From Within

Mom, dad and me.

Mom, dad and me.

Today I received a phone call from a guy pretending to be my dad. It was very strange. His voice had that familiar sound but as the call went on, I started to have doubts whether the caller was really the man he claimed to be. And why is this relevant to a blog about races. Well, I’ll get to that.

Caller ID said my dad was calling so I answered the phone: “Oh, hey dad.” He asked how I was doing, checked in on the weather, and then wanted to check on some dates to see if we were going to be in Santa Rosa in late June. Now this should have been my first clue. I’ve been trying to tell my dad for months about racing across the country on a bicycle in June. I’ve given him the dates. Even asked if he could meet us in Prescott or Flagstaff since he likes to ride his motorcycle and it seems like that would be the perfect place to ride. So when I was asked if we were going to be in Santa Rosa and the dates were the same dates as RAAM, that should have been my clue.

“Dad, remember I have the bike race in June. How about you ride over to see us?”

“Oh, that’s right… You have that big run coming up. We’ll maybe we can get together next year. I wanted to ride up to Santa Rosa and visit Wayne.” I’ve tried but my dad still thinks I’ll be running across the country and not biking. And Wayne is a super nice guy and family friend, married and has kids of his own, but is of no relation to my dad.

“You wouldn’t want to ride over to Southern California and see us?” I’m grasping here. Trying to toss some softballs. This is supposed to be my dad.

“Well you’ll be busy and we won’t have time to go out to eat at Denny’s or anything.”

Denny’s is my dad’s favorite restaurant, so it’s sounding like him. “How about seeing your grandson?” I ask. I’m drowning now but how about trying to save the women and children.

“Well, I want to see Wayne and I don’t have that much time.”

Actually, from Las Vegas to Southern California is only a few hours whereas Las Vegas to Santa Rosa is many times more than a few hours. I’m trying to do the math in my head but I give up. No, I gave up a long time ago which is probably why it doesn’t seem to occur to my dad to be there for his son. Maybe if I tried harder the outcome would be different.

But it still pains me to no end when I hang up the phone and wonder why someone gives you life but chooses not to be a part of it. Look at this picture and notice there is no physical contact with my dad and me.  In all the pictures I remember, I don’t recall any pictures growing up with my dad with his arm around me. Not that a father giving his son a hug answers everything, but it must mean something. And when I head out later that evening for a run, I pound my feet into the ground harder than normal and my blood pumps faster as I try to outrun the anger simmering inside. I came to accept my parents for who they are (once they are gone you are only spinning your wheels trying to change them) but I can still be disappointed and frustrated. And after phone calls like this, at the end of the day I can put on my shoes and run the disappointment and frustration out on the trails, come home and give my own son a big hug as we head out to the lawn to throw the ball. And during that run, as I thought about my dad and how it doesn’t even cross his mind to be involved, I know I need to work hard at not making the same mistakes. He’s not doing anything and he’s killing me. I need to be there more and more for my family, for my wife and my own son. I need to work hard at showing them how important they are to me.

Less than 1 month to go for RAAM and I’m feeling the pressure. Last weekend on Saturday, rode most of the Davis Double course as Nicole dropped me off in Davis around 6:45 AM. I flatted right away and went through my extra tube. So I rode about 190 miles with no insurance! Temps were probably in the triple digits in the afternoon and since I hadn’t registered for the ride and didn’t use any of the aid stops and instead found gas stations for fluids and ate at Kentucky Fried Chicken for lunch. KFC will not be on the menu for RAAM. Then Sunday morning I attempted a long run in the heat and melted after 16 miles and went for a 70 mile ride up to Georgetown and Placerville in the evening. Legs felt decent on Sunday but the stomach did not enjoy the last few miles of the run. Shorter rides during the week after work. Allergies have hit me pretty hard this week but I’m starting to feel better.

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