Representing Age Group Team GB, but juggling isn’t for me.
I have lost count of the number of times I have heard people say that such-and-such a person successfully juggles training for their sport with a full-time job, a partner and children. It seems to me that all the right words are there in this description, but what is usually meant is that such-and-such a person has a full-time job, a partner and children, and juggles those things in order to train for and be successful in their sport.
But that’s not for me, and here’s why: I don’t want to juggle my wife or my daughter, nor do I think they would take kindly to being juggled, and the same goes for my job (@ProfMikeWeed, for anyone interested), which I am lucky enough to enjoy, and ambitious enough to want to be successful at.
The need (or not) for this juggling act became relevant for me this year because at the RedVenom Aquathlon (triathlon without the cycling) in May, after an 18 year break from multi-sport (more of that HERE), I qualified for the World Age Group Aquathlon in London’s Hyde Park in September. This was an achievement for me because I had set myself the target of doing it without juggling. In practice, this means I often get up to go to work at 5am so I can be home in time to spend time with my daughter Josie before I put her to bed. Working early in the mornings means my weekends are free, but I don’t waste my free weekends training, rather weekends are for Josie, her Mummy and I, and the time that all three of us get to spend together is so clearly Josie’s favourite time. That said, Josie and I are partial to the odd buggy parkrun (more of this in “Dad-dee Weeeee!” HERE).
So my training at this time of year involves running out and back along the verge of Kent’s main arterial trunk road, the Thanet Way, in a builder’s HiViz vest because it’s the only lit option once Josie is in bed, by which time it’s dark. Plus swimming once a week at a 9pm Masters session, and perhaps another post 8pm public session.
The outcome at Hyde Park was that I finished 52nd, and was a little disappointed – I was hoping to finish closer to the top 30. That might seem to lack ambition as a goal, but any greater ambition would mean I’d have to start juggling and, for me, that’s too great a sacrifice for an Age Group (or Masters, or Veteran) World Championship.
But that’s not to say I wasn’t proud to represent Age Group Team GB in a World Championship: I got a real thrill wearing WEED GBR across my Team GB tri-suit, so much so that I will inevitably try to do so again. The real tingle down my spine, though, was seeing Josie and her Mummy cheering me on through transition.
So in qualifying for and representing Age Group Team GB in 2013 I feel that I succeeded in age group sport on my own terms without ever feeling that I was losing at life. Something that, as a 40-44 Age Grouper, takes me back to my 70’s childhood, and that staple of Saturday Night TV, The Generation Game. No matter how good (or bad) contestants were at juggling or other pointless circus tricks, Bruce Forsyth would remind us every week that Life is the Name of the Game!