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Five Weeks and a Day - A NICU Story - Day 31

Day 31 - September 13, 2014

*This post is guest authored by Sean Powers PT, DPT, cert. MDT - partner to Meg Powers, Dada to LoLa

I tell Meg at some point in spring of 2014 that I think I want to do a triathlon. I play with the idea that I'll do a sprint distance at Dewey Beach, DE that involves an open water swim in the ocean. Meg pushes me to sign up. Training goes very well all summer and Meg joins me for the training runs and swims, kicking my ass despite being pregnant, but no riding for her due to the pregnancy, which is very disappointing for her. My training is going perfectly and my fitness is really improving, and we have a vacation in Lewes scheduled for the 3rd week of August, during which I plan to do some training swims in the ocean.

August 14th, two days before that vacation, I get a call at work from Meg, her water broke and I rush to the hospital. This triathlon becomes an afterthought, until things are fairly stable, if they could ever be when your newborn is in the NICU. Any and all training stops so I can be at the hospital whenever possible. Meg eventually convinces me I should still plan on doing the tri unless something happens where I can't. I resume training, ultimately focusing on running because it is the easiest and quickest way to exercise, and each run I push myself with thoughts of LoLa. There is no time for swims and only an occasional bike ride, certainly no brick workouts like those I had done earlier in the summer.

Race day arrives, and I stand on the beach looking at the ocean which is incredibly rough, knowing I have never actually swam a distance in the ocean and feeling extremely nervous. I look over at Meg just before the horn blows signaling the race start and she shows me a sign that has a picture of LoLa saying "Go Sean! Do It For LoLa." With it, I get a wave of adrenaline. There was that little lady laying in the hospital who had shown me how to be strong and face the unknown.

"Don't puke..."

So I run into that rough surf and do every single stroke I know to get through that endless half-mile despite swallowing an excessive amount of ocean water. Once the swim is done, I push myself and have Meg there cheering me on through the transitions, helping me fight my exhaustion and nausea.

Once on the bike I focus on two things: first, don't puke because of swallowing all that sea water, and second, any pain or discomfort I may experience today is nothing compared to what my daughter has been through. I push myself the entire way thinking of that tiny little girl who has changed my life. She and her Mama are my inspiration for persevering through the most physically challenging thing I have ever done. This is only the first time of very many LoLa will be my inspiration to go beyond what I think I can do. I finish with Meg cheering me on with her sign with the picture of that brave little baby, my inspiration.

I push myself the entire way thinking of that tiny little girl who has changed my life.

Emotions overcome me because it took a lot to travel so far away from our little girl, although we know she's in good hands and things have been improving and she is stable. I've earned a little rest before heading back home to be with my girls.

Finishing strong!

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