Tyler McCandless, Altra Elite Athlete
There are a lot of parallels with what’s going on in the world today with the sport of running and I feel like we’re in mile 22 of a marathon that is getting very tough. It’s that time when you soul search and figure out how to dig deep, get through the tough miles, and come out better on the other side. My wife Kristin and I have been spending a lot of this “mile 22 of life” discussing how we can best raise our son, Levi, to overcome tough times that can be out of his control and how to be a loving and caring human towards all people.
One positive result of the pandemic has been getting outside together as a family every evening after my workday ends. We hike anywhere from 1-4 miles, simply talking and enjoying the outdoors. We want to make sure our family has the opportunity to have open and honest conversations. When Levi starts talking, we want him to know we will be there to listen. We hope to build a family culture focused on honesty, integrity, and openness so that he always feels like he can tell us what is on his mind.
Another positive result of the pandemic was the move to working from home. In my day job as a Data Scientist, I no longer commute to an office which has allowed me to spend more time with Kristin and Levi and be able to eat lunch together as a family. While working from home may not be a forever thing, I'm cherishing the precious extra minutes per day that we get to spend together.
One challenging aspect of our current environment is trying to provide opportunities and experiences for Levi. Due to the stay at home orders, Levi hasn't spent time with other people besides Kristin and me, and because of this isolation, there are times when a friendly neighbor says hello and chats for too long, he starts crying. However, before Levi was 6 months old, he traveled as far east as New York City and as far west as Kauai with many other trips in between without any similar problems. We want him to see and experience different cultures, people, and communities. We want Levi to experience us running races. We want him to start appreciating what hard work is, and how important it is to follow your goals and passion with the ambition to overcome obstacles along the way, and to rebound from defeats and disappointments. We also want him to give back to others, to raise them up, be there for them when they need it, and celebrate their successes. Right now is a good reminder for me of how important those experiences are to broaden his perspective on life.
We hope that we are nearing the end of this difficult marathon, but the lessons learned will power us forward as a family towards a better, more positive and uplifting next marathon in life. We know that this is not the only marathon we will face, but it has given us great perspective for when the next one gets hard. Ultimately, we will leave this time with a greater sense of gratitude for time with family and friends, getting to the start and finish line of running races, as well as simple things like hugs and high fives!