It’s 2:46 in the morning, on the Fifth of July. I am tired, but at peace.
You are not even a week old, but have already given me so much. I am happy – even as I hold you now, still in the NICU, unable to take you home. You should be home, snuggled up in your bassinet – not in a plastic box with an IV tube in your tiny arm.
I am horribly uncomfortable, sitting here in a lightly padded metal folding chair. My mind is numb, my body hurts, and I’m exhausted. I haven’t gotten much of any sleep the last few days.
This week was to be my “peak week” before my next race, a 50K in just a couple of weeks. My running calendar is marked “20 miles” for today….however I only allowed myself 13 miles after taking your brother to the fireworks. I have cut – more like gouged – my mileage this week. I felt guilty for going, but I needed to get it in, not just for training but to clear my heart and head.
Who knows when I will leave tonight. I’ll only get a few hours of sleep before I get up to start the next day. At some point I will need to work, juggle time with your brother, and tend to household matters.
What I want to demonstrate to you, is that through it all, I will preserve.
My passion, ultra running, has provided me with the perspective to do so. Through running, I have found a clarity in confusion, order within chaos, calm within the madness. I feel I have a stronger self-awareness, and have become a better person.
Moving continuously over incredible distances requires a mental and emotional endurance that eclipses the physical demand. As such, running has become the metaphor for my life. Some days I trip and fall…some days I DNF. Some days I come in first. Some days are a PR. Many days are just a struggle to the finish; the mid-packer’s shuffle to completing a personal goal as best they can.
That is what this week has been – maintaining forward progress.
Through the exhaustion, through the day, and through the night.
I missed my mileage this week, but sacrifices needed to be made to adapt to the challenge at hand. I did what I had to do for the best interests of the family. I ran enough to stay moving, and hopefully maintain some semblance of physical athleticism; but the real peak was a true exercise of the mental and emotional muscle that you can only find in life’s great challenges.
I hope to be able to impart this on to you, through every day from your birth and beyond.
Persevere. Adapt. Overcome.
Embrace challenges, hurdles, and obstacles; adapt and overcome undauntedly; celebrate with humility.
Today I will maintain that forward progress – supporting the household, spending time with your brother and mother. I will find comfort and release in the miles I am able to get, I will fill my heart and renew my energy in the loving embrace of family, and spend sleepless hours by your bedside.
I will persevere, adapt. and overcome.
You have your whole life ahead of you, and try as I might to keep you safe, a day will come where you too, will have to rise to the occasion. I hope I will have done my part to prepare you.
You are stronger than you think you are, and if you fill your heart, you will find the strength to accomplish anything.
Thank you for reminding me to keep moving; for giving me the aid I needed when I was so worried I was not able to accomplish the tasks at hand. You fill my life with love and happiness; all that is really needed. I will always do my best to give you the same.
I love you,
I wrote the above while spending another long, sleepless night with my newborn daughter. I intended to review and post the letter in the morning, but was awoken after only a short nap to find she was coming home a day early. Olivia is now happy and healthy at home.
– The Winged Ling