First and foremost I am a mother. Six years ago, I begged my Financial Advisor husband to figure out a way that I could stay home with my babies. He did, and as I was telling my boss that I was leaving, he asked me to work from home. So I have since been juggling the two, and in 2008 I decided to be a triathlete too. I used to feel guilty about spending so much time on my training, but I try to convince myself that it’s the only thing I do for me, so it’s ok. However, it’s really not just for me . . . My training actually benefits everyone around me as well. When my training is consistent, that consistency carries over to all other aspects of my life.
I’m a better mom when I’m training – more relaxed, more patient, and definitely more fun. I’m definitely a better employee when I’m exercising . . . less stressed, more focused, clear mind/body connection. And of course I’m a better triathlete when I’m working out!
I often get asked how I do it. How do I fit it all in? I guess it comes down to making choices. Some might say it’s about sacrifices, but I honestly don’t feel like I’m missing out on anything. I have chosen the triathlon lifestyle and I continue to make choices everyday. If a friend asks me to get together to “catch up”, I say sure! Let’s go for a run tomorrow. Or, meet me on the spin bikes at the gym.
As far as fitting it all in, well, I do actually have a few tricks that help me to balance my three lives, and I’ve gotten pretty good at multitasking.
How do I fit in work?
I am a huge proponent of the YMCA. We have been members for 5 years, and we take full advantage of all the Y has to offer the whole family. The best thing the Y ever did was get wi-fi! Several mornings a week, I sign the boys in to either the gym or an exercise class and I sit in the lobby and do my work. The boys are playing with other kids, exercising, and having fun! And, I’m getting work done! Perfect!
I have a few girlfriends who also work part-time from home. We have often had “work dates”, so the kids have a play date while we get work done. Once again, everyone is happy . . . and productive!
How do I fit in training?
The best invention ever was the transformation of the “Running Date” from the coffee date. Three to five women get together at one house, with all of their kids. We put on a pot of coffee and run or bike in twos. So, we essentially kill three birds with one stone: the kids have a play date, the moms get to chat, and the moms get to hit their training sessions. Genius!
Sometimes we’ll make a special trip to the East Y. If Daddy is available to come, then he and I can take turns swimming laps and playing with the boys in the activity pool. Or, if I go solo, we have recently discovered the Power Zone, a special part of the day care room for the older kids. My boys have started asking if I could do a swim tonight, so they can go play! I definitely don’t have to feel guilty about getting in a swim anymore!
Sometimes I’ll meet my girlfriend at the pool with her older daughter, who will play with my boys in the shallow end while we swim laps. Once again, the boys are happy and I’m getting a workout in.
Finally, all three of my boys got into a swim class at the SAME time! So I jump in the pool and aqua jog during their lessons. I can see each one of them, wave, and watch them jump in, and get in a workout too! Awesome!
My youngest is in upk this year, which is five afternoons per week. To me, this translates into 2.5 hours of “free time” per day. Two days a week, I drop him at school and jump immediately on my bike, thus getting in a 1.5-2 hr ride. Other days, I use this kid-free time to do work uninterrupted – what a treat!
This past summer, I started using the bike buggy as a jogging stroller. I put the younger two in with drinks, snacks, and toys, and could usually get in at least 30-45 minute runs before they were bored. Also, my oldest is now able to bike alongside me while I run, making it a nice way to include him in my training, when he’s interested.
Both my hubby and I have been known to set up the bike trainer outside on the deck (or a dock, on vacation!), so we can keep an eye on the kids while they’re playing. Also, doing flashcards with the kids or reading homework, while on the trainer, is another great way to multitask!
It definitely can be a challenge creating balance between family, work, and fitness.
I know some people may think it sounds crazy, which it pretty much is; but, I enjoy the lifestyle, craziness and all. Although triathlon comes third for me, it’s still pretty cool that I can actually be competitive in a sport at age 40.
Jennifer Corona is a 39 year old aspiring triathlete with the NWT team, a part-time employee of CNY Fertility Center, and a full-time mother to three boys, ages 4, 6, and 8.