Better Relationships

2019-06-12 15.56.43June’s a happy month for me.

June 2000, June 2004, June 2005, June 2011 => milestones of a better life.

Before I arrived at better, I had a lot of experience with making my life more difficult than it needed to be.

“Relationships” was a particularly weak area.

When I got married (for the second time), I had no experience of being in a good marriage.

However, I had a willingness to look carefully at my role in creating a divorce.

Invert.

Do less of what moves you away from your goals

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As a coach, I would advise my athletes to:

  1. cut your intake of alcohol, sugar & cheese in half
  2. pay attention to what causes you to binge
  3. pay attention to what causes you to miss training

What were we doing?

  1. Learning how to take things out
  2. Learning how to get out of our own way
  3. Training the ability to look at our shortcomings and, gradually, address them

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What are the things that screw up relationships in my demographic?

Avoid being away for long periods of time. With no kids this meant business trips under 14 days duration. With three kids (6, 8, 10) this means I’m rarely alone.

Why’s the above important?

Let’s see…

Athletic couple, physically attractive, raising their heart rates independently, frequently apart.

Don’t come home tired. My wife put this on me a decade ago and it made an immediate difference. I’d go further…

Be seen to help out. When you’re smoked, don’t park yourself in the middle of the house and do nothing! I’ve made a habit of puttering around doing housework. It serves me well.

Away a lot, coming home tired, not assisting… if I wanted to create the perfect storm for my spouse to burn the relationship down (and feel relieved doing it) then that is a good place to start.

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Anyhow, we got to “better” and then we had kids!

Six years ago, our crew was 0, 2 and 4 years old.

Back then, my wife’s goal was pretty simple… Get. Through. The. Day.

Working through that period is when we noticed 1-2-3 (above) resulted in better.

Better, not easier!

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But the kids grew up and it does get easier.

And I looked around and discovered that I know what a great marriage looks like.

Nothing like what I would have expected!

 

Expectations

2017-04-07 18.43.38One year from now, the preschool years will be over.

I’m grateful.

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A favorite quote about racing comes from Scott Molina…

You don’t have to feel good to do good.

Another from John Hellemans…

When I want to quit, I know I’m going at appropriate race pace.

Both these gentleman have won a lot of races. They know their subject matter well!

Part of what they were seeking to teach me was performing at a high level feels a certain way, and it isn’t pleasurable.

2017-03-31 20.01.54So if you find yourself feeling overwhelmed, with your ears ringing and a headache starting… it might be how parenting feels (and the capacity to endure and not retaliate is what parenting well entails.)

That’s how I manage my expectations…

…to reduce the sensation of panic at the first whiff of misery!

2017-03-31 16.54.18.jpgAs the preschool years end, I’m going to find myself with…

Young people who are genetically programmed to want to spend time with me. Kids like us by default — our main role is not to screw up the relationship.

Young people with skills to share an active outdoor lifestyle with me. The skills were taught by outside experts. My role is to keep-it-fun.

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I wanted you to know what worked…

  1. Be willing to ask for help.
  2. Up-skill myself.
  3. Up-skill everyone towards shared activities.

It gets better.

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Family Cycling

2015-09-04 08.22.00Here is the link to my last piece about cycling with babies and preschoolers – also the Endurance Corner article about Active Parents.

Roll forward 18 months and the kids are aged 7, 4 and 3. The four year old just transitioned from a strider and the three year old is comfortable on her strider as well as a three-wheeled scooter. I wouldn’t have expected some of the changes.

One of my rules-of-thumb is to consider selling anything that I don’t use for a year. So, I sold my racing bikes, race wheels, powermeters and Garmins. When I need a road bike, I rent a top-of the line model. Considering maintenance, upgrades and airline fees – a net savings of more than $1,000 annually for the family.

2015-09-10 16.03.31I spent $5,000 and bought a haul-a-day and a family tandem from Bike Friday. My main bike is a 29er and the 20-inch wheels on the Friday bikes were an adjustment. Disc brakes and front/rear flashing lights with both bikes. Flat pedals for me and shoe cages for my daughter on the tandem.
2015-08-27 18.41.29Most the cost (above) was in the tandem but it’s a game changer for exercising with my oldest. She loves it and we’re up to 20 mile rides. If I remove a second row seat in my Sienna then it fits inside my van and we did several trips this summer. Now that school is back in session, we use it as a commuter to/from her climbing.

When I got the cargo bike, I expected to be able to sell our second car (my Sienna van) as well as our double bike trailer. It’s not going to happen.

Turns out that the second car was useful, it’s now the sitter’s car. The adjustment to not having a car of my own left me a little grumpy. I went so far as to price out what a third car would cost the family. When I calculated the costs associated with a new car, a third car and my existing car… it got a whole lot easier to adjust my life. My effective savings are $5 per city-mile not driven. Human powered whenever possible and treat Uber like a free service.

The cargo bike gets the kids up high and in the air. They love it… when it’s warm. I have kept the trailer for cold and wet mornings, when I bundle up and take one for the team.

2015-09-04 08.11.37SAFETY – it turns out that I don’t enjoy riding on city roads with my kids on their own bikes! This shouldn’t have surprised me (but it did) because I was a nervous boyfriend when Monica and I would train together. The kids and I prefer bike paths, even if they double our travel time.

We didn’t go electric as I have the horsepower (just) to get a hundred extra pounds up the local hills. If you aren’t a strong cyclist then consider front-wheel power assist for the cargo bike.