A friend of mine over a year ago told me a story of someone who, because their future had very little time left, made a resolution that they would take every social invitation they received. They were on chemo at the time and had little energy but in the end, when they passed away, theoretically a little bit faster than they might have without all those parties, they had attended a lot of parties and were exhausted at the end of their life. I see it like the end of a marathon, there is such a thing as good exhaustion when you get to the finish. I make New Year’s resolutions every year and that was one I made this year to take every invite I can. It hasn’t been possible as a single dad to make them all and frankly I’ve always been someone who loved being with the group but because of that I’ve attended lots of parties so far this year. But I’ve also agreed to take service and help invites. This has translated into serving with this committee or that function because those things matter too, and perhaps more because to once again quote Lincoln, we have to hang together or we’ll hang separately.
This has created some adventures like having hosted 11, 22, and 20 people at my house over the last 3 weekends for the club, men’s college and women’s college ultimate tournaments but they’ve all been worthwhile. I’ve trusted my gut and turned down a few things like a paid appearance for a running thing on a product I don’t use. I turned down one Livestrong event and a seat on the UPLA board because they both would have required me to have a regular babysitter for stuff and I just want to say I was there for my daughter as well as I knew how and as much as I knew how (though again impressing me Livestrong offered to provide a babysitter). But I’d rather be the one there for as long as possible and teach her that I don’t care what career she becomes but I hope it’s never a quitter. There were some echoes of our joint spirit this weekend.
My knee is still acting up from that ambulance event. In what should have been my last 20 mile run on Saturday morning, I couldn’t finish even 5 miles because I kept having this shooting pain from it. The president of the Austin Runner’s Club found me on the ground and was very gracious. I called the doctor’s office from my sports doctor (Austin Sports Medicine) and left a message and then did something showing both resolution and that there’s something wrong with my brain and tried again the next day on a loop near my house that’s 1.4 mile (in case something went wrong I was never too far from the car and it’s also a flat dirt trail). 15 loops of monotony since I thought this last 20 miler had to matter since it’s the last one before Boston. It was the worst training run ever of my life in both dullness and that it was pushing 80 degrees but I finished it. Shortly before going on it, I tried to teach Kiana how to ride a bicycle without training wheels. She did a decent job but eventually collapsed and cried that she wanted to quit. We walked inside where I couldn’t apparently do enough consoling because she fell asleep crying, a sight no parent wants to experience. That image kept going through my head as the Boston playlist kept helping me. And in one of those moments of angels unaware a lady who saw one of the Gatorades half empty near a wall was about to throw it away when I yelled at her to stop. I scared her a bit but telling her I was on mile 14 of a 20 mile run and her seeing that I’d drained nearly 4 bottles already she went to her house and brought back 3 more. It’s still amazing to me how great humanity is.
Yet, even bigger, it made my day when later, after my 20 mile run, Kiana came to me while I was icing my knees and said all on her own, “can we try on the bike again tomorrow?” So we did try again today and she made a lot more progress (both times by the way, this little fashion queen wanted to wear her boots instead of other shoes because it was what most matched her oufit). She fell again and started bleeding from her knee and wanted to go inside but this time almost immediately after putting on a bandaid on, she went back out. She’s not the next world class cyclist but the neighbor was impressed at how quickly she was getting it since her daughter had struggled. We’re not there yet but I am glad to see she has the resolution.
Boston is 3 weeks away… Kiana is coming as is my mother and my little brother. I see the doctor on Wednesday, somehow both annoyed and grateful this appointment has nothing to do with my brain. I’ve been trying to stay focused on the training and hoping that the weather and the knee don’t win out in Boston. And let me say explicitly that if I don’t get my best time out there and break 3 hours, I’ll be rather disappointed. But a team of wildhorses couldn’t keep me from the finish line no matter what the time is and I hope it ends with a hug to a little girl who has figured out how to ride a bike.