I do have a coach, and a good one at that (thank you Ian Torrence). But as I was thinking about how things have evolved for me as a runner in the last 4 years, I notice that many of the lessons I take with me on the trail were given to me by my daughter. I wanted to share a few things that she gave me.
1. Love for sunshine, dirt, mud and plain fun. So many workouts prior to Eva, were just workouts. Not saying I didn’t love them, but I did “work.” for them more times than just enjoy the hard challenges. I got to watch my daughter fall in love with grass and dirt and mud pies and the intrigue of being on singletrack with her mama. I began to find myself smiling more on my daily runs. I would actually see and look for bugs, plants or I would stomp in a muddy puddle on purpose. Just cause it’s fun. Running done just for fun is the best kind. You can still work hard and smile.
2. Helping others is such a privilege. All Eva wants to do is to help me. Can she water the garden, can she help me cook, can she wash the plates in the sink? Always asking to help me. I got to thinking, if all adults were as eager to help as a toddler, we would live in a different world. I apply this to my running when I am in racing mode and instead of running against someone, for the sake of competition. I think about running with them and beside them. Helping each other achieve our best day. When I ran Pine to Palm in 2012, Jen Shelton and I were together leading the race. In the hottest part of the day, she started puking. Yeah it was a race, but I stuck with her to make sure she was ok. It felt wrong to leave her at that moment. I see this happen every time I’m at an ultra. We are constantly helping one another. I love this sport.
3. Sometimes its better to just lay down and nap. Work, running, chores can wait. The hardest thing for me to do is simply to be. Eva, though a usual bad sleeper, would throw her hands in the air and try to resist a nap, but would give in, sleep away and wake up a different person. When your day is going to shit, try taking a nap.
4. Put down the phone, the facebook, the twitter and just go do and be. The greatest reward to watching Eva grow is to learn to be in the moment. Stop multi-tasking, checking instagram and zoning out. One of the greatest weekends our family had, was backpacking and crewing a section of the JMT while our friends were out setting the FKT (Hal and Mike). No phone, no zoning out, just talking to one another and being in nature made for a slow feeling moment in life. Kids are always in the moment. They capture each minute and go with it.
5. Practice makes you better. When Eva has tried to do anything: walk, crawl, draw, paint, ride a bike, she has practiced it over and over and over. She taught me that we are all rookies at things until one day we aren’t. I am not sure when you cross the line over to expert, but it takes a ton of dedication, practice and patience to get there. If Eva wants to do something, she does it. Failure isn’t an option. As I think about next season in running, and my return to competition, I think about this the most. Practice and then practice some more.