Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Sad news

Coming off a great Labor Day weekend with great workouts both in Austin and in Houston, Tuesday beckoned us back to work and school, and back to reality. Reality means that there are tragic events in our world and that we never know when we may reach the end of our lives.

Tuesday was supposed to be the start of swim team for my son after having the month of August off. Short Course season was starting up again. Houston has been pretty rainy the past few days due to Tropical Storm Hermine. A notice was sent out that swim practice was canceled and that there was a meeting. Ok, thunder means no swimming and I guess that they wanted to get the parent meeting out of the way. Another message was sent out that the meeting was changed to my son's school commons. When we arrived, the commons were full of swimmers and parents, but no coaches or swim team board members. After waiting and things being pretty quiet, one of the swim team board members asked for the younger swimmers to head to the back.

It was announced to us that one of our swim coaches was killed in a traffic accident early that morning. I had noticed that Coach Allen had not walked in with the other coaches and I had a sinking feeling when the swim team board member started talking. Coach Allen was more than just one of my son's swim coaches, he was a friend of mine. I had gotten to know him about a year and a half ago when I introduced myself at a triathlon swim clinic and said my son was a part of the Cy-Fair Swim Club. From there, we talked when I showed up at the Fleet pool to do my laps. We cheered each other on from across the run course at Buffalo Springs Ironman 70.3 last summer and the Clear Lake International Triathlon last weekend. We discussed our race schedules and made plans to get in some longer rides as he was training for Ironman Arizona and when we would both be training for Ironman Texas. I rang a cowbell and cheered him on at several marathons and triathlons over the last year and he would tell other parents at Swim-a-thon that I was a triathlon coach and could help them reach their goals.

Here is the information that I could get from the Houston Chronicle since the information from the meeting was vague to ease the emotions of the kids:

Man killed during pre-dawn jog in northwest Harris County

A man died after a sport utility vehicle hit him as he was trying to jog across a road in northwest Harris County early this morning.

The incident happened in the 13700 block of Telge about 4:50 a.m., according to the Harris County Sheriff's Office.

Deputies said the man, whose identity has not been released, was taken to North Cypress Medical Center, where he died about an hour later.

The man was jogging across the road when he was hit by a 1997 Green Chevrolet Blazer that was traveling southbound on Telge, deputies said.

Deputies are investigating the case. No charges have been filed so far.

Coach Allen was out for his run before he had to be at the pool for a 6:00 am Masters swim workout. He was doing what many of us who are training for a triathlon or a marathon do when they also have a full time job. We try to get those workouts in where we can. We have to cross streets and sometimes run on them because there are almost no sidewalks in our part of town. We try to be safe and alert at all times, but sometimes that is not enough. Allen had qualified for the Boston Marathon and was currently training to complete his first full Ironman race in Arizona this November. He was an important part of our swim team. Coach Allen Salinas joined the Fleet Coaching Staff in September 2002. In October 2004, Coach Allen was named the Head Developmental Coach for the Satellite Programs. Allen is well known for his fundamental technique training, and his success record for preparing the novice swimmer for State level swimming. Coach Allen is involved on the Texas Swimming Association board where he represents and helps direct our sport for the state. Coach Allen is also a key instructor in our renown Fleet F.I.R.S.T. program, and has been an integral part in the program’s considerable success. Coach Allen has coached swimmers to Age Group (TAGS) champions as well as top 16. Allen is a graduate from the University of Houston with a degree in Kinesiology and Creative Writing.

My son is pretty torn up. I think that this is the first time that he is old enough to understand the impact of someone's death. I am still in shock. I can't believe that i will not see Allen at the pool on Thursday or hear him say, "Right, right..." when we talk about what we did for our training over the weekend. He was full of joy to work with the kids and there is a huge hole in our swim team with his absence. Now we all wait patiently for details on his funeral. I hope that I can make the type of impact that he made on our community and our kids in his 30 years when it is my time to be called home.

I will miss you Allen. Finish that training run up in heaven.



CoachLiz said...

I forgot to add, please get a Road ID and wear it ALL THE TIME! Train with a buddy and wear blinky lights and reflective gear.

Do what you can to be as safe as you can.

TNTcoach Ken said...

Sorry to hear the news Liz. I agree that we should all be wearing some form of ID. I'm guilty of running in the street in the early morning and thinking I'm visible to the world.

Christi said...

