It’s 11:45pm and I can smell the baby puke on my shirt. I’d take it off but I’m too tired. And this isn’t the cute milky spit-up variety; this was full of acid. My 19 month old son, Dash, just filled up his crib with it. My wife Nikki and I heard the gagging and then the liquid flow as we sprinted into his room in a panic. Dash has never thrown up like that before. Never.
The questions race: Did he swallow something? I read an article recently about two kids that died when they swallowed one of those tiny circular batteries. Crap. Or was it something we ate tonight? What did we eat? Anything new? Have we not been cleaning his bottle enough lately? Or maybe it was the vaccines he got three days ago. I always hear people ranting about how immunizations are the devil incarnate. I don’t believe those people. Ugh.
We swooped him up, stripped him down, bathed him, changed his sheets, put him back down, and tip-toed out. Three minutes later, there he blows again! After round two we are finally in bed and it seems like he’s done for the night.
I’m racing the Smith Rock Ascent 50k in 36 hours.
Right now I could care less about the race. I haven’t even bought gels yet. I looked at the course for the first time today. My training was stunted, abbreviated, fragmented, shameful really.
During Dash’s episode I told myself I was just going to skip the race. People will understand, I got a sick baby at home. A consolatory word will follow and I can feel okay about sleeping in Saturday morning.
I’m worried its only going to get worse.
I know some guys and gals that pull it off. Those role models that we all strive to be. It does seem like a lot of ultra runners have families and juggle everything with ease. I know some elites that wipe butts on the regular and still slay on the trails. But in reality, I think they are the exception, not the rule. More fall victim to Mom and Dad bod syndrome and slowly slip out of the sport. I’m sort of worried I’m next.
I don’t want to be. I want to maintain. I want to slay. To work, to parent, to train, to do it all. But sometimes, sometimes like now, I just don’t want the pressure. I have enough on my plate as it is, right?!?!
“Wrong!” Says Jeff Browning, Rod Bien, Tim Olson, and Jason Schlarb – all professionals with more than one mouth to feed. All professionals that know about bath time, diaper duty, stroller issues, car seat crumbs, and milk for days.
“Wrong!” Says Jenn Benna, Liza Howard, Magda, and many more moms who are kicking ass and taking names.
I know that right now – when I’m fried and wafting vomit – probably isn’t the best time to even be thinking, let alone writing about this stuff. But it has been on my mind a lot since we had Dash. How much do I sacrifice to continue to train at a high level? What type of toll is it having on my relationship with my wife and son? But on the flip side, will my son be proud of me when he grows up knowing that I run 100s? Or will he not care? Will he instead wish he had those extra four hours with me every weekend? Am I a better man because I run? Would I be grouchy if I didn’t run? Would I be passive aggressive or full of contempt if I hung up the racing shoes? I don’t know. I’ve been training for something or other for so long that I can’t even imagine living without it.
This isn’t a cry for help. I’m not looking for an excuse to stop training hard. I’m trying to figure out the balance. I do know that I don’t remember the last time I went off into the mountains without at least a little twinge of guilt. I do know that I think about my son when I’m on sketchy terrain and worried about falling.
I love my wife and Dash with an almost scary desperation. They are my whole world.
Yet still there’s running. I love to run…