Tag Archive: Ryan Shay


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I missed the funeral, but thought of this poem and decided to post the Housman poem for Ryan.  He won every CC meet following his third in HS and continued to impress us with his determination and ability well into his professional career.  

A.E. Housman: To an athlete dying young

The time you won your town the race
We chaired you through the market-place;
Man and boy stood cheering by,
And home we brought you shoulder-high.

To-day, the road all runners come,
Shoulder high-high we bring you home,
And set you at your threshold down,
Townsman of a stiller town.

Smart lad, to slip betimes away
From fields where glory does not stay
And early though the laurel grows
It whithers quicker than the rose.

Eyes the shady night has shut
Cannot see the record cut,
And silence sounds no worse than cheers
After earth has stopped the ears:

Now you will not swell the rout
of lads that wore their honours out,

Runners whom renown outran
And the name died before the man.

So set, before its echos fade,
The fleet foot on the sill of shade,
And hold to the low lintel up
The still-defended challenge-cup.

And round that early-laurelled head
Will flock to gaze the strengthless dead,
And find unwithered on its curls
The garland briefer than a girl’s.

We drove my path and found I’m running almost exactly two miles which means I’m averaging a 12-minute mile. Even better, should I decide to add an extra mile here and there, I can simply double my loop. And getting to 20-minutes means a 10-minutes mile. I think this is an easily obtainable goal.

For more information about running or preparing for a marathon, visit Coach Joe!

Ryan’s funeral is today. I was planning on going, but woke up with a really sore throat. Trying now to nurse myself back to health. I’ll certainly be thinkin of Ryan and wondering how Stephan did in yesterday’s race. Ryan’s brother flew to Utah Friday to compete Saturday and fly back in time for today’s funeral. Our thoughts are with the Shay family.

No Pain

I started running on Monday and by Wednesday evening was in tremendous pain.  I’m only mentioning this beacuse today (Friday) I’m feeling great.  My body is handling the adjustment to our new routine wonderfully.  I’ll be running in an hour and am looking forward to discovering how feeling good will positively impact tonight’s run.

I’m still feeling a bit low about Ryan, but the running is a good inspiration.  I think of it as ccontinuing someone else’s joy and making some of that joy my own.  I didn’t know Ryan all that well – we were in the same class and neighbors, but mostly I saw him running.  It’s strange to think he’s gone and I think hardest to think of someone in such great health dying so young.  It just doesn’t make sense.

Much of the pain in running is from the body’s process of rebuilding.  Sometimes pain in life offers up a similar marker.

Setting Goals

I’m setting a goal of making it from home, around the loop and back home again in under 20 minutes.  I made it in about 30 minutes before, so I think it’s a reasonable goal (especially if I’m not dragging two dogs).  I’ll be taking one dog at a time in the future.

Tomorrow night I’ll be running for Ryan and the Shay family at a candlelight vigil in Central Lake.  I think it’s a nice thing for the school to do and it reminds me of how wonderful the community is and was.

What goals have you set recently?  Are you able to keep and make goals, do you require a team approach to goal-setting or are you self-motivated?

Connected

On Saturday, I was sharing with friends the story of a young man who had died a few years previous. He was a distance-runner with incredible talent. We were in CC together, but I never saw much of him because he was always that small figure in the distance running away from me. That’s probably what most of his competition saw.

Chris died when he was 25 – a self-inflicted death. I had just told my husband about him; about this guy in school who was really sweet. I had a slight crush on him at one point and then my husband came home the following day and asked for his last name again. It was my husband who gave me the news.

After lunch on Saturday, I came home to do more sorting and came across some articles I had saved on another distnace-runner, Ryan Shay. He was once a neighbor of mine and was up there with the likes and talents of Chris Vranich – always ahead of the others. I didn’t know in that moment, reading over the articles on Ryan, that he had died that morning. He fell during the Olympic trials in New York at the 5 1/2 mile point. It’s suspected his heart gave out.

This morning, while processing, I realized both Chris and Ryan seemed super-human to me.  They were incredible athletes, students, people and to lose both of them represents a huge loss to the sport, to our state, to our communities and in our hearts individually.

My favorite memory of Ryan: I was collecting the mail at the mailbox and I heard a swish and turned in time to see Ryan pass. He nodded a hello, but his focus was clear. His body glided over the road in long strides; it was supernatural. When I discovered those articles, I thought to myself, Ryan will make it to the Olympics some day.

It doesn’t matter that he didn’t, he would have. The beautiful thing of it is that he was living his life until the very last fraction of a second. And he likely died flying, the way he ran; a sort of miraculous leap from the hard ground into endless blue sky. Each step appearing at once the last. Each leap infinite. And this last race won.