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
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.