Friday, May 5, 2017

For Moira Horan with all the LOVE in the world

Sometimes you never know who will walk into your life and how much it will end up affecting you. I have to say how lucky I am that I found a friend in Moira. The affect she has had on me is something that is very hard to explain. Friends are there when you need it most; and well Moira has been there when I’ve needed her most. I am grateful and thankful for her. Unfortunately I found out sometime ago that Moira is about to battle the greatest battle of her life... Breast Cancer. Come Tuesday Moira will start her first round of chemo. If you ask me; well don't because it brings tears to my eyes and I cry to think and hear and say that of all people... this my friends is happening to Moira.
I first met Moira in July 2016 when I tackled Ironman Lake Placid. Women for Tri had a practice swim Thursday and Friday morning down at Mirror Lake where the swim of Ironman Lake Placid takes place. I thought “what the heck” I’ll go down because what other things do I have to get done at 7am. When she introduced herself to me Thursday morning, her name was familiar because of the Women for Tri group on Facebook. We didn’t talk much at the swims down at Mirror Lake but I got to now her better over the next few days leading up to the big day. I made my way over to the Women for Tri tent Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. I had been very nervous about race day because 2016 was my redemption year at Ironman Lake Placid. I had shared with Moira what I was setting out to get accomplished; make it to bike in and finish the race because I wanted the Olympic Oval Finish Line so very bad. By Saturday; the day before race day, I had gone over to the Women for Tri tent after bike check in. Moira had told me to get off my feet so I’d be prepared for the 2016 version of Ironman Lake Placid. The following day; race day in Lake Placid; I was coming into the transition after the 112 mile bike when Moira just happened to be coming in that way to start her announcer booth shift that afternoon. It was such surprise to see her then; but I’m glad I did. Besides actually finishing Ironman Lake Placid that day; seeing Moira inside the Olympic Oval was the best thing that happened. It gave me comfort seeing her. I had just spent over 8 hours on the bike on a warm and sunny day. I don’t remember the exact words except “salty” and “need to replenish electrolytes”. I have never told anyone this; even Moira, but after having a not so splendid day on the swim and bike; I wanted to give in and just give up and quit after I got back to the oval and got off the bike. Seeing Moira; and knowing how much she cared about me being ok changed my opinion and I went out on the run and finished Ironman Lake Placid that day.
After Lake Placid we kept in touch and I even got to see her when I traveled up to volunteer at Ironman 70.3 Atlantic City in September. I might have saved her day by volunteering at the Women For Tri tent Saturday before the race; due to the fact she had no one to help her out. I didn’t have much time at dinner Saturday night or race day helping out at the Women For Tri/ Jersey Girls Stay Strong Multisport Aid Station on the run course to really talk to her. But to me; she was nearby and that felt good.
The best time though I had with Moira was going up to the Jersey Shore for the New Jersey Marathon end of April 2017. We had dinner together in Asbury Park Saturday before race day. We took a stroll on the Asbury Park boardwalk where we found the 20 Mile Marker for the marathon, the Stone Pony where The Boss Bruce Springsteen made it big (and she even got me in photo with her). After dinner; we went to Strollo’s Italian Ice with my dad and some of his friends and just chilled. Sunday was my lucky day though with her. As I ran the New Jersey Marathon; she mountain biked along the course and followed me. Around Mile 21 or 22 (I can’t remember which one exactly) I thought I had seen the last of her when she pedaled alongside me as I was running. We talked and chatted about and everything and about nothing. I told her this wasn’t necessary but she told me how much she enjoyed doing it and supporting. I never got tired of hanging with her. Yes; at mile 24 she told me to “pickup the pace” and “push it” and NO I was not happy with her for telling me to do that when my body was pretty shot from running that far already. I listened to her though and had an amazing and unforgettable marathon. I called her when I was done just like I was told. We took yet another picture together; her and me at in front of the finish line, huge smiles on both of our faces. That moment stands out so much. Of all people, she wanted a picture with me. I cherish that picture and look at it everyday because it reminds me of who she is as a friend.
Even though I've just written how my dear friend Moira has been there for me in the sport of triathlon and running; she has been there for me just for life in general. Its now my time and my turn to be there for Moira. She CAN and WILL beat this. Though I'm still learning so much about her; I know she is STRONG and BRAVE and COURAGEOUS. Moira... my friend... YOU GOT THIS.

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