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Saturday, March 22, 2014

A New Birth


Saint Paddy's Day 2014 changed my life forever! At 7:54 AM, while most people woke with dreams of a day filled with Irish cheer and green beer, I witnessed the birth of my second child, Frances Whitaker Tiernan. Now I have two beautiful blonde little girls to chase after for the rest of my life. In the months prior to Frances's birth, I heard many theories as to how the shift from one child to two would affect my family life and training. The most dire of these maxims was one and one equals eleven. The extent to which this theory rings true will be revealed over the next few months, but surely the addition will put new demands on my family life and training. Regardless of what these demands will be, I feel incredibly fortunate to have two happy, healthy girls and an amazing wife in my life.

My Three Ladies
Nothing has given me more perspective about what is important in my life than the birth of my kids! I have been a trail runner since I was a young boy, and running has been a near constant fixture in my life, bringing me immeasurable joy and insight into myself and the world. Yet welcoming a precious little baby into the world reminds me that some things trump the importance of running. When I was a collegiate track runner, I used to laugh at the absurdity of what I had dedicated my life to. After all, I was literally trying to run in circles as fast as I could. Nowadays, I try to cover 100 miles, over hill and dale, in the shortest time possible. The question that begs to be answered is, why do this?
Big Sister Love
My answer is, I do this because it makes me a better person, therefore a better husband, dad, and teacher. I spent my late teenage years and early twenties chasing the dream of becoming a professional runner. Even though I knew true track greatness and Olympic dreams were far from reality, I was driven to reach my highest potential. Disillusioned by injury and side tracked by the party life, I donated a decade of my prime running years to the dirtbag kayaker and ski bum lifestyle. Now, when I see the Facebook posts and Tweets of young vagabond runners galavanting around the world on epic adventures, training like mad men, I sometimes lament the choices I made as a younger man. However, I would not enjoy the amazing life I have now had I not followed the path I did. I certainly would not trade it in for any other.
Dad and Jude - Ski Day
Today, after missing four of the last five days of running, I forgot this, falling prey to the debilitating thinking that too often plagues me. I made the mistake of reading those very posts where runners chronicle their latest adventure or training triumph. Seeing these, I counted the weeks till my next race - seven weeks. Dejected by the fact that I had barely run during the last week, and deterred by the short time left prior to my next race, I nearly skipped running again. It was only due to the insistence of my coach, who is also my wife, that I laced up and headed out on my daily constitutional jaunt. Once out among nature, I became motivated to do a solid hill workout. My wife got what she wanted- a husband in a better mood, and I also got what I wanted and needed- a great aerobic stimulus that left me in a positive headspace. While I may not be able to train at as high a volume as I would like, I wouldn't have the life I do if I were training at a higher volume. No matter how much training I get in prior to the Quad Rock 50, when the starting horn sounds I will be armed with the confidence of a life I love, and that has yielded pretty good results thus far in my ultra career.    


  1. Hi there! I'm Heather and I was hoping you could answer my question about your blog! Please email me at Lifesabanquet1(at)gmail(dot)com :-)