My birthday weekend

The birthday poster you kids made for me: notice the swim/bike/run drawing in the top left corner. There are special messages in the bottom left, including a shark saying “all i want to eat is you” and a butterfly saying “You fly like the wind”.

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate,

We celebrated my 38th birthday this weekend. I took off from work on Friday to celebrate and go for a long ride. It was difficult to get out the door for the ride on Friday morning, but Mommy eventually forced me out. I’ve been tired lately – balancing the peak of my training volume with increasing external stress.

I’ve talked frequently about not going to South Carolina for the race in a few weeks.  I’m not as fit as I wanted to be. And I’m not as focused as I thought I would be. I’ve stretched my season too long again this year.  Friday was one of those mornings. I wanted to stay home, but Mommy knows me and knows that would have made things worse. She told me not to quit, that it wasn’t like me, and told me to put my bike clothes on and go.

I eventually covered 55 miles at 18.9 mph average and then followed the ride with a 3 mile run at 8 min per mile pace. That’s a solid workout for me when training for half iron distance. I didn’t think about much during the ride. That isn’t like me either. It tells me that I am struggling to hang on. My mind usually races when I’m on the bike. I dream about our future and wonder how I can make it all come true. Hours on the bike are valuable because they give me time to think. But Friday’s ride/run was blank. I just did the work. Something to be said for that, I guess.

After my ride we ran a few errands around town with you two little ones. We spent a long time at Target browsing the Halloween costumes.

I went for a shorter ride on Saturday morning. I did 30 miles at a slightly slower pace on my road bike and was home by 8:00am. Mommy had to coach at 9am, so I had you kids for most of the day. We played in the backyard, went to the park, ate lunch at Sonic, and then played in the front yard. You kids have unlimited energy!

That night Mommy made birthday cookies for me. I sat working on the computer in the darkness of our office when you kids all ran in – a single candle atop a hot iced chocolate chip cookie lighting the room. As you kids sang Happy Birthday to me in the candle light I remembered that life isn’t about me. The joy in your faces and in your eyes made me cry. In 38 years I’ve done just a few things that matter. Being a father is the greatest among those. I worry every day that I’ll let you kids down. That I’m not providing enough for you. That you will be ashamed of me when you’re grown. I’m afraid that you’ll feel that I should have been more successful somehow. Or I should have just been more. Somehow.

two kinds of ice cream on your face!

So, I wish I could have captured that candle lit moment and bottled it up; your faces as you sang to your daddy. I need your smiles and your unconditional hugs. I’m reminded that my love is enough for you. We ate cookies in the kitchen.

Sunday morning I went for a 12 mile run with some of my training partners. When I ran back into the driveway you kids came out to meet me in your pajamas carrying a poster that you made. It was the best birthday card I’ve ever been given.

Max, you and I spent the early part of the day in the backyard. I primed two adirondack chairs and you handed me things as I needed them. You love helping.

Later that afternoon we went to your first practice gymnastics meet, Izzy. You did great!

That evening we had dinner a Mexican restaurant. You kids got a big kick out of the sombrero they put on me.

It was a great weekend. 38 comes as a surprise somehow. The way it feels isn’t what I expected. At 38 I’m not sure where I am or where I’m going. Perhaps searching for answers now more than ever before.

I love you,

– Daddy


Friday: Rode 55 miles at 18.9 avg. / Ran 3 miles BRICK

Sat: Rode 30 miles at 17 avg.

Sun: Ran 12 miles at 8:45 avg.