Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Know at the Finish Line

Over the weekend, I got to try something new. I had been given a gift to attend a Spartan race and in the most in-the-red month I’ve ever had due to normal, legal and medical bills, it was a pretty awesome distraction. If you’ve never heard of a Spartan race (sorry for the enthusiasts, http://www.spartanrace.com/), I never had it’s a mix of a cross country race with obstacles. I did a color run last year which was just slashing through mud because of the weather and getting color splashed on you. I’ve done suburban races where it’s figuring out where you’re supposed to be. There are some that have other challenges where screwing up can get you something like an electric shock. This was all physical obstacles from climbing over a wall to going under barbed wire to shooting a javelin to doing a balance beam to rolling in mud. Many of them were things I’d not done since Junior high or high school like climbing a rope, a huge percentage were things I’d never done period… I didn’t realize this when I got on the course that you only had one shot at it or else you had to do 30 burpees… I’d never done a burpee. I did 120 in about an hour. While I recommend the Spartan race, I can’t say that I recommend burpees. Still as soon as I finished in what I guess was a respectable time, I started analyzing it trying to figure out if I could do it again. I asked one of the organizers if I could do it again and they said not that same day but I could come back the next day and do it in the elite wave. I took 15 minutes off on the second day, and did only 30 burpees which means I only screwed up one event.  Still, the tiredness from the first day challenges and the burpees, made me wish I’d had Saturday’s legs and Sunday’s knowledge…  both contributed greatly to Monday’s happiness, soreness, cuts and bruises… Saturday it was a puzzle and a challenge, Sunday it was just a challenge.  I didn’t realize that even those who do it regularly don’t know the distance till they get to the start line and don’t know when or where the obstacles are until you meet them… feels a lot like life period and certainly like my own. The second day I got a 55 minute time and apparently beat a good percentage of those in the elite wave. The brain may not be all it was but I want to continue to make death work to beat me across the finish line.
And then to my surprise and yet not at all surprising, Kiana’s mother’s new attorney had requested a de novo hearing, a requesting for a new hearing asking that some of the previous things the judge had ordered be shifted… I don’t know what to do with all that stuff. There are times I wonder if I’m the crazy one but then I realize that there are doctors and friends willing to testify on my behalf and they literally had zero (0!) people on their witness list… I mean if you can’t find any one to back you up besides your significant other, isn’t that a clue. Since November of 2010, there has not been one, not one month without a medical or legal procedure due to this cancer. I was hoping June would be but now that looks less than likely because of this de novo requests. I’m an endurance athlete and I’m exhausted. And it’s not just by the procedures but it’s because I get emails like this from Kiana’s mother in response to asking that she not swear in emails:
“Don't send me 'thank you for dropping off Kianas'. They are uneccessary, and mean nothing coming from you when we both know that I am the one doing all the driving for Kiana and making all of the sacrifices for her.

Don't email me about bullshit homework for a kindergartner: you doing most of those assingments with her is probably the most interactive you two get. Those activities are enrichment and reinforcement and it is because of the things that I exposed her to when she was young, the foundational skills that I taught her, and the learning that I procured for her when she was younger taht she is the intelligent, articulate, empathic girl that she is today so don't tell me shit about homework. I enrich her life every day that is with me and I don't need a camera or free swag to do it or a structured race.

Do not contact me or text me or email me unless you are dying.”

So call it cowardly but even as an endurance athlete, a guy who has ran marathons 3 weeks apart and Spartan races back to back days, in regards to all this with her mother, I am exhausted right now. I’ve literally decided that for every email I receive from her my response will be “I’ve received your email… while legal issues are pending please communicate through attorneys.” I mean that’s what attorneys are for… it’s like I used to try to read my own MRI”s and realized I had no clue what they said. I hope her mother and I are able to get somewhere at some point… But I just don’t see how when someone who leaves you at the weakest point in your life, keeps trying to take things from you even as you’re trying to focus on the one thing you’ve got left together, your child. The attorney helping me out thinks this is all fairly ridiculous as do I but I suppose like some of my deficits and the cancer in my brain you learn to accept some unpredictability as normal.

The Spartan Race logo is “You’ll know at the finish line.” I don’t know when or where the finish line will be in the race of life…  But at the end of the Spartan I went straight at  the guys who would take swings at you and through the course, I cheered both those in front and behind me. At the Spartan race and in this thing I’ve called life Part I and Part II, I think I’m getting more things right in Part II no matter when the finish line comes.

With things like the shootings recently and Boston and now the tornado in Oklahoma and when I was at a funeral recently, I can’t shake the notion that death is always meaningless. There are degrees to that and ways we can serve better purposes in death. But life, life doesn’t have to be. Last Friday was Livestrong day...Kiana wore her shirt and was nice enough to pose to show that we are still strong despite all but I am still trying to develop new strength. (And so on Monday I went to a boot camp for the first time ever. I probably won't be doing it that structured but I do need to do more upper body stuff). Still, the only way I'll be comfortable that I’ll know at the finish line is because you gave it what you had throughout the course despite unknowns and also because getting to the finish line was never non negotiable. I bought a tiny rock yesterday that just popped out at me as I was walking around. It just had hope carved into it, I hope I have it carved into me and that it’s something that we all know I had at the finish line



  1. I am one of your witnesses to your journey, it is an honor to be one.

  2. Oh behalf of your daughter, it's not a good idea to publicly publish any type of a pissing match between/about her mother. Be the better, not bitter, person. Websites can be cached and recalled later and you don't want Kiana to read your bitterness and frustration when she is 16, do you?

    1. Actually, I want Kiana to know as much about her parents relationship as she wants... there is a box of valentines cards, sweet notes, playlists that are all in a box that she will receive in due time. But the harshness is there too. When I was sixteen, nor now, did I want an idealized version of the world. I wanted an honest one because that let me know what to pursue, what to avoid, what to improve... While I appreciate your comments, I don't even speak my daughter so please don't do it for me or for her. She's six and brilliant and a long way from completely independent but has the spirit and she knows how to speak for herself.