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...

Monday, June 20, 2011


Every improvement starts here. Now is the time to begin.
LAUGH: Fundraiser…
A dang good chuckle from a recent conversation with my biggest fan and most ardent supporter: my wonderful wife and best friend, Stephanie…
“We should organize a 5K to raise money for your missing butt.”  J

THINK: Primal  
So what is “primal”? It’s closely related to the Paleo and Caveman stuff out there. Google it. Now, far be it from me to critique “diets”, “lifestyles”, and “meal plans”. Me no expert. Me just dumb basketball coach. Me have to do what me think best. But, me very firm in decision to avoid fads and go with long term strategy. Pills, mail order food, or injections? Uh, no. Plastic surgery? Puuuuhlease! Lapband? Definitely not. Eating bark? Hmmmm, maybe.

In December I stumbled upon the Primal Blueprint when I was searching for nutrition and lifestyle plans that are used by current endurance athletes (ironically, the author of Primal Blueprint is a former marathoner/Ironman triathlete who points out the dangers of becoming an emaciated endurance athlete!) The ideas were intriguing and so I explored them further. Liking what I saw from a nutrition standpoint, I picked up my caveman spear and threw on a loincloth (ok, I’m exaggerating). But, I can declare that I have been “semi-primal” for several months.  I don’t know if I will ever be 100% primal, but I’m not so worried about that right now. My focus now is on making steady improvements and adjustments to my nutrition while I continue to learn.

Bottom line: I am losing fat and gaining muscle. The measurements don’t lie--more on them next time. This is amazing to me. This is something I haven’t been able to do on previous body transformation attempts. Cool. Basically, I eat a lot of plants and animals and ditch (most of) the sugar, wheat, and processed garbage on the inner aisles at the store (remember, I am only “semi-primal” at present).

More specifically, I am eating much lower carb totals and my body is enjoying ample muscle-building protein while burning whale blubber from my still considerable fat storage facility that surrounds my midsection. I was sure life without my oatmeal, bread, peanut butter, and buckets of sugar, etc. would be brutal, even torturous. Not so, my friends. I have LOTS o’ energy, I’m never hungry, and I feel better. In fact, I feel ridonkulously good and I credit the move to Primal in helping me bust a 3 year weight plateau naturally and without going hungry. I've turned the corner, folks. Perhaps me will really sport a loincloth and chuck spears at wild animals on next Jordan River Trail run hunt. Well, on second thought, uh…no.

Now, I’m sure at this point some of you may be worried about me. Steve has lost it. He’s certifiably nuts. Gonzo. He’ll be reciting yoga mantras under a pine tree and inhaling Al Gore’s hot air by the end of the summer. Relax. I haven’t totally freaked out. There is no pony tail, Grateful Dead posters, or VW van just yet. But, I did purchase some light blue camo Vibrams and am about 6 weeks into my barefoot running experiment--more to come on that in a future post. J 

C’mon Steve, what are you eating?!
If you really want to know more about The Primal Blueprint, you’ll have to read it yourself...it is very interesting stuff.

OK, ok…here are two of my favorite Primal meals that began as personal experiments. The first I call  (Semi) Primal SPLAT (I named it this after the sound it makes in the pan on the final turn before its spectacular finish!). I never thought I’d be one to eat veggies for breakfast! Wow, maybe I have freaked out?! The second is MyBAS: My Big Awesome Salad. Enjoy!

Note: (BH= big handful, SH=small handful, ESH=extra small handful – I don’t use measuring cups or spoons, I just grab it and chuck it in the pan like a good Caveman would)

*(Semi) Primal SPLAT
PRIMAL SPLAT!  My dog Champ loves it, too!
Carrots (6-8 baby or 2 medium/large)
#Bacon (3 slices—)
#Sausage or ham (2-3 links or equivalent)
ESH Onions (whatever kind you like)
ESH Walnuts (weird I know, but it works for me)
#2-4 Eggs (how much protein do you want/need?)
2-3 BH Lettuce (or any greens of your choice)

#grass fed, farm fresh is my first choice

Cook bacon and/or sausage first and cut into pieces (we often precook it all at once and then use it later). Saute carrots in butter (yep, the real stuff) over medium heat. Add in onions for 1-2 minutes after carrots are semi-cooked. Crack in the eggs over the carrots/onions. Sprinkle bacon/sausage pieces evenly over eggs. Cook to over easy or over hard stage—whatever you like—and then use large spatula to turn it all over making sure that it SPLATS! Near the end of cooking or after you remove it to a plate, top it off with the greens. This colorful dish is a nutrient-filled and protein-packed tummy-filler that will prepare you to move boulders and chase down elk! Yum! I plan on trying some variations of this—I may have a six pack of SPLAT recipes soon.

MyBAS--My Big Awesome Salad (this culinary delight provides me with 3 days of big awesome lunches at school). I spent 45 of my 46 years as a salad-hater so this was a big stretch for me…my Mommy is shocked.

4 BH mixed greens (I like Romaine/Green Leaf lettuce & spinach)
BH  sliced and/or diced baby carrots
SH  cashews
1 sliced & diced avocado
2 BH diced chicken (I often used leftovers or precook extra on another day—you can use other meat, too)
ESH sunflower seeds
4 sliced & diced hard-boiled eggs

Toss it and then top with your favorite dressing. I depart from conventional practices here and drizzle mine with a little non-primal (I told you I’m not 100%!) BBQ sauce. Steph thinks I’m nuts, but I love it and my taste buds just don’t dig any salad dressings. None, including the one you want to tell me about. Save your dressing breath. Me no like them.

MyBAS is a crunchy creation full of yummy flavors and packed with a primal protein punch! This lunchtime treat will get you ready for an afternoon and evening of hunting wild boar with a medium sized rock!  Give it a taste test this week and tell me what you think…

Grok on!

CRY: The Faces
I’ve seen dozens of them during the past 4 years at races. You can find them at virtually any running event or triathlon. I’ve stared at them. I’ve read the names and the captions. The faces strike an emotional chord with me.

What faces? There’s one. Over there on that guy’s shirt. Who is she? It is someone’s Mommy. She is a loving sister, the funny aunt, or the girl next door. The faces on the shirts belong to those who sadly left their loved ones too soon. There is a beautiful, yet heartbreaking story behind each face on every shirt. He or she is running for someone else.

My eyes are drawn to the faces on the shirts like a magnet to steel. I try not to stare, but I do. I forget about running and begin contemplating the precious value of life and time. Instantly aches and pains seem to disappear. I feel a sudden rush of energy, a renewal of spirit, a longing to run faster, to be stronger, to be kinder, and to just be better in every way. It’s a reverent yet enthusiastic sensation fueled by the gratitude for the opportunity I have right then and there to be alive--to have the ability and opportunity to move, to run, and to share the experience with my family and/or friends.

I don’t know the people or stories behind the faces on those shirts. I can only imagine. But though they remain strangers to me, there is an odd familiarity, an unexplainable connection between us. They inspire me to carry on with a rejuvenated appreciation and enthusiasm for life. 

Let’s go for a run and have some steaks afterward...
Get your hands off my steaks or you'll meet the sharp end of my spear!
C'mon followers, let's hear some comments or share a "primal" recipe (I'll bet you have one and you may not have even thought of it as "primal"!).