I am so sorry to hear about this sad news. I will keep his family and all his friends in my prayers!

Ryan said...

Very sad! I'm out all the time pre-dawn to get rides and runs in. It's always in the back of my mind when I cross a street or riding that some driver not paying attention could wipe me out.

Road ID, reflective clothing, bike lights, light clothing... I do what I can and stick to side roads and sidewalks when running but sometimes it's not enough.

Anonymous said...

I can't help breaking to tears again reading yr words. We just gotta know coach Allen this Summer, a good man who always smiles. My daughter Ashley Tran had a prep clicnic with Allen and just got in the bronze I team. Yesterday was supposed to be her 1st time practice with the team. Ashley always talks about coach Allen with a big happy smile on her face. She cried until falling asleep last night and I heard her pray..."Dear God, please bring coach Allen back to earth alive, please bring him back to FLEET. I promise I will try my very best on everything that I do, Amen".

May God bless his "kids" @ FLEET, his friends & his family.

LittleRachet said...

That's really sad - I'm sorry for your loss. I can just imagine what your son is feeling right now - the whole community!

Yes - I know that I often get complacent about my safety measures. It is so important that we not let that happen. Accidents will occur - and in the mornings or late at night, the chances are greater. We must do everything we can to "run/bike defensively", even if we have to look like a Christmas tree while doing so.

Please give your little one an extra hug on my behalf. My kiddos send nose nuzzles your way as well.

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Anonymous said...

I am a triathlete and member of the FLEET Master Swim class, and I've known Allen for about a year now. His is a great coach and a wonderful person, and I'm deeply saddened to think of swimming again without him on deck. He actively coached me and continued to push me, saying "you're a better swimmer now, let's push those intervals." He always had a way to get me to dig deep, and my favorite quote was..."I turned out the lights on deck, so that you could light this place up. You can do it, come on."

I will miss him deeply, and I'm not sure how to make peace with this news.

I know one thing, he will be on my mind every early morning swim, run and bike. And every triathlon event I do, will be in honor of him.


Jennifer Haas said...

Someone sent me your blog post. I was so sad to hear the news about Allen. I went to high school with him, he was such a great guy!!

Mud Pies For Mommy
http://www.mudpiesformommy. com

MelissaL88 said...

We are also a Fleet family. My oldest is in Silver and a 6th grader at Bleyl. He never had the opportunity to swim directly under Allen, but was very proud of the nickname Allen bestowed on him. My youngest is in Bronze II and was so fortunate to get to train under him for a few months earlier this spring. He had such a wonderful way of bringing out the best in our children and testing them...without them getting upset or frustrated. We are all grieving so much for his loss.

This comment has been removed by the author.
SCOTT said...

Liz thanks for this post.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for your blog. I grew up going to school with Allen and had the pleasure of knowing him. Its amazing to see how the confindence and inspirational attitude he had when we were young has carried over into adulthood. He truly was an awesome human being who really lived life the way it should be lived; with zest, determination and lots of heart! RIP Allen!!

Bertie said...

Hey Liz,

It took me a while to leave a comment on your post as it has hit close to home. One of my college soccer teammates was killed this spring in an car accident. It's been six months and I still think about her daily. It's devistating when someone is ripped out of our lives like this. It sounds as though Coach Allen had a great relationship with the swim community and undoubtly has been a big influence on the young swimminers. I hope you can all find comfort in each others support, and continue to encourage the kids to swim their best!

Take care

Regina said...

I am so sorry to hear about this. Such a sad event. I hope your son can find solace among his teammates. this really is a tragedy.

as you point out. I ALWAYS where my Road ID biking or running.

My thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends.

zbsports said...

I am very sorry to hear that, that was a sad news indeed...T_T

Carol said...

That is terrible news. I am sorry to hear about your friend. My deepest condolences to his family.

Anonymous said...

I was a swI wiimmer at Fleet and I,ll miss Coach Allen. He was like a second dad to me. He died very close to where I live. Every time we pass his cross, I think of him. When I found out he died, I cryed for days. But he called me T-Rex so I will try to be strong like one and be the best swimmer I can be!

Anonymous said...

Sorry typo, meant to say swimmer. But I think you all know what I mean. Please, please have identidy when your out jogging!!

Andi said...

My thoughts and prayers go out to your friend and his family. May his good soul rest in peace. I thought I'd share to his grieving family. It gets easier when you talk with someone else who is going through the same ordeal.