Friday, June 21, 2013

Remembering Anthony James 6-21-06

This morning we are waking up on Anthony's birthday.  I honestly would likely have missed it had we not already have plans to go to the grave site today, the timing of the race and also Abby telling her Great Grandma yesterday that she was hoping to go swimming on Tony's birthday.

I'm sure I've mentioned it before, that visiting the site is well, awkward.  Our only memories of this place are those of the interment, picking out the markers and other subsequent visits.  We go to honor them, place flowers, but I don't think we go their needing to "remember" them.  There is somber, melancholy mood for sure, but attempts to manufacture deep grief fail.

Today I'm remembering one of the happiest days of my life.  To rank it above or below other days would be a disservice to them all.  They are special in their unique way and joy comes in many forms.

It wasn't long after marriage that we decided anxiously to start a family.  Experiencing our first miscarriage was an extremely hard thing to go through and reinforced how much a gift our kids really are.   Being unable to control my strong emotions, it was no surprise that I was overcome by this new blessing of life: my son.  I was humbled and brought to my knees with praise.  A joy that only a new father knows.

The first day (they all run together after that) was amazing.  Other than a few peculiar physical details that at the moment weren't troubling, we had a perfect baby boy and every time we said his name, compared his features to ours and simply cared for him, we basked in the joy of new parenthood.

It's amazing how precious a day can be.  One day special day that will always be ours.

It's comforting and encouraging to look back and see how we were lifted up during this time, supported, cared for and blessed beyond measure.  This race has allowed us to experience this support again and be humbled by love.

The timing of today is fitting, as we are able to remember and grieve, then move on to enjoying this experience before us.  Also, hopefully will allow me to have the energy replaced to run and maybe get to the end before becoming overwhelmed by many more emotions.

So much for a cool race.  It will be about 71 degrees, but 97% humidity and will get up to 95 heat index by the end of the day.  We are hoping for showers during the run. 

Thankful we are not alone on our journey,

Stu, Tashia and family

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Struggle to Finish

Finishing has always been a strugle for me. 
Finishing: the week leading into vacation, a big project, studying for the big exam, most books I start.  I think it's mostly to do with fear.  Usually hidden, but if examined, it's there.  Fear for what's next, of failure, guilt or not living up to our own standards.  Some is just do to distraction (books). 

Ironically there are certain things that I'm strongly driven to complete:  movies, TV shows, dinner :) and run races.  There are few things that have compared to the adrenaline rush I get when the finish line is in sight.  Hidden reserves are used to increase speed until I all but collapse at the finish line.  Notice that these items are relatively short and some easy compared to the first list.  I'm great at pouring into something for short intense bursts, but when the excitement and interest wanes, (or a shiny squirrel runs by)..most hope is lost.

Training for 12 weeks has been a stretch for me and this week has been hard with plenty of excuses.  I ran today at noon and meant to do a short relaxed run, but ended up pushing it harder and it with the temp was more exhausting.   I will now debate each hour for the next few days whether I will run one more time or worry that my legs will get used to the rest.

The areas of life that require my ongoing interest, attention and involvement can wax and wane at times.  Focusing on being a husband, father, employee etc. as individual priorities, each weighted with my own personal expectations can be daunting and an impossible perfection.  Each miscue or neglect giving the fear a foothold.

Thankfully I have been freed from this burden of balancing these plates.  Instead I can focus on following Christ and run the race with my gaze on the prize set before me.  Priorities disolve into living by the moment supported by Grace.  Although some days it feels like a 5k and other times an Ironman.  Either way we are experiencing a taste of whats to come and seeing our boys again is just a crumb of that feast.

Well, I'm glad the run will be at 7:30 am because it looks to be rather warm that day and the cooler it is, the better.  I hope I can stay focused for 6.2 miles at my race pace.  I'm not worried about finishing this race, because even if I fail to meet my time goal, this one means so much more.

It's hard to believe it's almost here...

Lovingly supported by you all,

Stu and Tashia

Saturday, June 15, 2013

1 Week to Go!

Well, I seemed to be looking for excuses not to run the 8 miles today that I had marked penciled out 11 weeks ago in my plan.  I even forgot to turn off the trail to take the more gradual hill.  For awhile I was thinking if I just made it to 7.2 I could have that accomplishment of a personal best.  Well towards the end I was thinking it would be wise to stop around 6 or 6.5.

I turned off the trail and took a street/highway to give me the option of going farther.  It was just starting to rain hard drops but wasn't steady enough to make a difference.  As this small cloud past it intensified and the steady cold rain was enough to cool me down and give me a final wind.  This song happened to be playing: You Revive Me (Lord).  It's usually playing during my walk back to the house.  I ended up pushing hard out of town and coming back in to make it to 8 miles.  I may feel it a bit for a few days and will have less energy today, but it felt great to get there. 

