Saturday, November 30, 2013

B.B. King, Thanksgiving, and the 1st Annual Turkey Waddle

The off season is not really off, but it is a time to slow down and recover. As I mentioned on my last post I have taken some needed time completely off. Then as soon as I got back to it I got sick, and then yesterday I strained my back. Things are better today, but everyday our bodies are getting older. So you just have to keep trying, and roll with whatever comes your way. The best example of this is a VM I got from my friend Jurgen updating us on his life, and the first thing he says is that he has been on the bike just trying to get back to being fit.

Now to the point of this post. The off season is that time to do other things besides always training. I have a short list of Blues players that I have always wanted to see, and of course B.B. King has to be at the top of that list. So after getting some great tickets to see him in OKC we set off in somewhat bad weather knowing that it was a gamble that he might cancel. After finally making it through the worst part near Amarillo we had smooth sailing all the way to OKC. That night while having after dinner drinks at a great place called Whiskey Chicks I saw on the news that the concert was cancelled. We were disappointed but we got to have a couple of days together just hanging out and enjoying the winter wonderland of OKC. Thankfully, we had plenty to do within walking distance, and we were able to get in some good workouts as well.

After we finally made it home safe we turned around the next day and headed to Snyder for Thanksgiving. Besides having a few days at home with family we also had the first annual (maybe) Turkey Day Waddle. I had got in contact with the owners of Kinetic COOP, a great local fitness and wellness studio, and since we were going to run on Thanksgiving anyway we might as well ask others to join us. It was completely unorganized and unsupported, but including us we had ten people join us. It was great seeing some old faces and new faces while burning some calories before the big feast.

So the last few days have been great, and to top it off we have tickets to another B.B. King concert in a  few months. Hopefully, we will be able to make this one :)

Keep going,

P.S. Good luck to everyone racing Ironman Cozumel!

The road to Amarillo

Sante Fe Rail Station in Bricktown

Bricktown OKC

OKC National Memorial

A reminder why we should never forget what happened here.

Some fine sampling at the great TapWerks

A little target practice.

Some good outdoor time.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Hitting Reset

It has nearly been 8 years since I started the slow shift to a healthier person, and rarely in that time have I ever taken off (excluding sickness or injury) more than 2-3 days in a row. The struggles that I have been going through this year has made me want to truly hit reset, and after Palo Duro I knew that it was time.

I couldn't have asked for a better way to end my season of racing, but with a race where I felt great from start to end. The day after Palo Duro I went for a short recovery bike ride and I knew it was time to tell Tim I needed a break. I was not surprised to find that Tim knew why I was calling. I guess that is part of working together for the last few years that he knows me pretty well. A good coach knows when to push you and when the it's time to put the breaks on. So for nearly a full 2 weeks I didn't worry about or even think about training. I won't lie it was true bliss!

Finally near the end of the two weeks I was starting to feel that itch of needing to get moving again. Although it wasn't a very strong urge, but I am finally feeling like getting back out there.

These days it is very hard to keep the balance of a healthy lifestyle, but not only do you need to reset your health sometimes it is your spirit that needs to be reset. The thing that you have to always keep in mind is that the years we have ahead don't come free. We still have to work for those years even if we don't  know what they are to bring, but a break here and there isn't going to hurt. I have stated this many times before, but before I started living healthier I never knew that I couldn't feel better than I did. Now that I have been living this way for several years I know what good feels like, and I want to keep that feeling.

Are you sure you know what good feels like?

Keep Fighting,

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Running Down the Moon - Palo Duro Canyon 20k

A few weeks ago Susan and I met some of our friends at Palo Duro Canyon for the 50 mile/ 50 k/ 20 k run. I would have loved to have ran the 50k again this year, but considering how many ups and downs I have had this year Tim and I decided the 20k might be my best option. Plus, we were really excited that we were getting to hang out and race with some of our other friends we haven't seen in a while.

Friday we weren't able to leave until after work, and this meant we didn't get to Canyon until later than we would have liked the night before a race. Thankfully, our friend Theresa and her girls, were able to pick our packets up and meet us back at the hotel. Then our other friends, the Overbo's, got to the hotel a little after us but in time for the fantastic pizza we ordered. So after a late meal, maybe a little wine, and letting the kids run off some energy we all planned to meet at 5:30am to head to the race.

Now the night before we knew it was going to be cold, but when Susan and I went out for a little warm up jog that morning it was damn cold. Like frost frozen on the grass can't feel your hands and feet type of cold! I had thought about just wearing shorts and a long sleeve shirt, but I quickly forgot that idea once I couldn't feel my hands after a few minutes.

