The miles: how I covered 112 for preemies

somewhere on the road, day two.

* Part 2 of: 112 miles for Preemies

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate,

I shuffled into our driveway, stepping from the road’s pavement to the crumbling aggregate rock. It’s separating, becoming gravel in spots.

I put my hands on my knees. I stretched my hamstrings and blew out a deep breath. Neither happy nor sad. Not exhausted.  Just done.

I’ve crossed more finish lines than I can remember at this point. I’ve cried at some. Celebrated at a few. And I’ll admit, pouted at others. Sunday as I finished my personal 112 miles I did none of those. There were no crowds of finishers or supporters. It was just me, and dusk, fall’s burnt orange and deep red sky, the chattering of leaves holding on above or blowing away, a chill settling in. Alone in our driveway for a few more minutes.

You three kids met me on the front porch. A thousand voices at once. So it seemed.

about to start Sunday morning’s run

I ran my hand across each of your heads and went inside. 112 miles, each representing a day our family spent in the hospital, finally behind me. I want to think I left those days on the road over the weekend. I think I’d hoped for that. The idea was to raise awareness for National Prematurity Month, but like so much in life, much of it for me was personal. I did it for you kids and Mommy, and other families touched by preterm labor and preemie babies, but I also did it for me. That truth surprised me as I went through the miles.

Saturday I covered the miles this like (Prematurity Awareness Day):

9 mile run

2000 yard swim

43.7 mile bike

3 mile run

Much of Saturday felt easy, until that last 3 mile run. My hands began to tingle with a mile to go, and then I felt dizzy. I walked a little, but finished at a jog.

Sunday I finished the weekend off like this (the 4th Anniversary of bringing you two little ones home – for the first time):

5 mile run

46.6 mile bike

1550 yard swim

2.7 mile run

Finished!!!!!

I have nothing profound to say about the miles. I just covered them.  Slow and easy. 10 hours and 22 minutes of moving time. Deep breathes. Sometimes thinking about the hard miles as single days and how easy the miles felt when I framed them that way.

I think this will become a tradition for me. An annual way to honor the 112 days that changed our lives and the 500,000 babies born early every year in our country. Maybe next year I’ll do it all in one day. Maybe one day you kids will accompany me and we’ll step into the driveway together. Under that burnt orange sky swirling with inevitable change, while life clings desperately nearby and above. And we’ll remember those 112 days together. And think about those who are living them in the moment.

“It ain’t the years, boy, it’s the miles” – Chris LeDoux

I love you,

– Daddy