It doesn’t look real. I stand at the edge of the North Rim and stare across to the other side and realize what I’m looking at exists nowhere else on the planet but under my feet. Miles away, down the canyon wall, across the river and then up Bright Angel trail, the South Rim whispers my name and entices me to put the running shoes and run the 20+ miles to the other side to see what’s there and then turn around and come back. Maybe next year I will take my camera, a couple of water bottles and run the Rim 2 Rim 2 Rim. It didn’t happen this trip.
I’m weeks behind in sitting down at my desk and writing whatever flows out and hitting the Publish button. It’s not as if life has been idle. All the wheels have been in motion lately and there’s been plenty to show and tell. But after days of coding, my fingers complain of being tired and they lack the creative inspiration I think I need before laying out that first word of that first sentence. Instead I could sit through a cup of coffee, editing every thought streaming out and end up with nothing when I should have just let it flow. So I’m trying something new and have created two working areas at home. One is a true designated working space for work and coding. I know when I am there I am focused on work and have no or few distractions. My other working space is where I can be more creative, blog and try to let my thoughts flow uninterrupted and unedited. This space does not have the demands of work staring at me on the other monitor and pulling me in their direction. Hopefully, this will help me foster the need to process less internally and more externally.
I love to drive. I hate to drive. To me the car is not much more than a necessary evil. My perfect mode of transportation would consist of two skinny tires and would require pedals and make less noise than a whispering hybrid. Before I worked from home and went to the office Monday through Friday, I would ride my bicycle to work and avoid taking the car. Avoid trips to Home Depot and Costco and most errands can be done by pedaling a bike through the city streets. Years ago, Nicole and I visited Amsterdam and nearly everybody, from the kindergarteners to grandmas and grandpas, uses a bike instead of a car to move around the city. It is beautiful not to hear the sounds of honking cars but the soft sound of pedals turning in the morning air.
But why is it that driving the family Jeep for hours and looking over at Nicole asleep in the passenger seat and Dylan quietly napping in the back makes me feel, like for those quiet minutes, with the world passing outside the windows, all is safe and perfect in our little family as we drive to some destination that in 20 years will be one of those “Remember when…” conversations.
We were back in Utah for the St. George Marathon a few weeks ago. We drove our long-suffering Jeep on the trip, passing through Area 51 in the middle of nowhere in the middle of the Nevada around midnight. It was a little eerie when you see a sign “Next Gas 126 miles” at 11 PM at night and there are no cars and no lights and no cell coverage for miles and miles. We eventually pulled into St. George at around 3 AM.
This year I paced the 3:20 group but with temperatures warming up early, my group started evaporating quickly the second half of the marathon. Normally, the start in the desert borders on freezing but this year even the start in the dark was mild and comfortable. By the time the sun came up a few miles into the marathon, you could tell it was going to be a hot one. Many of the water stations seemed to be out numbered by the runners and when they were handing out cups, the cups were only half filled. A couple of times, I ended up just grabbing some water from the tables. I think the marathon wasn’t prepared for the conditions and I think those finishing later had it far worse. Click here for my Garmin data.
On this trip, our little 8-year-old Dianka from Russia came with us to Utah and then after the race we drove over to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon to see what all the fuss was about. Dianka was here probably 10 years ago and we hosted her for the summer along with her younger sister. Now she is in college in Prague, speaks countless languages and was in the US for the summer. She was able to visit us for a few days before going back home and Dylan loved having some company in the backseat. He took full advantage of the situation and chatted with her for the first 500 miles until poor Dianka’s ear was about to fall off. We broke down and gave in to allowing Dylan to watch a rear DVD movie on the laptop during the way back just to give her a respite.
One of the things about this blog is it brings joy to me every now and then. I’ll just sit and go back through some of the old pictures with Dylan and we will try to relive the story. There’s probably some level of self obsession going on but I think it is a shame to go through this life at such a pace that you cannot stop to reflect on the journey. Because soon it will be forgotten. Time always marches on and while I fail to notice the signs of aging staring at me in the mirror, I am reminded daily of our little Dylan’s rapid metamorphosis. You have grand visions of molding your son, teaching him to be strong and fearless, protective and caring, creative and funny and to see the world in a way you did not. But before you know it, 3 years have marched right on by.
At 10:10 on 10/10/10, we and Dylan’s friends celebrated his 3rd birthday. The Terrible Twos weren’t so bad. With some luck, we won’t have a late bloomer and The Terrible Two stage will have passed without any major incidents. Not to say he isn’t growing. We just started to notice that most of his pants only reach the top of ankles. He’s over 40 lbs which explains why my runs behind the jogging stroller are consistently 1 – 2 minutes slower the past few months. We’d come home from a run and I thought I was pushing hard the entire 8 miles only to look at my watch and see I set another new PW (personal worse). My idea of mimicking Milo of Croton and his feat of lifting a bull by starting with it as a baby ox and lifting it everyday until it had grown into a bull doesn’t seem to be working.
On the heels of Dylan’s birthday, Bob and Amanda had a wedding. We had a full weekend at the house with Nicole’s parents, Kevin and Bob visiting and then capped with a perfect wedding on Sunday afternoon. We were lucky to be a part of their day and I had a lump in my throat seeing them standing up there together. Their photographer posted some pictures. Many are indescribable and you just need to see them: http://www.torreyjamesphotography.com/blog/2010/10/25/b-a.html
A final thought that also deserves it’s own blog. My buddy Jody Stange, a master with the bike wrench, who crewed for me at RAAM in 2009 and also paces with the Clif Bar Pace Team, is right now pedaling his bike somewhere along the coast of California. He and a couple of his friends are riding their bikes from Canada to Mexico and blogging about their journey at http://border-2-border.blogspot.com/. Read it even if you aren’t a cyclist. You’ll enjoy the journey.