Like a Bigfoot

Motivation, Mindset, Positivity, Endurance, Adventure, Perseverance, and Possibility

Category: Parenting

How Ultrarunners can Maintain Happy Relationships

Over the last few weeks my training has ramped up in preparation for the Grayson Highlands 50k (hopefully one of the prettiest races in Virginia).  That means added stress on my body, my mind (from not eating pizza) and most importantly my wife.

Ultrarunning adds many positive things to people’s lives- helps them stay in shape, shows them what is possible, demonstrates what they can overcome, makes them feel like a badass (complete with the superpower of running long long distances), etc, etc, etc.

But if you aren’t careful the negatives start to reveal themselves.

Specifically in relationships.  Countless families have probably suffered due to obsessing over this crazy sport.  I’m sure divorces have happened because one member places “running” above “making the other happy.”

I’m grateful to say that this isn’t the case in my household.

Ultimately I’m a husband/father first and an athlete second….and a wannabe chef/rock god in a very distant third.

These are a few strategies I use to follow the classic advice “a happy wife= a happy life.”

  • Involve your family- Invite them to your race.  Aid station volunteers, crew, post-race activities are all great ways in involving your family the day of the race.  The ultrarunning community is THE BEST and I highly suggest exposing your family to the other fantastic people you meet during a race.  My wife really enjoys hanging out at the finish line chatting with the other runners’ crew members.  Although she isn’t a runner, now she gets one of the reasons I love ultrarunning so much- the super cool people you meet.

 

  • Family time can mean training time– Hiking with your kids is just extra training.  Playing with your family after a long training run is just “overtime”.  Family time can be an opportunity to put in extra work.  Ultrarunning isn’t all about running, so do yoga with your kids, have them help you with foam rollers, go for walks or bike rides.  Your family might not be able to do your training runs with you, but all the other stuff counts,  so play with your family as much as possible and you will ultimately achieve extra training.

 

  • Wake up early- I mean EARLY.  Freakin’ early!  Man up and set the alarm for the tear-inducing early hours for your long training runs.  I usually do a 4am Saturday morning.  Running through the pitch black woods might be cold and scary but it’s a necessity in my training cycle.  Training for an Ultra takes time and it is important to prioritize your family before yourself.  So get up and run before sunrise (it’ll give you that much needed “night running” practice), have some extra coffee and spend the rest of your day with your family and friends.  You will enjoy the your day even more knowing you’ve already knocked training off the to do list.

 

  • Skip a training session– If something important comes up, skip training.  Family is more important and skipping one day is not going to hurt you.

 

  • Support your significant other’s passions– An eye for an eye.  They are supporting your goals so you have no excuse not to support whatever interest they have.

 

  • Be nice…even when you are bonking– They didn’t choose to run an ultra.  You did.  Have integrity to put their feelings above your own, especially when you are feeling like complete shit.

 

  • Smelly hugs are the best hugs– Don’t shy away from giving them a gigantic gross sweaty hug at the finish line.  You’ve been waiting a long time for this moment, they’ve been waiting a long time for this moment too.  Share your joy with them.  It’ll probably be the best hug ever!

Hope this advice helps!  Remember family always comes first.

Baby Backpack

I love going hiking with my daughter.  She will be 2 in a week from now and ever since she was 5 months we have taken her hiking in a Deuter kid carrier I bought at REI.

With this bag she’s been all over Virginia and North Carolina.

She’s been carried up mountains, around lakes, through swamplands, over hills, and so on.  She’s hiked when it was hot out and hiked in the cold.  We’ve experienced highs and lows.  There have been (many) moments of laughter and (fewer…thank God) moments of ‘get me the hell out of here’ screaming agony.

We’ve shared snacks, sang songs, learning much about each other during these hikes.  Our time with the backpack has been some of our best father-daughter bonding moments or “Daddy daughter trip” as she likes to call it.

Continue reading

Life Goals

I am now 29.  Yesterday was my first birthday where I thought “29 does sound sorta…grown up.”  That thought worried me for about 2 seconds, but then out of the corner of my eye I saw a shiny object and thus went about living my childish existence.

After consuming half a cake, my wife asked me a simple question “what are your goals for year 29?”

I paused, thought about it for a second, and maybe it was the massive amount of sugar from the cake, but I honestly had no answer.  Is this where I’m at now?  Am I a dude with no goals???? That can’t be true!

So I spent the morning writing an answer to this question:

What do you want to do with your life? Continue reading

Dad Workouts (Part 1)

This summer has been a huge blessing for me.  During my time off from teaching I have spent most waking hours in the presence of the most beautiful lady in the whole world – my 5 month old daughter Harper.  My days have become jam packed with raising and entertaining this tiny human (via poor attempts at guitar playing, silly dancing, and my new specialty- impressions of Arnold Schwarzenegger…his voice not the whole nanny thing).

One could say that my main objective of my time off is introducing my daughter to this crazy world.  This is true.  She’s seen some weird stuff (the aforementioned terrible dancing), been some weird places (from tops of mountains all the way to the Atlantic Ocean and the craziest place of all….Kansas City), and has accomplished some of her own athletic goals (mostly taking a giant crap while simultaneously sneezing and spitting up).  And I have been there every step of her journey.  Hours spent helping this little amazing creature along. Continue reading

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