We all got ready to caravan to the race site sans Ashley,  Mimi, and the herd of kids. A quick side note, when you are going to a cold race make sure you travel with a transplanted northerner, they get up real early to make sure the car is super toasty, thanks Trig! When we got to the race site it wasn't too packed yet, but it quickly got that way. I was on the look out for a couple of friends Rod and Cody who were running their first 50k, but the temps kept me from searching too diligently for them. We all decided to stay in the car until we absolutely had to get out for the race. One great thing that we all noticed was that we were not going to need any kind of head lamps, because it was one of the brightest full moons we had ever seen. When we finally got out to go to the start Trig and I lost Susan and Teresa between the cars and bathrooms, and we never were able to find them before the start.

Susan and Trig ready to race!

Now for those of you that have been reading this blog for the last year you know that I have been struggling with many issues this year, and I was going into this race with no plan except to just run how I felt and enjoy.  I feel I have had a hard time doing this year, because it seems like everyone I know is improving while I  have struggled to just survive. I don't want it to ever come across that I am complaining about being able to race, but instead it is more about really knowing what good feels like. If I was't trying to live a healthier lifestyle I wouldn't know what that good should feel like. Yes of course I want to improve and get faster, but it is more important for me to know that this is a lifestyle and not just about the good or bad moments right now.

I was stressing about not seeing Susan before the start and kissing her good luck. Before I knew it the race had started and I was pretty far at the back. So I wished Trig, who was nursing a hamstring injury, good luck and took of on the inside. I knew from last year that if I didn't get closer to the front before the trails narrowed down then I wasn't going to be in control of my pace. The first mile or so is usually in the dark, but that moon was so big that it lit up the entire area. Somewhere around the first or second mile I settled in behind a guy in a gray shirt, and I was sure I couldn't take him so I stayed right behind him. If he reads this I should apologize for probably driving him nuts by literally staying three steps behind him for nearly 4-5 miles. It would have driven me nuts, but the only saving grace is that he had in head phones and couldn't hear me. As the sun rose over the first few miles I kept looking up and noticed that the moon was still hanging around right above the top of the canyon. The thought that kept coming to me was that I needed to not worry about anyone else's pace, but just keep trying to run the moon down. I was worried that the point that I have hit in every race this year where my body just starts hurting was going to happen any second. As I kept hearing Carmin the Garmin ticking off the miles I never once looked, because I knew that it wasn't going to matter what my HR was or what pace I was running. I just made a deal with myself that if I could hang with "Gray Shirt Dude" until the water stop at mile 6 I would just try to go for it, and if I blew up well I blew up.

The funny thing was that I would stop for a fraction of second at water stops and then run like hell to get right behind "Gray Shirt Dude". It was so cold during this part of the race that it wasn't until a few miles into it that I could feel my hands at all. After the water stop at mile 6 I caught back up to him and then knew that I couldn't keep ignoring nature any longer. When I hopped back on the trail I just knew that I had lost him for good this time, and to add to it 2 more guys were in front of me now. I easily could have panicked or just given up, but right then I knew I realized that for the first time in a long time I felt real good. This part of the trail was getting to some good ups and downs and it was some fun  technical running. I was also really having fun pushing that edge of running where you are barely in control, but I knew that I couldn't and didn't want to let up. I finally was able to get past the two guys that had gotten in front of me, and for a while I was running completely by myself. Then when I rounded a corner I couldn't believe my eyes but there was "Gray Shirt Dude." As I caught back up to him we were in an area of good uphills, and I knew it was either now or never. So on the next one I just went for it and got around him, and really pushed my pace. I was going so hard I just knew I was going  to go off the trail, but if I did there was no doubt I was going down in a fiery blaze of glory. I wanted to look back so bad, but I knew I couldn't. The reality was that it was better for me to believe that he was right behind me for the rest of the race.

 I kept thinking that if I could keep this pace until the last water stop I would only have 3 miles to go. Right before getting to the last water stop I came up on a guy and a girl that were going pretty hard, and I thought that if I could get behind them I might be able to take them at the end. Even though I was finally starting to feel the effects of pushing the limits, but I also knew at this point that I had plenty of race still in me. During the next mile I was able to get in front of the guy, and started trying to reel in the girl. I knew that I was about done in, but I was just hoping that if I kept the pressure on her she would crack at the end. Finally,  in the last mile I felt like I was gaining on her, but there just wasn't enough real estate to get the job done. She never let her pace up and even with the last incline in the parking lot she kept the hammer down. I didn't notice how cold it really still was until I stopped and started to cool down. The best graphic reference to show how cold just after a few minutes from finishing my sweat turned to frost and ice on my running jacket.

