Professional athlete and 3-time Ironman champion

The Tragic End of an Era

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Last weekend, I got the chance to spend some time with my parents. Dave was having some college buddies into town to play golf and be boys, so I vacated the house, took Riley with me and settled into the relative paradise we like to refer to as "Club 99" (for my parent’s address, 99 Mooncussers Lane).

Life at Club 99 is idyllic. They have a gorgeous water view, the old Chatham Light in the distance and let’s be frank; their refrigerator is a lot better stocked than ours ever is! I dig my parents, so I like getting to hang out with them from time to time.

While I was there, my mom asked if I could go downstairs and either claim, or move to the "trash pile" several boxes full of my old "stuff". Stuff that had made the move with them from my childhood home in Short Hills, NJ to their retirement home in Chatham, MA. This stuff had been filtered once, 10 years ago, but it was time again to re-filter; some stuff may have fallen out of favor since then.

I was enthralled. Amongst the jewels of memories past, I found my "Lucky Box"; complete with lucky teddy bear that was affixed to balloons that were given to me at my first "Y Nationals Sendoff Party" when I was 13. Amongst other "lucky" trinkets, there was a lucky quarter, a lucky penny, and the rip top from the single serve Total cereal box I had for breakfast before some swim I deemed good enough to save the box top as "lucky". There was a caricature my Y coach had made of me (he was an amazing artist, and a character as well!) called "The Dede Bird". It kind of looked like a stork with legs up to its neck. Yep…I guess that fits.

The crown jewel I found was my old training logs from Stanford, and my years as a post-grad swimmer. Man….I could swim. I poured through the volumes of swim workouts, stunned by how fast my body used to move through water. Of course, I never appreciated it at the time.

I even had notations of sets we did that made me cry in my goggles.

With former Stanford coach, Richard Quick’s passing last week, it seemed a fitting tribute to sit and pour through all those old workouts. I may not have always loved the man. In fact, often times I was either intimidated by him or just too tired to try to communicate better with him. According to my notes, he made me cry more than any descent man should ever make a girl cry. But one thing is for sure; while my day-to-day communication with the man has long since ended, it is clear that he’s left an indelible mark on my life.

I don’t cry as often as I used to in workout. Sure, part of that is maturity. Part of it is the fact that you can’t conceal the tears as well behind sunglasses as you can in goggles and since I do most of my training with my coach, and don’t want to be seen as a pansy, I suck it up a little better than I used to. Most of it, though, is the way I view physical challenge now. It’s different than the way I used to. I can thank Richard for that.

I chatted with one of my best friends from college (and today) and we remembered our former coach. "He made us so damn hard," she said. That he did.

RIP, Richard. You inspired us to be great then, and if I close my eyes now, I can still hear that distinguished ’yelp’ you used to cry from the side of the pool, and it inspires me now.

Persistence. Determination. Love. The Journey!

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