Peeking into the cave

resolving the monster trucks vs. baby dolls debate

resolving the monster trucks vs. baby dolls debate

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate,

I had a rare Saturday with no training yesterday. Thanks to a quirk in my schedule I managed to get my workouts accomplished during the week, leaving me with only a long run to get in over the weekend. I do those on Sunday.

In the days leading up to Saturday I looked forward to the time off. In my mind I imagined playing outside with you kids, watching a ball game with my feet up on the couch, and some general laziness. The reality was a little different.

It stayed in the 30’s all day yesterday. The wind blew. It snowed a little. I didn’t feel right. I’m not good at sitting still. I tried to sleep in, but by 6am I was up already wondering what to do with my morning. I went to the donut shop.

Later in the day, after some outside play time, I loaded up Grandfather’s truck for a trip to the dump. You kids rode along. You love going there. You watch me unload heavy things we don’t use anymore and throw them down into the dumpsters of tangled debris. It makes a loud sound, I dust my work gloves off against my jeans, and then climb back into the driver’s seat. The highlight of the day.

My mood turned against me throughout the day though. Deeper into the cave. That constant revolt thats happening inside of me, almost always subdued by my own practicality.  I needed the rest physically, but mentally I had trouble with it. After cookies for lunch and pizza and cheesesticks for dinner I went to bed early. Because I wasn’t sure what else to do. I laid there feeling guilty about something.

On the surface this sounds bad. Someone is reading this now thinking to themselves: you have a problem, buddy. You’re addicted to your hobby.

To me there’s a difference between needing and loving.

Despite the bad mood I don’t need sport. I have very few needs.

I do, however, love what I do: swimming, biking, and running. Like I loved football and baseball as a kid. Like wrestling for so many years. Strange as it sounds I know I’ll always miss the sting of mat burns on my face and the taste of a busted lip, the slowness of heat during a weight cutting session. I love endorphins and adrenaline, and I guess, pain.

A cold Saturday in February with no plan was hard for me. Throughout the day I talked with Mommy about a variety of topics, but mostly about the struggle to get by in life. Laziness does that to me.

So, today the wind shifted and it was even colder, but sunnier. 16 degrees at 6am and I was happy to be up, gathering my things. Dressed in layers.  The normal creakiness at first. The pinch of cold around my face and hands until numbness came. Easing into my pace, slow at first, very slow up hills, moving. Again.

As we climbed a hill I let my training partners escape and move ahead. Dark silhouttes moving up – towards the summitt, the sun rising in front of them.

I thought about Saturday. How long some days feel. How short the whole thing really is. I was grateful for an 11 mile run today.

I picked up the pace and went back to the revolt inside of me. I crouched and peeked inside of the cave. For a few miles I felt like I could do anything I set my mind to.

When I got home we played Monster trucks for awhile, Max. Until it was time for something else.

You tugged at my sleeve, Kate.

“Let’s play baby dolls.”

“Ok, baby Kate. One minute. When we’re done playing Monster trucks,” I responded.

“Ok…3…2…1…play baby dolls.”

And so we did. A birthday party to be exact. With invisible cake. And a game of “run around the room.”

I love you,

– Daddy