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, December 13, 2011

THE Florida Ironman Recap!


Goal:  Finish the Ford Ironman Florida Triathlon, November 5, 2011. Done. J Before I begin this post, let me emphatically state that I AM NOT AN ENDURANCE ATHLETE. REALLY, I’M NOT…

Ok, here it is: my much awaited and anticipated Florida Ironman recap. J Thanks for your patience! Since landing back in Utah I have been knees and elbows deep in family, cancer fighting, and the new basketball season…

Because I have been bombarded by questions about my Ironman, I’ve decided to use those questions, yes, your questions, to write this post. As always, I hope that I can make you laugh, think, and cry.  This is as much about YOU as it is me. So, here we go.  Here’s the skinny on the 140.6 for Stephanie

Q: Are you going to do another one (Ironman)?
A: I didn’t expect it, but this is the most oft asked question I’ve received. Well, I would have to say no, yes, and maybe. I know, I know, not too committal, huh?

Why “no”? 1) Participating in an Ironman is expensive. You will drop a few thousand dollars and that’s on the low end, 2) my main goal was to finish so at this point I don’t have anything else to prove at the 140.6 distance, & 3) the training is a tremendous drain on your time and your family—it becomes another part-time job, and 4) I AM NOT AN ENDURANCE ATHLETE. REALLY, I’M NOT.

Why “yes”? 1) It was unbelievably cool to be a participant in an Ironman event. You’re a part of something very unique that only a few people will ever  attempt. The atmosphere is energizing. You can feel the electricity—it is a “hair raising” experience. I wouldn’t mind feeling that again. And, I would go back to Panama City, Florida in a heartbeat and hop in the same race again. It kind’s like playing a really sweet golf course again or why I like to order the same thing over and over again at restaurants. Hey, if it works, I stay with it. If I did Florida again, I would be very comfortable with the course and would try and improve my time. 
Why “maybe”? The timing and circumstances would have to be perfect. So we’ll see…

Q: Was the race easier or more difficult than you expected?
A: Great question. Though very hard, it was not more difficult than I expected. In some ways, I suppose it was easier…let me explain.

It was 140.6 miles & 13+ hours long!  So, of course, it was the most difficult, grueling athletic test of my life. But, it wasn’t more difficult than I expected. I suppose I can chalk that up to very good training and preparation. My physical workouts were sufficient and I had also spent many hours doing my custom “10 Minute Mental Workout”.  This training was every bit as helpful as the actual physical training and it helped me to visualize success. This had a very welcome “calming effect” during the race <insert “centering breath here> J.  The finish line was not “new” to me—I had crossed it dozens of times in my mind prior to the event. Confidence was on my side.

I am a very stubborn, determined person when I set my mind to something so there was NO WAY I was not going to finish. But, the following people boosted me tremendously and thus, made the race easier…
1)     My unofficial tri coach Greg “GP” Peterson. Wow! One of my greatest supporters and a terrific teacher. He repeatedly filled me with the knowledge and encouragement I needed to succeed. Nothing was left to chance. It is hard for me to imagine tackling this monster without his help.

2)    YOU! There is an excellent chance that if you are reading this post, you motivated me during the race. I kept a written list of your names (52 to be exact) in my pocket and pulled it out and read it during fuel breaks on the run. The images of all of you and your voices in my head was “skin tingling” inspiring! Bet you never guessed you were with me in Florida, huh? Well, you were! I’m a lot like my Dad—that list is something he would have done. Speaking of him, he’s next...

3)    Robert Galley, my Dad. I felt the presence of my father around Mile 16 of the marathon. It was unmistakable and will never be forgotten. It was a private, personal experience and the moment when I absolutely knew that I would finish. The remaining 10 miles were actually the easiest “last 10 miles” of any marathon I’ve ever run. Kind of surprising.

4)    Stephanie, my queen.  I was so absolutely inspired by Stephanie that truly every single mile was joyful. It was a celebration of her, and her struggle, and our struggle.  It is hard to imagine “enjoying” an Ironman, but I did.  She was my fuel (and still is)…

Q: You love your rock n’ roll, how did you survive 13+ hours without music?!
A: I had done quite a few very long workouts without tunes and had grown accustomed to not rocking out while working out. Music is not allowed during Ironman events and I think it would have been a major distraction anyway. Without tunes I was fully able to soak in the “sounds of the race”.

Q: Were you sore in the hours and/or days after the race?
A: My quads were pretty dang sore afterward, but I was mostly just fatigued rather than “sore”. I think this was due to my good training. My body was ready for the race.  I’ve actually been much more sore after considerably shorter races and training workouts.

Q: What was the hardest—the swim, the bike, or the run?
A: Awesome question.  They are all difficult for me in their respective way, but one becomes harder than the other two. The run. The 26.2 mile beast.

The swim is my least favorite of the three, but what I do like about the swim is that it is first, so I get to eat the frog right away and then move on to better tasting stuff. It is dang hard for me because, to quote my first swim coach, “Steve, you are an oil tanker and we’re going to try and transform you into a speed boat.” Translation: I am a slow, plodding swimmer and though I had trimmed myself down to my college football playing weight, I am not a water skipper. I have improved my technique tremendously over the past few years, but it is still a struggle for me. I have yet to add an Evinrude to my equipment bag!

The bike is prickly thorn in the posterior for me because it is just so dang long. 112 miles. 5-6 hours. Who goes for a ride that long at race pace?! Idiot Ironmen, that’s who!  It is a grueling haul that takes its toll on your legs, your core, your back, your arms/shoulders, and on some other body parts, too!! J
I suppose I’d have to say the run is the hardest for me mainly because at that point you are so dang tired and it now becomes as much, or even more, a mental than physical game.  The demons rear their ugly head and you have to wage war on them face to face. In a twisted way, this is much of the allure of these insane endurance events. It’s the challenge of “overcoming” that entices you to send in your entry fee. Do you have what it takes to win this mental battle? I can say without any hesitation, that yes, you and I are both capable of getting the “W”.  And, it doesn’t necessarily have to be an “Ironman” triathlon and you don’t have to be an “endurance athlete”.  You just gotta have a whole lotta “want to.”  We all have mountains to climb and our crosses to bear, so get climbing and, uh, bearing. Let’s live it up, baby.