July 15, 2009

I haven’t posted in a couple of weeks – I have no better excuse than laziness.

However, something happened over the weekend that shook me to the core.

While I was cheering on Trimom and our good friend Luna in the Trek Women’s Triathlon in Pleasant Prarie, WI (Trimom PR’d), a young man named Daniel Murry was drowning in Pewaukee Lake during the Pewaukee Triathlon.

From Milwaukee’s WTMJ-TV.  Emphases mine.

Parents Speak Out on Triathlete’s Death

By Charles Benson

We now know what killed a triathlete in Sunday’s race in Pewaukee. Daniel Murry, 33, died of an accidental drowning.

Tuesday night his parents shared their grief.

Lee and Sharon Murry struggle with Dan’s death. They know he battled weight problems. But training for the Pewaukee Triathlon was a turning point in Dan’s life.

“It was a challenge,” said Lee Murry.
Murry says his son Dan once weighed 400 pounds. Earlier this year he decided to compete in the Pewaukee Triathlon.
“Everyone was happy seeing him lose weight and he looked good,” said his father.

This was Dan’s first triathlon but he didn’t decide to just jump into the lake. His family says he had been training for months and had lost 100 pounds.

But Dan never made it through the swim despite being a good swimmer. Investigators called it an accidental drowning but a doctor told the Murry’s it was a heart attack.

Reporter Charles Benson asked, “Do you have any doubts or concerns about the event itself?”
Lee Murry said, “Either way, we realized it was an accident.”

An accident that has left Dan’s co-workers at Culver’s stunned and saddened. His race number and bike helmet are now part of the many memories his family has.

“He was my youngest and he was the light of everybody’s life,” said Dan’s mom.

Sharon Murry never got to see Dan at the finish line but she believes someday she will.

“He really believed and trusted in the Lord,” said Sharon. “He knew where he was going to be going. We have no problems where he is. We’ve just got to meet him at the finish line one day.”

Dan’s funeral is set for Wednesday.

I had heard that “someone” had died during the Pewaukee Triathlon, but I hadn’t heard any details until driving to work this morning, when the radioman said that Murry had lost 100 pounds from his once 400-pound frame. Simple math says he was probably about 300 pounds when he got in the water on Sunday.

I weigh 305.

Daniel Murry was 33. I’m 31.

He is me, and I am him.

Why didn’t I die?

Could I still die?

I’ve taken a lot of pride in pushing myself. Longer swims, faster rides, harder runs. I’ve dropped my time in sprint tris by more than 30 minutes. I told everyone I know I’m doing Devil’s Challenge this year, and I committed myself to doing an Olympic distance next season. I’ve been reading a book about first-time Ironman finishers, and I was just talking to Trimom last night about how someday, when our kids are a little older, we would do an Ironman.

Now I feel like I’m cheating death every time I get a race number.

Here’s the scary part: I’m not quitting. I didn’t even think about quitting. In fact, when I finished reading the story, I decided I would dedicate the rest of my races this season to Daniel.

I’m going to write to his parents and offer my sympathy, and I’m going to let them know Daniel will be swimming, biking and running right next to me in every race I ever do for the rest of my life. Having never met him, I will carry his memory across every finish line, and every race I finish, he’ll finish.

In a very real way, I’ve been swimming, biking and running away from the fat, unhappy person I’d become and towards health and happiness. I’m sure Daniel was dong much the same thing.

I hope that in heaven the water’s always still, tires never flat, and the course is always fast.

Godspeed, Daniel.