I’m doing this for Lindsay
by Jamie D.
I shared this story with Coach Joe on Tuesday and it may benefit someone out there. It is how I came to train for a triathlon, found Coach Joe, and my road to recovery.
In March of 2008, I met a beautiful woman named Lindsay Gillilan. She was everything I was looking for and we started dating shortly thereafter. It was love at first sight and we were soon talking about marriage, family, and the white picket fence she had always dreamed of. During this time, Lindsay was training for the Chicago Triathlon. I wasn’t training with her, but encouraged and supported anyway I could. On June 19th, 2009, all my dreams were fulfilled as I asked Lindsay to marry me and she accepted.
The next two days were the happiest two days of my life. I was on a cloud and never wanted to come down. Lindsay wasn’t feeling the greatest and had a pain in her calf, but we thought she had pulled something during a training session. Everything in my life came crashing down on June 21st at 12:04 AM as Lindsay began to seizure and passed away three hours later. I went from being the happiest man on the planet to watching my heart, my soul, my love pass away in front of me. I called 911, began CPR, and there was nothing I could do to save her. The ambulance came and got her, but it was too late. She had a pulmonary embolism, a blood clot in her calf. It shifted into her lungs and stopped her heart. At 3:26 AM, she was pronounced dead.
I felt as though I was in a bad dream and would never wake up. I laid on the couch and cried, for hours, days; I did not want to get up and could only think about making it through the next few minutes. I fought my way through the week and spoke at her memorial service. I stood in front of a crowded church and spoke about Lindsay, how she tried to truly live life.
The day after the memorial service, I went for a long jog. I did not know where I was going, I really didn’t care. I just started running and then kept running. After my run, I was able to think a little clearer than I had before. I kept it up and kept running, increasing the distance each time.
I decided that on June 27th, one week after the one year anniversary of her passing, I was going to do the Twin Lakes Triathlon. My only problem was that I didn’t know how to swim, so I needed to learn. A close friend of mine referred me to Coach Joe’s swim class. I signed up, informed Coach that I had no idea what I was doing, and then he started to teach me how to swim. It took a while, but I put my heart into learning the strokes. I practiced everything Coach told me to do and practiced it with a newfound passion for life. I was surrounded by great training partners and everyone was great. Two weeks ago, everything clicked and I was swimming!!! I had put in the work, now it was time to try out this new stroke. I have been swimming every other day since I figured out how. I decided to push myself yesterday and I tried to swim a mile in the pool. It wasn’t pretty at the end, my whole body hurt, but I remembered all of Coach Joe’s instruction, kept my form and I did it!!!
Training for this triathlon has become my form of therapy. I am not only doing it for myself, but I am doing it for Lindsay. I am going to finish something that she started. This is only the beginning for me and my training. I will continue to push forward like she would have wanted me to. I will not be stopped; I will continue to overcome any obstacle I come across. I plan on working with Experience Triathlon in more ways than just the swim class. With Coach Joe’s guidance in the pool, great training partners, and a beautiful angel looking down on me, I will succeed. For her and for myself…