Regardless, of how I finished it was so good to finally have a race that  I felt I knew what my body could do and it was able to do it. I did feel the fringes of the muscle pain that I have felt for most of the season, but it was nowhere near the debilitating issue that it has been. This race for many reasons helped me feel like my life/physical/spiritual balance is coming back. Not only is this one of the best supported races I have done, but for me it is one of the most spiritual races. You get to experience such a beautiful gift that God has given us, and you get to do it with a bunch of people that are having fun being healthy.

One of the best parts of the day was for Anna and me to go out on the course and cheer on Trig, Theresa, and Susan. With Susan we were even able to run in with her. Then I was able to see Rod and Cody come in before they went out for their last loop. Those guys were animals and did great! Everyone had a great race, and for me it was the best way to end a crazy tough season.

As I am writing this watching Texas Tech play Kansas State seeing all of the guys in jerseys to honor veterans saying "Never Quit." I wonder if one of the best ways to honor our veterans is by doing everything we can to put more good out in the world. Keep that mentality that we can "Never Quit" trying to be better, and do better in all parts of our lives.

Keep Fighting,

The kids taking over Cody and Rod's Tent.

Trig, Susan, and Keebler

Saturday, October 5, 2013

The Road Goes On....

Since we last spoke I have done my best to keep going, but I am realizing that it is just taking longer to recover from workouts and races. I really thought that after a few weeks being off the statin meds I would just bounce back, but that hasn't been the case. The reality of it is that it isn't just the med changes this year, or the higher than normal work stress, but really just life in general.

To catch you up on the racing front since last time:

Off the Rock Triathlon - 2:16:47 4th in AG/ 12 Overall
Great new race by the Greer's, and I was happy with my result. Over the next few days after that race I was more sore than usual, and ended up with a fever for the first time in several years.

Side Note: My bike, Lucille, committed hari-kari on Hwy 84 after the race. She is now a beautiful road bike thanks to the greatness of Jurgen!

Texas Tech Rec Triathlon - 59:16 - 2 AG/ 17th Overall
As always a very fun short race. I was slower than I was last year, but it was all that I had in me. My swim time was also used for Team Velocity (Aaron Uzell on the bike and Jerred Hurst on the Run), and we won the team division of the race. After the race I went on a long ride with Aaron and Jerred, and they proceeded to keep me riding way above my usual pace. It ended with me telling Jerred after a couple of hours to just leave me on the side of the road for dead. If he wasn't afraid of dealing with Susan he might have done it :)

In the past these kind of efforts, even if extreme, usually meant that I needed to take it easier for a couple of days with easier workouts. Instead what happened was that it took me more than a week to even feel like I was starting to climb out of the hole I was in. Please don't misinterpret my complaining to mean that I don't understand how blessed I am to have good health. What has changed is that as I have changed things in my lifestyle to be healthier I have slowly developed more body awareness. That sounds slightly perverted so to put it another way I know what good should feel like, and I haven't been feeling that way for most of this year. Since I know what it should feel like, I want it, and I don't want to settle for just feeling good enough.

Another thing that I have learned this last few years is that it is ok to push yourself, because your body and spirit will surprise you with what they want to do. Not always can you push your mind, body, and spirit at the same time. Many of us always want to try to do it all, and we ignore that parts of us are yelling to take some down time. Which led me to not racing one of my favorite races of the year in Levelland, the Cotton Country Sprint. I was literally stressing myself out trying to make myself race, but I finally heard the words that it was ok to not race.

I have never been in this to win a race, or even to prove that I can do more and more each year as proof of something. Instead I feel like God has been teaching me a lesson this year to not forget how far I have come, but also to remember how fragile things can be in our lives.

I ask you today to take a moment to reflect on how you feel today, and say a big thanks for the health that you are blessed with right now.


Sunday, August 25, 2013

Ribbon Cutting at Covenant Heart Lab 3 Waiting Room

I can't tell you why, but this post has been one of the hardest to write. This year has been tough for me  with work, health issues, and trying to get life into balance. Then just when you think everything can't get any crazier you get some news that reaffirms you belief in the path that you are on. To me this news is that special kind of news that if you talk about it you might find out that it isn't real. The reality is that for the longest time I did think that was going to be the case, but as usual God has a hand in the timeline of things. He has a path and a plan for me to follow, and as much as I try to not follow he keeps bringing me back to where he needs me to do his work.

