Visit to the Ol’ NICU

Not long ago I revisited the place were hope is born. I went to the California Pacific Medical Center NICU where a friend sat beside her thriving, three pound, thirty week preemies (Yes twins!). I was greeted be the familiar face of a nurse who’s name I could not remember, and then I saw Joe, and then Diane, and before I knew it these nurses were whisking me into the door, giving me big hugs and taking me straight to see Lisa’s precious babies. Before I could say much, there I was, standing in the room with all the isolettes (I hate the word ‘incubators’ because it makes the babies sound like they are sick chickens), the alarms, and flashing lights. It has been a long time since I saw a three pound baby. I held back the tears. I also held back disbelief that these careful angels (nurses) took me straight to Lisa’s babies without her permission. She was doing her deed in the pumping room at the time. The tears  I cried in this moment of quiet were not of fear or sadness or a post-traumatic stress. These tears I shed were of the immense amount of gratitude I felt for this place and this family of guardian angels performing  miracles everyday so parents can realize the dream of bringing babies home. If you touch lives in the NICU through your daily work, thank you. Know that you are saving and changing lives – performing miracles with every critical thought and compassionate touch.

I sat with Lisa for  two-and-half hours in the comfort of the NICU. I could have sat for two hours more. That is what momma’s do in there. We sit, watch, learn and…..and  wait. Sitting next to the isolette(s) waiting as angels prepare you to take your baby(ies) home.

Lisa’s hopes were realized, and she is nothing less than rock-star Momma running 50Ks and 200 mile relays while raising her thriving one year-olds. NICU running Momma’ never stop running. The just get stronger.

Crushing Running Goals at Forty

My long-term relationship with running matured to a great place in

my first year of forty. Gone are the days of running to burn calories. Instead, running has become my sanctuary, my place to pray, breath, think and find space. It helps me to filter out unnecessary thoughts, worries, and to-do’s. Running helps me find clarity and connect my stories whether they are at home or work. Through running I solve problems, make decisions, and leave behind things that no longer serve me.

At forty years-old, running brings simplicity to this complicated life of experiences. I put on my shoes and go. One foot in front of the other. Simple. 

Some of life’s greatest struggles leave little freedom or desire to run. Such was the case after Eric was born. Eventually running called me back and today I see that running as privilege to be grateful for. Muscling through life’s struggles and challenges should assured me that I had what it takes to run trails spanning mountain ranges. So I set out to experience the Ridge Run and smiled the whole way.

This outlook to running has not come easily. It was born out of my struggle to bring to healthy, happy boys into this world. Running opens me up to be the person I want to be for them, the person who is sometimes weighed down by the day to day routine. 

My body may be older but it has never been stronger or lighter on her feet. My forty-something outlook to running has lead me to fearlessly setting and crushing personal goals both on the trail and off. I have become fast again, a competitor in my local age group. I have found ways to move through tough days with grace and gratitude instead of anxiety and obsessions. Not to say every day is perfect. Not every run feels perfectly great, but I look back at my year as a forty year-old runner and feel satisfied:
  • Half-marathon PR.  It began as a goal of beating my kid’s pediatrician who is the same age as I am. One hour and 43 minutes
  • Ridge Run not once at but twice, PRing by twenty minutes the second time. This is something I have dreamed of running since a teenager.
  • Featured runner in a short-film
  • Go-to dietitian for nutrition and running advice
  • Completed two trail marathon’s PRing at the second with similar elevation
  • Ragnar Relay with a team of professional athletes. Two hundred miles from Salt Lake to Park City
  • First 50 kilometer race completed.

 I credit my children for giving an appreciation of running that allowed me to build my running resume a bit.  Before children, I often  didn’t look forward to my daily run . It is not just the time to myself I seek, but a chance to recharge so we can run together in all kinds of fun when I return sweaty and fired up to play with my boys.