Race Location:
Harriet Park - St. Paul

Overheating has always been a challenge for me. With the cool spring, this warmer week has been crucial in tempering me to the higher temps and sun and has given me the confidence I need.  Tuesday was brutal, about 85 and 90+ humidity.  I don't sweat enough for that situation and after 3.6 I was well overheated.  It's probably the worst since the first time I ever ran 3 miles when it was about 95 in SF.  The run is at 8:30 and so far it looks like the weather should be better than I had at noon on Thursay and that run was much better even at race pace.

I have really enjoyed these longer slower runs as I have enough oxygen to think and meditate.  Today it was nice to have a few new songs in my Ipod playlist.  After hearing the others so much in the same order they are more background.  During one of the songs it dawned on my that this short training journey (12 weeks) is the same amount of time we had with both Tony and James.  Although we had much longer through the pregnancy, when they arrived we were consumed by their care. It is much the same for this race.

And, the Then What? is much or should be much the same as well.  It will abruptly end, recovery will be much quicker and life will go on.  Talk of the race and experience will fade and other pursuits and joys will fill our lives.   Except we will be different because of this trial and testing of our bodies.  We will be stronger and healthier because of it.  Trials are by nature difficult, but it's how we react and what pulls us through that shapes what we will become.  Just as with our boys, we have chosen to do this together and support each other and that has been the biggest blessing out of both.

Stu and Tashia

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

10 Days and Then What?

10 days until the Race.  3  more training runs out of about 30.   13 miles left of approx 150.  Then 10k and then what?

From Mom's Race Page
As I mentioned on my run page I'm running for many reasons, but obviously we wouldn't be if it wasn't for Anthony and James.  It's been great striving for something that involves remembering them.  Especially since life moves on and it's rare that discussions involve our first two boys.  Once the run is complete, then what?

Life has been great and we have a blast as a family and it's been said we have gotten through it, but we will never be over it. 

We are only one family touched by the pain of loss and such have only our perspective.  But I would be suprised if this didn't apply to most that have lost a loved one:

If we mention that we have a boy and girl with us and two more boys in heaven, this means a few things - we think enough of you to share this information - they are a part of us and it seems wrong if we don't - this is an open invitation to ask about them (if we get emotional, that is a good thing, and is part of the process and believe it or not has deep roots in joy) - we are not looking for sympathy or any comments as such - we are more than open to listen to your experiences, hurts loss etc. - we are proud - we are blessed - we are loved and we have Hope!

While running the other day I pondered the "Then what?  No, not Disneyland.  All joking aside the end of the race may be quite difficult for this reason.  Spring is the hardest especially with gloomy weather.  Our 4 memorial dates start in late April  and in the past we have built memorial gardens and in subsequent years planted in them.  But it has been good to have something longer that involves planning so I thought of similar ideas for the future.  I think that would be a good thing.  Not time consuming, but with duration and distance.

Tashia wanted this song on her new Ipod, so I happened to watch the video for the first time yesterday.  I've heard it before but haven't paid attention to the lyrics.  It provides a small glimpse of our journey.  Through it all we have had our sights on the "joy that's coming", but honestly we have had much blessings, dare I say joy in the midst.

Race Page:

Running the race,

Stuart, Tashia, Abby, Isaiah and our two boys basking in the Son's glory - Anthony Gordon and James Glen

Friday, June 7, 2013

Shoes, a Watch and some tunes.

In our training for the race two things that have made all the difference:

New shoes and a running watch. My last pair of shoes treated me well, but after 2 years of on/off running and some daily use they were causing more harm than good. I had another pair of shoes that also agravated some chronic heel pain.

Just before we started this adventure we stopped at a local running store and were fitted with the new Brooks. These shoes have been perfect for me and have elimenated most pain for Tashia as well. Proper shoes should be the first item that a runner should upgrade.

For Tashia's birthday we purchased a Garmin 10 watch that tracks pace and distance. I've borrowed it on my run (thankfully it's green and not pink!) and it's allowed me to be more relaxed and also is a great tool for paced runs. Add my existing Ipod shuffle her new Ipod nano and we have had some great runs.

It's been great to run together and since I'm training for the 10k our paces have been closer to make that possible. While a 5k and 10k aren't much in the running world, for two out of shape novices that aren't exactly designed for the stride we feel this has been a worthy endeavor and challenge. Not to mention we are pushing 40 and we won't have too many chances to get back into this shape so maybe we can hold on to it?

15 days to fly!


Thursday, June 6, 2013

It's Time to Fly!!!

Please check back here as we give updates on our last few weeks of training and the big race! Stu and Tashia

Monday, December 26, 2011

Update Soon

We were able to spend Christmas in Sioux Falls with all of our family, but didn't get our year end update done in time. Look for it around the New Year!

Merry Christmas!