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, October 3, 2011


Goal:  Finish the Ford Ironman Florida Triathlon, November 5, 2011, Panama City, FL
Current Weight: 189
Ironman Goal Weight: A lean, strong, healthy 189—now moving to 185 and struggling to rid myself of “Mr. Grissle”, a pesky combination of skin and blubber (sorry for the visual) that stubbornly adorns my shrinking waistline.
Current Training: I am in my final “build” phase before beginning a tapering phase before the race—the butterflies are swirling inside and the excitement is growing.
Current Injury Status: None.

THINK: The Weaker Sex?   

While hanging out in the boys’ coaches office I once heard a colleague say, “I’m not a male chauvinist pig (there’s a flashback to some groovy 70’s slang), I just think men are better than women!”

When I was novice marathoner/triathlete, I would get a little miffed when a girl, woman, or lady passed me on the course. Growing up as a male in the throes of American sports culture and having spent many hours in scores of foul-smelling locker rooms, I suppose I have a smidgen of chauvinism trickling through my veins when it comes to athletic events. I confess I have on occasion used insensitive phrases like “lose the skirt” and “you throw like a girl”. What can I say? I need to repent and I have…

Now, later in life with a handful of marathons and a mess of triathlons from sprint to half ironman distance under my race belt, I have been an eyewitness to the impressive performances of women in endurance events. Don’t be fooled by the cute colors, pony tails, or tutus. These chicks are tough. Some are fast, some are slow, some are experienced and others are just learning. But, they are all tuuuuuufffff! Wanna know why? Mothers. Yep, mothers. Let me explain…

Most of these endurance machines are mothers, and the ones who aren’t have what it takes to become one! What I am getting at is that women are tough enough to give birth! Yep, they lug around a human bowling ball for months in their tummies and then, well, you know what’s next. Yiiiiiiiikes! I was fortunate enough to witness the birth of my four wonderful children. Staying out of the way I let the expert do the work. It was flat out jaw-dropping incredible to watch my wife in action! I am married to one tough mother. She’s a four time amazing Mommy. I couldn’t do it (duh!) but I wouldn’t want to do it even if I could. Let’s face it fellas, women have a pain threshold and mental toughness that is special. You won’t hear me call them the “weaker” sex. They are steady and steadfast. They can endure and overcome pain that I cannot. They have my R-E-S-P-E-C-T (cue up Aretha Franklin here) and admiration. Now, I’m not saying that us dudes are total wimps, but let’s tip our caps to the gals and the next time a determined princess or queen passes you on the course, don’t take it personally, she’s just running like a mother...