Running. It sucks. Nobody really likes running. Unless you’re Jen Carlson. She likes traveling to amazing places where she pins a number on and just goes, no hassle of packing a bicycle. Jen, she makes running look tolerable. I want to vacation/hike in those places and have adventures in those places. But run? Fuck no. Dorothy Hans she likes running. When she runs, she’s always smiling. That worries me. A lot. I’m not sure how you can run and smile at the same time. How is that even possible? I chalk it up to her being a super rad chick and stop thinking about it. You know, like I stopped wondering why ppl wait minutes for a parking spot “up close” when there’s another 20 steps away. Fuck those people.
100 years ago I ran. Ran track on a team. Go team! Ran miles upon miles before soccer practice. That shit sucked. I even ran barefoot. In the early 80’s, long before VFFs but WAY after the Tarahumara. I ran in the grass. On the street. In the woods. It all sucked. I find no joy in running. Runners high, that’s just elation…Yay! I don’t have to run anymore.
What’s the point Shoogs? Tell us something we don’t know.
So that shit that Pop is going through…you know when I drove 22 hours gave him a hug and shared a beer with him. This time when I assembled barely decipherable words That wasn’t him having trouble with programming his wifi, he didn’t need help cleaning his gutters. He’s sick. FUCK. This is hard. All of the bullshit during the last 14/15 months doesn’t compare with the FCKN shit that’s coming. People commented about me turning the corner and getting better after my concussion…I appreciated that to no end. It meant a ton. But what people didn’t know then, yeah FUCK.
Despite dealing with all the nonsense I know the heavy shit is coming. What? Yeah. Whatever, bring it on.
Pop. Every year we take a vacation with him…centered around National Parks and hiking in the woods. We’ve seen/hiked in Glacier, Yellowstone, Smokies, the Whites etc… Hike all day, chill out in the afternoon. We’ve played in waterfalls, walked in streams, got hugged by clouds…just magical.
I’m so appreciative that he’s helped to foster and nurture my kids love of the woods. Pop also comes to visit for a week alternating Thanksgiving and Christmas. He’s one of the few people I can spend a week with in close proximity and not go out of my mind. Mind you, it wasn’t always like that. We had typical father/son headbutting in the past. But that’s just where it is, the past. Somewhere along the line I grew up and he grew up…we both chilled out a bit and became friends. Flat out, I love my Pop and am proud of our relationship. There’s but a few places I would hesitate to bring my Pop. More than one occasion I’ve set him up on a CX course to bell and of course #handupsarenotacrime. How many people have gotten handups from their Pop while racing CX? Not enough…that’s for damn sure. And a confirmed hophead! I’ve been pulled aside at a gathering and been told ‘hey man, your Pop is drinking all my good hoppy beer’ HA!
This past Thanksgiving Pop spent it with us, during the trip I noticed a lisp and late in the day slurring…no matter the quantities of IPAs consumed. Lynn and I talked about it and before he left I made him promise that he’d go get checked out. We’d feared Lyme’s or that he’d had a stroke. If shit was only that FCKN easy. Appointments with Neurologists, follow ups and visit to UM. Things escalated rather quickly.
“I AM SCARED”.
That was a text from Pop we got at the end of Jan. Seriously. WHAT. THE. FUCK. Between that text and Feb 9, I was in full on ‘refusal to deal’ mode. No desire to confront a moving target. I didn’t want to obsess over what ifs or whatevers, I’d deal with it when it was confirmed. Bulbar Onset ALS, the diagnosis confirmed on Feb 9. Train wreck…from that night on. He’d sent a long text, I’d gotten more info from my sisters, it was late and he was exhausted from all the testing and driving to and from Univ of Miami. When we spoke the next evening, we had a good cry. Priorities and race plans had changed in an instant. I couldn’t think about it without crying, let alone talk about it. There was a lot of crying and drinking. In the next 48 hours, I’d read as much as I could about ALS. A disease with no known cause and no known cure.
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), sometimes called Lou Gehrig’s disease, is a rapidly progressive, invariably fatal neurological disease that attacks the nerve cells (neurons)responsible for controlling voluntary muscles. http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/amyotrophiclateralsclerosis/detail_ALS.htm
In layman’s terms — he’ll eventually become a prisoner of his body. FUCK. If that doesn’t suck enough life expectancy is 2-5 years. The bright side, is the disease is variable, and all his walks with his pup Gussie and his solo hikes of Mt Washington and other helps the prognosis.
So that weekend Johnny Utah and his daughter visited, it was soo good to see them, we had a wonderful time in the city. I didn’t share, I couldn’t share, I couldn’t even think about it. As soon as they left that Monday/Tuesday I started arranging for drive down to FL. That short time in FL, Pop and I walked in the woods, walked on the beach, had some frank discussions, laughed, hugged and cried. I told him with tears streaming down my face then and I’ll tell everyone here again, I’m a blessed man. I’m lucky to have him in my life. Some people don’t have any relationship with their fathers, let alone one like we have. Some people wouldn’t have gotten past the nonsense of youth: I told him not to have any regrets, I love my life, and if anything was different in the past I wouldn’t be where I am now.
Coming full circle, brought on by some desire to do something, anything…I went looking. The ALS website http://www.alsa.org/about-als/facts-you-should-know.html brought me to ALS-NY.org… and I foundthe NYC Marathon. There were walks ice buckets and rides and while they would seem to be no brainers, I wasn’t interested. I NEED TO SUFFER. I needed to know, exactly what I was out there for. One of my biggest fears was coming true, I was losing my Pop, and I needed to know what every stride was for. If I’d done a ride, would that pedal stroke be for Pop or for trying to get up Hankey Road?
So here I am. I’ve signed up to run the NYC Marathon as a fundraiser. Raising money to help find a cure and treatment. 26.2 miles of hell.
Wanna help? What can you do? First- pause a moment to think, pray and give good vibes to my Pop and our family…this ain’t gonna be easy. Second-give what you can, please and thank you. I’m required to raise $4,000. I’m hoping to raise a lot more. Want your name in lights? You got it. Wanna go full anon? Sure thing. Want me to sharpie your name on my shirt? You bet.
If you’ve already met my Pop, you already like him. If you haven’t met him and you like me, you’d like my Pop. If you don’t really like me, then you’d REALLY like my Pop.
Lastly, I’m blessed with a wonderful wife and kids, great family and I have amazing friends…I expect that one day you’ll catch me during a lull and I’ll need a hug…thanks in advance.
Because I care how the money I raise is spent, see below where ALS NY gets a 4 of 4 star rating. 96.93 of 100.