Learning to Juggle

“The faster you get to that finish line, the faster you can… STOP. MOVING!” I bargained with myself during the marathon portion of Ironman Cairns. 

With other athletes heaving and spewing up their entire stomach contents around me, as we all collectively tried to shuffle forward, trying to get to that glorious finish line, (it just so happened that the finish line was in close proximity to McDonalds – those golden arches never looked so good!), these were the thoughts running through my head.

Never once during an Ironman have I contemplated pulling out of the race, like I did that day. Never once during a race have I thought, “F*** this! I’m taking up knitting!”

I was hurting. My feet were blistered and burning! (Yes, in hindsight, it would have probably been better to change into fresh, dry, socks in T2 rather than not because well, “my socks match my race suit and visor… Duh!!”) I’d had enough. I was over it. I just wanted it to end – “please God, let this be over!”  But there was no way I was going to give up! No way.


“F*** this! I’m taking up knitting!”

Thinking back to Cairns it makes me laugh because as soon as it was over, and the pain was somehow magically forgotten, I wanted more. “I’m signing up to Busso!” I announced, maybe a little too energetically, the very next day. Hmmm. Hold your horses, girlfriend!

Fast-forward three months and the crazy ride that is my life lately, has taken a not quite expected, yet very, very exciting, turn. I’ll admit, once the post-Cairns dust had settled and we were back, in reality, I didn’t end up signing up to race at Busso (Ironman WA), instead, something bigger and better happened.

I landed my dream job!

I’m still pinching myself that this is my world now. It’s a pretty major career change but something that I have dreamt of my entire life.

The only catch – it’s a full-time role.

Yes, that’s a great thing. Trust me, I’m not complaining! But this has got me thinking – “how the hell am I going to juggle training for another Ironman (because, hello, of course, there will be a number five!), while working… FULL.TIME?” That’s right. Regular hours, a 9-5 kinda thing. How do people do this?

So, how will I do what I love while doing the job I have dreamed of doing my entire life?

I’ll confess, over the last three years I’ve lived a wannabe-pro kind of lifestyle. I’ve worked for myself, mostly from home, and have been able to essentially organise my work around my life and training – think training when the sun is out, think frequent naps. You get the idea!

Things are different now. There are trains to catch, slow-walkers to dodge, things to do and places to be. It does help working at a place that is literally ALL about triathlon. But work still needs to be done. There are deadlines that need to be met. I can’t just curl up under my desk if I’m feeling sleepy because “I spent 2-hours swimming this morning”.

So, how will I do what I love while doing the job I have dreamed of doing my entire life? How will I juggle the two? How will I succeed in my new role while ticking training boxes and keeping my coach happy? How will I chase my Ironman dream (#KQ35!), while I chase success in my dream career?

And, OK, before you roll your eyes thinking “Oh pah-lease! Is this chick for real? Try doing my job! Try juggling my responsibilities”, I realise it’s doable – there are many, many of you out there successfully juggling much more than I will ever have to. There are so many of you who just take it all in stride, without complaint. But I haven’t been in the grown up world for a while (#adulting!) and the juggle may take me a little while to master.

So while I’m mastering my new tricks I thought I’d write about it. I thought I’d share with you how it all goes down (at the very least it might provide you with some lunchtime entertainment!). Bring on Ironman number five!

Ah, Ironman – you brutal, addictive, beast!

~ Margy Margs


Margaret Mielczarek

Margaret Mielczarek is the deputy editor at Australian Triathlete Magazine and writes the web series 'Shenanigans of a Deputy 2.0'. She is a passionate age-group triathlete and four-time Ironman finisher - currently in training for Ironman number five!

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