Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Six degrees of Z-man

I met a friend of Zach's today...
and it's fitting to write this now tired, slightly achy and headed to the shower after a workout.

Mary Eggers is just the kind of person that I can totally imagine Zach gravitating toward in his early quest to make his athletic goals come true. She is the real deal. Funny how life brings people at just the right time.

When I first found Mary it was through her blogs. Way back in the day she wrote the most touching blog about Zach, after meeting him for the first time. Later she became one of his most vocal supporters, trying to garner votes for him when we were pushing him through the channels on his way to win the LiveStrong Dare to Share Your Story contest. Her account of meeting him at his very first triathlon was so quintessentially Zach that I knew she understood the kind of person he was. I had to email her and reach out--and so I did---that was the fall of '08.

And today---roughly 18 months after that electronic introduction-- (here in the spring of '10) I found myself face to face with this kick ass athlete, trainer, 5 time Ironwoman, wife, mother, nurse and blogger... and what is the occasion? what am I up to? ...I'm ready to tell you.

Three weeks ago after a run I found myself overcome with emotion during an attempt to run. I don't feel really ready to fully describe that experience here, but suffice it to say it was emotion this time and not the breathlessness that made me stop...and then it was something else that kept me running. Tears filled my eyes and I felt a very keen sense that I was not running alone. When I got home-- almost on instinct I flipped open my laptop and emailed Mary. I didn't wait until the feeling had passed-- I just typed to her as the tears were still splashing on the keyboard. I just asked her a question---if someone like me---whose lungs are shot (and badly scarred from treatment) could ever do a 5K?

She wrote me back in 5 minutes. Her answer---was of course--YES.
And so---no turning back.

So today in the Pittsford Y lobby--where Mary waited for her son to finish gymnastics class--we chatted about what it will take, how I can accomplish this successfully---and of course about Zach.

There are times I can feel the inspiration that Zach placed in people---and I could feel that with Mary. When you meet someone special and they are no longer of this earth---its kind of comforting to be around someone else who gets them---and hasn't forgotten their spirit. Its a joy that is tinted with sadness--that Zach was not here to do the introduction.

I must thank Mary from the bottom of my heart--she's agreed to train someone like me--- out of shape, clueless and fearful of doing something the wrong way---as a pure and honest gesture of friendship. Something about that gives me confidence- to make me believe maybe I can achieve this goal.

Zach--you have a mysterious way of reminding me--and others that your spirit still lives on.

I have a lot of work to do, but I think you'll agree...it's something worth fighting for.

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