Wednesday, June 24, 2009


June 24, 2005 is when Bigun was born, and our lives were ruined changed forever. Between her birthday today, fathers day sunday, and my recent oly/marathon races I have a lot to reflect on today. Sorry for the long sappy post.

If you haven't read my post on how we got the babies, you should give it a spin. It really is an amazing story, and I went into too much detail. The end result:

That's Bigun on my chest in the hospital the day she was born. I was a good 40 lbs heavier then. It was the week after father's day, and everyone was telling me how I just missed it. People tell you all kinds of things when you're pregnant. We got so sick of everyone telling us how we had no idea how crazy it would be having a baby. You never knew you could love something that much. You only THINK you know what sleep deprevation is. It will change your life forever.

Then three months later we were wondering why nobody warned us how crazy it was going to be.

Father's day was this past sunday, and I didn't get the chance to send best wishes to the other dad's out there. While it's incredibly true that the bulk of parenting time falls on stay at home mom's including Kelley, it is nice to have a dad's day. Ironically, a lot of dad's including myself want to take father's day away from the kids when they are younger to go play golf, or get in a long run, or do something solitary. Something is hard coded into men that makes alone time a means to maintain sanity. Since I work from home, I get plenty of time with the kids and very little alone time. It's one of the reasons I love running so much. But I feel appreciated by my family every day when the kids get excited to see me come upstairs for lunch or after work. When they run to sit in my lap when they come downstairs on the way to the backyard. So I don't see a need to make a big fuss over father's day. I did call my dad and try to setup a dinner, but he had a thing to take care of and couldn't make it.

Life as I knew it when Bigun was born was completely different than it is today. And that was still completely different from the day before she was born. Becoming a parent is scary. You have the strangest realizations. People get married and thing "boy, I'm really committed now. I can't just leave this woman or break up with her and go back to my place. I can't leave now."

Then you have a baby and you know what you realize? Dang, I could have left before this happened. Not that you wanted to, it was just a possibility you never saw. Spouses can be replaced. Divorce, remarry, girlfriends, whatever. There is no way to replace a child or a dad. I'm always going to be the only dad she will ever have. She will always be my only first born child.

Having a kid instantly changes your perspective too. When she was born I had my entire childhood flash before my eyes. But this time I saw it from a provider's point of view. Paying for college, all of the trips I took in high school. Summer camps. Going to church. Every time as a kid when I was forced to do something or go visit someone that I didn't want to do, and your folks say "one day you'll understand"; in that very instant I flashed all of those memories and I understood. Childhood is wasted on the kids. They have no idea how happy they are, no clue what kind of sacrifices we make for them. Then when they grow up and have kids, they too will understand.

I've never told anyone this before, because I think it's incredibly sad. Bigun was born around noon, and that night after dark Kelley was asleep, and I was holding her while we were watching the Mets/Yankees game on TV. I'm a huge Mets fan because the Mets won the first baseball game I can remember watching back in 1986, and they beat the Yanks that night too. I thought it was really cool for Bigun's first baseball game to be a Mets win too. But there's nothing sad about the Mets. Well, maybe their numbers on the disabled list this year.

But, as us nerds are prone to do, my thoughts turned to math. I was thinking about my great grandmother, we all knew her as Mama G. Her and her husband bought the house at Tybee Island if you've ever heard me talk about it. Mama G was married and had 13 kids. They all got married and had kids (inc my mom), they all got married and had kids (ine me), and they all got married and had kids. Mama G passed away when I was in high school, and we were very close. When you add up all of the spouses and kids and spouses and kids, etc. her genetic lineage spawned 141 people. And her dad held her the night she was born and felt the exact same way I did right then. She was 93 when she died. And on that night in the hospital, all I could think about was how 93 years from now 141 people would be very sad that this little girl died. I would be a trivia question when some kid asked his/her great grandmother what her daddy's name was for a family tree school project. And I was ok with that, it's a natural circle that puts things in perspective.

Of course a couple of weeks later, I was all "93 years my ass, if you don't go to sleep in the next 10 minutes I'm going to choke a baby!"

