Friday, April 9, 2010

Long Overdo Visit

Today's ride was one of those rides where I literally felt every emotion--from tears in the beginning to smiles & laughs to my animalistic side of "let's do w-o-r-k." Of course, there's nothing like PCH, getting lost in memories, good company & conversation and gnarly headwinds to bring all that out.

My view in the beginning....
..couldn't help but smile & feel grateful. (I wear this Clearwater jersey too much, oops! haha)

This Friday was planned as a long-ish ride/t-run day because I'm headed to SD this weekend for Superfrog/Superseal (as a spectathlete) and don't want to deal with bringing my bike. I started the ride off solo from SPI with a 20-mile out-and-back on PCH/up Newport Coast, then grabbed Mike for another 30. One quality t-run later and I was dunzo.

So you're probably wondering why I said I cried in the beginning.... it's not because I was working my body so hard that I broke down (although, I almost did just that Thurs during our high-intensity functional-training sess at SPI).

No. these tears were different. April 9 is a special & sad day for me. In fact, as I write this I feel another round of eyes-welling-up coming on. April 9 is the birthday of my dear friend Jeff Jackson. Jeff is no longer with us.

Jeff was my age (11 days apart!) and lived two doors down from me. Not only was he one of my best best best friends from childhood all the way through college, but he was also my first boyfriend (in the days where "boyfriend" meant getting butterflies around him and hanging out together slightly more than average... that's about it. In fact, I remember breaking up with Jeff because I was afraid he wanted to kiss me). Thankfully, we always remained close friends. We had a special bond.

I don't want to go into details, but Jeff was taken from us about 3.5 years ago. It was tragic, untimely and unfair. But I guess it was God's plan. He was such a wonderful, extremely intelligent, kind-hearted human being, and I miss him terribly.

One thing that haunts me about his death is that I haven't been able to bring myself to visit his grave site. That's been on my mind a lot... especially this week, especially during the first 20 miles of my ride this morning. I guess visiting Jeff's grave just makes his death that much more real, and I don't like that. But I also need that closure and peace of mind. I decided on my ride this morning that today is the day I'll go visit my friend.

So, I guess the point of this blog is to just say how grateful I am for my sports because they truly allow me to get deep into thought and appreciate life, loved ones, memories, nature.... it's zen-like almost. Sounds corny, but it's true! Think about it: You've likely experienced your highest clarity while on your bike, in the pool, running, etc.

Plus, if there's anyone you've lost and miss a lot, trust me--there's nothing like letting out the tears at the beginning of a workout, then finding that inner strength again and making it a hammer sess in the name of your loved one... because you know that person would want you to do just that!

Jeff & I... circa 2004?


  1. Wonderful post - and we are in a wonderful sport that allows us plenty of time to find clarity. I guess why you don't see to many pissed off triathletes :)

    Glad you had a great ride - and it's crazy the way our coasts look so different! You wear that Clearwater jersey until it falls apart! You earned that bad boy!!

  2. I really loved the first picture. It is very beautiful. I am very sorry about your friend and I know what you mean about sports. I have often had my best and worst thoughts during intense workouts.

  3. I'm sorry to hear about your friend. It sounds like you have found a great way to channel your feelings and his memories into positive energy instead of letting those memories drag you down. I'm sure he would be proud.

    Best of luck as a specatlete (great term!) in your upcoming events.

    P.S. I hate headwinds!!!

  4. Hey, if you cry on your bike when you are rocking 20mph and sunglasses - no one can see you!

    You set the nail on the head with the zen like state.... there - you almost got my mind all riled up now!

    Sorry to hear about your friend- so long as you were close, he can live on vicariously through you. keep on - keepin' on...

    ps- word verification for me is 'pasts'. hhmmmmm....

  5. Guess I can't make fun of your eye make-up, can I? ;P

    WHEN I get down there, I know what our first stop is...

  6. What a great post! Hang on to the memories :-)

  7. Nice, honest post. And you're not alone. There have been so many runs where I lose myself in thought, whether it be grief or longing or whatever...and the emotions flow. We really are a lucky bunch!

  8. Hey T, I had very similar feelings around visiting my mom's grave after her death. And funny, like you, one day, after a ride, 10-12 years later, I decided to roll into the cemetery to say hi and goodbye. Thanks for sharing and reminding us.