Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Perspective

I'm on a flight from Salt Lake City back to Minneapolis as I post this. GOGO Inflight internet access is free during the month of August on Delta flights, courtesy of Diet Coke.

We live in interesting times, being able to blog and Facebook and get stock quotes and do google searches from a widow seat located 35,000 feet above the air....

My trip to Salt Lake City was productive on a number of levels. Work went well (delivered an 8 hour training class); wandered the city a bit and got to swim in the Salt Lake City Sport Complex's 50 meter outdoor pool, where every time I came up for air, I could see mountains. Beautiful.

Also did a lot of mental walk throughs of the Ironman bike and run courses. Of course, I cover the 112 and 26.2 mile distances much more quickly in my mind than I will on race day, but I'm trying to really set myself up for knowing the course inside and out.

The one piece of bad new -- very bad news, actually -- was that a triathlon friend of mine died on Tuesday.

Terry Alexander was in his truck last Monday when another oncoming car crossed the center line and hit Terry's truck head on. The two people in the other vehicle died at the scene. Terry was taken to a hospital in St. Paul, where he passed away the following day.

Terry and I used the same training facility and went to a number of the same spin classes and functional strength training classes.

He was quirky in his own way. Always very welcoming, outgoing, talkative and encouraging. He was one of the first people from the training center to include me in breakfast invites (which I never accepted.... ) or to go with a bunch of them this year to New Orleans to do IM NOLA 70.3 with them (which I did not do).

I bumped in to him a few times around the city: once in the parking lot in front of a Panera/PetSmart and again, just recently in the parking lot outside a coffee house. He would chat with me, ask me how training was going, and then provide some advice or inspirational comment.

He wasn't just nice to me. He took time to talk with and encourage everyone in our classes.

He was "A VERY NICE GUY" in the truest sense of the concept.

I am one of those people that probably spends a little too much time worrying about life and death and the meaning of both.

I worry about life cycles and time lines and spend time every week reading obituaries, usually shaking my head at the unfairness of any one under the age of 52 passing away. (You should see me shake my head after reading the obits of people in their 20's or younger. What a gyp!)

I am pretty sure I am a little obsessed about this because my mom died when I was 10; because my dad died when I was 31; because I had a very good friend (my second mother) die when I was 32. Because I've lost a sister to cancer and friends to cancer and suicide. Because I've lost pets that I loved with all my heart and were closer to me emotionally than a lot of humans. Because I spent so much time in my youth in the haze of drugs and alcohol and DIDN'T die....

So Terry's dying in a car accident at age 54-- healthy, strong triathlete Terry -- seems so foolish and senseless to me.

Makes my little rant about "heel issues" seem silly, no?

But I'll carry Terry with me from here on out in my triathlon spirit and mind and hopefully will be able to pass some of his triathlon goodwill along to others for as long as I can.

3 comments:

IronSnoopy said...

I'm sorry for your loss, Amy. I spend a lot of time thinking about life (and death) too -- and it seems particularly hard to deal with when it's someone young, in the best of health and happy.

It does put things into perspective.

cheryl said...

So sorry to hear about your friend. That is nice that you will be thinking of him during training and race day.
I have a "friend" whom I only met on her blog. She passes away about a year ago in a swimming accident. I write her name on my cap when I do my open water swims now. Hope she gets the message!

Beth said...

I never met Terry but have heard so many great things about it. Just a terrible shame. I know he will be missed by many.