It’s been awhile since I’ve written to you and I wanted to let you know you have been front and center in my thoughts even more than you usually are the last 24 hours or so. I was waiting outside of a conference room yesterday, about to pitch a concept that would bring a new signature race to Austin as part of my new job. I picked up a magazine to kill a few moments and there was a feature article about Lance Armstrong and his fall from grace.
I thought about you and seeing your yellow Livestrong Bracelet that you wore throughout your cancer battle. How it served as a great reminder and motivator when I was training for those two marathons in 13 days. I closed my eyes briefly and could picture it getting bigger and bigger around your wrist that summer, knowing full well the band was staying the same, it was you who was changing.
Last night I met up with Jason and Brian for the first time in several months. The conversation turned to running, racing and marathons as it often does and Brian started telling a mutual friend Ed about his first “major race” which was the Pittsburgh Half-Marathon the day I ran the full as the second marathon for you and Run for Dom.
I listened quietly as the two brothers talked about having pre-race dinner with you, Val and the rest of the gang and how after only knowing you briefly – they felt so close to you, as if they had known you for years and years.
That was the gift you had Dom. You truly were someone who people were drawn to. Your enthusiasm was infectious. And not just enthusiasm for things you were passionate about, like the Steelers, Penguins, your family or West Virginia Football. But your enthusiasm for life.
You made everything around you just a little more exciting. A little more vivid. A little more special.
I really miss the hell out of you.
Right now Landry is just about the same age as Sierra was when you were first diagnosed with Cancer. I look at her growing up literally in front of my eyes and I think about how lucky I am to have such a perfect front row seat for her life. She is swimming, riding her bike and running Dom. 30 months old. I have no idea where all that is going to go down the line – but the kid has a lot of heart, a lot of spirit and just enough of a stubborn streak (surely from Dawn) to be dangerous.
I frankly can’t wait sometimes to see how it is all going to turn out for her.
Then I think about Sierra, Nico, you and Val and I am still heartbroken 2 1/2 years after we laid you to rest that summer day in Pittsburgh. I find myself getting angry all over again at times asking the same tired questions that as long as I live I will never get any answers to. At least none that will make even the smallest difference.
So instead I’m going to do what I always do Dom. I’m going to pour those frustrations into training.
I put the finishing touches on my race season for spring, summer and fall that will again take us to Ironman 70.3 and this time we’re going to be shooting for that 4:59:XX.
We were 6 minutes off of that in Kerrville last year. 2 minutes in the swim, 2 minutes on the bike, 2 minutes on the run and we’re home. I’m going to train a couple of thousand miles between now and then Dom for those 360 seconds. Something that I know a lot of people just can’t make sense of doing.
That’s o.k., I’m learning there are a whole lot of things that don’t make sense to a whole lot of people. In the end it only has to make sense to ourselves, the ones we love and the people we care about.
Those 360 seconds are all yours Dom. Make sure you are paying attention on race day in September.
We are going to absolutely crush it.
I miss you brother.