Monday, December 20, 2010

All's Well that Ends Well (and other hackneyed cliches)

So I hope you all had great weekends. Mine, in abbreviated form, went something like this:


5:30pm: Receive phone call that my heavily pregnant wife (37 weeks) has been involved in a car accident on the way home from her last day of work before a planned eight-month maternity leave. She has been rushed to the hospital in an ambulance. I experience a moment of sheer panic, then scoop up Alistair, jump in the car and head for Lafayette, which I think is south of where I am. I figure out the directional details on the way.

6:30pm: Alistair and I arrive at the Good Samaritan Hospital in Lafayette to find Dana safe and sound, but seriously shaken up. All baby vitals, we are told, are as they should be. The wave of emotion is immense. I learn that Dana was rear-ended at high speed on I-25 and that her stomach slammed up against the steering wheel. All manner of thoughts - mainly negative - run through my mind.


12:30am: sent home by on-duty doctor after the decision is made to keep Dana at the hospital for further observation, after being assured and reassured that the measure is purely precautionary. To bed at 2:00am.

6:00am: Get out of bed after a very restless night and get ready to start runners in the 7:00am wave of a 50k running event that has been in the works for months, and which begins and ends at my house.

7:00am: Get call from Dana that the doctor has requested that she stay under observation until 6:00pm because of a three-minute heart deceleration on the baby's chart during the night, meaning the original plan to head down to Lafayette to pick her up after starting the 8:00am runners has been ditched until further notice.

8:30: Cancel my ridiculous plan to get out and run some miles on the Chubby Cheeks course.

10:00: Head out to Arthur's trailhead with Alistair to hang out with Chris Hinds who is manning the back-of-the-pick-up aid station in high spirits. Enjoy a beautiful morning and early afternoon with Alistair and Chris, and random runners as they file through.

1:00pm: Head back to the ranch to greet runners and play host, while trying to maintain a positive attitude and demeanor.

4:30pm: Kick out the stragglers and head back down 287 to Lafayette.

6:00pm: Arrive at the hospital with Alistair to be told that everything is fine, but that Dana needs to stay in for further observation. Sent home. Drive hour back.

8:00pm: Get Alistair in bed, post some pics from the race, then get call from Dana that the doctors have decided to play it safe and induce (three weeks early) ... just as soon as I can get back to the hospital.

9:00-11:00pm. Arrange a sitter for Alistair (thanks Amy), wait for Dana's mom to get in from DIA after having just arrived from Las Vegas. Hot foot it back down to Lafayette.


12:30am. Arrive at hospital. Dana is put on Pitocin drip to begin the process of inducing labor. Crash out on sofa and grab three hours sleep.

9:30am - Amniotic sack is broken and labor begins in earnest.

1:37pm - Dana pushes out a beautiful, healthy baby girl. Tears, hugs and kisses all around. Mother and baby are both in remarkably great shape, and I thank my lucky stars for the great fortune of having such a beautiful family survive what could have been a heart-wrenching Friday. Re-learn the old cliche that nothing in life should be taken for granted.

2:00pm - Describe to my daughter the dramatic view from our hospital window of the Boulder Front Range Skyline.

4:00pm - Kenny and Amy arrive at hospital with Alistair who beams from cheek to cheek when he catches sight of his baby sister, Stella Mae Clark.

So this, of course, is a weekend that I will never forget. Thanks to everyone on Saturday for the positive thoughts and well wishes. I like to think that the positive energy in some way contributed to my family's immense good fortune. I could and maybe should have ducked out of going ahead with Chubby Cheeks on Saturday, and that was certainly my plan as things developed on Friday, but with the way things played out, I was somehow able to host the event as planned (if not run) and then come out the other end on Sunday with the most positive of all possible outcomes.

Destiny, Karma? Yeah, I don't know, I generally don't buy into any religious or metaphysical philosophies and tend to take most things at rational face value. I guess I subscribe mostly to the pool-ball philosophy on life, and consider our presence in this world ... universe ... space, as being massively random. If I had to believe in a god, I think mine would be a Random Number Generator.

The digits were picked in my family's favor this weekend and for that I am most assuredly thankful.


  1. WOW! Unforgettable weekend indeed! Thank you so much for the incredible hospitality you produced amidst such crazy personal circumstances last weekend. I know everyone of us had a thoroughly outstanding time hanging out with you and running your trails.

    Huge congratulations on the addition of a healthy daughter! I can only imagine the relief and gratitude you must feel for your wife and daughter being safe and healthy. I guess the blessing in disguise, as one way of seeing it, is that you get the privilege of your daughter coming sooner than planned, and all being well.

  2. Congrats Nick! All's well that ends well! Please let us know if you need anything!!! Enjoy some nice rest and relaxation now.

  3. Man, when I read the first few paragraphs of your post, my heart sank. Thank goodness for the title of your post! What a dramatic weekend; so glad everything ended up fine. Congrats on #2 too -- so excited for you!

  4. Nick and family,

    glad everything turned out well. While it was not in the plans, what a great way to celebrate Xmas and start the New Year.


