A Christening and A Half-Marathon

Posted: October 25, 2010 in Motivation
Tags: ,

I woke up early Sunday morning with a big day ahead.  Little Landry Grace was going to be baptized later in the day as Uncle Keith and Aunt Kim had arrived from Charleston, SC and Denver CO to stand-up as Godparents at her Christening.

This was the first time I would be able to see Keith since I had traveled out to Charleston in August for his wife Monica’s memorial service.  That was an incredibly hard time for Keith, losing his wife of 10 years and Mother to his two boys Fuller and Garris just now 6 and 7 years old.  Landry was still a month from her birth when I made that trip, but even still, those few days taught me vivid life lessons on what it was going to mean to be a first-time parent.

I don’t think anyone enters into that period in their life without a bit of soul-searching, wondering if they have what it takes to be a Mother of a Father.  At least they shouldn’t.

But for me to that point, it was still something that was going to happen “later”.  There was still time to read all the books, talk with Dawn, reflect on my beliefs and arrive at what I thought was “most important”.

But that weekend, in the face of an incredibly difficult time, I really started to understand what it meant to be a “Dad”.  To be able to put your daughter or your son first, above all else, caring for their health, happiness and well-being, where anything else going on in the world around you takes a backseat to the task at hand.

I can still close my eyes and see Keith and his boys that weekend, getting them ready for the day, making their breakfast and lunch, getting them dressed, and of course tangled up in bed together in the morning – three pairs of arms, legs, feet and elbows going in every direction from under the covers.

I had snuck out for a quick paced 8+ mile run on Saturday morning after only a few hours of sleep.  Groggy for a lot of the run, but fueled by wanting to hurry back to make breakfast for the gang at the house and get the day started.

Keith and I had some shopping to do as he wanted to help fill Landry’s library with children’s books, we needed to stop by a local camera shop and take my Tri-Bike into the shop for a scheduled tune-up.  The day went by in a blur with a quick lunch at Chuy’s Hula Hut, and then an afternoon of College Football, an at-prompt photo shoot for Landry and a Low-Country Boil for dinner.

When the alarm clock woke me early Sunday, I was a bit sad that the weekend was already halfway over.  I didn’t want to miss any time with the gang, but the reality is the 26.2 Miles of the Marathon makes concessions for no one.

I had a date with a 12-mile training run on the refrigerator door – and it was time to go to work.

As I was stretching on the family room floor I could see the large Harvest Moon shining in through the upper windows high above me.  It seemed like a great morning for a little bit longer run, and it would allow me some “alone time” to really think about the day ahead.

A half-marathon seemed like it would be an appropriate ending to the first week of Austin Training, so I loaded a bottle of water and a bottle of Gatorade into my hydra-belt and snuck out into the darkness of the morning.

The temperature felt a lot more like August 24th than October 24th, 68 degrees with more than 90% humidity.  After only a few runs requiring a singlet so far this year, I was back to just shorts, socks and shoes.

I decided that since Brushy Creek Trail and I have missed so much time together lately due to the storm damage and my traveling – it would be a nice day to knock out the half-marathon along the trail system.

The moon was so bright in the sky, it felt like I had my own personal headlamp to light the way.  This was not meant to be a “fast” run, as I had run 8.3 miles the previous day at 6:47 pace.  Sunday was just a pace run, I was hoping to come in about :05-:10 seconds slower than what will be our Austin Marathon Goal Pace of 7:26 min./mile or a 3:15:00 marathon.

I found my rhythm quickly during the run and the miles seemed to tick off one after another.  The heat and humidity were ever present, but I was able to lock onto my goal pace and keep the needle nice and steady.

At the three mile mark, I began having “technical difficulties” with my iPod.  For some reason the volume was fading down to zero on its own.  I would pull it out of my pouch, set the volume again, and it would return to zero after only one song.

Something or someone was instructing me to “run quiet”, so I took down my ear-buds and ran the remaining 10 miles with just the sound of my feet hitting the crushed granite trail.  I was almost 11 miles into my run before I saw another runner.  It truly was a morning all to myself.

Miles ticked by at: 7:32, 7:32, 7:10, 7:12, 7:19, 7:31, 7:36, 7:34, 7:45, 7:42, 7:34, 7:35, 7:40

Total time 1:37:40 – 7:31 min./mile pace.  Perfect.

Big deal on your half-marathon this morning Dad ....

As I snuck back into the house, Dawn was getting Landry up and ready for a breakfast out, Kim and Keith were stirring and it was time to start the day.  In a blur Sunday went from breakfast to another Landry photo shoot, to lunch, a trip to the church to meet with Miles the priest who would be baptizing Landry and then the ceremony.

Dressed in her Christening Gown that was made from Dawn’s own wedding dress, Landry looked like a little angel.  Somehow she wound up in my arms for the church service and she slept through the entire thing without the smallest of peeps.

Landry in her Christening Gown

Passed over to Miles, Landry had water poured over her head, blessings and prayers passed over her and again, not a peep.  Just the sweetest little grin on her face that she has started to show us when she is happy and content over just the last week or so. 

So beautiful, so tiny, with a lifetime of endless possibilities in front of her.

As we went back to our seats I passed Landry over to her Godfather Keith to hold her through the end of the service.  I don’t know what felt better holding her in my own arms or seeing her cradled in Keith’s.

Afterwards a quick, dinner with Dawn, Keith, Kim, Justin, Tedd, Sarah and Neil – Landry’s big day was drawing to a close. 

A Christening and a Half-Marathon all in the same day, not a bad Sunday.

Keith and I parted ways this morning at the Austin airport, me heading to Minneapolis and Toronto this week for work, Keith heading home to Charleston and his boys. 

1,300 miles are separating us once again, but in many ways, we’ve never been closer.

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Comments
  1. onelittlejill says:

    Oh I love the photos. Landry doesn’t seem to excited about your racing now but you just wait- in a matter of what will seem like no time, you two will be running together!

    • joerunfordom says:

      Hi Jill! I saw a father and daughter (about 14) running together on Sunday afternoon – I couldn’t help but picture the two of us out there logging miles together …. I hope she stays “little forever”, but I can’t tell you how much I look forward to her learning about this sport and seeing if she has a passion for it.

      Best to you! Joe (Alas, our poor Phillies ….)

  2. Hi Joe, I’m glad you could get out Sunday morning to reflect on what was coming. That’s how I like to start my days too, because otherwise it’s too much of a blur. Landry looks so calm and content… a tribute to the peaceful home you and Dawn provide. Keep running, Joe… it’s good for you all. Best, Lara

    • joerunfordom says:

      Hi Lara! Thanks so much for the visit and the kind words about our little Landry – she is one “happy little baby” for sure. Take good care Lara – hope those legs are feeling good and strong with your quest for CIM approaching. Best, J

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