When I started this blog last year, I was feeling pretty good about where I was at as a front-of-the-middle-of-the-pack amateur endurance athlete with a full time job. Winter 2015-2016 was a great one - our first winter in our Hayward cabin and a great snowy winter there, multiple memorable long-skis, and my best Birkie yet - in which I came closer to qualifying for the Elite wave than I ever thought possible.
I had re-kindled my love for adventures in the woods by finding trail running. I had run multiple trail marathons and in the fall of 2015 tackled my first ultra, a 50k. I was even getting jazzed about road running - I joined a USATF middle distance road racing team and was excited for the associated camaraderie and shorter races, and looking forward to tackling my first road marathon in the fall and another 50k in the early winter. This last race was also going to be our first race-cation - it being on an island in Puget Sound north of Seattle - adding another level of logistical excitement.
More than the excitement of competition, and feeling like I had achieved some relative level of personal sporting success, I had been at my job for 5 years and was really feeling like I had achieved a solid balance between my home life, my work and my endurance hobbies. My training load had increased steadily for a few years as I moved back into a regular year-round training mindset after a little bit of a post-college, during grad-school competitive break - a testament to my ability to get my work done at work and then come home and get my training work done.
This balance was the inspiration for Endurance Everyday, and I rode the wave all the way through 2016. I came really close to cracking a 4hr trail marathon, made it through that road marathon, and crushed the 50k in December, for the first time feeling like I had some strength left at the end of a long running race. Although winter 2016-2017 already felt like a bust for lack of really any snowfall at all, I finished the year on a pretty big endurance sports high.
This post is shaping up to read like a post-mortem of a previous life - that is not even close to my intention. But all of the past-tense narrative does lead up to a profound change in the balance that I had created - the birth of my son, in February. After our December race trip, I took some time off of planned training to work on some projects around the house and prepare for the new adventure. I wrote off Birkie 2017 as it was scheduled for 2 weeks after our due date - and just 4 days after the little guy's actual birthday. (side note: This was pretty easy to do as there was not much of a winter this year, and Birkie 2017 ended up being cancelled for lack of snow, so my 7-consecutive-Birkie-streak lives on!!) After he was born I took a month off of work as we made our way back into some normalcy. Now, just about 2 months in, I am back at work and working my training back to where I left off.
This is all to say that I'm no longer confident in the balance that I felt a year ago. Moving forward, this blog will be more about the exploration of my new normal, about figuring out how to get my training in in the context of my newly constrained lifestyle. I'm not sure what that will look like, but it is sure to be exciting!