By Scott Bauhs
Before having our first baby, Ethan, on March 13, I decided that committing to a series of PA races would be the best way to guarantee that my fitness survived the big life changes to come. I would be dragging my fiancé Amanda along, because she’d be on maternity leave. I knew I would be sleep deprived, but I’d have a sense of urgency about my training and I would race myself into shape doing Stow Lake 5k, the Los Gatos Great Race 4 Miler, and the Danville Mile. Then the HOKA ONE ONE Project Carbon X was added and the agenda turned to 4 races in 3 weeks for my new family. Somehow it seemed to work, but it wasn’t easy.
Sleep deprived training and my first speed workouts in two years made for a confused body. In practice I was having a hard time hitting paces that were easier a few years ago, but each week I was a half to full second faster than the week before, which kept me going. Of course, the first 5 weeks of Ethan went by faster than I could absorb, and soon we were on our first road trip beyond the pediatrician’s office across town.
The normally 5-hour drive from Santa Barbara to the Bay Area took 9 anxious hours with a baby in tow the day before the Stow Lake 5k. When I did strides after my shakeout run when we arrived in the Bay Area, it felt like my muscles were made of dried out rubber bands. Amanda and Ethan were definitely wondering why we didn’t just have a normal weekend at home.
Luckily my consistent training paid off. I won the Stow Lake 5k with my fiancé, baby, and parents looking on. The drive back was just as long as the drive there, except a little less anxious and a little more tired.
Two weeks and a few workouts passed and we were back in the Bay Area again. Same brutal drive, clunky shakeout run, and miserable strides. This time I was in for the Los Gatos Great Race 4 Miler.
Seeing Darius on the line, I knew it was going to be much harder to win this one. We ran a smooth pace while the race stretched behind us. I got a little cheeky coming around the last turn to test Darius’ stamina and without doing much other than running ever-smoothly he made it clear that I was going to get second. Will rounded out a wonderful sweep for the Aggies. (I expect Will’s fitness to build very quickly now that he’s healthy.)
Driving home after the Great Race felt foolish because we knew we would be headed back north in just a few days, but that’s what we did. And, seemingly immediately, we were back on the road, this time to Sacramento. Ethan had his first hotel room stay and somehow, we rounded up enough Aggies (and a few other fast HOKA athletes) to fill out the 10 X 10k co-ed relays that HOKA arranged. We all ran super hard even as the race got spread out and the day heated up. My team came away as world record holders while ultra-runner Jim Walmsley broke records of his own. It was a wonderful event that HOKA put on and it’s always fun to get so many Aggies in the same place. It was the longest time baby Ethan has been outside and around lots of people. He was very well behaved.
Waking up in Danville the next day for the final race of the stretch was very comforting. I haven’t raced in Danville since the year I graduated high school in 2004. We slept in the house I grew up in and the race was close enough that Amanda strolled Ethan to the race and found a perfect picnic table to hang out at.
I was terrified of racing a mile, my first race that short in 3 years, but at least it would be over quickly. I did not have the greatest start, but once I made it to the front at ¼ mile I felt great, and by ½ mile I did not feel great. It took every ounce of my energy to stay in third for the second half of the race. Then I coughed for 48 hours because that’s what happens when I breath that hard in a race. I had forgotten that running that hard makes you cough. Ethan and Amanda were not disappointed to have the last race of the bunch last a little over 4 minutes though. They had endured a lot of running and this was a good way to end it.
So that’s how my family spent the second month of baby Ethan’s life. 2000 miles of driving, diapers tossed at every rest stop, and a few screams here and there made for some family bonding. Amanda’s next maternity leave won’t be spent quite the same way, but it helps that I landed on 3 podiums and participated in an interesting world record.