I’m writing this at 37,000 feet on my way to Houston… It’s sounds like a line from the movie Almost Famous..
This race is dedicated to Sarah Dalzell. When I first started thinking about my dedication back in December and January I knew she would be one of the names I mentioned. I normally have a few people I like to dedicate my race to like I have in the past. But this year it didn’t feel right.
I don’t pretend to have been as close to Sarah as people like Mindy, The Pressey’s, Voosen-Field’s, Schroeder, Mele’s, Hopkin’s, and her many other close friends and family. I’m not trying to come across as a phony here. I’m just a friend. She was a camp person. Camp people stick close together. I don’t have a lot of close friends outside of camp. So when we lose a camp person especially at the age of 37 it stings. I know for the people I mentioned above it’s a much more trying time. I think and pray for these people.
When you see me out there on race day with my shoe and her name on my bike, license plate, my sign, and her name on my calf. Please look at it as me representing her memory and I want to share it with the world. Look at is as me as a camp person. Look at me as a friend!
The last time I talked to Sarah was an email. I had been texting with Mindy and I wanted to reach out to Sarah. I wasn’t someone who was going to ask to see her. I know Dave was getting a ton of requests for this and I wasn’t family so I wasn’t even going to ask. Mindy told me to reach out to her via email. I mentioned how I was thinking about her and Dave.
I wanted her to know that as long as I do Ironman I will have a Converse shoe on the back of my bike. She replied and thanked me.
I want to help keep her memory alive. For the two previous Ironman events I had numerous people ask me about that shoe. I had people telling me stories about friends and family fighting cancer. It gave me a chance to meet someone new, even for say 30 seconds, but this was because of Sarah.
After Sarah’s funeral when I got home I was on Facebook like many of you. Many were sharing tons of old photo’s, memories, and stories. One stood out to me the most. I was laying in my bed and I read Heidi Greene Gallicchio’s post on Sarah’s page. It brought tears into my eyes. I had no clue who Heidi is. I didn’t meet her. But I had to reach out to her! I friend requested her. We chatted on Messenger for about 10 minutes. I asked her if I could share her post. Thanks for letting me share this.
“Sarah your funeral today was beautiful…it was packed to capacity with standing room only, just like a Red Sox game. I know you wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. It was full of joy and love and lots of laughter. I made a new friend and finally got to meet Catherine Rhodes, she is a delightful person and I can see why you two got along so well. The food was yummy too. There was a handsome man in line behind me who said he only wanted a cookie, I told him he should cut the line and that I was pretty sure you would have approved, life is short after all… go straight for the desert! Also, the sneakers….sneakers for Sarah were everywhere. It was such an awesome testament to the all star you are. I was happy to not have to wear dressy, uncomfortable high heels so thank you for that, but trying to find a matching outfit was a bit of a challenge. I’m guess you and your awesome sense of humor had counted on that. Finally, the music. It filled me up and made my heart soar..Oh I hope you got to hear it! Such beautiful voices all signing just for you! I did shed a tear or two, thinking of your courageous battle, your beautiful smile, and your kind heart. I’m sorry I never made it over with those gluten free treats from Glastonbury bakery we talked about, but I want to thank you for the beautiful soul were, for lunchtime conversations, and for being an awesome guidance counselor, even on the days when it was hard. My sneakers for Sarah will continue to walk on in your memory and you shall not be forgotten.
PS. I loved reading the sneaker books and looking at all the photo’s of you. The picture of your 80’s gigantic hair is hilarious!!!! Someone really should have sent that to the Ellen show…but you’re already famous!”
Sarah I met two friends that day. One is Heidi. The other is just a friend whom I have known a while but because of you we’re better friends.
So on Saturday when I’m out there you will be in my thoughts a lot.