Well, here we are in the third month of what is going to be a busy year for me. All of my A-races and B-races are registered and all told, there are a couple of hundred racing kilometers in my immediate future--a 50km ultra and 100km MTB race (back-to-back), then three high stakes duathlons that are going to be squeezed into just under nine weeks of race-recover-race hell that, let's be honest, would be difficult to pull off if I was an elite level duathlete. (Full disclosure: I'm not.) Lots of training ahead across four disciplines and not a lot of time to do it.
So, of course, I spent this past weekend coaching at a Brazilian jiu jitsu tournament.
Yup, I was off to scenic Blackfalds, Alberta, to take in the sweaty ambiance of a crowded gym and the sounds of exertion farts, confused grunts, and tapping hands trying to avoid joint dislocations or unconsciousness.
My life. The glamour. Don't hate me for it.
Anyway, I showed up to the tournament already knowing exactly what my role was--moral support, and probably not much more. I was in "dad" mode more than I was anything else. Actually, more like "uncle" mode; the gym I was there to help out has enough dads without me confusing things even further.
But it was good that I showed up. Once the competition was underway, there wasn't much "dadding" going on--with the coaches competing, it made for a frenetic environment as athletes ended up on the mat and self-coaching because the coaches were embroiled in their own matches. Hey, it happens.
So my job was to say a couple of nice things, keep it broad and open, distract people from their nervousness, then start to narrow their focus as the matches drew closer. Not sure I succeeded with everyone, but I am pretty sure I did with Bill--and Bill is the hero of today's story.
Actually, Bill probably didn't need me there; still, there I was so I decided to make myself useful by focusing on his matches and trying to shout words of encouragement from the edge of the mat. You know, things like "don't lose" and "stop crying--you're a grown man and your daughter is here." The type of coaching cues that only come from years of experience.
Bill had three matches, eventually taking a *SPOILER ALERT* gold at the conclusion of his run. They were good matches against some nice people--a judgement made spur of the moment on my behalf based on how they handled losing to Bill, but still pretty informative of their overall respective characters, I like to think. Everyone was a gentleman and the tourney came to its conclusion in short order, though it probably seemed longer to Bill than it did to me. He was working hard in each of his bouts and just getting him recovered between matches became the goal of the day. Obviously, it worked out for him and things turned out well overall. Cardio and BJJ FTW!
I, on the other hand, did nothing that day that would even resemble exercise; I was mostly sedentary, then yelled for a few minutes at a time over three bouts. Not exactly zone building. I was, however, sweating, but not from exertion; I was wearing my lucky "fight cardigan" and the room was humid. Any sheen on my forehead came from having too many layers on than it did from physical effort on my part--and the fight cardigan stays on until the tourney is finished, no matter how warm it gets.
And when it did finish, I quietly exited the building. Pretty low key day, all things considered.
How does this tie in to a blog that is ostensibly about running, and certainly about me competing in sports? It doesn't, really; I already told you that Bill was the hero of today's story. The reality of it is that, the day of the submission tournament, I was supposed to do a three hour bike ride with intervals followed by a 30 minute run. Instead, I commuted for a couple of hours from Edmonton to Blackfalds and back again, milled around for a few more hours at the BJJ tournament, and coached my friend to a gold medal that I quite honestly think he could have won without me. Not sure if there is anything to be gleaned from that for the budding runners, cyclists, and duathletes out there reading this.
Except for one thing, which is that this...
...means I never have to regret skipping training that day, even if it means losing a race this year. Friends and family mean a lot more in the long run than the training days that take you away from them to focus on yourself. When you give something back, they give you something even more valuable.
You get to share their successes, which is a win in and of itself.