("look dad...no hands!")
Whoooooosh.....the last few weeks have been a wild ride filled with new and unexpected experiences which has caused the time to fly by so quickly. It has also sapped some energy levels in me in a way that I've never felt...but...it's all worth it...and plus...it's good ultra training!
I feel compelled to give a quick recap of the last few weeks while baby Farah sleeps peacefully next to me (it won't be too long before she wakes up and demands food and/or a diaper change!).
About four days after Farah's birth (which was an emergency C-section due to the baby being backwards and possible umbilical cord complications) Erica's mother arrived from the east coast to assist us in this new chapter of our lives. Within 30 minutes of her arrival at our home and visiting with her first grandchild, Erica started shivering uncontrollably, and then spiked a high fever. Something was just not right. Long story short it got worse really quickly and I had to pack up the baby and rush Erica to the ER. When we got there she had a 105 degree fever! She would spend the next week in the hospital as they tried to figure out what was the matter. Finally, they zeroed in on the issue which turned out to be a severe uterine infection that involved internal bleeding. Not fun! What was even more difficult was that Farah could not be with her mother that first very important week except for a few hours per day when I would bring her up to the hospital. It also meant that I was pretty much the sole caretaker of this little seven pound bundle of joy, although Erica's mother was a huge help in many ways.
Erica got released from the hospital but couldn't do a whole lot because she was still weak and recuperating from all the drama. My mother spent the next week with us relieving us in so many ways. Both of our mothers cooked meals, cleaned, waited on us hand and foot, and allowed me to sneak away for some runs. We are forever grateful for your help GrandMo and Me'me' and loved visiting with you despite the ups and downs. I would like to thank all of our friends and family that extended assistance and encouragement through messages and/or phone calls. It was really nice to have all the support and we feel very blessed. I also wanted to say that Erica was so extremely brave, patient, and strong throughout everything and I admire her greatly for what she endured...(and thanks for cooking one cute little baby in there!)
We are now parents on our own and it is a liberating and often terrifying feeling. We are back at home and trying to find our groove with our new little addition. We learned a lot about ourselves over the past few weeks in many ways. One thing I learned about myself is in the area of my running.
After White River 50 I declared that I was going to take a break from ultras for a little while and run some roads for a couple different reasons. One...I could stay closer to home...Two...my runs wouldn't take as long...Three...I like to mix things up a little every once in a while. Thankfully I only had to curtail my running very minimally despite the roller coaster ride, and was able to get in some really solid runs on the roads around Portland. I could tell I was getting some really good speed back and feeling confident for a sub 2:40 Portland Marathon in October. Then just about ten days ago as my body was feeling the exponential pounding from the pavement (and probably...no definitely... some added fatigue from parenting) I hit this "wall" that I have never experienced before with running. I didn't feel excited to go out and run like I normally do and was lacking major motivation. I can see this sometimes happening in the dead of the winter but we were having some phenomenal days out here and I couldn't bring myself to get out there. When I did push myself out the door I seemed to just slog through some of the run.
So with the inaugural Pine to Palm 100 approaching on Sept. 18th and many of my friends participating in the event I found myself living vicariously through them and trying to track them all day and night. I skipped my runs on Saturday which was going to be 10 miles in the morning and another 10 in the evening, and then I ended up skipping my 20-miler on Sunday! I found myself looking at all these trail ultras for next year in my free time and had all these enthusiastic goals.
Then on Sunday I suggested to Erica that we spontaneously go back to the east coast to be closer to family. Initially she liked the idea and we started looking into it. I also realized that Virgil Crest Ultras (formerly Iroquois Trails) were happening the following weekend and remembered I had a free entry into the race because of winning in 2008. I called my buddy and RD Ian Golden and asked if I could sneak in and he assured me no problem. I was so amped! Well...after further looking into all the details of traveling with an infant, money, logistics, etc. we decided that it wasn't in the cards and we decided to stay in Portland.
Later that evening it hit me like a ton of bricks. What got me so excited earlier that day was getting back out on the trails! That's it!...I need to get back out on the trails...in the forests...in the mountains! I happened to stumble upon a race that was happening around Mt. Bachelor in Bend, Oregon on Sept. 25th that is serving as the USATF 50k trail championships called The Flagline 50k. I made a few calls...did a little research, and before long I was registered for the race! The next day I went for a trail run up and down Council's Crest and had that pop in my step. I realized something about myself...I am a trail runner! I love running and I am not one of those people that avoids roads at all costs. In fact I am still going to run Portland Marathon but I realized that being out on the trails is something I need on a regular basis in order to feel connected.
So this Saturday Farah turns one month old...the perfect age to introduce her to the ultra community here in Oregon and for her to attend her first race! :-) It looks like a fun course, beautiful weather, and some familiar faces (and fast runners!). I'm really glad I re-kindled that fire...Time to get back out on those trails!....
("I'm ready for that diaper change now dad!")