It's a universal principal with small kids. When they are first born, you know exactly as much as your parents knew when you were born. Sure, there are books. But nothing can prepare you for the challenges you are going to face, because they are always different from generation to generation. Kids grow up too fast these days. I grew up faster than my parents, and so on. My kids are going to have to face a different set of challenges that we did, and we go from having parents that just don't understand to being parents that don't understand. I never understood why groups like churches here will separate adults that don't have kids from those that do. Then when you have kids you understand why. I keep saying that because it's true. You don't understand why people want to have kids until you have one yourself. And I don't judge people who don't want to have kids, they might just be smarter than I was. But I didn't know how incredible being a parent was until this day.

I also like to laugh at people that say it will change your life. We do tell people that it will ruin your life. It's not a bad thing, but life as you know it will be completely ruined. What were you doing last saturday night at 8 pm? I was putting pj's on a baby and rocking her to sleep. 365 days a year for the last 4 years. Now there have been maybe 3 or 4 weekends when we left them with grandparents. But the point is that nightlife is ruined. non-existent. Want to have dinner at a restaurant that is nice enough to have a waiting list? no you don't. Dinner comes at 6 pm every day if you are still in the car, the food takes too long to get there, the boss wants you to work late, you want to grab a beer with a friend after work. Doesn't matter. the kids eat at 6 pm or there will be hell to pay. the schedule is the schedule and it will rule your life. that's just the way it is.... ruined. and that's really not a bad thing.

So how can I do an oly triathlon and a marathon 6 days apart? Most people would only attempt one of those in any given year as an A race. Can I still be a hands on dad, supportive husband, and keep up with a training plan? Well, I wasn't worried about training specifically for the 10k run part of the tri. I found a training plan for an oly tri online, and decided that for my second marathon training cycle I wanted to use a FIRST plan because it only took 3 days a week of running. So I added the 3 days of running per week into the swimming and biking parts of the oly tri plan and I had something put together.

Then apparently I completely abandoned that plan. Since I knew I was running a marathon, I was fairly careful to stick to the runs as they were laid out. For the first half of the time, I only got 2 of the 3 runs in every week. Then I started getting in all 3 including the saturday long runs, and I changed thursday night's tempo run to be preceded by a bike workout, making it a brick. So every week had 3 runs and 1 or 2 bike workouts. I still have no pool to go swimming in, and I'm going to have to rectify that by the fall. So I was mostly reliant on my aerobic capacity and strength training/yoga work to get me through the swim and bike parts of the tri. I love the bike, so the swim was really the only tough part of the tri.

I think combining the training plans was the right way to go. Six days was enough recovery time from the tri. I did get in a small run during the 6 days just to be sure the legs were ready to go. And this time my marathon training held up. It made for interesting training from february to june, not just straight running like on the Hal Higdon plan I did for my first marathon cycle (I DNS'd the Myrtle Beach marathon back in february if you weren't a reader then). It was injury free thanks to the Tri Power strength training program and my new fondness for yoga. How did I work yoga and strength training into the schedule so consistently? I could do yoga in the living room in the mornings while Kelley is at the gym before I went to work. And I could do the Tri Power workouts behind my desk with just a swiss ball and a few sets of dumbells.

The oly was a tougher than expected course, and my results were right online with my training. It was an amazing experience that I enjoy telling people about. The taper was great. The week between oly and marathon was great. The marathon was also a challenging course, and my training showed in the results. The marathon was the result of 9 months of marathon training cycles (20 weeks higdon and 16 weeks FIRST), and to see everything culminate like that was truly an amazing and impressive feat. I couldn't have done it without enough support and understanding from my family.

Now let's look forward. What's next? perhaps something called the Seizure Head Slog Fest. It's an about 60 mile bike ride up Ceasar's Head mountain and back down to the starting point, but I think the route is a big circle with a lunch stop at the top of the mountain. It's a free organized group ride, not a race. but it's still 60 miles, and I've never gone more than 33 miles on the bike before. And it climbs the highest mountain in SC. I would LOVE to have someone else I know doing this ride with me. I mean anyone else. Some of you peeps want to come up from Atlanta? it's a higher elevation than anywhere in the georgia mountains. Great training ride. Maybe someone local? come on, tell me you want to do this one too. It's supposed to be great. It's JULY 25TH! That's one month from tomorrow, a.k.a. not much time for hill training. I might abandon this one, but I really want to do it.

