Sunday, August 17, 2008


The September issue of Triathlete Magazine contains a few items that may hit a chord with those of us trying to balance family and triathlon.

Page 22 contains a letter from Claudia Kretschman, a much more accomplished athlete than I could ever hope to become, who somehow worked graveyard shift for 25 years in order to raise a family and to train, but only while her kids were at school and her husband was at work. It was even more humbling, therefore, when I read Alice’s sombre warning not to sacrifice family time for triathlon, a decision [I] may regret several years down the road.

But, then I considered another letter on page 22 from Alice McHugh Laughlin, VP of Total Immersion Swimming, whose perspective was (conveniently) more in line with my selfish (?) desires. From her letter I took away the thought that balance is a family pursuit, with each member giving and taking at different times. Her advice is to be flexible, compromising, considerate, interdependent and respectful. With 35 years of marriage, a successful business and three daughters under their race belts, it provides me with hope that it can indeed be done without permanent damage!

Further inspiration came on page 14 with a photo of Kathy Winkler winning the 40- to 44-year-old division at the Accenture Escape from Alcatraz race. Oh, and her daughters both set records for being the youngest triathletes to complete the course at ages 12 and 11.

Claudia Kretschman’s sentiment always haunts my thoughts; I am constantly fighting off the guilt that can come with triathlon training, especially as I ponder Ironman. However, the inspiration that comes from other triathlete parents who have ‘done it’ gives me resolve to continue.

Finally, I read the quote below and am keeping it close to my heart these days:

"You don't age until your regrets outnumber your dreams."
- John Barrymore


  1. Wow - Alison, as always you are inspiring! I look forward to joining you for some of your training during this exciting journey.
    Remember - guilt is not a good use of your energy :)
    Take care,

  2. glad to find your blog! i'm 23 weeks pregnant with my first and although i'm more of a runner (and recreational cyclist), i've done a couple of sprint tris (the swimming sucks). i have ironman dreams too...looking forward to reading about how you're doing!

  3. nice to find this blog! I am full time family doctor and mother of 3 and 5 year old boys and training for my first triathalon--in Unalaska in the middle of the Bering Sea. I love the idea about balance--raising your kids to understand and respect exercise and fitness is really important. Our 5 year old is going to race in the tiny tots triathalon our community has on the same day as mine! Can't wait!