Showing posts from 2013

What we really want for Christmas

Confused about what to ask for this Christmas?  Have something specific in mind what you would like to see wrapped up in a box with your name on it under the tree?  Let me be so bold as to suggest what we all really want.  The three big H's: Health, Hope and the Pursuit of Happiness.  The first being a state of the body, the latter two the state of mind. Having traveled a bit I've had the good fortune to see wealth at it's finest and poverty in it lowest depths.  Let me suggest people in both situations want the same three big H's as everyone else. The pursuit of health is a daily battle between what is easy, tasty and convenient versus what is good, of most physical reward, and lasting ability of the body to perform at its best.  Combine this with what you are born with, have to overcome, and natural setbacks that occur to everyone.  The end result is the ability of the body to function.  Oh how often we forget the value of just how important health

My Life as a Zombie

Looking down the forest trail I can see packs of the living headed my way.  Taking a glance at my fellow zombies in the area we know immediately we need to converge together on the living to find success.  We hide, they come closer, and finally we pounce.  Drats, no success they sprinted away from us in a group and were much harder to catch than I anticipated.  Guess we will just have to improve our tactics for the next bunch headed our way.  I catch my breath after the all-out sprint and prepare.  Hide myself within the deep forest and wait.  Life among the walking dead is harder than I thought. Not on the movie set of the hit TV show the Walking Dead, I was playing a zombie for the Cross Roads Events 5k Zombie Survival Run this past weekend.  Playing along as zombies were my wife Sherrie, sister in-law Lori, brother in-law Jim, my niece Olivia, her boyfriend Zach, and all of the Page family.   In total we were among 30 zombies trying to catch flags off the belts of participants cr

Ironman 70.3 World Championships Las Vegas Nevada

Amazing what an eclectic combination of murky water, rain, a pocket tool and sunshine can bring in one day.  Found myself with 72 other 55-59 years old standing in the pouring rain just before the start at Lake Las Vegas.  My wife Sherrie was there videotaping just off to the left.   When it was our turn at 6:45 A.M we moved in mass into the murky water and did the swim up to the start, treading water for a minute till the gun goes off.  Have to admit it seemed rather an uninviting and dark swim.  I didn't get off to a good start, but improved as my nerves settled down.  The swim course is around 16 buoys in a 1.2 mile rectangle of open water.  Got a bit roughed up as some really fast swimmers went by on more that one occasion, but out the water I came after about 45 minutes and made the long run around the lake  into transition. Running on the wet blue carpet I got to near the end of 2,100 bikes in transition and found my bike, number 384 ready and waiting.   I was greeted

Family, Friends and Ironman Steelhead 70.3

Last winter talking to my nephew Matt we picked out Ironman 70.3 Steelhead in Benton Harbor Michigan as the big goal to race together in 2013.  Not long after my friend and now race director Ethan Page also picked out Steelhead.  The three musketeers (triathletes) had a plan.  Before race day the 3 were now 6 as my friend Troy Charters and two Forward Motion teammates Kathy and Lindsey were also in the mix.  Anymore and we could ask for a group discount.  My wife Sherrie, my in-laws Paul and Judy, Matt’s wife Lori, Ron and Kim Page and Troy’s entire family all made the trip.  This was the go big or stay home thing, and we were all in for the go big. Fast forward to the day before the race we gathered together at the beach in Benton Harbor Michigan to do a practice swim.  Lake Michigan was on the rough side with 1 to 3 foot waves.  Not much experience in rough water, but we made the best of it with a practice swim and hoped for calmer conditions in the morning.  Night before t

Less than Glamorous

I'm in my last couple of weeks of training for Ironman Steelhead 70.3 which also happens to be the most difficult part of the journey.  Saying your prepping for an Ironman may sound like high level stuff, but most of it is downright distasteful.  Here are the 10 worst: 1.   The smell of running shoes after a long run on dirt trails on a humid day 2.   Getting back in your car to drive home after the above run 3.        The touch of a sticky bike with Gatorade and sweat all over it 4.        Eating warm gel packets from the back pocket of a sticky cycling jersey, or worse your running shorts 5.        Dumping your gym bag contents from a hot run you did on your lunch hour 2 days ago 6.        Sweat dripping off the guy cycling in front of you which lands all over you 7.        That big hairy guy in the pool lane next to you 8.        Naked old guys in the locker room 9.        Cycling to work on a humid morning, turning around and putting those same cloths o

Camp of the Woods – It’s all about focus

Like last year I went with a team of 28 from our church to Camp of the Woods Ontario Canada for a week of work/retreat, but in truth all camps are about just one thing.  The purported goal of the trip is to help prepare the camp for the first group of teens starting the week after we left.  To be honest, I love camp, and particularly this one.  Pick any kind of camp you want and you will find they exist to refocus your efforts on something specific without all the distractions.  Camp of the Woods is 40 miles from anything, 1000 miles from home with no phones, computers or TV.  What it does have is a huge lake, great food, hiking trails, canoes and plenty of comfortable space for just plain focus.   Oh yeah, and the occasional bear or moose. What is the focus of Camp of the Woods?  The answer is pure and simple, to model Christ.  The theme for camp this year is “Your Life Story”.  Inspired by hero’s, what about your life speaks of overcoming the odds to accomplish a worthy goal? 

