Sunday, March 11, 2012

In Memory of Ken Brosseau

Continuing from my previous post: I went back out to FATS the very next week for my long run on the trails. I could not help that the previous week’s long run still echoed in my thoughts, but also knew that I had to run the same trails again to get out of this funk. With backpack on for extra weight, I started out from the main parking area and ran into one of the guys from the previous week who was riding with the group who lost their close friend Ken Brosseau. He recognized me and stopped to say thanks again for what I did. He said there was going to be a small gathering with Ken’s wife, brother, and friends in the afternoon on the trail where Ken passed. I told him thanks and was going to time my run so I could be there to give Ken’s wife my condolence.

After completing the Deep Step loop in under an hour, I refilled my bottle and headed back out to Skinny and Brown Wave loops. I was strong with the hills, and felt like I had to hold back with my pace to not over extend myself this early in the run. As I approached the lower section of Brown Wave, my thoughts were heavy, but also relieved knowing I would not be alone. I heard some conversations in the distance as the family made their way down the access road to the trail. I introduced myself to Ken’s wife (Marjorie) and told her I was sorry for her loss. I could see strength, yet sadness, in her eyes. She thanked me for being there for her husband and all that we did. I was amazed with her strength to maintain her composure as we approached the very site on the trails which Ken passed away. Some of the guys made a cross from the handle bars to mark the trail in memory of Ken.

We stood there in silence for several minutes paying our respect. Then Marjorie commented about how beautiful this site was, and could see why Ken enjoyed riding the trails so much. We walked a little further down the trail and stopped at a large fallen tree on the side, as Ken’s friend commented about how they would stop here all the time to catch their breath before the climb back to the trail head. He shared a few stories about this being one of Ken’s favorite spots to stop and enjoy some time with his friends. I mostly listened to the conversations, but did get a few minutes to talk with Marjorie as she told me about one of her sons running a 50K ultra race in GA (Sweet Water outside of Atlanta). What a small world!

I’m so glad I was there, and based on how I heard Ken’s friends talk about him, I could tell he was highly respected not only as a friend, but as a standout leader. He was the kind of guy that would be the big brother of a group, a true leader, and always stayed behind to ensure everyone got back safely. A man of great character! I wished I had known him.

Training: The past few weeks have been solid, including a few days in the 80 deg temp range (already – never really had a winter). A reminder of what's to come, and the struggle to acclimate to the heat, which means a slower pace for me. My uphill running strength has improved significantly so I must be doing something right with the changes I’ve made (stairmaster, hill repeats with a weighted vest, and run every hill in sight for all my runs). I have been dealing with a nagging pain on the bottom of my left foot (front pad toward my middle toes) which goes numb when running on it. I’ve been icing it which takes the edge off, and hopefully will work itself out.

Mon – 10 M with hill repeats.
Tues– 15 M with 45 min of stairmaster
Wed – 10 M easy, Weight room
Thurs – Off
Fri – 30 M long run on trails
Sat – 10 M easy
Sun – Weight room


Lauren said...

From reading this post, I can tell that we are alike. I would have wanted to be there for a person I didn't even know. I would have felt like I "knew" him because we both loved the same things. Your experience is one of the things that I fear on my runs. I have seen MANY bloody and bruised mountain bikers, and have heard of worse things. We had a local biker killed by a mountain lion. Then two other ladies were taken (but not killed by the same mountain lion). We had two local runners hit by a drunk driver (they are now quadriplegic) and my own sister has flown over her handlebars more than once (she doesn't mountain bike any more because her back is in such pain).

Anyway, I don't mean to make this about me. God bless Ken Brosseau and his family.

Char said...

It was so nice that you got an opportunity to finish this sad episode in your life. And it was nice that Ken's wife got to meet the stranger who tried to help.

Terri said...

This story puts a lump in my throat! I don't think it was coincidence you were back on the trail the same afternoon his friends and family decided to come out to see the area he passed. I know it had to mean a lot to Ken's family and friends for you to be there. Sounds like he was a wonderful guy.
Training seems to be going very well for you Thomas!

ultra collie said...

from what you said it sounds like it was a good place for him to have his last happy times (if you know what i mean)

Mike said...

I'm not much of a "fate" kind of guy, but it has to be more than a coincidence that you were out on the trails both for Ken and then later for his family.

lindsay said...

It was nice that you were able to be there for the memorial. I'm partly scared of dying during a run, but at the same time can't think of a better way to go (other than in my sleep when I'm 90 next to my husband like in the Notebook).

Black Knight said...

A sad story. The cross is a nice thought in memory of Ken. A good way to remember a friend who passed away.

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