Also August the 16th is the Greenville Sprint tri. The ceasar's head bike ride would be amazing training for this tri, as the bike part is pretty hilly. This is the same race I ran last year, and I can't wait to beat my time from last year. This one has an incredibly beginner friendly atmosphere, and if you don't think you can complete a tri (I didn't think I could do this one last year), then you want to make the Greenville Sprint your first one. It's great.

One other thing. Some of the slugs in the office in atlanta want me to take the bike leg on a relay team in a sprint triathlon down there. Any of you guys know of a sprint I can still get into?

Bigun wants to go to one of our races to spectate. So my target is to find a 5k and a 10k race in the summer/fall that I can run as standalone. My current PR's at those distances are all from triathlons, I've only run half marathon or longer as standalone races. I really want to find a 5k race with a 1 mile fun run or something that Bigun can run in too. She really wants to run in a race, and I think she can make it a mile. She would love it. And I think I could PR at a running race where I didn't have to swim or bike first. So that's what I have to look forward to. I hope you all have a great day. And I hope that you have as much fun reflecting back and looking forward as I did.


carrie said...

Bigun wants to run a race at the age of four! Just look at the wonderful example you are to her! Maybe training takes away a little family time, but in the end you are raising a little girl who will have lifelong healthy habits...because you're her dad. Awesome.

Wes said...

Dude! I'm calling the office and telling them to give your MORE WORK :-)

I've always said that you will never truly understand life until you have a child. I stand by that.

Tribluesky and GA Multisports is the palce to look. The Run Georgia website also has tris listed.

Good luck!!

Jenny said...

i liked your sappy post :o)
my munchkin will be 18 months on saturday, so i've been getting a little sappy myself... lists races, and it's a good place to log workouts, too.

Adorable Girlfriend said...

This is my favorite post in the whole world. You are so raw and exposed and you shared it with us. Thanks! Happy belated Father's Day and birthday to the cutie pie.

Jess said...

Very thoughtful introspection!

Glaven Q. Heisenberg said...

Happy father's day back at ya!

Anonymous said...

Awww :) By the way, my boyfriend would loveeeee this blog, he is an avid cyclist!!! Wait. do you ride with a group? He rides all throughout SC with a group and there just so happens to be a John in there!! Let me know :)

Alisa said...

Awww, I love the reflections.

Almost all the 5k's I've heard of have kids runs which vary in length from 100 meter dash to 1 mile. I think it's neat she wants to run!

I've never run a 10k either and haven't run a 5k since 2007. I'm also looking for some shorter races =).

Girl on Top said...

Why are people hating on Bing? :) Just curious.

My running blog wasn't even on there :( I didn't look too far, but I'm sure it's real low on the totem pole :)

Amber (Girl with the red hair) said...

Great post! I just went back and read your post about conceiving Bigun, that is quite the story!!

Missy said...

Oh for the love of pete, I'm not going back to another post to see how the conception happened...might make me think twice (again) about my little, solitary family;)

Great post! Dad's and daughter's - thee best, I'm tellin ya! So my pops today to help him with some stuff at the house. I LOVE having him close.

Missy said...

...That's I saw my pops today...

joyRuN said...

Giving me teary-eyed sniffles over here, CJ. Just like they tell you how your life will never ever be the same, they also tell you that they grow up so fast. And they do. I'd give my left arm to have another moment with my kids when they were babies. All nice & soft & QUIET ;)

raulgonemobile said...

Nice post, man. As I'm about to go down this road you've been on for a few years, I really enjoyed it.

Of course, as I was reading it, warning klaxons were going off in my mind, but whatever.

Happy belated Father's Day!

Michelle said...

Hello and very nice to meet you!!!

I am and I look forward to getting to know you!!!

Bigrun is beautiful!

Ashley said...

Holy long ass blog, Batman! ;)

I love that you call her Bigun...cuz she looks pretty petite in the pics! We (I) call our youngest Nugget and she's a hunka chunka baby!!! :)

My 6-year-old ran 2 5K's with me this spring (2 weekends in a row) and we both had a blast! The only thing is that kids can be unpredictable and have NO concept of keeping a pace, lol! But what a great bonding experience it is! I hope you get the opportunity to do a race together & share some pics with us! :)