Every other week, I send an email update to my runners. The main purpose is to recap the week and highlight our workouts for the upcoming week. I, of course, am not content keeping things simple (that would be too easy, right?), so I like to share theme-based training tips.
Last week’s theme :: It’s time to sweat the small stuff. The point being that just following the runs on the marathon training schedule isn’t enough. Getting the small things right — things like sleep, recovery days, nutrition, hydration, electrolytes, and massage therapy — can make or break your training. It was pretty good stuff, if I do say so myself.
I had no idea that what started off as a light, witty training theme would end up becoming a poignant theme in my life last week.
This past week, the Dallas cycling community lost one of its biggest supporters. She died of a heart attack while riding at the lake with her husband (and best friend) of 45 years. When we learned that her funeral service would be held on Saturday morning, there was no question that we would attend. Our adamance was fascinating. Neither of us was ‘close’ to her. She was more of an acquaintance than a friend. But, somehow her passing struck a chord, and we knew we had to be there.
These words, spoken during her service by a fellow cyclist, were a true testament to her kindness and a vivid explanation of why so many people gathered to celebrate her life:
As cyclists, we get so used to seeing each other in spandex, helmets, and other strange cycling gear, that we typically don’t recognize each other in these ‘real world’ settings. We know what bike you ride, your riding style, and your ability to change a tire (or lack thereof). Yet, we often don’t know your name, much less any details about your ‘real life’. But, not Gerry. She made a point to get to know everyone. She would weave through the pack on every ride, checking in to see how you were doing. She not only knew your name, but also your spouse’s name or your kids’ names. She didn’t just know which bike you rode; she also knew details about you — where you worked, where your kids went to school, or where you vacationed last summer. She was the mother of the club. To her family, we thank you for sharing her with us. We will miss her dearly.
Being reminded of how much she knew about every member of the cycling club, I was struck by how little we knew about her. She had won the battle with breast cancer not once, but twice. The day of her burial also was her 45th wedding anniversary. (This fact, which came about 2 minutes into the service, is where I completely lost it and realized that I’d forgotten my tissues!)
The morning left me speechless and still resonates with me today. All I could think about was how the simple act of getting to know someone’s name and a little about their life meant so much to people that — over and over again — they stood up and fought back tears to tell their stories. Without even thinking, these small gestures had touched so many lives and made her life more meaningful.
Lesson Learned :: It’s worth sweating the small stuff.