Let me start from the beginning. In 2010 I raced the Buffalo Springs 70.3 for the first time, and had greatly improved my performance from the year earlier in Oceanside. This was also my second year racing 70.3's, and after the first anniversary of losing my Dad. Well in all of the coolness that always surrounds Mike and Marti Greer, the race directors for Buffalo 70.3, they offered me a roll down spot for the 70.3 Ironman World Championships. During this time I was the Chair for what was at the time the Heart and Vascular Board for the Covenant Foundation. We were trying to figure out ways to help fundraise for renovations for the cath labs themselves, and the waiting room associated with them. One day over coffee with Valerie and Scott of the Foundation staff I asked if it was possible to use this race as a fundraiser. That meeting over coffee spurned a letter that was was sent out, and in 12 weeks we raised $26,105.00 towards the waiting room renovations. In our wildest dreams we never believed that we would raise that amount of money!

In some of the original plans we had all hoped that we would be able to name the waiting room after my Dad, but instead something even more special happened. It happened with a casual meeting with a guy named Eddie Dixon that leases one of the buildings that I manage in my day job. The first time we met I swear we talked to each other like we were long lost friends, and I think that I am safe in saying that we both feel that way.

(Here is a link for you to read more about what all Eddie has done, Eddie Dixon.)

 To me Eddie is just one of the coolest guys to talk to, and once we usually start talking we will go for awhile. It was a long time before I really understood how well known and respected he was across the  world for his sculptors. To me he is just my friend that I drop by when I can to share a few stories and laughs.

Well one day I am telling him my full story of getting healthier, about my Dad, and finally about the fundraising for Covenant. Right then Eddie offers to sculpt a relief depicting my Dad that could be displayed in the waiting room. I had never been more humbled that Eddie would offer such a wonderful gift to honor a man that he had never met.

 I am so proud to announce that this Monday, August 26th at 3:00 pm Covenant is holding a ribbon cutting for the the newly renovated Cath Labs, and Heart Center 3 Waiting Room. I have been asked to speak at the ribbon cutting and we are going to unveil a donor recognition piece that will include the relief of my Dad, Jimmy Don Everett.  If any of you can make it by Covenant this Monday it would be an honor to have you there.

This is a very special honor for my family, but my hope is that it will turn into something that can help so many more people. This room is just like the many waiting rooms that we have been in over the years (just a lot newer). Our hope is that this room will be full of comfort and solace for those that are worried and praying for their love one to come out better. Not only because of new finishes and furniture, but it will have the image of a man that fought heart disease for so long. It will be attached to a story about the son of that man that knew one of the last gifts he gave his son was the knowledge that he had to do everything he could to not let heart disease win.

Eddie Working on the Relief of J.D. Everett


Friday, August 9, 2013

BSLT 70.3 Race Report and A Few Other Things

I'm finally getting some time to update everyone on my last 70.3 race here in Lubbock. I would love to say that it was the race that every thing finally came back together, but the reality is that it wasn't. I'm coming to the realization that it is just going to take time for me to be back to my normal. Whatever normal is for me.

Regardless, lot's of great things came out of that weekend. Before I get to the race I want to tell you about the best thing that happened to us that weekend, and it had little to do with the race itself.

Marti the race director texted me earlier in the week asking if we would be open to having a home stay for the weekend. I texted her right back and said we could, but of course I was very apprehensive on what crazy person was going to be staying with us. All I had was a name, Joan Hansen and that she was a past Olympian. A quick google search told me that she raced in the 3,000 meters in the 1984 Olympics, and even mentioned that after that her and her twin sister became accomplished professional triathletes.

When I went to pick her up from the airport Friday I was expecting her to be there with tons of crap that us triathletes travel with to compete. Instead here is this very fit beautiful lady standing outside the airport with one small travel bag. I asked her where her bike was, and her response was (with a smile) that she is just going to borrow one. She was kidding, and instead had been asked by the Greer's to speak at the athlete expo about her Olympic Day and her past racing experience.

Our families time with Joan was truly such a great blessing for us, and if you ever get a chance to host an athlete or in our case a guest speaker I highly encourage it! Even if you forget the fact that Joan is a past Olympian. She is just a great beautiful soul that can't help but add something to your life. As an athlete I took away so many things from Joan, but one really stuck with me after hearing her speak at the expo.

