A friend once said to me, before you judge someone, walk a mile in their shoes. They probably can’t catch you if you’re a mile away and they have no shoes on. I just got back from four miles of track workouts in 105 degree weather and it hurt. Two summers ago I stopped working out because I was bummed out about the divorce. Last summer I was cycling not running because I was training for the Livestrong century and cycling is literally cooler during Texas summer… This summer I don’t have anything going besides running and I joked to one of my coaches that he had to give me an excuse next summer to not run in this heat. He said he’d bop me on the side of the head so that I could say coach is too big of a bully to come out to the workouts. And then he gave me a ride home. You gotta wonder why I only use these guys for my body…
But the main reason is that they are friends who encourage me for each race (sometimes for me the best encouragement is heckling). . The next marathon, the first one since the Gusher win, is only a couple of weeks away http://www.pocatellomarathon.com/index.php?page=pasta-bar
.I’ve been training slower because anyone who can keep normal speeds during summer has my absolute respect and admiration… or maybe they just have my judgement while I have their shoes. So while it may sound reasonable that because I’ve run 7 others or that because I’ve been in various interviews (the one for the Spartan race came out yesterday, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=auM8kK7qblg&desktop_uri=%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DauM8kK7qblg&nomobile=1) for other things that I take this as normal, I do not. I am nervous about this marathon for a multitude of reasons. One my cross country coach and modern running partners would tell you, I’ve never been a good downhill runner. Two I have been training slower. Three, I am speaking at the dinner and I can’t honestly decide whether the race or the marathon has me more intimidated. The video interviews are well edited and I said everything in them but somehow, if my memory serves me right, I think that they edited a lot of my blabbing out. This is just me with all the people in front of them. Though some of the inappropriate jokes that never get into the interview will almost certainly make the speech (not all of them, we’ll keep it PG). But will people really think that a guy who thinks the meaning of life is well life and the meaning of running is well running is really worth hearing? (If you have any great tips on public speaking now is the time to email me)
But somewhere in the back of my mind… or perhaps in the temporal lobe… if this blog is as confessional as it appears, there are days where I don’t quite understand the compliments. I always appreciate them but the simple truth is that I’m embarrassed about being commended. I should have always been running with Kiana and having her as my highest priority. There are very very few people in the world who didn’t enjoy exercise as children or hanging out with people they love. How do we lose that or not make it a high enough priority?
As I sit through them, I still have no idea how I did it. And trust me I judge myself and walked in those shoes and can’t justify it. I know there were times for my parents and family where it had to be done out of financial necessity but that was never my excuse. It was because I was taking off to play poker with the guys or play in this sports event etc. I am not saying that people shouldn’t do that when it’s a joint family but if you do it too much… well when push comes to shove, if you decide to try to pull them in, it may be too late. My mom was a single mom who had to work and I have no vague notion that she was there every moment but the pattern was that she was present.
So, people have wondered if all this attention has gone to my head and I’d tell you my closest friends would realize that it has not and I’m not a big fan of things that go to my head anyway. My birthday was last week and I did exactly what I do every year, which was nothing and everything, enjoying one more day and on that particular day helping some friends move. I got some great cards and some donations to the brainpower 5k. But perhaps my favorite gift in a long long time was a friend I’ve made in this cancer journey because a friend of his died of cancer. He appreciates my humor and while it’s bothered a few people that I want to be cremated and flushed down the toilet when I die, he’s someone who knows that not taking death too seriously is what helps me take life more seriously. The birthday present he gave me the best toilet seat I’ve ever seen.
I still don’t know what to say when people say I’m inspirational. I try to defer that I’m mostly perspirational. And as I read news that’s frustration about universal health care stuff that continues to be delayed… all I can is that I’m trying to take care of my health as best as I know how by taking the pills I’m supposed to and running and raising a princess up as high as I can in the air and as high as I can in character. And while I’m not naïve that someday she’ll go through puberty and growing up and life won’t be as simple as arts and crafts, I’m going to enjoy those moments. And the inappropriate jokes I tell on here (http://pickingupahitchhiker.blogspot.com/2012/01/memorable-quotes.html) will make me cringe if I ever get to hear her say anything like them, well I hope that if I ever really do end up with parts of me in the gutter… that I’ve contributed something to keep her mind from going too far into it. And no matter how I or anyone judges me… I’m going to keep walking a mile next to her shoes for as long as I can.