for me. So I decided to delight you all with an inside scoop - an expose if you will (please imagine an accent over that second e) - of what it's like to be the tri widow on race day. Or maybe it's just a job description and person specification which I should perhaps put into a Word document for evidential purposes next time anyone doubts how amazing a girlfriend I am. (By 'anyone' I mean OH).

It's actually pretty busy for me. After all of the getting ready shenanigans at home ("read me out the list and I'll shout 'check'") you might think that once he's set off I get to sit around contemplate my navel. Not true. It's like a full time job. On the weekend. Humph. Anyway, job number one is getting there. I'll always the official chaffeur, to allow him plenty of time to zonerise (the verb meaning to get in the zone, in case it wasn't immediately obvious). If there are other spectators coming to see him, they have to meet us there. OH doesn't really interact with anyone before the race and I can't be doing with apologising to people who think he is being rude when actually he is just zonerising.

Once we've scouted out the place, got the bike racked, numbers drawn on arms and legs, exits and entrances mapped out in our minds, we're ready for the race to begin. Second job is assisting with dressing. It's like being a ladies maid (I've just watched the 6 back-to-back episodes of Downtown so am familiar with the role). He gets the wetsuit most of the way on. I have developed an excellent technique for getting it zipped up efficiently and making sure that it's just tight enough and that the taggle at his neck doesn't get in the way. With the throng of rubber men in his wave starting to make their way to the water the third job is to tell him how much I love him, tell him to just do his best and give him a little peck. Not sure if my assurances actually sink in, he's so zonerised by then it's hard to tell.

This is the most nervous part for me. As you know he's a bit of a loner and so whilst the others are chatting amoungst themselves on the pontoon I always spy him silently and wistfully staring out over the water, no doubt wondering what the hell he is doing it all for. Once in the water, the hooter goes off and the washing machine starts its cycle. Despite normally not being able to see anything of OH during the swim I like to watch the whole thing where physically possible. This is because swimming is his weakest element and the amount of times he's had a hissy fit in the water at the practice lake, I like to reassure myself that he's still afloat. Not that I can identify him in the aquaruck - imagine 200 terrapins flapping their paws (paws? paddles? who knows) and you'll kind of get the idea.

Job four is the stand as close as possible to the exit from the water. This is for 2 reasons: 1) to count the number of same coloured caps as OH so I can tell him how far down the pack he came and I can judge if it's going to be a good result or not; and 2) because I need to yell his name as loud as I can so that he can work out where he needs to go. Often he gets out of the water a bit dizzy and disorientated but apparently when I shout at him he can pick me out a mile off (I knew all those years of whining and nagging would come in useful) - so as soon as he hears me he can place which direction he needs to run in. So off he toddles, into transition, hat thrown to the floor whilst unzipping with the other hand. I never quite make it to see him transition (if I was that quick I suppose I should be doing the race myself) but I get to see him head out on the bike. I can relax. He's pretty good at cycling.

The bike section lasts forever so I take this opportunity to go and buy tea or icecream (weather permitting). Tea addiction fed, I head to a vantage point on the bike course to see if I can see him and get some pictures. I'm glad we no longer have cameras with actual film - we would just have reels and reels of photos of someone else's butt or half of OH's wheel or whatever (I'm not great as the photographer). Digital camera I love you. I shout words of encouragement when I see him, which to be honest is most unlike the shy me but I like him to know that I'm there. Job five is to make sure he knows where he needs to go when he gets off the bike - again shouting instructions if there's something that he needs to know that I know he doesn't know (jeez - how many 'knows'). I'm his personal steward.

Job six is to again photograph and shout at him on the run and after the compulsory 2 sightings I head off to the finish line. I make notes of who's crossed over the line in what times and in what outfits - all of this data gets fed back into the dastardly master spreadsheet which is at the nerve centre of the operation. Job seven is to whoop when he crosses the line, and try to take a picture which doesn't involve him looking hideous. I secretly take a deep breath and thank someone somewhere that he's home in one piece. Job eight is not so pleasant, wiping his mush which has accumulated god knows what bodily fluids and dead flies: but the proudness (proudity? pride?) makes me not care and for a moment I'm doing my best Florence impression.