She said: (If I messed this up Joan my apologies, but this is what I took away from it :) )
The people that are behind you think of them as encouraging you to keep going. When you are racing beside someone you are encouraging each other to keep going. Then if someone is in front of you then you encourage them to keep going. When you are focusing on the people that are ahead of you then you are blocking your vision of the finish. 

This mentality isn't easy for many of us, because of our individual competitive natures. Sometimes you win sometimes you lose, but the reality is that we are going to a finish line. Whatever that finish line  might be to you, it is your decision to decide to make your time here better by taking care of yourself.  Either way you have to prepare yourself for the good times or the bad.

Everything that I have been going through this year I really needed to hear what Joan had to say, because the reality is that  my body is just not doing what it has been able to do in the past. If I have learned anything from the last few years is that I know what feeling good should feel like, and until recently I haven't felt that way. A lot has happened and I am working through it, but it will take time and patience. I really didn't want to verbalize this next part, but I have been afraid that the part of me that changed 4 years ago and wanted to inspire others to be healthier was gone. Thankfully, right when I had that thought a friend called to let me know that for the first time in many years he was under 200 lbs. There it was, the reason that I have been putting this out there is that if it helps one person keep going then it is worth it.

Finally the race:
Total: 5:51:04 Overall - 302/683 and AG - 46/74

Swim: 29:45 Swim felt great!

T1: 2:43

Bike: 2:59:18 I was feeling like normal again on this ride. Stayed very steady.

T2: 2:15

Run: 2:17:03 Run was feeling strong until about mile 5-6, and I started to cramp. I felt like that was as far as I could push my body. I have been hitting that point where everything just goes haywire in workouts as well as training, but it is starting to happen later and later. This race made me feel like my endurance and ability to recovery is coming back.

The best part of the race was making that final turn for the finish, cramping and hurting, and their was Susan, the girls, my Mom, some friends, and Joan. I told them all that I was hurting and each of them just reminded me that sometimes you just have to ignore it. There is a fine line in ignoring pain, but when it comes to the finish you have to know that it is worth it. I wanted to quit, but I couldn't because I knew if I did that it would someday give someone else the reason to quit.

Our visit with Joan, seeing our race friends, and the race itself reminded me that one of the great things about the people involved in endurance racing they are always wanting to help others be better. That can either be physical, mental, and spiritual. We all have our highs or lows, but most of us in this sport have realized that God blessed us with fragile bodies that we must take care of.

I was very more sore than usual for a few days, but it was so great to get to race with the Greer's again. I can't say enough about what a great race venue and support you get when you race one of the Greer's Races.

Since Buffalo 70.3 -

A great 4th of July with family and friends that was followed up with my 20th HS reunion, followed by a long weekend in Ruidoso with friends. It was so good to see everyone that I haven't seen in a few years, and I actually acted like a normal person that wasn't consumed with what workout I had to do  that day. I truly took off for a week. It was a well needed rest after a tough last few months. Then of course it was always good to hear renditions of the things that I swear we could not have done, or at least things that my kids will never hear about.

Also, I can't express how good it was to hear from a few of my alumni that they have enjoyed the blog.

Then I jumped into a 91 mile ride at the White River Road Rally, and got into no man's land for three hours of a 5 hour ride.

                                                            A little horse back riding.

                                                          A few dinners with friends.

Then a family trip to Concan for a few days of no contact with the outside cellular world. Great benefit of traveling to the Frio river!

I'm still feeling off center, if that is a term, but I do feel like I am finally getting back to feeling that spark again. I have missed it, and am ready to not to have to force my will to fight.

Well that is enough for one post, but there is a lot of cool stuff coming up. I promise that I will be posting again soon.

Until then,

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Some Days Are Harder Than Others

When I started blogging last year it was to help inspire people, and to detail out a regular guys journey in trying to keep healthy. This last few months have not been the best. When I look at the grand scheme of things nothing major has happened I just have kept feeling worse no matter what I have done.

Last year I wrote about going to my Cardiologist, Dr. Borno, for heart pains and crazy heart beats (my technical phrasing). Even though I went through all kind of testing nothing has ever really been figured out, and no matter how much I have changed my lifestyle my cholesterol is still high (overall 246). So I started the journey of trying to find something that would lower it along with me training my butt off.

Sorry, I am getting ahead of myself. First, I need to go over my last race - HITS 70.3 Marble Falls. I promise that this will be the shortest race report you will ever get from me. If you want more gory details you will have to contact Tim since he made me write my race report to him first.

