So … I haven’t really blogged, or run the Western States Trail, in ~18 months. First off, my race report was waaayyyy too long and I thought I’d let “it” (running, blogging, pictures, etc) just breathe for a long while. There have been other reasons for time away. Good reasons. I knew heading into the epic and thrilling run at WS100 in 2014 that my life would be changing in more ways than one.
I crossed the line at Placer High School having run twice the distance I’d ever ventured out. In hindsight my state of exhaustion in the final 20 miles really delayed my ability to process everything for months and even into this year. Every sunrise I see puts me at the top of Immigrant Pass. I’ll catch a news headline about Michigan, start daydreaming about Michigan Bluff, and be caught in the canyons for a while. A cup of soup or can of Sprite can pull me back to leaving Auburn Lakes Trail AS delirious. Finishing the race in survival mode I found myself emotionless crossing the line but wept weeks later reviewing footage from my crew cheering around the track. That finish line will be one of my most prized running memories but only because of who was with me. My wife and our first daughter still to be born later in the year.
Speaking of crowning moments of 2014 … Alice was born in October. A gift. A girl with two crazy big brothers to share the fun with. We’re just now seeing her spunk emerge with walking, talking, and a nose that crinkles up when she laughs out loud. A joy. Going from two kids to three has been hard, hilarious, and awesome all at the same time.
2014 was also a year I took to candidate to be an elder / pastor at our local church. Another fulfilling and sometimes difficult responsibility to engage a community in a way that brings much humility. A pleasure and passion of mine.
Another huge change in my life since Western States was going back to school in 2014 to be a licensed teacher in the state of Iowa. I left my 7+ year career as an aerospace systems engineer and as of this past fall am teaching high school mathematics. I’m loving all of the new face time with more people, getting a chance to teach / mentor students, the possibility of coaching in years to come, and learning a lot about the stresses of being a first year teacher. In fact I just finished grading papers before I look a bit more at summer employment options!
Lastly, what a change in … running. I won’t write much, but I’ve been running much much less. Parts of me want to be in the mountains on a trail everyday … I want to play and run and hike and live like all of the pictures posted on blogs and social media. You know the ones. The perfect sunrise on the perfect trail. The highlight reel. The pictures that don’t tell the full story sometimes – about when it’s better to read and tuck kids in for 45 minutes than go for a night run. Or catch a quick treadmill run so you can hear if your baby is sleeping alright after surgery. Or surprise somebody by helping them move on a Saturday morning instead of running 22 miles. It’s been hard backing off, but it’s also been awesome. I absolutely love my life. It’s crazy and stressful and sleepless and incredibly fun loving to be the best dad and husband I can be.
I didn’t run for 6 months after WS. Nothing. Well, maybe just once to pick up my car from the shop. I don’t keep a log, I don’t keep track of time, I don’t run my normal routes, and I don’t go if I don’t have the time. Just today I was out for a brisk 3.5 miles and thought to myself … “huh, I’ve never gone up in those woods before” … so I just went up there – no trail – came back down about a half mile later and thought “well, now I have”. I’ve taken off weeks “just because” and gotten back easily because … I just love running. You learn a lot about where your identity is when things change. Change is good. I still run. I’ll always run. In the mountains again I hope. Long again … we’ll see. But, I know where my hope and identity are and it has nothing to do with running or my job or my family. One tragic car accident could end any/all of these. Think about that … if who I am is in things that perish, doesn’t that mean I will fall apart and perish when they do? My hope and identity is in something that can never be taken. My hope is in Christ.
Some other highlights of the past 18 months … working on my bike with my boys, celebrating our 10th wedding anniversary, and just this weekend taking my kids to a wrestling tournament at the high school.