    Peter P

  5. Fantastic -- a healthy baby girl!

    Considering everything, I'll also focus on the happy ending that everyone is doing OK.
    I'm generally in the "RNG" camp of things beyond our control as well, but try not to take for granted everything you've done *right* (call it karma if you'd like), so that you have more than enough great friends able to babysit at a moment's well as dozens of extra folks that will likely remember Stella's birthday.

    Rest up, all of you, and enjoy the holiday time off together!

  6. ¡Hola Nick!
    Congratulations on your new arrival!
    I have been following your blog for a while and am always impressed to hear how much you 'give back' to running through volunteering at and organising races etc. - Last weekend sounds like it really was 'above and beyond'
    Thanks for the inspiration.

    Mike in Málaga, Spain
    (Originally from the UK)

  7. hey Nick! have followed the blog here and there, but am moved to say congratulations on all that passed during what was for you a truly epic weekend! most positive story i've heard in too long!

    all the best to you and yours,

  8. OH MY GOD! That's an amazing and roller coaster weekend. I'm incredibly relieved and happy for you. Congratulations Nick!

  9. Wow, congrats! Was a bit worried when no one had heard from you since Saturday afternoon, glad everything worked out well.

  10. Holy S***! Man that is crazy, one hell of a Christmas present! Enjoy the holiday with your new (full) family :)

  11. Congrats and thanks!

    FYI, you should probably take some time off from NOLA training now that you have a new daughter.

  12. Congrats Nick! Very glad everything worked out so well.

  13. Whew, I'm a bit tired and stressed just reading about your weekend. I'm really glad all is well. Congratulations to you and Dana!

  14. Wow, Nick - that is intense! I knew from Pete that Dana had been in an accident, but still felt very welcome and it's amazing how well you pulled it all off. Congratulations on your lovely baby girl, and Merry Christmas!

  15. Congrats. I didn't see your name on the finishers list so I knew something was up.

  16. Holy cow, what a roller coaster. What a happy ending to a close call! Amazing. Congratulations!

    I can't believe you ran a "timed group run" during all that.

  17. Can't imagine how you held it all together. And I thought your strength was most visible on long-ass mountain runs. Now I know. Congrats to you, Dana and Alistair.

  18. The word I got Sat morning was perfectly Dana was fine. So this story is a shocker.
    My son came into this world in much the same scary way, with me being involved in his ressucitation. But things worked out - not by grace but by making them work out.
    Amen to life being a roll of dice. Being aware of our mortality is humbling and keeps our perspective.
    You have a Solstice Baby.

  19. Wow. What a capper to an incredible 2010.

    Dude - I live a sneeze away from Good Sam. If you or Jr need a place to base camp, let me know.

    Congratulations to all the Clarks. Really - an epic and beautiful year and family.

  20. Amazing! Simple amazing Nick! I am so thankful everything worked out. And most of all congratulations on your new baby girl! A solstice and lunar eclipse baby that is - first time since the year 1638 so a special day indeed. Something astrological was certainly in the air to include the aligning of some stars.

    Congratulations Nick, Dana, and Alistair!

  21. Glad to hear that everything turned out alright...congrats! Hope you and the whole family have a good holiday and new year.

  22. Congratulations! I can't believe you managed to keep your cool on Saturday. What an intense weekend. I'm glad Dana and Stella are well.

  23. I'm sure that's an adventure you never want to repeat. Very glad it all turned out well. Congrats to you, Dana, and Alistair on the new baby.

  24. Thanks all for the kind comments and emails. It's kind of weird to put things like this out there in the public domain, but it's certainly worth it for all the support that one gets back in return. Mother and baby are doing great, and life has been thoroughly routine for the last couple of days, I am happy to report.

  25. Reading this kind of late... it will be nice to fall asleep with happy thoughts thinking upon the fortunate end result. Good post. Good work. And congratulations. Etc.

  26. Nick, glad everyone is OK. Phew that must have been nerve wracking. We went through somthing similar when my son was born six years ago as we almost lost him. It certainly puts things in perspective. Congrats to all four of you and may you all have a healthy and happy Christmas. Love the blog by the way.

  27. A huge congratulations to you and your family, Nick. Glad everybody is safe and sound!

  28. Congrats on the new one Nick. I'm really happy for you and the fam. If you need to borrow the double stroller give a holler--it'll build some strength for the summer (although it didn't keep me from puking the last 40 miles at Hardrock). Hope everyone is healthy and happy.

  29. Hey Nick - just returned from Cali to pick up on your news. Man, those were heart searching moments for you and your family..I am thrilled that everything turned out well in the end. It's a challenge to live in present time and be thankful for everything that we do have..take care my friend and our best wishes to you and your healthy family!

  30. missed adding that the interview with you is also posted on Trail Running Soul -
    Happy Boxing Day!

  31. Holy Crap Nick! This one hit close to home as my wife is 33+ weeks along. So glad to hear all went well and congrats on the new addition to the family!

    Hopefully I can attend next years running event.