I'm pretty much done then. We joyfully spend the rest of the day eating and drinking and checking out who has been DQ'd for nudity until the results come out and I queue up diligently to find out how it's all gone. It's like waiting for an exam result. I didn't even take the exam! But I feel a bit like OH's time is a reflection on our team skills too and so always want it to be fabulous. He never disappoints me.


As a last note, felt that I couldn't blog without expressing sadness at the death of Wouter Weylandt on the Giro today. Despite all my moans to the contrary I feel very lucky to have OH this day and every day.

Monday, 11 April 2011

The turnaround

So. Re-reading my last post, it seems I have kept you all on a knife edge, on the tip of a triathlon- shaped crevice if you will, as I have not so far bothered to let you know that the world has righted itself and OH is back to exercising. Whilst in my heart I knew that our life was the triathlon Gomboc – I have to admit at being relieved when we finally left that strange Weeble Land for our old life. I was beginning to panic that it was going to go on indefinitely – that I would have a boyfriend constantly under my feet (“that’s not how you operate the various hoover attachments, let me show you”) and that never again would I be able to watch a full episode of SATC/Supernanny/BFGW without a running commentary which mainly involved tutting and “I can’t believe what a waste your University education has been”. Wiggle was back in business. It may have meant that we were back to 9 o’clock dinners and weekends filled with housework interspersed with desperate requests for more calories (“more fuel, I need more fuel”) – but I was, and still am, very happy to be back to it. Can’t really offer much of an explanation as to the reasons. I suppose during our annual ski trip he got out of the habit (in exchange he did seem to develop a very expensive red wine habit, mind you); and then maybe a little bit of pressure at work including interviewing underlings (the basis of which was a little mathsy-actuarial test he made them do whilst he sat and watched them. A bit sadistic I thought but turned out was actually quite effective for wheedling out the right candidate. Anyway). Oh hang on, I remember now the reason he didn’t have time to do any actual training: DIY. Urgh. (I appreciate this doesn’t offer reasons for his mental unwillingness – I will never be able to delve into the recesses of his mind to fully find that out), but it does give credence to his protestations that he simply didn’t have the time. Excuse or not? I’ll leave that up to you to decide. But DIY. I have alluded previously to OH’s slight OCD nature when it comes to Doing It Ourselves. And I must say at the outset that we now have a fabulous new landing and stairway and so I am very thankful for his obsessive-attention-to-detail nature. He tore down the existing banister (the reason being that he didn’t like a teeny tiny gap between 2 of the newel posts – he could see the dust but couldn’t remove it) and replaced it with a lovely new oak set up; he replaced the handrail and did all of the usual painting/sanding/filling/edging etc. I flounced around a bit and tried to convince him that it was a good style choice to have cushions stacked on the floor as a seating alternative. Needless to say I didn’t win that one. But with the DIY complete for the near future at least, and the training in full swing, we're back on track for Spain. I have booked the flights, car hire and the hotel - co-incidentally I ended up booking into the Sister hotel for the GB team. Not sure if this is a good outcome or not (it just had the best sea views and spa facilities in the area) but seeing as OH and I are both pretty shy and tend to avoid all non-essential conversations with strangers, it might be a bit awkward. Mind you, people might not even realise we're with the team; OH refuses to wear the GB kit when we're actually on these trips, it's only when we get home that he wears them all the time. Months later when the group photo gets published only then will the others realise he was one of them after all. So that's it for now - this post was mainly to stop you holding your breaths (although it's taken me so long I do apologise if you've gone a funny blue colour) and to generally update you with the news. I promise faithfully to post again soon with more hilarious triathlon anecdotes (or not, depends what he gets up to I suppose).

Thursday, 10 February 2011

The unknown

I don't really know how to break this to you. It's not something that I have fully comprehended yet, in my own mind, so I'm struggling to understand how I'm going to tell you. I guess it's best to just come out and say it. I'm finding it difficult to make the sounds. My fingers have gone into spasm. But stop! I'm ready. Here goes.

My darling OH has stopped exercising.

