Running Against The Wind

My wife and I are crazy. We don’t do anything half-assed, which I like about us and our relationship.

It's not us ... but it's close.
It’s not us … but it’s close.

For example, since we found out Suzanne was pregnant in June 2012, this is how our life went as we squeezed about every milestone you can think of in a nine-month span:

June 2012: Yay! We’re having a baby!

July 2012: Wow … we both got new jobs. Let’s move to Southern California.

August 2012: Let’s find a place to live between Los Angeles and Orange County. Matt, you crash on your friends couches. Suzanne, you stay with your parents.

Sept. 1, 2012: Find, and rent an apartment, that’s about equi-distant to our respective careers.

Mid-September 2012: Buy a new car.

December 2012: Start getting serious about buying a house.

Late January 2013: Offer on a house is accepted.

February 15, 2013: Escrow closes. This is Suzanne’s due date.

February 15-18, 2013: Move in to new house.

February 20, 2013: Ella is born.

So, yeah, when it comes to living life, we don’t mess around.

This jerk is having too much fun.
This jerk is having too much fun.

Which is why neither of us blinked when we decided we would run our first half-marathon together, beginning training about six months after Ella was born. Initially Ella was a good sleeper. When she hit four months she decided that waking up every three hours was the way to go.

Imagine running four to five days a week, training for something you’ve never done before, and averaging six hours of sleep. Interrupted sleep, that is. And, then, going to work, coming home and finding the energy to knock out four miles or six or whatever the day calls for. Then on your weekends, your “rest days” you get to perform your longest runs.

Sunday was an 11-mile day. After waking up at 5:30 — doesn’t this kid know that Sunday is the day of rest?! — Ella decided that 7 am was a good time to take a nap. Sure, you just lay there for a few hours while the day heats up and then we’ll start our run at 10 am and be done at 12:30. Great thinking, kid!

Which is what happened. Trying to finish the longest run of your life while it’s about 80 degrees is terrible. Don’t be fooled. Pushing a baby stroller for 11 miles isn’t a treat, either.

The kicker, though — and this is where it gets good — is when Ella decided that she’d had enough of being in the stroller and decided that the final 2.5 miles was a good time to scream her freakin’ head off.

So there I am, not winning the Father of the Year award, pushing a crying baby in the heat past people trying to enjoy their Sunday … walking, biking, enjoying the beauty of the day near the beach … only to hear this damned baby turning her crying up to unprecedented levels. Because of this, I had told Suzanne “I’m going to run ahead and try and finish faster so I can get to the car and calm her down.”

This is how people thought of my parenting skills.
This is how people thought of my parenting skills.

This made me look like more of an asshole. Now I am on the path pushing this crying baby and leaving my wife in the dust. People were giving me that Are you really fit to be a parent? Why don’t you stop and attend to her needs? sort of looks and all I wanted to do was run with both middle fingers in the air.

I mean, what could I do? I couldn’t stop because it would have taken us longer to get back to the car, and therefore a soothing bottle. I couldn’t slow down or else it would result in a longer amount of crying. I just had to look like an unfit, selfish parent.

Normally I don’t care how people view me, but when you’re pretty much running solo at near sprinting speeds after already putting eight-plus miles on your legs, you start becoming a little self-conscious. Except for the fact that I was dressed like I should have been exercising, people might have thought I had just stolen this kid and was making a break for it.

And here’s the best part: once I finished and was slowing down, she decided that walking was a more preferable pace than jogging. So she shut up. And then smiled at me.


My legs aching, my ears ringing and my head hurting (both of these from the crying) all I could think of was a cold beer to mollify all my troubles. It wasn’t the first time — and it won’t be the last — that Ella and I both dip ourselves into different bottles to calm down.


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