|The carbon fibre horse – ready for riding!|
I like to think of myself as one of the UK’s finest amateur athletes. You know, the kind that is perfectly capable of performing to a relatively high standard if they could be bothered; well that’s me. I am also very aware that I fall into the ‘jack of all trades, master of none’ category when it comes to sports. I’m not bad at most things sporting but not ‘bloody amazing’ at anything. (This for me is a cross I have to bear…regrets of not focusing on one sport and pushing myself hard haunt me on a regular basis.)
Whether it’s road cycling or rock climbing, football or free running, triathlon or tennis, I love it. Being active, travelling at speed (obviously not when I run) and getting the adrenalin pumping from the competitive and risky nature of various sports, is in my blood.
However, the arrival of the baby places dads like me at a crossroads; a crossroad of considerations. Priorities are changing and popping out for a quick 30km cycle on a summers evening will probably require some forethought and planning at the very least. Or spending a fortune entering various triathlons throughout the season is perhaps a little irresponsible what with the inflation on nappies…
I have a race coming up in September called Man VS Mountain. It’s run by a company called RatRace who organise all kinds of outdoor events throughout the year. (They also have a great shop with pretty good discount!)*
The race, in a nutshell, is 20 miles from sea level at Caernarfon Castle, up one side of Mt Snowdon to the summit and down the other side via a few obstacles such as abseiling, swimming and the ‘vertical kilometre.’ I’ll be chucking on the Salomon running shoes and NorthFace gear and pushing my heavy backside up that mountain! **
Now, I am only 26 and I do some kind of sport relatively often and so consider myself generally quite fit (in comparison to the masses; nearly said ‘massives’ then…) but even for me, this race does require some kind of training and preparation. There will be nothing worse than travelling to Wales, getting 4 miles up Mt Snowdon and having to be airlifted off to hospital… #embarrassing!
But training with a 2 week old baby brings a certain level of challenge; namely timing challenges.
#1 Do I go when he’s asleep and the wife is resting? What if he wakes? I don’t want the wife to have to get up and deal with him as well as everything else she has to do. (Breastfeeding)
#2 Bath time? Well, I like to bath him so I’d be missing out on bonding time with him.
#3 Once he’s gone to bed? Well, if I’m not thoroughly exhausted from being up all the night before, even training seems to take it’s toll at the best of times. Plus, if it’s dark, running off road is even harder. And the batteries are dead on the bike lights.
#4 When he’s feeding then? Sounds stupid maybe, but a dads role during feeding is still really important. Encouraging mum and making sure she has what she needs.
Time seems to go quicker with a baby anyway; so overcoming this challenge is probably harder than actually competing.
Seriously though, I do believe that it’s important that dads spend time thinking about this. We all need our own time, our own space and our own freedom to explore the adventurous side to our nature. It therefore, has to be held in tension with the responsibilities of being a dad. (And a husband but this is the dad network, not the husband network!)
My (hopeful) aim, is that as I grow into this dad role I manage to hold those 2 things in tension; my passion for adventure through sports and being dad. It will be a skill to carve out appropriate times to train and develop a good ‘selection process’ on different races.
Watch this space for more sporting posts including how I get on with Man VS Mountain!
*This is not a sponsored post…sadly…
**Still not a sponsored post… actually crying now…