Welcome to Iron Dad, a blog that will document my journey as I strive to balance training for an Ironman while embracing the joys and challenges of becoming a new father. As we eagerly await the arrival of our baby, my wife Sophie and I are on "red alert," staying close and preparing for the incredible adventure that lies ahead. With the hope of turning this into a regular feature, I'll share my experiences, insights, and the lessons learned along the way.
Currently, my emotions fluctuate between doubting my capabilities and embracing the excitement of this upcoming challenge. I frequently struggle with feelings of guilt, recognising the inherent selfishness in dedicating myself to Ironman training, this will be my fifth if I make it to the start line! The thought of balancing this demanding athletic pursuit with the responsibilities of caring for a newborn and Sophie worries me. Moreover, I'm well aware that everyone emphasises how challenging parenthood can be (If I had a euro for everyone that has said “oooh well you won’t be able to do your training when the baby arrives”), which adds a layer of apprehension to my thoughts.
In these final weeks and now days before the baby's birth, my focus has shifted towards supporting Sophie and ensuring I am always within reach. My cycling has been limited to commuting and indoor training, allowing me to stay close to home in case any significant developments occur. Life has been incredibly hectic lately, with the demands of my busy role as the Head of Physical Education at a large international school in Valencia and a recent house move, not to mention dealing with an injury. Consequently, I've been training whenever possible, adopting the mindset of staying "fit enough to get fit."
However, there are some advantages on my side. In Spain, fathers are granted a generous paternity leave, providing an invaluable opportunity to bond with our baby and actively contribute to his early upbringing. Additionally, being a teacher affords me the luxury of having my usual summer holiday, which I'm incredibly grateful for in terms of dedicating time to both my family and training. I am hoping this might be enough to help counter the fact that Sophie and I don’t have any family here in Valencia so are missing the usual support network that many new parents may have.
As I embark on this dual journey of fatherhood and Ironman training, I invite you to join me every step of the way through following the blog. Also, you can see in detail what I (hopefully) get up to training wise over on Strava - https://www.strava.com/athletes/3115213. Together, we'll explore the highs, lows, triumphs, and tribulations of this extraordinary chapter in my life. Through Iron Dad, I hope to inspire others, share insights gained from my experiences, and also keep myself accountable amidst the beautiful chaos of parenthood.
See you on the other side!