“Learn to light a candle in the darkest moments of someone’s life. Be the light that helps others see; it is what gives life its deepest significance.” – Roy T. Bennet

Posts tagged ‘baby’

Siskiyou Outback 50K 2017 – A Race Recap


It’s a pretty cool thing to find your face in the morning paper. When I started the morning l was tired to the bone from keeping a baby happy all night long. I was having trouble getting my head “in the game”, so to speak. My loving husband made me pancakes while I tried to get everything ready. The race was a 40-minute drive away and started at 7 o’clock, sharp. We had fifteen minutes to get ready and go, and Ezekiel was still fast asleep.

The night before, I had filled the bladder for the hydration vest with water and had frozen it. In the morning, I let it thaw just enough to yank it open and fill it up to near-overflowing with water. I had two bison bars in Ziplocs stuffed into my vest, as well as dried cranberries and some homemade peanut butter Rice Krispie treats. I also had two more water bottles in the front. I was set, but nervous.

We arrived with 20 minutes to spare, but every runner knows that the line for the bathrooms will take all the time. There were about ten people in front of me, I still hadn’t picked up my bib, and Ezekiel still needed to nurse. Cue the rising panic.

I had to hurry back to the car to quickly sunscreen up after getting my bib. I remembered that two years ago I had fried in the beating sun and I had no intention of experiencing that again. The five minute call rang out, and Ezekiel still needed to eat.

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(He doesn’t realize I’m about to leave him for several hours.)

While I walked to the starting line, I covered up (barely!) with a blanket and let my baby finally eat. I was in the very back of the crowd, wrestling with a squirmy, thirsty child. I had to hand him over to my husband, Nate, when the gun went off the crowd began surging forward. I quickly buckled my vest together and set off, trying to get past the bulk of the people. I wish I had started in the front.

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(The sea of fluorescent runners.)

The first mile was spent passing a lot of runners. I always feel awkward passing someone. Do I tell them “good job” or “keep it up” even though I’m running in front of them? Personally, I might find that condescending, but I know that oftentimes others enjoy encouragement more than I do. Sometimes I say sorry, but I honestly don’t know what the etiquette is. I’m still a newbie to this whole racing thing.

When we reached the first climb I knew I was in for a long few hours. I stopped and shook my legs out a couple of times. I regretted not training in high altitude. I regretted signing up for the race. Gosh, I was actually pretty grumpy for the first half.

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(Nate, my unofficial photographer, caught me in a bad mood. I told him to leave me alone here.)

I tried to eat my bison bars but they suddenly tasted like rabbit food. The cranberries weren’t much better. I ended up spitting out some of my food on the trail as it was turning my stomach. While my nutrition was sub-par during the race, I stopped at most of the aid stations and took in plenty of electrolytes and fluids. Without those, I never would have made it.

After hitting up the halfway aid station, Jackson Gap, I ran alongside a guy from Portland for a couple miles. He pulled ahead of me on the hills, but I kept my pace steady and would occasionally catch him on the flat ground. Unfortunately, I rolled my right ankle on a sharp turn and lost him completely. The next two miles after that were spent wondering if I would be able to finish. I knew that little roll had done something to my ankle and I was hobbling. Because I had slammed my right knee in a training run, that whole leg was somewhat compromised. When I made it to the next aid station, however, I just drank more electrolytes and my husband and baby were there to cheer (or cry) me on. I kept going.

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(Grimacing.)

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(Everybody at the race loved him.)

The next section had several miles of climb to it, and I admit, I was pretty low during this point. I walked often, sometimes completely stopping and doubling over, hands on my shaking legs and staring at the ground. The lack of food was really catching up to me, but I knew I had to continue. I arrived at the last aid station and took in more electrolytes. My contacts were clouded over and my eyes were itchy from the dry, grassy spots. Allergies are my bane. Someone gave me a sponge for my eyes. I tried to find something to eat that appealed, but someone told me that if nothing looked good, I might as well keep going since there were only five miles left.

The last five miles weren’t too terrible. I caught up with Strava Socks (his name is actually Kyle, but at the beginning I had been behind him staring at his labeled socks) and I followed him out of the trail and onto the road that led to the finish. There were campers and onlookers all along the road, yelling and cheering us on. I heard people yelling “first woman” and “here she comes” as I neared the end. Strava Socks pulled ahead for a sprint finish, but I didn’t feel like sprinting at that point. My husband was running alongside me, trying to get me to sprint. I said no.

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(My official time was 4:27:31 because I started in the back.)

It was such a relief to cross that line. Several runner friends that had done the 15K were there and congratulated me as I tried to find food. They all looked so fresh, wearing colourful leis and holding beers. In some ways, I was jealous that they didn’t run as far, but at the same time I felt pretty accomplished. Maybe next year I’ll do it again. Maybe not. Maybe I’ll be brave and do 50 miles instead. Runners have short-term memory loss, after all.

 

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Two Days in the Life of Zeke

These last two days I have been taking Ezekiel to try out new things and documenting it. He won’t ever remember, but he enjoyed them all just the same.

Day 1:

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To start things off, we went to Barnes & Noble. We walked the two miles to get there in the somewhat cooler morning before the heat hit us. His favourite thing to carry around with him is his hairbrush, which may seem rather odd, but when a baby is teething they will chew on anything.

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The wall in Barnes & Noble has a little mural on it. He kept trying to pick off the little black painted spots, confused as to why they wouldn’t come off in his hand. I attempted to read a book to him but since he wouldn’t stop trying to eat it, I gave up and put it back before I was forced to purchase it.

