What is this blog about? Laugh, Think, and Cry...

My blog is for you and for me. I hope you find some inspiration here. I follow a "laugh, think, and cry" pattern based upon the following quote from Jimmy V (Jim Valvano, former N.C. St. basketball coach) during his final days of battling cancer in 1993. Btw, It it is quite OK for you to cry in the laugh section, think in the cry section, and laugh in the think section... :) Click here if you want to view the entire Jimmy V speech.

“To me, there are three things we all should do every day. We should do this every day of our lives. Number one is laugh. You should laugh every day. Number two is think. You should spend some time in thought. And number three is, you should have your emotions moved to tears, could be happiness or joy. But think about it. If you laugh, you think, and you cry, that's a full day. That's a heck of a day. You do that seven days a week; you're going to have something special.”


A lot has happened since I began this blog last fall. When I selected Jimmy Valvano’s “Laugh, Think, and Cry” speech to use as model of inspiration for my theme I had no idea that cancer would strike my family like it has in the last year. My older sister Susan recently buried her husband Glenn E. Hall (49) after an incredibly grueling and difficult battle versus a very rare and aggressive cancer called alveolar rhabdomyosacrcoma. It began attacking his brain last fall in what initially appeared to be a sinus infection. There was no indication to think it was anything else. By the time it was detected it had left a trail of destruction of irreparable damage.

My younger sister DeAnn currently battles ovarian cancer. She was diagnosed on October 5th, 2010. Her fight continues.

On September 13th, 2011 my beautiful queen Stephanie picked me up from the gym after a long workout. Moments later I learned that my wife of 25 years, my best friend, the mother of our four amazing children, confirmed one of our worst fears. Stephanie has breast cancer. We held each other tight and the tears flowed. Our world has been rocked yet we are certain we can and will still be standing after it is all said and done.

Stephanie and I have decided to share her battle. We have been preaching and living the word “challenge” over the past few years. Our lifestyle has changed and we have been blessed to meet so many wonderful people through our running adventures. This is something that would be impossible to keep hidden so we choose to open up and invite others to come along for this “run” with us.

Stephanie and our family now face something much more daunting than a mountain marathon or an Ironman triathlon. We understand that many are confused as to why this has happened. We get it that some people don’t know what to say or how to react to the news. It’s ok. We have accepted it for what it is. Cancer is here, it is real, and it is us. Stephanie has it and so our family has it. We are a team. One for all and all for one. We are fighting to save our Mommy, our friend, and my wife. Early detection and current medical technology coupled with faith, love, and hope give us a fighting chance, a chance that not all cancer patients receive. We are grateful for this. Stephanie is young, strong, and tougher than nails. Our family and the doctors are doggedly determined that we are going to defeat this foe.

We plan to use this opportunity to become stronger, better people. As the storm clouds gather and the rain comes pouring down as it most assuredly will, we hope you can find the rays of sunlight with us and in some way become a stronger person yourself. The goal of my blog was to inspire and be inspired. Stephanie shares that same wish as she tells her story... stephsfight.blogspot.com

Tick tock...

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Why am I doing this?!!

Hello family, friends, training partners, and fellow endurance sport nut jobs,
I seriously questioned my sanity when I hit the “confirm order” & “send” buttons to become a participant in the 2011 Ford Ironman Florida Triathlon.  A 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride, and 26.2 mile run? Yeah, that sounds like a fun vacation! Am I crazy? Don’t answer that.
 After confessing my foolish decision to one of my close friends, he suggested that I blog this journey and take a few people along for the swim, ride, and run. OK, let's do it, but we need to get something straight before the horn sounds and we sprint to the water. I will be very, very clear here. I AM NOT AN ENDURANCE ATHLETEREALLY, I'M NOT.  Yours truly is a former football, basketball, and track athlete from the 80's who despised running further than 400 meters or playing any sport that did not involve a ball.  So, why do an Ironman? Hmmm, good question. Follow me and I'll try to entertain you while examining that query over the next 11 months or so (1-2 blogs per month).
 And, as you will see—I hope, this blog is really not about me, but the wonderful ideas, things, and amazing people that inspire me. My hope is that what motivates me may stoke the fire within you, whether it currently is a fading ember or a raging bonfire. This will be fun for me and help me stay on track. I hope you will follow the blog and enjoy the experience with me. Let's get started, we've got a lot to do and little time to do it. 

Goal:  Finish the Ford Ironman Florida Triathlon, November 5, 2011, Panama City, FL
Current Weight: 213   Ironman Goal Weight: 189
Current Training: Light swimming, biking, and core strengthening—I’m actually in off season mode right now (it's basketball season!!) and have been eating too much chocolate (is that possible?)
Current Injury Status: Chronic calf muscle issues (both legs). Scar tissue buildup from previous muscle tears (basketball injuries and more recent running & triathlon injuries) have weakened the muscle and make me susceptible to continued injury. My physical therapists have located the scar tissue in multiple spots on both legs and are attempting to get rid of as much of it as possible. Fun. More on this in the future. 

LAUGH: People pay for this! Huh?
Now, this is funny to me and not so funny to my wife, Stephanie.  People pay for Ironman events.  That’s correct. You actually pay good money to swim 2.4 miles, bike 112 miles, and run 26.2 miles. My entry fee + the extra ones in small print for Ironman Florida= $614.43. Add on air fare, hotel, food, stowaways (family), bike shipping, Body Glide, sexy spandex attire (does my butt look fat in these bike shorts?), and assorted triathlon geek paraphernalia and this becomes insanely expensive.  Oops, this should have been listed in the Think and/or Cry sections!

THINK: Wondering, Dreaming, & Doing
Can I do this?  I want to see if I can do this. I hope I can do this. I just saw someone else do this. Someday I will do this. Wow, I did it!  Any great accomplishment is born in the wondering and dreaming stages. Unfortunately, at times I’ve stayed in the wondering and dreaming stages too long and too often. I think we all have made that mistake. Write it down, sign up, set a goal, tell someone, and make a plan. Enjoy the wondering and dreaming (it’s healthy and it’s fun), but don’t forget about the doing part. I am going to do this Ironman.

CRY: Running with my Dad
Endurance sport is not my thing. Really. Long distance swimming, biking, and running are very difficult for me and there are many times when I want to quit. It is in those moments when I go for a run with my Dad. For those of you who knew my father and know of my youth, this will make sense to you. For those of you who don’t, I will paint the picture for you. My Dad attended every single organized basketball/baseball/football game and track meet (and two swim meets) I participated in from elementary school through two years of college football. Every single one. He was my biggest fan and made me believe in myself. And even though he passed away too soon in 2003, my Dad often swims, rides, and runs with me.  Although I cannot see him, I know he’s there and I can hear his voice feeding me a never ending supply of encouragement. Who will be by your side when you think you can’t go any further? Find that someone special and invite them along…