Anatomy of a Race Gone Well

Race morning I’m driving in to Hawthorn Park at 6:00 AM being one of the first ones on site.  Not playing race director for the first time in 10 years so I decided to help work packet pickup for a while before it all gets going.  Nice chance to catch up with so many friends I have doing the race.  About 7:30 I walk back over to transition, get everything set and hang-out with Troy Charters and Forward Motion teammates till it is time to head to the swim start. Have a seat next to my mother in-law Judy at the beach house, and try to keep the nerves down for a few more minutes.  Decide to jump in and swim around the first buoy just to get the feel of the water and headed back for the beach start.  With the two at a time start I figured I would slot myself in around the mid pack.  Line myself up with another guy to the left and waited our turn.  My father in-law Paul is at the timing mat waving us to the start line.  Off we go and I run into the water a little over knee deep and do

Piercing the Gray

Flying home from California I had the good fortune to see one of my favorite scenes play out.  On a cloudy morning we taxied out at 6 AM and make the turn for takeoff.  Engines at full thrust we lifted above the runway, over the Pacific Ocean aiming straight for the clouds. Several minutes pass as we finally make the entrance to the thick gray.  As I watched through the window it seems as if we are not moving at all yet the pitch of the plane reminds everyone aboard of the altitude being gained.  Then as we pierced through the clouds I caught the rays of beautiful sunlight streaming into view.  Nothing but bright light with the endless cotton rolls below.  Rarely do I see such a stunning sight. This view reminds me of a journey spoken of in several books I've read, a couple very recently of those who had "Near Death Experiences".  The authors speak of leaving earth behind, traveling into a bright, warm loving light and entering a Heavenly realm.  Often they meet up

Little race Big competition

Saturday April 20th I pack the car with my Kestrel race bike. Grab cycling shoes, helmet and head toward Marshall Illinois for the Spring Break Biathlon. It's a small 3 mile run, 15 mile bike race that is very low key, but when the competition shows up it gets downright difficult. This just the second year of the event features several of my friends and teammates. Caleb Towles a very faster runner/cyclist (and swimmer) is at the top of the charts. Followed by Stan Strohm whom I've raced against for years and is about my same age. Then Tony Williams who eats Ironman for breakfast is ready and waiting. Doug Rees a cycling specialist is also there with his young son as a team. All of these guys I really like, but anytime we can get an inch on one another in competition you can bet we will. Lots of friendly talk between all of us, then i do a short warmup with Caleb on this crisp (read cold) sunny morning. When we get called to the line it gets a bit more focused, we w

Top 10 Tips for a Sprint Triathlon

Talked to a friend doing her first triathlon and what few tips I could offer in a few minutes at the side of the pool yesterday.  Thinking about it a bit more here is my top 10 tips for a sprint triathlon: 1       Relax in the swim and just enjoy it.  If it’s a pool swim or a wetsuit swim you have nothing to worry about.  In a pool if you get tight just stop for a second, stand up or grab the lane line.  In an open water swim with a wetsuit just stop and let the suit hold you up and float.  Biggest problem with the swim is just getting overly worked up about it.  By the way, get a wetsuit made specifically for triathlon that fits you.  Worth their weight in gold they are. 2       Practice transitions several times before the race.  The key to good transition from swim to bike and bike to run is simplicity.  Do as little as possible with an absolute minimum of equipment.  Run from the swim to the bike don’t just jog.  Have your helmet and sunglasses on top of the handlebars an

A Visit with ISU Physical Therapy & Sports Rehab

This year the Forward Motion Athletics triathlon team is being sponsored by the Indiana State University Physical Therapy & Sports Rehabilitation Clinic.  We have had the pleasure of visiting a couple of times already this year.  The first visit to the clinic was focused on using foam rollers and specific exercises to reduce and repair overuse injuries.   Very worthwhile visit and they also spent some time with each of us in testing for strengths and weaknesses.  Needless to say I have a few weaknesses they gave me some tips on improving. The second visit was a bit more interesting, especially for me.  The first part was to introduce resistance band exercises and show us how to use them.  We also did some knee and back strengthening work.  Now the fun part began.  After the clinic they asked if anyone needed some specific work, and they were offering to do some Graston Technique on us if we wanted to.  I’ve read and heard a fair amount about Graston, but have never had it don

Flying First Class

On a flight to Port-au-Prince Haiti of all places, I had the great fortune of being upgraded by American Airlines to First Class. I was traveling with a group from our church, and volunteer nurses to spend a week on a medical mission trip. Dr. Mark was sitting next to me equally enjoying the experience. I’ve always found it interesting to walk by first class and imagine just who these people are sitting in such spacious seats. Now, lo and behold, I was among them. Did I like it? No, I loved it. With the leg room for 7 footer and a powered recliner was just the start. Next up, the fresh coffee before takeoff, followed by a warmed variety of nuts, who knew it was so good. It was a contest between Mark and myself as to who had the biggest grin on our faces. Besides the endless and most excellent service, we even had a nice small steak dinner to keep the energy levels up for what lay ahead. Dr. Mark did get put to task though as a lady in the first row had some stomach issues