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We walked the two miles back home and rang up his grandma to see if she desired a hike. Off to the Forest Park trails we went, right at the hottest time of day. I lathered Ezekiel in sunscreen since he is an extremely ivory child.

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He didn’t (and doesn’t) understand the idea of a selfie, hence the look of confusion on his face. Also, it turned out that during the two-hour trek up and down and up and down the mountains, he had been carrying a load the entire time. Perhaps that is what this look is about, him having an uncomfortable warmth in his pants while he was already uncomfortably warm in the sun. The last mile was somewhat of a jog, and then I eventually had to bare all to potential hikers when he decided he was too hungry to wait until the end. Have you ever tried a brisk, midday hike with a baby latched to your chest? I have now.

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He seemed a little tired and frazzled when we went to a goodbye party for a friend. This is his grandpa (and my dad). Ezekiel found a piece of onion on the ground and did not enjoy it as much as he thought he might. To end the first day of documentation, I had to work at an obscurely late hour and came home to my baby fast asleep in his crib. His dad did well.

Day 2:

Since we had journeyed nearly eight miles the day before, we decided (I decided) to continue on our streak of keeping away from the apartment as long as possible.

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We went to KidTime, a hands-on children’s museum half a mile from where we live. Although Ezekiel is little, he enjoyed climbing up every stair and incline he could find. Someday, he will be an ultrarunner. I know it.

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(Cue the blurry photo of an active child.)

He kept trying to carry on a conversation with the other baby in the mirror. Right now he also likes to grab hands, and was slightly frustrated when he couldn’t hold hands with the baby. We spent an hour at the children’s museum and then joined a group run for a six-mile jaunt on the greenway.

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After the run, I still didn’t feel like heading home, so we took a detour to the library. Ezekiel was stealing toys from the other kids and attempting to eat books, so we didn’t meander there too long. I began to feel a little peckish, so I grabbed a sandwich while Ezekiel nursed. He wore himself out with all his thieving.

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(A baby with his bounty.)

Finally, as the heat steadily rose, we made our way back home. He is, at the moment, appreciating the luxury of a good, long nap after a nice, cool bath. On a side note, tomorrow I am running approximately twenty miles out of pure enjoyment. I hope I don’t get lost.

Fever

Apparently

When a baby is sick

All he wants to do is stick

More milk inside his stomach

And all throughout the night and day

His tired mother has to wait and pay for

The fever and germs that contaminate

Because the tired child cries often

(Though sometimes he softens

Just enough for a cuddle)

All I can hope for is

A lack of fever

Tomorrow

Nature Baby

I gave birth to nature baby.

He jabbers as we run outside, taking in the sights and sounds of the trees that we pass.

Sometimes he falls asleep from the rhythm and I can hear him snoring lightly.

I’m sure he dreams of sunshine and birds, because he is always in the best of moods in the outdoors.

When he is big and grown, I hope he’ll be running next to me as we tackle the big miles. His dad will be on his bike, keeping our pace steady, as we jump rocks and dodge branches in the forest. 

For now, though, he is a nature baby.

Parenthood

While I look at my child as he crawls and climbs and falls, it occurs to me that I was once a child like this. 

I look back at my childhood dreams and teenage stupidities and wonder what sort of dreams and stupidities my baby will have as he ages. 

I made life so hard for my parents. I hated them at some points, even. The worse thing my child does to me is try to run away as I change his diaper. He may have a day where he hates me. It may last longer than a day and it seems so hard to believe.

Motherhood is hard. Parenthood is hard. My husband just had to do compressions on a man who committed suicide. His own mother was the one that found him, and that scares me. 

I guess all I can really do is teach my child to love and to value the fragility of life. As his mother, I want to protect him and keep him in a perfectly safe bubble, but this will make him value so little. He needs to experience the harshness of life to understand the beauty of it.

But I am afraid. I cannot help it. Forgive me.

To Think

Being young and having a baby puts me in an awkward place with my peers. Most women my age are only just getting engaged, or otherwise they are in school and working five days a week. This places me at the edge of circles, not yet old enough to be considered in the mom groups and in such a different place in life that I feel strangely mature in my usual group of friends.
I know I’m not the only mom to feel this way. My life doesn’t revolve fully around my child and husband. I don’t have dinner on the table every night. I just want to go on long runs in the forest and come home to a smiling baby, but that’s an impossible daydream.
I do like to work. I enjoy the feeling of earning my money and paying bills. I enjoy helping others.
Maybe what I’m trying to say is that I feel too young, too old, too busy, too lazy, and nowhere near where I wish I were in life.
I’ve always dreamt of traveling the world and learning new languages, of meeting new people and living in both poverty and riches in order to fully understand the world. I wanted to be a police officer, unbiased toward even the most distinctly different person. I wanted to be a writer, able to carry emotions in my words and change people though them. I wanted to be a wanderer, untethered by family or feelings and able to explore the entire expanse of the earth by wit alone.
But I found myself married at twenty years old and it’s possible that none of those dreams will ever come into fruition. And perhaps that is all they ever were: dreams. They were ideas that I latched onto and ruminated over so often that I found no fault in them.
Now I do find fault in them. They are missing my husband and my son and my family and friends and perhaps I feel for them more than I let on. I can be stoic and tired and hard and untouchable but I don’t think I can live without the people that surround me.
I sympathize for moody teenagers because I was one, but I also understand the need for stability and nine to fives and those days that drag on because they mean you love and are loved. I love and am loved, and I could continue to pine away for my unfulfilled dreams but sometimes things come into your life that you never expect and you never knew you needed.
I never meant for this to become what it is, but I guess I needed to write some things out for them to make sense in my head. Thank you for listening.

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