Braden raced in Cairns on the weekend at the Ironman Asia Pacific Championships. He came 3rd. He qualified for Kona, he achieved a personal best time in the swim, bike and run and he along with the two top place getters smashed the old course record by over 10minutes. Any normal person would be incredibly proud of their efforts, but for an athlete, they can sometimes only see what they didn’t achieve. This is obviously the gene that most of us are missing, as the dedication to fight to be even better than you are, when you are already awesome, takes a very special human being. Or does it just take the right motivation?
From what Braden tells me, it was one of the toughest races he has had in a long time. He went to a darker place then he has been in a long time, and he went there very early on in the race. I imagine it took a huge amount of mental strength to bear 8+ hours of racing when your feeling like that, and even more of a battle to maintain your place and fight against all the odds that are against you. When we spoke to him after the race, he told Bella and Tarn how much he thought about them during the race and how much drive that gave him to keep push as hard as he possibly could.
It was hard for me and the kids to watch the event, from my phone in NZ. I wished so much that I was there and the kids, well they just missed their dad. I know that it would not of made any difference what so ever to the end result, but it was strange to not be a part of it. I wanted our kids to watch their dad give put everything on the line, and see just how much heart he puts into everything he does. This to me is an opportunity to impart something on our kids, that you cannot learn from going to school. I also wanted to give him a big hug at the end, and for him to be able to remember why he does what he does, when he finally crosses the finish line.
I remember being a kid and absolutely idolising my parents. More so than anyone else in the world. And in my teenage years, in my early 20’s and right through to now when I have my own family, I still draw on what they taught me and the learnings I made from the experiences they gave me. They helped to set the foundations of who I am today.
What I got from all of this, is what “kids can pack” really means to me. And I’ve realised that for me, it’s about the belief that involving our kids in our life in every way we can, and sharing those special times with them is what they will remember, what they will draw on when they need to find strength, to find their way and to become everything they strive to become.
One of the reasons why I started “kids can pack” is because I wanted to find a way that would enable me and the kids to be able to justify going with Braden to where he trains, to where he races and for our family to be able to stay together. I thought if I could tell the story about the places we travel, the services we use, the amazing destinations that we see, that we might be able to make our travel become less expensive and more achievable for us. This and my love of writing is what motivated me to start this brand. It has taken me awhile to truly understand where I want to go with it. But I have figured it out.
I want to share the journey, the good times, the challenges, the adventures and the realities of giving everything to one purpose, the purpose that reigns most true for me. Which is not about Braden being the best in the world at triathlon, its about enjoying and sharing every part of the journey to be the best “together.” That is what matters and that is what we will remember when its all said and done!
I feel like every family goes through similar challenges, with different scenarios. The question of whether to prioritise “time with our kids”, or prioritise making money so we can afford to provide a better quality of life and more enriched experiences for our kids is a question we are constantly faced with. Its an incredibly hard balance for all of us, but I do feel like the one thing we will never regret is the time spent with them and the time spent together. I hope that the journey of our ups and downs and realities of trying to fight through this challenge, will be somewhat helpful for others trying to make the same tough decisions and working out what is really important.