Yes. That's right. He's lost his Triathlon Mojo. I'll give you a minute to catch your breath and gather your thoughts. I understand it's hard to take in - I've had some time to get used to it and I know I've and sprung it on you and that you'll need some time to adjust. I know how you're feeling. Like somehow something in the world we take for granted has just changed. Stopped. Kaput. Finis. It's how you'd feel if suddenly the sun didn't rise. Or if Take That started to produce rubbish songs. God forbid, it's like me deciding that I no longer wanted to be Carrie Bradshaw and that SATC was the spawn child of the devil. It's an occurence you never thought possible.

I know I'm being a drama queen. But seriously - the exercise and training and buying of equipment and filling in of the training log and the before-work swims and the 3 hour cycles have just stopped. It started maybe 3 weeks ago. Early January was fine, the normal exercise schedule. Then an easy week just before skiing, then skiing, then since we've been home: nothing. I don't even know why really. But literally he's done nothing. Well, no, one swim session last weekend. But that really is it. Newcomers to this blog might not think that too bad for a guy who commutes to the City everyday to do a full-on job and with a penchant for DIY (the notorious time sponge). But for OH - it's bonkers. In a 'normal' week there would be a mininum of 7 sessions on week days; and then the legendary 4 monster sessions at the weekends. It's honestly like an alien has come to Earth and taken my OH away for testing and left a similar looking model in his place.

Don't get me wrong - there are some obvious upsides to this new state of affairs. It means we are eating our dinner at a normal time. We're lying in at the weekends. We're having a cheeky drinkie in the evenings. When not in training, my OH is Mr Sociable - he's easily led when it comes to having a drink or two and he's funny and entertaining to be around. And with the leftover lightweight status he's a cheap date. This weekend we saw Cirque du Soleil. Not really a heavy drinking event one would imagine. But no, OH sniffs out the highest percentage beer stocked by the bar beforehand and he's silly drunk before we even get to the RAH. I give him the look that says "no more, Boy-o" but before I know it he's in the champagne bar at the place quaffing a quick glass of bubbles before the thing even starts.

Skiing - another case it point. It always amazes me that we're not allowed to drink and drive. Nor drink and operate heavy machinery. Nor drink before surgery. Nor drink and go to work (generally, anyway). But we can drink and then ski. Possibly the most dangerous mainstream sporting activity you can do, the one where you have to fully rely on yourself to get about (no one can get you down that Black if you're stuck at the top apart from yourself), and you're allowed to do it after a grand Juplier or three at lunch time. In fact, drinking and skiing are positively encouraged. Odd.

But back to the serious point. I don't know why he's stopped. He just has. He doesn't really have a reason - he just hasn't got 'back into it'. I'm worried - where have those aliens taken him? Crazily I think I miss him training. I need to do something to get him back into it (am I stupid?). He's even mooting the idea of not going to Spain for the European Champs in June. I need to seriously have a word about that - I've just bought myself a new swimsuit.

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

The disbelief

Happy New Year! Let's just gloss over the fact that I didn't post anything in December. A quick summary of the month for those keeping count - triathlon life continued as normal with double training sessions every day except for Christmas Day. With Wiggle vouchers aplenty in OH's neoprene stocking, the stream of random objects being delivered did not slow down ("Paddles. Not Flippers. Paddles"). Luckily, over the holidays, OH and I each return to our respective parental homesteads so it was his poor Mum who got the bulk of the burden of living with a triathlete. By Christmas Eve and our family-in-law dinner out (when we had been home for approximately 6 hours), OH's Mum was already telling my Mum that she aged 10 years every time OH went home for any length of time. She didn't know how I put up with him. Every time I see OH's Dad he says to me that he doesn't know how I put up with him.

But it was like water off a duck's back. It had never really occurred to me to not put up with him. This is how it is, no? When the Christmas tree fairy lights flashed their last twinkle about one hour before our guests were due to arrive at our Christmas Luncheon to Evening Soiree event this year (well, last year now), OH took the opportunity to get his running kit on to jog down to the local Homebase to get us a new set. I thought this perfectly normal (although a teensy bit annoying as potentially it meant he might arrive back, very sweaty, at the same time everyone was arriving. And he was meant to be preparing the mulled wine). As we ate our turkey, I recanted the story and drama of the kamikaze lights. One lovely guest quipped: "And I bet OH ran down to the shop to get a new set?", her eyes as twinkly and brimming with cheekiness as they could be. "Yes", I replied, deadpan. How else would we have gotten them?

