This past Saturday, my trusted training partner unexpectedly and tragically drowned in Barron Lake in Niles, Michigan. Over the course of the past year, this partner has ran over 1,500 miles by my side, raced with me in 5k's, 10k's, 15k's, even the Indianapolis Marathon. This partner has biked at least 1,000 miles with me this summer. This partner has sat pool side, tracking me swim lap after lap after lap.
This past Saturday, however, was my partner's last open water swim with me. It was the first leg of the Niles Olympic Triathlon. The accident happened only four swimming strokes into the race. He was clinched tightly to my wrist as the race began. I plunged into the water and began to swim. Then I felt the dreaded feeling. A feeling I imagined would never hapen, yet a feeling as real today as it was Saturday. The feeling of my trusted partner loosing grip and letting go of my wrist.
Immediately, I dove down into the water, looking for signs of life, but found none. The water was not clear enough and there were too many other swimmers behind me. I emerged back to the surface and in sadness continued the long journey that was before me - only this time, alone.
May this faithful training companion Rest in Peace. My consistent and timely Ironman Distance and Speed GPS Watch. Isn't it ironic that one would lose a watch with GPS? I will miss the navigation, pace and distance readings, along with beeps at the end of every mile completed during a training run.
...This, along with my left shoe that was lost last week in a mud-swamp in Buchanan, Michigan during the Redbud Extreme 5k - not making for a good trend these days...
During last weeks race, my shoe got sucked down into the mud about a foot deep. I was a mile-and-half into the race, with a little over a mile-and-half to go.
Considering that, even if I stopped and able to dig out my shoe, I wouldn't be able to put it back on for all the mud. Further, if I stopped, the chance of getting trampled were significantly high, beings there were quite a few people soon approaching the swamp. The best pensive decision at the time (and to this day), was to not look back, not even a glance. Instead, to look intently on the trail before me, take every step with the left foot cautiously, once out of the trails and back on the road, look for green grass and step on it with the left foot at every chance, not to mention, get as far ahead of the rest of the pack during the next mile-and-half, so as to not have to sprint to the finish for preferred placing.
Fortunately, I managed to dodge, rocks, stumps, trees, pebble, find lots of grass along the road, pull ahead enough to establish a lengthly lead, remain blister free and win the race...
I'm sure it will make for a good story someday for the grandkids.... but today, I could careless about my shoe -- I stinking miss my Timex GPS watch...