April 24, 2011

Sometimes Life Just Doesn't Make Sense

Unlike any other RR I've written, this one will not include mile splits, placement finish, or even how I felt while running. Yesterday's race was far bigger than any of those factors.

TP and I have been racing almost every weekend lately. No worries, I've been keeping my regular training and using these races as workouts. This weekend, we chose a 10K/5K combo race in Montgomery. See, he loves 5Ks and I'm a lot better at the longer stuff. The 5K was to start 30 minutes after the 10K start. This was also good b/c I'd get to see him finish. After we both finished our races, I headed out with one of the other guys for a cooldown. As we were finishing, I noticed a group had gathered near the finish line. I said, "Wow, they are already doing the awards? That was fast." As we approached the group, we could see something was not right. A firetruck had pulled up and a group was leaned over a man.

Everyone was eerily quiet. The called for people that knew CPR to come a little closer in case they were needed, and for everyone else to back away. Although completely unconfident, I am trained in CPR, something required by all coaches in our county. I stood towards the back of the group, and all I could focus on was the bottom of his running shoes. I noticed how small they looked in comparison to the rest of his body, and how they seemed to thrash about with every compression of the firefighters trying to revive him. The crowd began to thin, I think because they were told to make way for the ambulance. The paddles were used as another force to restart his heart. I couldn't look any longer. I stuffed my face in the back of TP's sweaty tech shirt, and he covered my head with his hands. It seemed like HOURS before the medics got there. The firefighters and nurse just kept working and pushing on his chest. Counting and counting. They asked the man in front of me to step in for compressions. My throat felt like it would close up, thinking I might be next. Would I do this for a stranger? Of COURSE I would, but I was scared. Scared to mess up. Scared to toy with someone's life. Not just anyone's life, a RUNNER'S life. I heard someone ask TP if I knew CPR, too. He said yes, but I couldn't even look then. My legs were planted and the only thing that comforted me was the smell of that sweaty tech shirt. Weird, I know. Finally, we all heard sirens in the distance. The amount of minutes seemed like hours. The counting and compressions never stopped. The man was put on the ambulance, and off it went.

I think everyone knew then that he would not make it. He already had no pulse for a LONG time. *I don't actually know how long it was. In my mind it seems like hours, but probably only minutes. No one really said anything. People were just stunned. LOts of people held hands, but their arms around each other. 5K walkers had been finishing the race, but just gone off to the side. THe minister got on the sound system and said a prayer for the collapsed runner- Tim.

By the time I got home I found out that Tim had indeed passed away. Easter Eve he left behind a wife and four children. He was only 44.

I was really, really upset last night. I just couldn't quit thinking about it. It's odd, I know b/c I didn't personally KNOW him. I've known of other runners that have passed away, even some while running, and it never really affected me like this.

The waiting, the working on him, the fear of unknown, all of those things evoke the same feelings I had after my dad's accident. The difference is, he made it. As a Christian, we are taught that everything happens for a reason. I have problems with this. How could a family being in pain be "for a reason?" It's not just the Tims or the Waynes (my dad) in the world, but we all know these types of people. People that lose their lives, good people, and leave families torn and heartbroken. We know people with horrific diseases and physical ailments, all good people. Why would a woman with 4 small children be left without her husband? On Easter Eve? A family, just trying to get healthy together, have fun, and enjoy a beautiful Saturday, all while supporting their church? Not fair.

My own parallel to that is my dad. A man that used to ride 100 miles effortlessly, reduced to a man that can't balance his checkbook. A man that staggers when he walks, and struggles in the gym. A man with a wife (my mom) and a daughter (me) that need him very, very much. Is there a "reason" in that? If everything happens for a reason, why that? And why the timing? This was all within a year of my husband's painful and public infidelity and our divorce. I couldn't have been more down. Some would say to bring our family closer. Well, it hasn't. It's strained us, exhausted us, and broke our hearts.

And it's not just me. There are millions of people in similar situations, pained by the loss of a loved one or another life circumstance. I love God and I am very much a Christian, but I think sometimes things just happen to happen. It's God that can help us deal with these things and give us comfort during our pain.

My prayer on this Easter is for comfort of everyone hurting from a loss or other life circumstance. If you are the praying time, please say one for Tim's family. If you aren't some thoughts of healing and peace are good, too.


  1. How very sad. I will keep Tim's family in my prayers. I actually understand the comfort you found in a sweaty tech shirt. I will continue to pray for you and your family as well!

  2. Anonymous4/24/2011

    like jodi said, very very sad. losing a loved one (in the case of tim's family) or seeing a loved one suffer (like you and your family) sucks no matter when in the year it occurs.

    ((hugs)) to you, tim's family and your family.

    take care "big me"

  3. Wow, I really don't have any words, but can pray for Tim, his family, and of course you and TP. These things are very difficult to watch.

    I'm here if you need me..hugs:))

  4. Beautifully written post. Horrible circumstance that was the catalyst. I am so sorry for his family. There was a drowning last year at a Tri here in Philly, the athlete's family was waiting for him at the finish but he didn't show up. There is no rhyme or reason that I can see. Just the way things happen. Great job stepping in, had to have been terrifying. Hugs.

  5. Wow, I am speechless and sadden. I will pray for you, Tim and his friends and family.

  6. We all hear the stories of runners collapsing and not making it, but to have it happen right in front of you must have been horrifying.

    Thinking of you.

  7. Late getting over to read and comment, but that's horribly sad for Tim's family, and for you as well to be there to see it happen. My heart goes out to his family.

  8. Anonymous5/18/2011

    I waited a long time to comment on this blog post because I went to school with a boy who lost his older brother to a heart attack during soccer conditioning and I lost a phenomenally talented friend from running camp in a car accident. Things just happen sometimes. It's heart wrenching. One of the things that continues to make me feel unsettled about with losing Riley is that the person breaking the news to the greater running media by posting to Dyestat and Letsrun was none other than Joe Shay, who would go on to lose his own son two and a half years later.

    It's tough the shake the feeling, even years later, but sometimes it inspires me to remember that I am doing something that Ryan Shay and Riley Klingel loved so much. I try not to take it for granted.

    Best wishes.