SAU’s (Spousal Approval Units)

Posted: September 24, 2012 in Ironman Lake Placid, Running, Syracuse Ironman 70.3, Training
Tags: , , , ,

Most appropriate topic after a wonderful weekend celebrating our twelve year wedding anniversary. To illustrate just how great it has been for us, I have a short side bar I’ll divulge at the end of this blog post.

As an Endurance Nation team member I have an exhaustive list of terms, acronyms, and super secret decoder ring passwords at my disposal 🙂 One of these special abbreviations: SAU’s otherwise known as Spousal Approval Units. Team EN is really big on this, and is an often discussed topic.

SAU’s is just our techie-type ‘A’ -tri jocks way of saying “brownie points for putting up with all this triathlon stuff.” Let’s face it, all of the training and racing places demands on time and resources. Just like utilizing rest and recovery to up your game and race performances, taking care of and spending time with your loved ones are just as important. Arguably more so. OK, way more important. Even if your soul mate is also an athlete, sooner or later, non-tri related diversity will be an important concept.

Like many things in life, balance and moderation can be beneficial. Moderation is not typically a common word in a triathlete’s vocabulary. Just the same- zen, harmony, karma all apply here. A happy home means a happy athlete. Over time this can really add up. Staying in the sport depends on keeping balance. Unless you make a living at it, even if you do, it’s suppose to be fun, rewarding and enjoyable. It’s all a game, and something fun we love to do. We all know the mantra of more, faster, harder, repeat.

Back to my SAU’s.

To start, I married up. My wife Lee is beyond supportive in all things I do. Very smart move on my part 🙂 As loving and supportive as she is, time spent together and doing things as a couple is not to be neglected. Too much time training, and not enough cuddle time, romantic dinners, or just spending time doing things on our land, would make her a little “restless.” In my/our case, we both have demanding professional jobs. Lee does not participate in the tri sports, but loves hiking, kayaking, and we hunt together a great deal during spring and fall seasons. Even without my tri passion, there are many demands on our quality time together.

Lee gave me some leeway on my return to the sport during my fitness base build pre-Syracuse, and especially during the weeks of training preparing for Ironman Syracuse 70.3. The benefits of course are better health, big weight loss, the evidence of fatty liver disease gone, and my cholesterol levels dropping to near acceptable levels (still have more to go.) Even though she supported me making good decisions for my health and quality of our future, it did place encroaching demands on our time as a couple.

Having a few smarts to my credit, I moved training when I could to times of the day when she went to work (she leaves an hour before I do), or during my lunch time. I raced some, but not every weekend or back to back Saturday/Sundays. We did get into the habit of having dinner out once a week or every two weeks, usually at Hairy Tony’s (our fav.) There were plenty of days where Lee would pick me up at an end point of a long run, or I would run with our weimeraners to give here some quiet time after a long day at work. Jake and Abby do love to run. Sometimes Lee would come to the races with me, the ultimate support crew, and then we would go do couple stuff afterwards. We enjoy travel, and the wineries here in NY especially. Those are big SAU days. My big day finishing Ironaman Syracuse, Lee volunteered as a wetsuit stripper, and then spent the rest of the day supporting my race. I kept my promise to back down the racing post Syracuse. A few road races, and one triathlon for the reminder of the summer.

This past weekend we vacationed in Lake Placid for our twelfth anniversary. No racing, in fact no training, unless you count the walk around Mirror lake to walk off a wonderful dinner. We did drive the Ironman course, which just happens to be a beautiful drive. Yep, it is that awesome of a drive, breathtaking, especially as you come into Wilmington from the east. I ran my long run last night after we got home. no training during our honeymoon/anniversary trip.

As to future SAU’s- This fall I will run the NYC marathon. I planned it as a long weekend, taking the train down and back, spending a few extra days in the big city. It will be a nice mini vacation for us. Lots of side benefits for us as a couple, and even more for myself as an athlete. Mini race vacations take away the pressure of getting so much done in one or two days. A extra day to be a tourist, an extra day after to relax recover, travel home are all good reasons to add a few days. Even so, in keeping with a constant flow of SAU’s, non race vacations must be planned with the same regularity and enthusiasm as big race weekends. Next season there will be the ramp to finish my first ironman in Lake Placid. I will make the same efforts to balance out the time spent doing this. Since this is such a huge focus, there will be less racing, more training. In deciding on which ironman event, I had been considering Wisconsin , and Cedar Point which are both late summer races, and easier to train for given our weather here. However, Lee loves going to Lake Placid, and is familiar with the area. It would be every bit a long day for her as well as myself. Supporting me for such a long day in a new or unfamiliar town made my choice much easier. Lake Placid won out.

To complete my promised sidebar: ( please note: this is not tri related)

As I had mentioned it has been a great 12 years of marriage (the three years, three months , and 9 day courtship wasn’t too bad either.) One evening we were watching TV, and the fall movie ads were coming out with all the horror and action flicks that I like. Lee is real big on the girly love stories. An ensuing discussion came about that we had been seeing my preferred genre of films, and we were due for a love story. You could say my next response could be SAU related, you decide…………………. In quick fashion I remarked: “Why would you need to see a love story when you are already living one”

Great way to muster support for seeing the next “Blade” or “Resident Evil” movie. That aside, yeah, it’s really is/been that good. I couldn’t ask for a better 12 years. umm……..15 years 3 months and 9 days not that anyone is counting.

Any of you have great SAU stories, things you did to show your appreciation! Do post!

  1. Jess Withrow says:

    Great post Mike! What a beautiful relationship you have with your wife!

    John is training for IMFL right now – the first time he’s doing an IM and I’m not – and even though I’ve been there and completely understand what he needs to do to get it done, he’s still upping his SAU game and I’m super impressed… he was up at 3:30a.m. Saturday morning to start his ride on the trainer so he wouldn’t miss our son’s soccer game at 9a.m. Most of our “dates” are on the bike and I’m cool if we don’t go out to dinner or a movie – but I hate the thought of our kids missing out on time with him b/c he’s training. He does an amazing job of balancing it all, though… so I’d say his SAU account is pretty full!

    Looking forward to meeting you and Lee at Lake Placid!

  2. Rich Strauss says:

    You learn well, Grasshoppa 🙂

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