The Last Long Run

April 24, 2013 09:43PM EST
The Last Long Run

Again, in the dark.

Moving through the shadowed house,  bare feet on hardwood, dressing in the layers I laid out by the door the night before.

Slowly down the stairs, feeling my age. It’s not just you, I think. It’s normal.

The coffee maker tucked into a corner, it’s solitary red light in our kitchen. Humming as it warms.

I pull my gels and drink mix from the pantry. Fill my bottles. 

I sip my coffee as I tie my shoes. Set out in the predawn hours. Underdressed, hoping I’ll be comfortable as time passes.

Parallel hopes.

The rhythm of my breathing and my footfalls set against the awakening of birds and other more hushed sounds. At least it’s finally spring, I think as I exhale against 30 degrees. April indeed.

I wonder where I started. Some 19 weeks ago. Staring at a plan.

Thinking about where it would lead me. Personal records and such. The price.

I think back on the coldest mornings. When my brakes and my tires froze, because I’m too stubborn to ride a trainer. Because I need to be outside, even if it’s dark and freezing and mist feels sharp against my cheeks.  Even as my 3 children sleep warmly in their beds and I shiver at the coldest hour just at sunrise.

Mornings when I had to wake up at 4:15am to start my car, so that it would defrost before I drove to the pool for another swim. The absurdity of that. While the world sleeps and I think about triathlon.

I drift through the final miles of the plan thinking about the road. How it rises. How I never understand it. How I don’t have to try. How it never asks anything of me, but that I keep moving. How it’s taught me so much about progress.

One foot in front of the other. One foot. In front. Of the other. Power only measured in my ability to keep going.

The sun rises as I crest a hill a few miles into the last long run. The last long run before a two week slow taper begins.

I remember my first 20 week long course plan. How strange it felt just to complete the training.

Like I was losing an old friend.

But I was too excited to be sad. I’d made it – after all. The race was really going to happen. And then I did it again. And again, several more times.

The long road.

swimmingTravelled one long ride, one long run, at a time. One lap of a 25 yard pool at a time. Am I on 425 or 475?, I wonder.

It’s just numbers, I told a training buddy.


Along the road.

The joy is suffering the journey, I remind myself. Again, in the dark. Rising before the sun. The final miles to be explored.

Before the end of the plan. Before the race.

In the dark. Before another plan. And more miles.

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I am a husband. A father of 3. And a triathlete currently training for my first 140.6 mile event at Rev3 Cedar Point in September 2013! Most men competing in triathlons are driven, motivated, hard-charging guys. Unless they’re part of a very select group though, they also work regular jobs and have families to support and raise. I’m one of those guys. I’m trying to lead by example. And it ain’t always easy! I’ve been competing in triathlons of various distances since 2002. Our first child, Isabella Hope, was born in 2004 (just before tri season!). I decided then that my kids would ALWAYS come first, no matter what. In August 2008 my wife was admitted to the hospital in preterm labor at just 20 weeks while carrying our twins Max and Kate. She stayed in the hospital for 10 weeks. Isabella and I visited every day, but also had to learn to live without Mom for awhile. Max and Kate were delivered at 30 weeks. Preemies! They stayed in a variety of hospitals over the next 6 weeks. Triathlon was far from my mind, but it stayed in my heart. Everyone got healthy and after a two-year hiatus from frequent racing I made my “comback”. I stepped up to the 70.3 distance in 2010 (Longhorn 70.3, Florida 70.3 and Boulder 70.3 all in 11 months). I was racing again, but there were more factors at play than ever before. Family, work, and training is a juggling act, but I’m determined to get it right. This is my personal blog where I’ll tell you about my training, my family, and how I’m striving to be the best triathlete I can be, while being the father and husband God created me to be. I’ll also be interviewing professional, elite, and exceptional age group triathletes about what it takes to excel both at home and on race day. My goals through this site are: 1. talk to my kids about who their dad was when they were young ( a keep sake for them) 2. reach other moms and dads with a positive message about love. About being a parent and spouse first and also keeping your passion for multisport alive. 3. Introduce my kids (and readers) to other cool married couples and moms and dads who are winning at both parenting and sport. None of this is possible without the unwavering support and belief given to me by my wife, the love of my life, Karen. She believes in my crazy ideas, even when I waiver. She stays behind the scenes, but she is there in everything I do. Most of this blogs content are “letters to my kids”. I hope they’ll read these one day when they’re grown and I hope you’ll enjoy them now. Thanks for reading!


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