heart surgery

Life Has a Way Of Changing Your Priorities

Just last week I was ending a great 46 mile run week, training was going well, and my race plan was in place. My year was set and I was looking forward to lots of running with a side of running. Then I got a phone call…

Thursday night I received a call from my step-mom about my dad needing to get an Angiogram due to chest pain. I called out sick, went for a short run to calm my nerves, and honestly cry a little bit, then went to Sacramento to be with my family.

My dad is a healthy guy and lifetime athlete. We went in to the Angiogram thinking maybe a little blockage and they can use a stint to open any mild blocked arteries at worse case. An hour into the Angiogram the Dr. came in and let us know he had three severely blocked arteries and was in need of open heart surgery and triple bypass.

Since it wasn’t an “emergency” they would schedule it for Tuesday. We were all in a bit of shock of the news but not as much as my dad. As he listened to the doctor explain the surgery and what was ahead of him, regardless of the great success rate and the low risk, you can just see him sink into himself, and rightly so.  We spent the next few days at home with him and just relaxed and had some fun before the surgery. Although we didn’t talk about it much over the couple of days, it was on all of our minds.

Working for a great company, it was nice to be able to take a few weeks off after I got the news, not worry about work, and just focus on my family . I think hanging in my dads house with him was making him a bit stir crazy and I think he wanted some alone time to think about what was before him. So I decided to head home on Saturday to spend some time with Lindsay and make some plans for spending time with my family in Sacramento over the next week or so. The few days off with Lindsay were nice and to distract ourselves a bit we dove in head first on our mission to go minimalist. I’ve been reading Everything That Remains and there is a quote that has stuck in my head, “Does this add value to our lives?” If the answer was no, it went to Goodwill and/or to our families, or we are cutting it out of our lives.  We’ve been only working on it few weeks but we have emptied an entire storage unit down to some essentials, eliminated the TV in our living room and all the electrical crap that went with it.  Direct TV has been canceled and we have created this great relaxing living room with our normal distractions.

The Minimalist movement has had some interesting aspects and some positive attributes I wasn’t expecting it to have. Ironically, it timed nicely with the internal reflection I have been doing since hearing about my dad’s upcoming surgery.  In it’s most minimalist from (no pun intended) you have no idea how much time you spend with stuff until you start getting rid of it all. It’s one of the most freeing things I’ve ever done. It becomes this sort of mission for us to eliminate all the non essentials in your life. The less crap you have , the more time, money, and brain power to spend on the important things. This goes for Direct TV, clothes we don’t wear, and a shocking amount of stuff that we have just accumulated.

Now with less crap/stuff/ waste mostly removed from our lives we’ve been able to have more deep conversations about what is really important. If you asked me or read my blog last week you would definitely agree that running was one of the most important things in my life. I’ve blown off time with my family and friends, parties,  and fly fishing trips with my dad in order to get my long runs in and honestly missed a few opportunities to just “be” with my wife.  Now in a matter of 72 hours that has all changed.

As I sit in the waiting room while my dad is having his open hear surgery it’s abundantly clear on what is important—good use of time, my passions and focus. I know people say all the time that they are going to make changes in their lives when a family illness hits and then never end up making those changes. Lindsay and I don’t talk about things, we act on them. Our Paleo diet has remained for over a year now and we have no intentions of removing it from our lives. We wanted to go minimalist and that happened immediately and passionately, we exercise almost everyday for more years then not, and now my mission is for us to live our lives to the fullest.

For those who knows us well would probably say we already live life to the fullest and comparatively we probably do. I have no regrets and I have the love of my life next to me right now. But now I want to ensure I can look with back with continued zero regret and going after our “true” goals in life and what it will take to get there. While Lindsay and I are always on the same page and have the same goals, we’ve never been good about looking too much further then the next year. With everything going on and all the changes we are making we are for sure looking long term and coming up with some of our bigger life goals.

While running will continue to be a part of my life you bet your ass I won’t miss an opportunity to go fishing with my dad once he is recovered from this surgery (I say that anxiously and get ghost white each time as nurse comes into the waiting room).  I do believe its important to have fitness goals and life goals but I think the fitness goals over the last four years of Ironmans and now Ultras has superseded  some of our life goals.  I am hoping to make all my fitness goals this year and make most of my races I’ve signed up for. I’ve started to ask my self more of why I am doing 50 milers and 100 milers? Using the same principle of  “Does this make my life better?” the answer is regrettably no . Staying healthy is awesome, running is awesome, but running ad nauseam maybe not…Like I said I want to make some of these runs/races but not sure it’s going to have the same vigor for me as before. I’m good at running so what else could I be good at and get to experience if my life isn’t consumed by it.

All I hope is that in an hour or so, a nurse comes down, says my dad is fine, and I can start the next chapter in this life with my wife and family closely by my side.

  • I will continue to travel all of the world, experiencing those amazing eye opening experiences travel has to offer with Lindsay happily by my side.
  • I will make more family oriented decisions vs. my selfish goals of running and racing.
  • We will continue to enjoy moving our lives to minimalism and making more decisions in that direction.
  • We are a month or two away from paying off our wedding and being out of debt… We’ve been good about saving money and will continue to add even more to this.
  • I will find a balance of working out/running and get back into climbing to mix it up.
  • Work will not consume me and although I love my job and have no intentions of leaving it, I will pursue some of the avenues I’ve been discussing with Lindsay about certain other business ventures. Again, I am not a hypocrite and I don’t want to talk about it anymore, I want to follow up with action.
  • I will continually strive to enjoy every moment possible with my wife and ensure she knows each and everyday she’s the most incredible gift god has ever given me.
  • We will make longer term goals to ensure our continual goal to live this live to the fullest.


*** Update Wednesday Morning*** He’s doing fine and on the road to recovery. Yesterday was pretty difficult for us all but not as much as my dad for having to go through the whole ordeal. He’s a fighter and an amazing man that is on his way to a full recovery and hopefully an improved life due to being able to breathe easier..

Fly Fishing with my Dad

Fly Fishing with my Dad