Edward Abbey wrote that the idea of wilderness needs no defends, it only needs more defenders. This has been a wild ride for a couple of years but I am glad for those who have helped me play defense. They helped me play defense sometimes against medical bills, medical problems, sometimes against my over worrying, sometimes against my under worrying, sometimes against my over confidence and other times were my bragging was simply clearly compensating.
A friend, Matt, the same guy who helps me finish marathons helped me find an attorney who is going to help with this case and she’s accomplished more in 3 days than I had in 3 months. And she’s very good. In fact, showing that I don’t feel the need to hide anything, we’ve offered an agreement about medical records which is now in Kiana’s mother’s hands to pass up or turn down.
I continue to volunteer places and that comes with strange thank you’s. I had volunteered in the ultimate community for years and when this all started they helped. Anyone who thinks that my keeping busy disqualifies some of the problems needs to be aware of 2 things 1) I was never good at sitting still and have no understanding of those who are, my least favorite verse in the Bible being be still and know that I am God and 2) when you volunteer, when you do races… well you waive away liability in a way that an employer cannot and should not. And come this time of year they want to say thank you… and without exception they’ve all gotten blown off about what can they get me for Christmas but they have been successful in getting Kiana things, making me believe in some sort of Santa Claus. But the pride and stubbornness which in the right context is admirable and in the wrong one stupid, has not been broken enough to where I accept help easily.
But with running, I really am serious that I’m not going to keep doing these distances forever. I still believe in the Lion King’s old idea that there’s more to be seen than can ever be seen more to do than can ever be done. So I am hoping to break 3 in Austin and go out on a PR (and dare to dream that I’ll win the cancer survivor division but if I had to choose between the 2 I’d take breaking 3 and then someone else winning that title even faster would be great as it would show survivors keep being stronger). And then I am going to train for 2 5k’s, one in Austin that the money goes to the brain cancer research and then, and if you read this, you better be ready to donate in due time, one back at Duke because at some level it’s silly that I’ve raised money for generic brain cancer research and for Livestrong who connected me there but not for the people themselves who took on the battle. And then I do think, I’ll take a break or move on more to trail running, something a little more wild, a little less structured.
Fittingly enough I am now a sponsored athlete. That doesn’t mean much in any real terms other than that Luke’s locker now will give me gear for one season that I’m supposed to wear for my races but also that they will help with entry into a couple of races and the first one is Bandera, a trail race, a race unlike I’ve never done before. Trying to not go over the top, I had the option of signing up for different distances but took the shortest one, a 25k. I am nervous about the dangers of it being more on rocks and more unpredictable than road races but a quote I heard recently is that even if danger is real, fear is a choice and I want to not ever live by my fears. And interestingly enough I do hesitate in the heat because of that collapse back in march, because my right hand sometimes shakes after a hard workout but in the wild you have to run slower because that’s all the terrain will allow but you’re still going as hard. You have to carry more of your own water, and music is not really as wise as on the road. I did 15 miles with someone on Sunday and realized it’s a whole new game and I liked running in the wild. You get instants where you take in gorgeous scene but because the ground is not as steady, you have to be more careful about watching the near future steps. The analogies to my running habits and life are uncanny.
I went to 8 parties over the last week between Ultimate, the Austin marathon, the group I coached and various friends parties. And there I hugged people and laughed with them and a few even felt the need to point out that I need to leave my Clooney tendencies… At one, as I answered them, I literally cried and said guys how do you ask someone that? I won a marathon trophy and was in an ambulance a few days later when I felt fine an hour before. And I really do work off the assumption that I’m not going to make 40… They asked if I was making that decision for me or for them… and I answered yes on both accounts. It’s a tough balance to decide when a custody lies in the challenge, when it’s drained resources, who to accept help in defense from this disease and its side effect and who to defend it with.
There are those who wrote letters on my behalf for court who stated that I’ve been as careful as I can under the circumstances with a kid, enrolling her in wonders and worries. I stopped running with her for months and then when I started again use an app that posts live on facebook when I do it. I’ve even confessed privately and I guess here on a public blog that if a court finds that I should have only supervised visits (something no one believes is necessary other than apparently Kiana’s mother and her attorney) that while my heart will be broken, and that’s almost certainly the day I give up, but it’s also true at some level I’ll breathe a little easier because as I blogged here in something that’s going to be used in a wonders and worries fund raising email that what the right balance of exposing her and protecting her from my illness is no easy balance.
But life is unpredictable and wild. Running through trails is fun. I’ve done it on actual trails and today I took Kiana to the trail of lights. And as Abbey wrote, this idea that living in the moment, grasping it with all you’ve got because it may be all you’ve got, embracing some of the wildness even if some of the problem has been something that grew wild in your head. That idea, that reality, may need no defense but Christmas is a few days away and the holidays are okay because I am grateful that the wilderness of my life has had some defenders.