The Acquisition of Accoutrements

You should see the accoutrements we require for a trip to the beach.

Miles run yesterday: 10

Words written in my novel so far: 41,412

Accoutrements my husband has acquired so far for the nifty new sport of triathlon-ing: 7

Never let it be said that my husband does things halfway. No sir.

So when he mentioned, back in the spring, that he was going to run a marathon, my first thought was, “I am going to know more about marathons than the entire staff ofย Runner’s World magazine,ย combined,ย by the end of the year.”

A veritable spreadsheet of numbers spilled out of his mouth each time he returned from a run, along with a laundry list of minor aches and pains.

“Well, today I went out hoping to take it slowly, at an 8:30 pace, but the weather was a balmy 65 degrees, so I picked up the pace near the main road, to about 7:26, then tried to take it down a notch to an 8:02 pace by the turnaround.”

I might have mentioned before that numbers are not really my thing.

He also expressed disbelief that his body hurt. At times, a lot. There were colorful descriptions, often peppered with bad words and rather pitiful expressions.

In the midst of all of the marathon prep, he decided he was going to start competing in triathlons. You might wonder: why start training for one’s first triathlon, nay, an Ironman triathlon, in the midst of one’s first marathon training?

I asked that very same question.

In the ’80s, my parents would have labeled this a mid-life crisis, speaking with friends in hushed tones reserved for cancer and mental illness.

But today, mid-life crises require accoutrements. Or at least, my husband’s mid-life crisis does.

So far, his mid-life crisis triathlon training has required the purchase of:

1 super bike

1 pair of tight, well-padded bike shorts

1 bike helmet

1 bike pump

1 (better) bike seat

1 pair of Daniel Craig-esque swim shorts (!)

1 kickboard

Still remaining to be purchased:

1 DVD to learn how to swim, total immersion-style

1 pair of flippers

1 swim cap

1 buoy to hold your legs up while you practice breathing

1 tight bike shirt to look like a real cyclist

I should report that he is a real cyclist already, becoming one with the bike in a way I have never and will never achieve. The bike’s moving parts would seem to me to be accoutrements aplenty, but then again, I am not a triathlete and have no intimate knowledge of the psyche of such an animal.

But he does look cute in the swim shorts.

And now, I must return to the accoutrements with which I am most familiar: pen, notebook, computer keyboard. Please note that these wonderful devices require no number-crunching and will never “rest” in the garage while my body recovers.


47 thoughts on “The Acquisition of Accoutrements

  1. Jay Helms says:

    I’d apologize for my part in all of this, but I’m not sorry :). It’s been fun to watch/join in part of the process.

  2. Daryl says:

    Don’t frget the Garmin 310XT–that’s what started this whole thing. You purchased it, so you only have yourself to blame ๐Ÿ˜‰
    FYI: you forgot the foam roller.

  3. Holly says:

    I have an immersion swimming DVD he can borrow! And possibly a buoy.

  4. I’m exhausted just reading!! Very funny, thanks for sharing.

  5. Bernie Brown says:

    But the accoutrements are half the fun. Shopping for them keeps one so busy that there isn’t time to use them. ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. Carrie Rubin says:

    I empathize with you. You should have seen the accoutrements my husband accumulated before he and my eldest went on their 2-week Boy Scout hiking trip this summer. Can’t believe they carried it all on their backs!

    And a 10-mile run? You are the bomb!

    • annewoodman says:

      Thanks, Carrie.

      I’m always impressed with backpackers… that book I read, “Wild…” about a woman who backpacked along the Pacific Crest Trail, was eye-opening… I can’t imagine how much I would hurt, doing exercise with a 50-pound thing on my back!

  7. Attempting a marathon would probably be at the very bottom of my list of things I would like to do, I hate running and have absolutely no stamina for it. I always have great respect for those who can run so far. I like the idea of having a husband who does all that fit stuff though!

    • annewoodman says:

      Yes, the idea of them is wonderful. ; ) Only kidding.

      I’ve done a marathon, and it’s amazing how much it occupies every waking and sleeping thought. If you ever feel obsessed over something and want to shake it, sign up for a marathon… obsession gone. Er, transferred.

  8. Ok! That’s it – I’m convinced we are married to the same man! My husband has been training for his first triathlon, and it’s this Saturday. He also has a marathon in March 2013 and he is determined to compete in a full Ironman, and yes indeedy I get to hear about those pesky and “surprising” aches and pains regularly, but he does love doing this, so I’m fully supportive. And he is pretty cute in his bike shorts! lol Good luck to your husband and may we all survive the process!

