Sunday, January 18, 2009

The "Meathead" Gene

When training for an Ironman it is important to avoid or at least temper what I call the "meathead" gene. It is present in all of us to some degree or another. Some control it with skill and others let it all hang out so to speak. When properly harnessed it can push you to new heights. When left to run amok, it can derail an entire race or racing season. It can be part of your training, or can infiltrate from another compartment in your life and affect everything. A super-duper human computer virus. This was my situation last Monday.

Being a husband, father, triathlete, and holding down a job places numerous and complex demands on my time and stamina. Those in my situation know this all too well. Those not in this situation, no doubt, have other obligations and people competing for their attention. Sometimes it gets frustrating and the meathead gene takes over.

Last Monday, faced with a screaming, stubborn child who wouldn't go to bed, my frustration boiled over. I had the good sense (at least) to leave the room, but that's about where my sense ended and the meathead in me took over. I pounded my fist into the wall in our kitchen. The wall gave, but not enough. My hand became swollen and it hurt, alot. X-rays the next day confirmed I cracked a bone in my hand. The fortunate thing about this episode, is that I didn't snap the bone. That would have sidelined me for at least two months and seriously jeopardized this year's Ironman prep.

I was able to get in my training for the week, for the most part. And I had a not so friendly reminder to think....just think. The worst part about it wasn't the pain in my hand, but having to sheepishly explain my idiocy (aka meatheadedness) to my friends.

The meathead gene should be kept in the box for your training, racing and pretty much all other aspects of your lives. About the only time the meathead gene can really help, is in a sprint triathlon, but only when used in small amounts. Otherwise, keep "Wild Mike" in the box. Train hard, train smart, don't punch the walls.


  1. It takes a "meathead" to be able to do all that you do and NOT go crazy! That wall deserved it!!!

  2. I think you definitely beat the "meathead gene" by taking a step back and recognizing what happened. Take it easy on yourself :)