My good friend and 2007 training partner Ian has blood cancer. He would have been my training partner in 2008 but instead he tore his ACL (got it fixed), wrecked his shoulder (got that fixed), cheered for the Giants during the Super Bowl (a mistake in itself) and tore his hamstring all between Thanksgiving and well, whenever the Super Bowl is. You can imagine how it is to depend on a guy who is the human equivalent of a 8 year old Yugo though slightly more handsome but sporting some Magnum PI worthy chest hair. Ian then starts to recover from all of his injuries and accompanied surgeries, swimming a few thousand K in the pool, getting in regular sessions at Endurance PTC and was just starting to throw in a few miles of running in the 7:30 range. Within days he finds out he's got this cancer and starts his chemo.
Fast forward a few weeks.
We're now swimming in the Belvedre Lagoon, showing up at 5:30am to swim .6 miles one way and then back. The group contains more doctors than not, so it's a safe place to be and it's akin to an open water master's workout - except it's pretty much swim hard, stop, give the thumbs up and then swim back and mock Loren as he strolls in about 2 hours after everyone has finished (my supposed nickname is 'mermaid'). Last year to even complete this thrice weekly ritual I had to wear zoomers and Ben publicly referred to me as a flounder (a few times). This year I'm ditching the zoomers and rely on what's available to me on race day - my legs and arms.
Ian has always been a stronger swimmer than I am but then I catch 'the furry one' on the bike and we duke it out on the run (in Santa Barbara last year I literally ran on his heels for about 4 miles until I saw my wife and then I slowed down in the last .5 mile). So I figure with Ian full of chemo drugs (even getting his treatment within 12 hours of swimming) that I've got a chance. You might be picturing me wheeling this brittle creature from the car, with a blanket on his lap, hat slightly askew on his bald head, a shallow face covered in pale skin, etc... Instead he looks normal and healthy - sporting a wetsuit, goggles and swim hat. He get into the water, we start the swim and I see him 17 mins later at the other end where he's fully rested treading water, fighting cancer and pointing out that my left arm is doing sort of a lobster claw-like thing as it enters the water. Ben says I look like I'm too mechanical and think too much. Then we turn around where Ian disappears into the distance, with his cancer as Ben comes from behind me and pretends I'm Steve Sexton and whacks me with his arm as he flies past me in the water with less effort than I use sleeping. Sorry, this post was about Ian and cancer and somehow I've made it about Ben...
My wetsuit is also now chafing my shoulder so bad I've got this giant spot where it's raw and it hurts and I miss Greta.
So in closing, Ian who is fighting an incurable cancer (but beatable into remission) is once again mending amazingly fast and in the meantime is still spanking the Lorpeedo in the water. He's pretty incredible, motivated and hairy - like Chewbacca but no gun. Oh and by the way, he's ironically the chairman of the 2008 Leukemia Cup Regatta - so please visit his site and throw some support his way - if for no other reason than to keep beating me in the water providing me with tremendous humiliation. If not, there are pictures of his cute wife and I think you can see him without his shirt on - which is probably the highlight for thousands of women.
Here is Ian cheering at a local race (he's wearing the ZteaM tri suit)
Last night I made 2 dozen Memorial Muffins and today there are 15. Score: Loren 5 and Ben 4.