Ironman has become an obsession. I think about it all the time. During the school year, as I'd drive to work I'd be thinking about how I could fit in all the required 12+ hours in the training plan. On Sunday night I'd meticulously map out my week, especially double workouts, and broadcast it on Daily Mile because if I made it public, I'd stick with it (although I'm sure pretty much no one reads my weekly plan.... making it public is just a mental thing.) I'd know Sunday night that on Thursday I would get my 75 minute bike ride done at on the trainer before the children got up at 6:45, and then I'd get 70 minutes of running in by parking my car outside of the babysitter's house precisely at 4:20, still allowing me to finish up right at my deadline of 5:30. I would literally spend the last 10 minutes running up and down her street to make sure I got in all 70 minutes without risking a late pick up. Then I would log it all on Daily Mile to the second. And forget about skipping workouts. If it didn't get done before I picked them up, I'd finish up after they went to sleep. I wouldn't sacrifice kid time, but I sacrificed a lot of sleep time.
Losing sleep probably isn't healthy. Or balanced.
I also have a really hard time with "rest days." This week the training plan said 16 hours. I thought I had gotten in all my workouts (much easier to do now that school is out), and today was supposed to be a rest day. I logged onto Daily Mile and it said I'd only gotten in 14:32. 14:34 is not 16! I immediately went to the training plan to see where my "deficit" was. Apparently I was short an hour on the bike and a half an hour on the run. We are visiting my parents right now, and my kids were asleep in the living room. Everyone else in my family was watching a soccer game (which I have never enjoyed.) So I went out and biked for an hour. Then I ran for 25 minutes. And then I logged it all and felt better.
I wonder if every endurance athlete has an obsessive personality? I mean, you have to be pretty obsessive to even consider doing something this crazy. You can fake your way through a 5K. Maybe even a sprint triathlon. An Ironman? Not so much. You have to be a little obsessive to get up at 5am and swim for 90 minutes, and then run another 90 minutes sometime after work. To run 20 miles on a Saturday morning when everyone else is enjoying some extra sleep. Or bike 80 hilly miles on your first day of summer vacation when it's 100 degrees outside.