If there’s anything this tumor has done, it’s to help me appreciate the colors of the rainbow of humanity and sometimes doing things in a more even fashion. There’s a huge range of people and other than some extreme ends I think most of humanity is decent. Two years ago as I prepared for my first marathon, I ate super healthy, not eating any junk food, training mostly by myself and ended up crashing in the end. Last year, thinking I might be dead in March, I essentially said “fuck it” and ate junk food and trained harder but did most of it with a group and got some respectable times in races including the Boston Qualifying Livestrong Marathon. This year, I’ve been taking a more middle of the road approach, eating some junk food but mostly healthy and been doing my trains almost exactly as the training group prescribed and beating some of the best times I’d ever achieved including as a hard core runner in high school and college. I am running less but running faster though probably pushing a stroller on many of those runs has helped the speed when I’m not pushing it (and I’ve learned to love it, even trying to encourage in my competitive spirit that the family 5k coming up in Austin have an official stroller division). I had been invited to do a color 5k, an event where they splash color all over you and kept going back and forth but in the end decided getting muddy and colorful could be done on the same day as marathon prep.
The middle of the road is interesting…usually where I run in races because that’s where the slant is the least. I belong to two very different communities, reflected in my superbowl party. While there were exceptions to both, most of the runners showed up early and left before the game was over. Most of the ultimate crowd showed up late and stayed well after the game was over with some games. I love both crowds.
Even when I sit here late at night, sometimes with the elation of being grateful for the human connections the universe has given me, sometimes trying to fight off darker thoughts, I look down at my daughter who far too often sneaks in to sleep in my bed and realize that gratefulness has to be the spirit that wins. Because as an old Asian saying goes, holding onto anger is like holding onto a hot coal to throw at someone later, it just burns you in the meantime. And I don’t know if Karma is a true mystical force but there is a back and forth. The people who have helped me with medical bills and Kiana and running and various things are my best friends still (though they’ve definitely had to thoroughly reprimand me about how friends don’t owe each other anything). I got brain cancer which inspired me to raise money for research which winning Leading fundraiser got me and Kiana a trip to Sonoma. I got brain cancer and kept going which got me interviewed for Livestrong which made me take time off work but a month after I’d agreed to it, got me great tickets to a Keith Urban concert that had been donated to them. A friend and I joked about how it doesn’t matter if you’re broke if you keep winning stuff… The tournament raising money for Livestrong happens this Sunday and their marathon happens the next Sunday. In the previous two years I stayed away from ultimate while marathon training; this year I’ve done both.
So maybe the lion king’s circle of life has some truth in it. Friends keep trying to get me to see this movie 50/50 about a girl who leaves her boyfriend as he’s going through cancer and he ends up with a new girl who is great. My friends tell me to hope for my Katie instead of sticking to my George Clooney mentality; right now I’m still way too damaged and scared. The bar where I had my happy hour before going to Duke, Black Sheep lodge, is having an anti Valentine’s day where they are encouraging people to tell their worst break up story. I am tempted to go.
There are still days where I am anxious and worried but I have a marathon and a trip to Sonoma and then training for Boston… And Kiana gets to be part of most of that. And while I embrace most days, on those rough days, sometimes the future gets you through the present. An old phrase that failed in one part of my life was the for better or worse but sometimes, just maybe, if you put up with the worse, you get the better.