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...

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

This One is Personal!

Goal:  Finish the Ford Ironman Florida Triathlon, November 5, 2011, Panama
Current Weight: 187 (college football playing weight—wahooooooo!)
Ironman Goal Weight: A lean, strong, healthy 189
Current Training: The hay is in the barn.

THINK: 140.6 for Stephanie

Pain hurts! Well duh, of course it does! I hate pain. I avoid it. My pain threshold is lower than my triathlete heart rate (at my last doctor visit I set off the “low heart rate” alarm during a blood pressure check—the nurse was freaking out until he asked me if I was a runner or a long distance triathlete!). Now, while I don’t consider myself a wimp, I really just cannot stand pain. Which is why…I AM NOT AN ENDURANCE ATHLETE. REALLY, I’M NOT! Please, keep pain and suffering away from me. Can someone please pass the ibuprofen?!

Moving on to mile whatever…
This may not make any sense to you, but I’ve had a change of heart. On Saturday when I participate in the Florida Ironman, I actually want to hurt. Bizarre, huh? But, yes, I am looking forward to the agony. I know I can handle marathon sting and I know I can deal with half-ironman torture. But, can I endure the mental and physical pounding of an Ironman Triathlon? 140.6 miles?! I hope so. I believe so. And since Stephanie was diagnosed with cancer, I have felt like I need to and am supposed to…

Yes, it has been my recent hope and prayer that this insane race can help inspire Steph to continue her valiant fight against cancer with the same vigor and positive attitude that has carried her and our family thus far. I guess what I’m saying is that I want to hurt like Steph is hurting in order to help her. Somehow and some way I want to take her pain away and it’s frustrating to be incapable of such a thing. Now, I know completing an Ironman is far easier than beating cancer, but it’s all I’ve got right now. It just seems like the next best thing. It actually feels like the only thing I can do at this moment. So, Florida Ironman, please dish out some nasty, aching, throbbing, awful grief to  Athlete #2251 on Saturday. Yep, bring on the pain, baby!

Dozens of races and several thousand training hours have brought me to this starting line, but it will be Stephanie that gets me to that finish line. I will need a lot of help to pull this off. I’m sure my Dad will be there with me, in fact, I know he will. Others will be there too in spirit and I will think of many of you--my family, my players, relay crazies, and all of my friends. But, Stephanie will be first and foremost in my mind as I swim, bike, and run in Panama City. Every swim stroke, every pedal crank, and every footstep is for her, my queen and my best friend. This race has taken on such importance and deep meaning to me. It is difficult to explain how my perspective of this race has changed in the past 6 weeks. I have to get this done. I have no choice but to hope, believe, battle, and conquer for Stephanie. This is NOT just another race or crazy endurance event. This one is personal.    


  1. Geez, for a tough triathlete, you sure can make a girl cry. Very sweet. I've been thinking how parallel this race is with Steph's own battle. Very beautifully put. GOOD LUCK SUPERMAN!! Can't wait to see you cross that finish line! Go 2251!

  2. Ha Ha I can remember the days when you hurt your back and laid on a table yelling at us during practice. You ARE a little weak when it comes to pain... I am stoked for you though coach. You are one of the most influential people in my life and continue to be today. I wish you the best during the race and your wife as she continues her battle. Finish strong and realize that we are all always a T.E.A.M. I would do anything to help you guys.

  3. Good luck to you and Steph. I sure miss you both but live the blogs. You both inspire me. I am wishing you lots of pain and a great finish on Saturday. You are superman #2251!

  4. Thanks for sharing this. I'll be rooting and praying for you. Thanks for the example friendship you and Stephanie share with me. God bless you both!

  5. Congratulations on becoming an IRONMAN!