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, March 31, 2011

Time Marches On...

March 31, 2011
Hello family, friends, training partners, and fellow endurance sport nut jobs;
Here is blog entry #3—time marches on…if you haven’t read #1 & #2, they’re worth the few minutes of catch up time (I think). Thanks for following. This is good therapy for me and I hope it is worth your time, too. I promise more pics in the next one as I venture more into the great outdoors. Hello spring!!

Goal: Finish the Ford Ironman Florida Triathlon, November 5, 2011, Panama City, FL
Current Weight: 203 (hit a plateau & the end of basketball season did a nasty number on me—don’t worry though, I am back on track now)   
Ironman Goal Weight: A lean, strong, healthy 189
Current Training: Light swimming, biking, running, and hill climbs—mainly just having fun. Heavy emphasis on functional strength training and core work. My main focus is to change my body to prepare for things to come.  It’s working, although I must admit at age 46 it is at a pace slower to my liking.
Current Injury Status: None that I know of. Yes!! 

LAUGH: Lessons in Biking or “Why I Should Not Ride a Bicycle”

I cannot imagine how I’m going to ride 112 miles. I kind of have to laugh when I think about it. The 56 mile leg on my half Ironman last year was pure hell. Hades. Fire. Brimstone with Lucifer in tow. 82 degrees combined with 20-25 mph sustained winds and 30-35 mph gusts. Fun…not! My longest bicycle journey to date is about 65 miles. I will go 100+ several times before November but I probably shouldn’t. I’ve never had good fortune on bikes. The incidents are too numerous to describe here, but so you can get a little taste of my biking prowess…

My first mishap occurred sometime during my Wonder Years…the 70’s. Tuffskins, Sears catalogs, Corn Flakes & sugar, disco, and Evel Knievel. He was from Butte, Montana. And I was from Butte Drive in Twin Falls, Idaho. The comparisons end there and my bike troubles begin here...

So it was one day (about age 7), I’m riding along in front of my house, doing my thing, and all of a sudden I hear a blaring horn, “Hooooooooooooooooooonk!”  I slam on the brakes and look up! Staring at my grill is the chrome grill of a late 60ish white Ford station wagon. The bumper is 12 inches from my front tire and just a few feet further is my mother behind the wheel. Yep, I would have become a fleshy, mangled hood ornament! Awkward gulp. Oops. A rather stern tongue lashing concerning safety procedures followed. Hard to believe that one day I would teach Dr. Ed…. J

Months later my poor riding skills were on display again when I drove shin deep into a small pond during a family vacation at Sun Valley. More lectures on safety and “watching where you are going” ensued. My Mom also told me that I “probably should not ride bikes anymore”. Moms are usually right. Little did she know at the time that she was chastising a future wannabe Ironman.

Moving forward to 8 years of age… I had received a sweeeeet stingray bike for my birthday—thank you Mom & Dad— and I was in heaven! This machine was an “Aerobee Renegade” and I’ll bet you never had one, I think they only made 5 of them! Whatever. It was a beautiful metallic green and black with a mean lookin’ hornet guy painted on the chain guard. It was “bad” before “bad” became “good”! Actually, it was NEAT (a great 70’s word), fully equipped with a banana seat and a big, fat slick rear tire. Wow, I was truly blessed! I enjoyed many hours of riding it during the last days of summer before entering the 4th grade. My teacher was going to be Mrs. Ferguson. She was the prettiest teacher at Morningside Elementary. Oh yeah. I can still remember her stunning violet eye shadow, yep even 4th graders were talking about it, and I knew I was so lucky to be in her class because all of the 5th & 6th grade boys told me so. Thus, you can imagine my extreme embarrassment when I arrived one week (yes, week) late for class with the note of shame. I was so humiliated when I handed the light green sheet of paper (from the stenographer’s pads my mother always used as a secretary) and watched that foxy lady read it. Thank heaven she did not read it aloud! On it was inscribed the following in my mother’s beautiful handwriting: “Please excuse Steven this past week, he had a groin injury.” Yep, groin injury. Hey Mommy, how about helping out a guy with “stomach flu” or “a sprained ankle”?! Nope. Groin injury! The onions. The nuggets. The family jewels. Ouch! I had been doing my best Evel Knievel impersonation during a routine jump off the edge of our driveway/curb when I lost posterior traction and slid violently off the banana seat onto the crossbar <guys insert cringe and moan here> <girls insert giggles here>. The two things I remember most about this unfortunate experience (besides “the note”) was limping to the garage and writhing in pain on the floor for what seemed to be hours. The second recollection is lying on my bed spread eagle for several days with a crotch shiner—every color of the rainbow was represented. Lovely! Wow, that was fun! Fortunately, I made a full recovery and my four wonderful children are proof of that. J

Still, I probably should not ride a bike...

THINK: The Race Magnet
It’s a bizarre thing I will call the Race Magnet. The invisible, yet seemingly real force that beckons, prods, pulls, and entices me (and countless others) back to yet another online entry, another shirt, another race number, another event. There is a feeling I get in these races that I don’t seem to feel in the adversarial competition I experience when playing or coaching a team sport. But, why oh why do I return when I often suffer enormous pain during these crazy, tortuous events?! Remember, I’m not an endurance athlete. Really, I’m not!

Perhaps it is the collective support that permeates throughout the group of race directors, volunteers, spectators, and participants. Or that I find myself rooting for the other person and competing with them rather than against them? Surely part of it must be the inspiring people and stories that are at every race. Maybe it is the satisfying feeling of doing something difficult and sharing that with complete strangers who often become instant friends? Or, what about the fact I am getting fitter and stronger despite getter older? Do the beautiful venues and incredible scenery at race sites attract me? Could it also be the precious friends and family who share these experiences with me? Maybe it’s the “hair standing up on your arm” phenomenon that kicks in just prior to start time? Yeah, it’s all of these…

The Race Magnet has me in its force field and I thank God for that. I’ll keep rolling as long as I’m able, and then I’ll become a frequent race volunteer.

 CRY: Dick & Rick Hoyt—The Unbelievable Team Hoyt

It was just a matter of time before I wrote about Dick & Rick Hoyt. There are few people who can stir my emotions like the father/son tandem of Team Hoyt. Their story is nothing short of incredible. Steph and I have a signed Team Hoyt poster on a wall in our home that is a reminder to us that we really can overcome all adversity and challenges that lie in our path.

If you’ve seen the following YouTube piece before, it’s worth another view. If you haven’t seen it before it is a must watch. I have friends and family send me this link several times a year with a note saying something like this, “Have you seen this? It is amazing! You’ll love it”. Yep, I’ve seen it many times, it is amazing, and yes, I do love it.  I never tire watching it. It is a testament to the limitless power and strength of the human spirit. You’ll want to share it with others and you’ll want to learn more about these extraordinary men. Please do.

Grab some tissue and get inspired.

(there are MANY Team Hoyt tributes on YouTube—this is one of the best)