  9. Melissa says:

    Be sure to tell him he ain’t seen nothing yet. Those aches and pains will only get worse and more frequent as he gets older…so speaks the voice of experience grasshopper. And yes, I noticed that (!) after the bathing trunks comment and giggled just a bit. Hope he does’t kill himself doing something that used to come easily!

  10. jmmcdowell says:

    Who says men don’t like to shop?! Hmm, hubs and I do have bikes and bike shorts, but no special extras like more comfy, er, aerodynamic(?) seats.

    I wish him well on the triathlon, but he really needs to get comfortable with the aches and pains. They may not go away like they used to, I’m afraid, even if he’s in good shape. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  11. Amy Mak says:

    Ha! I have a triathlete friend and after seeing all the accoutrements (always liked that word!) I shunned it for life. Cheers to the husband for being so active though, you sound like quite the pair ๐Ÿ™‚ p.s. congrats on the 10 miler. I’ve got to hit that one tomorrow!

  12. J-Bo says:

    Hey- I linked you in my latest post if you want to check it out.

  13. robincoyle says:

    OMG! OMG! My husband is having a midlife crisis love affair with his bike. THOUSANDS AND THOUSANDS of dollars worth of his fleet of bike clutter my garage . . . time trial bike, fancy bike, fancier bike, mountain bike. Better than a different blonde than me, right?

    His training gets hours of discussion. My writing gets, “huh, you wrote today?” Don’t get me started Anne. Don’t get me started. Grrrrrrrrr.

  14. Subtlekate says:

    Oh yes, I do understand. He must have all the gadgets to succeed. Who said running, swimming and biking where easy. What do they know.
    I am very impressed with your progression of words and miles, btw. Now where is my 1/3 life crisis>

  15. This is hilarious because it is eerily like what I did to manage my own mid-life crisis. The good news is that we wait until midlife so we can actually afford the accoutrements that make the whole process more quantifiable. Otherwise, we’d have to get by with Keds instead of New Balance and cutoffs unstead of Pearl Izumi, and that just wouldn’t be right. (The Garmin 310XT…man, I’ve always wanted one of those! I’m ready for another late midlife crisis.)
    BTW – sub-8:30 mile pace? That’s awesome!!

    • annewoodman says:

      Well, it’s certainly a constructive way to manage a mid-life crisis. As a runner, I can understand the nice running shoes, Garmin, etc. Problem is, I usually get the hand-me-downs… years later, sweat-laden and all. ; ) (Yes, he’s a very fast runner–usually in the low 7:00s.)

    • Daryl says:

      The 310XT is that good. Most of my early a.m. Runs have the same initial route. The GPS always beeps at the 5 mile point within two or three strides every time–i’m very impressed by it. So much better than the old 201 I had.

  16. 4amWriter says:

    Wow, a triathalon. What fun. The other day when I was not feeling like myself I thought it would be fun to take up a new hobby, like training for a marathon. The thought lasted about .2 seconds before I laughed out loud.

    He’s smart to get into it so fully–I think if he didn’t he might have some regrets. Might as well look the part if he’s gonna act the part. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • annewoodman says:

      I guess what tends to come to mind (as his wife and payer of the bills) is the basketball goal that got bought and sold on Craig’s List, the weights that never got used and the ongoing iPod/mp3 buying and dying that goes on. Sigh.

      Maybe your mid-life crisis should entail something more like a tour of wine country or a cooking class in France. If so, I’ll join you. ; )

  17. David Gentry says:

    I have great respect for anyone who even tries a marathon or a triathlon. Good luck to you both!

    Love, Papa

  18. Chris Edgar says:

    Your body never needs to recover from writing-induced catharsis and re-experienced personal trauma? Well, okay, I suppose mine doesn’t either.

  19. Hubs HATES marathons. I repeatedly point out to him that if he tried the marathon without the 2.5 mile swim in the surf and the 112 mile bike first he might have a slightly more positive run…but,no…there’s no reasoning with crazy.

    • annewoodman says:

      Wow. He sounds certifiable. Do you go visit him on weekends? Oh, no, I guess he’s probably too busy training. ; ) I actually can’t imagine doing one more step than a marathon. To add other tortures on top of that sounds like death upon death.

  20. Ravena Guron says:

    Ha! This is really funny ๐Ÿ™‚ It’s a shame I lack the everything to compete in these things. The amount of mental strength one must have must be HUGE! 0_o

  21. Claire says:

    Oh my god. I think I’m married to your husband.

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