Well, let's start one day earlier: March 17, 2001. It was a cool, crisp morning on the Virginia Beach oceanfront. It was the annual running of the Shamrock Marathon. I was deeply entrenched in the running buzz around Virginia Beach and in my 4th year of "serious" running since running my first marathon in October 1997 at the Steamtown Marathon. This marathon would be number #8. It was a capstone on another part of my life as well. I was getting ready to be honorably discharged from 10 years on active duty in the U.S. Navy. So, running this marathon was sort of a goodbye to all of my great running friends in the Hampton Roads area that were so supportive to me. I set out with a goal of running with one of my best running friends, Doug D., who just happened to be twice my age (sorry, Bear!). He never misses the Shamrock. I ran about 16 miles of it with him but just before I picked up the pace, my wife called and said "My water broke!!!" You see, she was getting ready to "pop" any day so I took my cell with me during the marathon. After I picked up my jaw off of the race course, she said "Just kidding!!! How's your race going?" ARGH!!! That was downright mean. I carried on and finished the marathon in 3hrs, 45min. Later that day, I was soaking in an epsom salt bath (I actually used to do that) and she was laying on the couch in our condo, and her water DID break so off to Portsmouth Naval Hospital we went! Dressed in my cotton Shamrock tee and shorts, we stayed up all day and night until Katherine Grace was born in the wee hours of March 18, 2001. So today we celebrate her 8th birthday and my 8th anniversary of becoming a dad. Life certainly changed on the moment she entered the world...forever. Luckily, we had 8 1/2 years of marriage withOUT kids so this was perfect timing...plus, along with getting out of the Navy, it all worked out well.
When they say time flies, they're not kidding. The portrait on canvas we had done only a few days after her birth where I'm holding her still hangs in our living room at home and it feels like it was yesterday when that photo shoot happened. 8 years gone. To think...8 years from now she'll get her driver's permit...yikes! Being a father has been a challenge, a privilege, and a constantly evolving process that is as fluid as one could imagine. Flexibility and the desire to grow closer, nurture, and be by her side then, now, and forevermore have been key to a great first 8. I anxiously look forward to the next 8.
Now, if I can just get her running! She has expressed the desire so in time, it'll come. For now, she roots me on from the sidelines. In fact, I ran a strong 8 miler before work this morning just for her 8th birthday. She loved that!
As Dad duties continue, work takes up over 1/3 of every day, I am pressing on with regards to my training plan for Kettle Moraine in 79 days. My plan is to rest tomorrow and run 20+ on the trails this Friday followed by 15+ on Saturday morning...my first back-to-back training runs in preps for the Kettle. I'll follow that up by a down week next week and then up again for the Fools 50K weekend on April 4th/5th. After the 15+ on Saturday, the weather is looking like a full-sun day in the upper 50s so you may just find us at the Akron Zoo. I've been watching for the perfect weekend day to take everyone and this looks like it!
The sun is shining, Spring is springin', so get out there!
Happy Trails, everyone!