Saturday, February 16, 2019

This is a triathlon, but it is not an Ironman.

The difference being?

A triathlon is three events: swimming, biking and running. An Ironman is 2.4 miles of swimming, 112 miles of biking, 26.2 miles of running. This triathlon has those three events, but a 1/3 of the calories.


Sorry, a third of the distances.

So, you will finish before midnight?

I hope so. I would like to take my wife sightseeing. She is the one who will be waiting for me to finish the race.

As the perpetual third wheel growing up with only sisters, I am sensitive to include others in what I’m into.

How does one include their spouse in a race that only you can compete in?

By letting her into your world. My wife knows my workouts. She knows my bike and run split times.

Why would you do a split during a race?

She knows how fast I swim, I bike and I run. So, she knows how well I am doing by how ahead or behind I am from my projected pace. She is captain, cheerleader and medical staff for…

Team Dave?

After every workout, we debrief and discuss what worked. She once called me during a marathon because my pace dropped.

What did she say?

“Your pace dropped. You must be in trouble. Do you want me to come get you?” My response, “I’m walking off a cramp and no, I’m going to finish this thing.”

Did you?

Yes, thank you. I met my wife at the finish. Which is my point. She always meets me at the finish.

Being a tri wife has been described as being an “Ironman Widow.” Training requires me to be away from my family for hours at a time.

So, what if she needs you during a training ride?

I have my cell phone and my GPS watch.

How does your GPS watch help your wife?

It came with “Husband Tracking.” She can simply check her computer to see which zip code I have crossed into. I will review my long run path with my wife, so she knows where I am planning to run to. I have received midworkout texts from her to stop at the store for things like milk or bread on my way home.

But how do you include your wife while you are racing?

The way to make your day “their day” is to let them in on the planning. Pick destinations your wife might like. Heck, ask her to pick the destination race. Reward her with a spa treatment while you are out there killing yourself. Give her spending cash to enjoy while you are racing. If the athlete gets a finisher medal, the spouse gets jewelry.

The average triathlon has 3,000 competitors, with another 3,000 of their family members. If you think your wife will be able to find you if you don’t tell her where to look, you have an  overblown sense of self…even for a triathlete. So take the time to see the event through their eyes. The day before, go down to the finish line and show your spouse where to meet you.

Being married to a triathlete seems like a lot of work.

Which is why I have always said, “You keep the kids safe. I will keep myself safe and I will see you at the finish line.”

By David Roher



David Roher is a USAT Certified Marathon & Triathlon Coach. He is a veteran special education teacher and a multi-Ironman finisher. He can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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