Out There: Rekindling A Burnt Out Relationship

  • By Mario Fraioli
  • Published Jul. 7, 2011
  • Updated Mar. 15, 2012 at 5:10 PM UTC
When not training for Ironman, the author had a really nice courtship with naps, and a love affair with cupcakes that made her weep with joy on a daily basis.

When not training for Ironman, the author had a really nice courtship with naps, and a love affair with cupcakes that made her weep with joy on a daily basis.

Susan Lacke is getting back together with Ironman–and she loves it.

Written by: Susan Lacke

The Fourth of July stands for all things American: Apple pie, barbecuing, and staying up late with friends to watch fireworks.

I got none of those things. My training plan for Ironman Arizona began on the Fourth of July, and with it, I got sore muscles, piles of stinky laundry, and an early bedtime.

Independence Day, my ass. For the next 20 weeks I am married to the swim, bike, and run.

And I couldn’t be happier.

It’s been about 7 months since Ironman and I have been in an exclusive relationship. After Ironman Wisconsin last year, we decided to see other people for a while. I had a really nice courtship with naps, and a love affair with cupcakes that made me weep with joy on a daily basis. I danced around with the sprint and Olympic triathlon circles for a while, exhilarated by a lifestyle filled with quickies that left me out of breath.

But all the while, nothing made me feel the same way Ironman did. I missed him, and wanted to be back in his comforting arms. So I did what any lover would do: Stood outside of Ironman’s bedroom window with a boombox, playing “In Your Eyes” until he took me back.

He did. It’s been quite a ride ever since.

I forgot about some of the idiosyncrasies that came along with this relationship: the 4 AM awakenings, the sore muscles, and the rigid structure of a training plan. I’ve had to accept that conversations with my boyfriend, Neil, also in the midst of Ironman training, will sometimes be reduced to a system of tired grunts and half-awake hand gestures. Ironman takes my bank account and empties it into the cash drawer of my local supermarket and triathlon shop.

But I wouldn’t change it for the world.

Those 4 AM rides and runs allow me to see some of the most beautiful sunrises my neighborhood has to offer. The sore muscles are a reminder that my body is capable of doing what I once thought I would never be able to do. The structure of the training plans gives me focus and direction in a life that is otherwise pretty unpredictable. Neil and I are tired, for sure, but snuggling on the couch isn’t a bad way to spend an evening, if you ask me. And those exorbitant food and triathlon costs are often accompanied by my best friends, as we train together and fill up on good food (and better company) post-workout.

It’s probably the healthiest relationship I’ve ever been a part of, and for the happiness he brings me, I’m smitten with Ironman all over again. The break was just what we needed, but now we’re back together, conversing like two giddy teenagers:

“I love you!”
“Noooo, I love YOU!”
“I love you MORE!”
“No, I love you MORE!”
“Nuh-uh! I love you….guess what? More!”

It’s so cute, it’s disgusting.

And I’m loving every second of it.

Thanks, y’all, for your sweet, poignant, clever, and just plain hysterical entries to the bike-naming contest. Congratulations to Jamie Bull, who won with his tongue-in-cheek entry:

“Victoria. She is smooth, sexy, under weight, 0% natural and I tell her my dirty secrets when I’m out on a long ride all alone. “

Who says bikes can’t be sexy? Congratulations, Jamie! Enjoy your new Pearl iZUMi gloves, RoadID, and Gu package. Shoot me a line on Twitter (@SusanLacke) and we’ll get that out to you right away.

FILED UNDER: Out There TAGS: / / /

Mario Fraioli

Mario Fraioli

Mario Fraioli is a senior editor at Competitor magazine. A cross-country All-American at Stonehill College in 2003, he now coaches the Prado Women's Racing Team in San Diego and was the men's marathon coach for Costa Rica's 2012 Olympic team. His first book, The Official Rock 'n' Roll Guide To Marathon & Half-Marathon Training (VeloPress, 2013) is available in bookstores, running shops and online.

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