Like a Kid in a Candy Store
My new bike came in this weekend, and I am so stoked! So, Sunday, I made my way out at Richardson Bike Mart to see Woody and Cliff. I have to admit I was downright giddy walking into the store. It’s not like I’ve never had a nice bike before, but I was still really excited. It’s about the same thing that I rode in Galveston – Trek Speed Concept 9.9 – but with a few upgrades. So, I shuffled into the store like a goofy teenager, with my twelve-year-old in tow, rolling her eyes. If only she knew the number of times the roles were reversed…
If only there were 25 hours in a day…
This time of year, time just seems to fly by. The kids are down to six weeks left of school, and the spring/end of year activities are already starting to ramp up. On top of that, Ironman Texas is only four weeks away, so my days are packed from start to finish. Amy laughed at me – literally out loud – on Monday when I asked about plans for this Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. I needed to know whether she was picking up the kids from school or needed me to. I needed to know what time soccer games are scheduled, what time we are having dinner each night, what time we are going to mass, and what time she/we/they need to leave and will return from each activity.
It’s raining today, appropriate given the somber mood this week. It’s been a rough one for Americans. The country is still wrapping our collective heads around a cowardly act of terrorism, and then Wednesday, a fertilizer plant explosion in West, TX decimated a four-block area killing an unknown number of people and injuring well over a hundred. There are a number of people unaccounted for, including three firefighters. It’s another kick to the gut, especially for that small town of 2600 people. In a small, tight-knit community like West, everyone knows everyone, so it hurts them all to their core.
Boston Marathon 2013
Yesterday morning, 26,839 runners waited anxiously in Hopkinton to start their 26.2 mile journey to Boston. They set off to conquer personal goals, participating in the longest running organized marathon in the world. It was the 117th running of the Boston Marathon, held annually on Patriot’s Day.
The winners came in to the finish with the standard hoopla. Lelisa Desisa from Ethiopia won the men’s event in 2:10:22, and Rita Jeptoo of Kenya took home the top prize for the women with a time of 2:26:25. A great day for them, but at 3:00pm ET, the unspeakable happened.
Amy called me to say a friend had just posted on Facebook, “Something just happened in Boston!! 2 loud explosions and sirens everywhere!!” Amy had pulled up the live feed from the finish line camera, but it was cutting out. The news outlets hadn’t even started covering it yet. Then, the video and pictures began to surface, and details started being released. I was outraged and saddened. Thousands of runners, hundreds of volunteers, countless spectators…caught in the fray of the actions of a lunatic.
I’m thankful to report that all of our friends that were running have been accounted for and are safe. Unfortunately, the news indicates that as of this morning, three lives were lost and 144 injured.
As the stories have continued to unfold, I learned that one of the three fatalities was an eight-year-old boy. He was there to watch his father finish. The dad had come across the line just a few minutes earlier. They boy ran out, hugged his dad, returned to the sidewalk, and moments later…his life was cut short. My kids, ages twelve and seven, along with my wife have stood at countless finish lines awaiting my finish. It’s gut-wrenching to thing about. It’s just not fair – to that boy, his family, or any of those killed, wounded, or affected by this cowardly act of violence.
As with many tragedies, from them, we see great acts of triumph and courage. The full picture of that is still being painted, but it began taking shape in the moments immediately after the explosion. As I’ve seen photos and video, what strikes me is the number of people who ran into the chaos while most were (understandably and wisely) running away. I’m not just talking about the first responders either. Their actions will be considered by many as heroic, but as someone in the industry, I can tell you we all know it’s our job. That’s what we signed on to do, and when the call comes, we do it. We all hope that we will never have to deal with a mass casualty incident and certainly not an act of terror, but if it happens, we’ll be there.
If you watch clips, you’ll see runners stopping and immediately pulling off their shirts to cover or wrap around wounds. You’ll see volunteers at the finish line, picking up runners knocked from their feet, helping them to move away from the area. You’ll see bystanders comforting those writing in pain. You’ll read stories of runners pulling off race belts and using them as tourniquets. The resolve and heroism of our fellow man will be what gets us through yet another senseless tragedy.
Boston and all who were there or were affected, you are in our thoughts and prayers.
A long way from flowers and butterflies
It was a fun and crazy weekend at the Schuster household. Monkey had a track meet Friday night, where she and her classmates represented their school well. She raced in the mile, finishing in 7:22. Due to the low numbers in that event, she finished 2nd out of 2 from her grade. Nevermind the very respectable mile time for a 6th grader who doesn’t run all that much; she’s a chip off her old competitive daddy’s block and really wanted to win.
Scheduling races is generally pretty easy when they’re months away, at least the write-them-on-the-calendar aspect of scheduling anyway. Once the time is near, things always seem so hectic, especially when races are on back-to-back weekends. Add into the week 48 hours on-shift for me, an eventful workweek for Amy, two soccer practices, a track meet, and a couple of soccer games for the girls, and life spins in a whirlwind.
I’m often asked for the secret behind my training and racing. What has allowed me to have some success at racing and keep it going as I enter my 40’s. I can simplify the answer down to one word – support. None of what I have been able to do would be possible without an amazing support structure. I am blessed with some incredible sponsors that help make training, racing, and recovery possible, but there were some key supporters in the mix long before I had any hope of acquiring sponsors.
Check out my cool tattoo.
Rain, Rain, Go Away…
I’m sure I’ll be singing a different tune come June and July when it’s 110*F outside, but for now, could we have some warm, spring-like days? Yesterday was nice; now it’s 45* and rainy. It doesn’t do much to motivate me to get back into training. However, I’m still a little hungry over what could have been a great race. So, after a couple of easy days, I’m back to the grind today.