But, back to this business of 'putting up with him/it'. I think I'm going to use those words interchangeably as I don't really think I can draw any distinction between enduring what OH is like personally and triathlon itself. The triathlon element only exists in its current form because OH makes it so. If he wanted to be a professional DIY-person it would be the same. I only need remember the saga of the bookshelves in our study to know that. (A caveat though, the shelves do look amarrzing). He toiled without food and water for 3 days and 3 nights getting those shelves up, overcoming every possible DIY obstacle in the process. A new Workmate (remember those from the eighties?), mitre block, several different sized G-clamps, brown rubbery sealant stuff, 5 different types of raw plugs and 2 laser levels later they were up, displaying my lovely alphabetically-arranged books to their very best advantage. But the point I'm making is that OH has the kind of personality which means that whatever pursuit he were to choose, it would be the same. He would stick with it and take it to its extreme lengths to try and be the best that he could be. In fact, I often think how lucky I am that his hobby is not drug-taking or adultery.

I'd not overly given this idea much thought to be honest. As I alluded to in a much earlier post, this triathlon life is so much better than the rowing widow life that I endured in our early years together that sometimes I feel like all my Christmasses have come at once. However, over the holidays we met up with a couple of great friends of ours. Currently based in Oz, we only get to see them every few years. This meant that they knew nothing of OH's triathlon exploits - the last time we saw them OH was still in his rowing phase. They knew it all too well: Husband was at college with OH, they rowed together on numerous occasions. Wife was in the winning boat crew which OH coached. I would group them in the same set as OH when it comes to personality and sport (when we skiied together once we nicknamed the Husband 'Duracell' as he never stopped).It was great to see them and share with them tales of Budapest and Pacman and Lady Bike and wetsuits and drafting and rah rah rah. They enquired as to the level of training that OH did. He told them. And the one thing that they really could not believe was that I put up with (or "allowed", as they said it) the training that OH did. Really? I said. It's fine, genuinely meaning it. But their disbelief got me thinking. Should I put up with it?

For me the big question is - what would happen if I decided I didn't want to put up with it? Ultimatums never work in my view. I think I decided long ago that the 80-20 rule should apply. If I am happy 80% of the time, and triathlon is annoying 20% of the time only, then I think we're onto a winner. And I am very happy, more than 80% of the time. And of course I love OH very much (wowser, too soppy, but has to be included), and as I said before, this triathlon phase is just an extension of him. By telling him triathlon has to go, I would be telling him to go. No way Jose.

So that's it. Decision made. Triathlon stays.

I also think there is a side of this triathlon widow life which people don't always see. I can't believe I am going to write out the following list, what with its secrets of female manipulation and all:

  1. If I ever buy an extravagently expensive pair of shoes, OH can never comment owing to him spending such a fortune on triathlon tack. I am not one of these girls who has to hide new purchases in the back of the wardrobe until they are old enough to say: "oh, this old thing? I've had this for ages!"

  2. If, and when, OH gets around to buying me an engagement ring, I have legitimate grounds to ask for a ring which is huge - "it's carbon like Lady Bike, just in a different form."

  3. I can use it as a guilt trip (which for the record, I never ever ever ever do). "But I want to watch SATC the movie for the 40th time - even though I know that you hate it and there's a movie on the other side which I know you are desperate to watch...and you have been neglecting me a bit lately, what with all the training you've been doing."

  4. I watch all the crap TV I like during those long bike rides when I'm home alone. Supernanny, DIY SOS, Friends, Location Location Location and so on - all in absolute peace.

  5. His tenacity is often a blessing in disguise. If there's something that I want (like a specific style of new dress, par example) but I'm not able to find it, he will hunt it down like a dog and get it for me.

  6. I get to sneak in extra holidays when there are events abroad. Next year's world champs are in New Zealand - will be encouraging OH to train like a demon for that then...

So, if any of you feel bad for me living this triathlon widow life, please don't. It's actually rather fabulous.