Fitness is moving in the right direction. At last weekend’s Rock’n’Roll Philadelphia Half Marathon I ran 1:04:09 for 4th place. After the birth of my son Hudson on September 19 life has been a bit busy to say the least. Chasing around a very active, never sit still for more than 10 seconds, 15 month old Riley was already enough work. So add a newborn to the mix and you get some crazy moments. With the craziness has come some interrupted training. In fact the week before Hudson was born I had a calf, Achilles, foot, jumble of mess that forced me to take a week off from running. I returned to running for 2 days when Steph went into labor and the real fun began. It has been a real joy to see Riley be so interested in his brother and something about 2 kids makes the family feel a little more, well of a family. This has led to a less than ideal training schedule. I count it as a huge win when I can meet my NAZ Elite training partners for a run. A lot of runs at random hours, sleep at random hours, and diapers and feedings at all hours. So no surprise that a few of my workouts have been less than stellar. But mixed in with a few bombed out workouts have been little glimpses of the old me. My coach Ben Rosario understands the situation well and our game plan is to stick to the planned schedule as much as we can, but when things happen outside our control then we let it go and don’t stress. It would be easy for me to stay in my house all day tend to the kids and get out of shape. But where is the challenge in that? Instead I put races on my schedule as a commitment to get things done. It started with Rock’n’Roll Brooklyn just 3 weeks after Hudson was born. I wasn’t expecting anything special, just wanted to get back to grinding out a race. 1:06:52 was where the clocked stopped. A time I have run faster than many times in my career. I made it home as my wife Steph was hit with a terrible bout of mastitis. So now I’m juggling two boys in diapers and also taking care of a sick wife. But the great thing is there is always light at the end of the tunnel. Steph got better, we made a 10 hour drive from Flagstaff to San Diego to see my family and get some needed grandparent babysitting and sea level recovery. A couple nights of getting 8 hours of sleep and I was starting to feel good again. Sat October 24th I ran a low key race on the beach in San Diego and pulled out the win over 10k beating a few good guys. Time wasn’t special but it was on the sand so I wasn’t too concerned. So off to Philly I headed with a glimmer of hope for a fast day.
My half marathon PR is 1:02:53 and a small part of me thought even with the hectic last 6 weeks of life I had a chance to go after that. Philly is a great course and weather was perfect. So perfect that Tim Richie blasted it from the gun. After a couple 4:43 miles to start the race (1:02:00 pace) I was dropped from the 4 leaders. I spent the next 4 miles alone until a group of three came up and offered a little company. That was a big help, I tied onto them and just tried to ride the wave. I wasn’t wearing a watch so once the lead truck was out of sight I had no idea of any splits. I was focused on racing the race and people around me. Some good spots, some bad spots and then a hard kick to grab 4th, the clock 1:04:09. It was a bit off the desired 1:02 but a fairly successful race nonetheless. The PR would have been great, but I accomplished a lot out there on the day. I showed myself I can do this while juggling two babies. Adjustments will need to be made, social events missed, but I can still do this.
It’s easy to get complacent and feel bad for the situation you are in. But you can always break that cycle with a positive attitude. I can look at my kids and think, man they take away all my free time and drain my energy. Or I can use Riley for my kettle ball, soak up his non stop energy and feel grateful for how lucky I am to have two healthy baby boys! They make life a bit more of a challenge but every time I have to leave my family for a race I miss them immediately and can’t wait to get back to them. Life really isn’t anything without having to overcome challenges and coming out the other side stronger and wiser for the experience.
On another note Rock’n’Roll Philly had an amazingly deep field. 24 men and 20 women ran under the Olympic Trials Qualifying time. 1:05:00 (men) 1:15:00 (women). Not all needed the standard and not all were Americans, but for many it was the day that they accomplished a big goal of getting themselves a spot on the starting line for the Marathon Olympic Trials February 2016! Finishing 4th and turning around to see 20 guys finish a race in the next 50 seconds, many desperately fighting for every second on the clock was one of the better things I’ve witnessed in my tenure as a pro runner. Congratulations to all that hit that standard, great work!