Being a dad, you get the “role model” part thrust upon you whether you want it or not. I’ve tried to embrace it, but sometimes I just feel like a big fraud. I think this is a common struggle for people who try to achieve and surpass crazy goals over an extended period of time. In this post, I open the door to my personal struggle – maybe you can relate?
It has now been several months since my last post.
During this time I’ve probably done 50% of my workouts. I’ve probably eaten reasonably for 20-30% of my meals. I’ve withdrawn from my first Half Ironman of the year (scheduled for mid-April) and have lowered my expectations for my next one in July. I just completed a Sprint tri with the slowest 5k I’ve run in 5 years. I’ve stopped thinking in terms of competing to qualify and set PRs and have started thinking of how much easier things would be if I just stopped trying. I’ve also put on about 20 pounds from where I usually would be as race season approaches.
Why has all of this happened? Did I suddenly obtain a super-client that has radically changed my schedule? Did I take up some new activity to keep me busy? Nope. I just stopped being so motivated.
I’ve accomplished a ton over the past five years – by any measure. I lost over 100 pounds. I increased my boys’ interest and appreciation for the value of fitness. I’ve motivated literally dozens of people to change their lifestyle through personal conversations. I’ve served as a “motivational photograph” for my coach and my doctor. My “story” was featured by USA Triathlon as part of their Nationals coverage last year. I completed an Ironman race. I qualified for Long Course World Championships. I’ve won medals in my age group in running and triathlon races. I’ve stuck around to see my daughter and I’m not her “fat daddy”.
But the years have been a constant struggle too. I learned early on that taking my eye off the ball for even a short time would result in decreased performance. If I couldn’t swim for a few weeks, I’d almost instantly start losing time and capability. If I missed runs, I’d run at a slower pace for same heart rate within just a few days. My weight would go up 2-3 pounds a week every week in which I missed more than 1-2 workouts or ate a few “special party meals”. How much do I care about performance? Why was “I’ve got to get an Ironman done” so important to me, but “I want to do a fast 70.3 and go to Worlds” not enough to drive me to the kind of focus it takes to be successful?
And the struggle of being a fit dad is not just limited to maintaining my own fitness. The “dad” part shows the same struggle. What kind of role model have I really been? Some of my family and friends have seen my example and followed wholeheartedly – building self-motivating tools that will remain with them forever. But others have seen, acknowledged the value, but still do not prioritize fitness. I try to push, to encourage, to support, but ultimately I have recognized that I must be fit for myself – others can see and will do what they will do.
This makes me tired.
I love to motivate people, but I honestly cannot help but feel like a fraud when it comes to being “Fit Dad”. Good idea – poor execution. I don’t know if true “fit dad” status is supposed to yield self-motivated, encouraged friends, kids, followers, etc… maybe I simply have set the bar too high and shouldn’t get frustrated. But I have NOT felt like anyone’s role model lately and am not sure if this journey is too arduous for me to continue.
I have not asked for much from my readers, but here is one where I would love to hear your comments. Are my goals for “truly motivated” readers unrealistic? Have any of you been motivated to personal changes? Why should I keep spending time on this? When it’s 6:30 and I can either go to the gym for yet another weight/swim combo, OR have a nice breakfast and get to work early and land some new clients, WHY should I make the gym choice? My choice isn’t encouraging my family to make that kind of choice. If it’s “just for me” then maybe it isn’t enough.
What do you say, readers? Have you ever felt like others viewed you as a role model, but you felt like a fraud? If you want to offer encouraging words but don’t want to post publicly, just email me at kjramaley on gmail.com – I’d love to hear from you. My next blog post will vary wildly based on how this all works out… I wish all of you the best and thanks for walking with me on the journey so far. I feel like I’ve hit a huge, bare rock face with no obvious ascent path. I’ve come pretty high, though… maybe it’s time to stop climbing and just enjoy the view.