Overall: 71st out of 223
Age Group: 11th out of 33

Swim: 33:03 - Lost 5 lbs before the race sweating in my wetsuit, but swim ok other than that.

T1: 1:31 Uphill and long!!!!

Bike: 3:07:28 I don't believe there was a flat section on this entire bike. Heat and humidity started really cranking up near the end. One of the toughest bike courses I have done. Considering the course I was happy with my bike, but I could tell my legs were done. I made a huge mistake on the bike by trying to take in too many calories, but didn't realize how I was going to pay for it until the run.

T2: 1:59 Flat but still long!

Run: 2:26:45 I ran until I hit halfway through the first hill (about a mile), then the walk/run started. I either felt a huge gas bubble in my stomach, or when I could run my legs just wouldn't move. At the turn around I finally was able to start running a little more consistently, but not for more than a mile or so without walking.

My legs have never ached like they did on this run. Once I could see how hot and humid it was going to be I knew my race plan was out the window. A few good things that were different from this race than Boerne:
- Since I was walking I got to meet some knew cool folks
- Several guys from Lubbock were there, and it is always great to race with some of the great Lubbock guys
- Instead of racing I survived, but I didn't quit.

I won't lie I was very down and pissed off to have another race go south for me. Not to mention the month before Boerne was a weather issue that I battled through, but I am not sure I felt this bad even during my first 70.3 in 2009.

Luckily, I didn't have long to dwell on things. We packed my stuff up and met the Burwell Clan for a burger and beer. It was great to see them and their kids, and to see all the kids get to play in the rain in the parking lot. Also, we were blessed that our friends Jason and Diana let us stay in their home in Horseshoe Bay. So for the first time in a long time we were able to relax and unwind a little after the race. We can't thank them enough for the great house stay!

The Long Transition Run!

My Nice Pink Stool

No this is not after the swim! This is how much I was sweating!
Yes this is me walking out of transition. Not a good sign.
The girls entertaining themselves with local art!
Everyone is tired after a long day of cheering!

Pool Time!

Such a great place to relax after a tough race.

The reason all of the pain is worth it!

Now back to my latest meeting with Dr. Borno. It went something like this.

Me: I feel like crap and every time we try another med I feel crap covered in crap!!! Then I list all of my ailments. Blah Blah Blah!!!

Dr. Borno: That's it. No more meds. You can't tolerate them, and the good isn't worth you feeling bad. You are doing everything you can do, and you don't have any evidence of heart disease yet. So I will see you in a year, and we are just going to live with you having high cholesterol.

Me: What about the other issues? Chest pain and irregular heart rate.

Dr. Borno: You might have what is called a heart bridge, because of the tests that we have done and your training it is not something that we need to worry about unless the condition changes. With everything that we have been trying it will take a little bit for you to recover your endurance, but it will come back.

So it has now been a couple of weeks, and I am finally starting to feel like I am coming out of a hole. I have had to miss a few workouts because of work, but I am not going to stress about it. I am still feeling the fatigue I was feeling, but I am finally feeling like I am starting to recover.

A big thanks for that needs to also go to Tami Outlaw Massage for the torture of separating my ribs :)

The one thing that I have realized is that it only takes a little shift in someones health to feeling bad to make it where it is impossible to lose focus on all that is around you. Then all we focus on is feeling bad. Luckily, I knew what feeling good should feel like, and with the changes over the last few years I wasn't going to give up until I could feel that way again.

No matter how bad things feel sometimes never give up the hope that things can be better. It is hard to keep putting one foot in front of the other. If you can then you not only give yourself hope, but I promise you are giving others hope.

Here is a conversation with Anna that has stayed with me since the race:

Anna: Daddy was the that race tough?

Me: Yes Anna. It was very tough, but I didn't quit no matter how bad I wanted to all day. I just pushed myself to keep going.

Anna:  Daddy every time I push myself I feel like I lose.

Me: If you are trying you won't ever lose. You might not win, but I promise you won't lose.

Anna: Ok Dad. I won't quit.

Next up Buffalo Springs 70.3!

Keep fighting!


Sunday, June 16, 2013

Father's Day

Today is a bitter sweet day for those of us Dad's that have also lost our Dad's. When I ran across this quote this morning  from Mark Twain I knew it would have made my Dad laugh.

 "When I was 14, my Father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be 21, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years."

-Mark Twain

He always tried to teach me those things that he knew I needed to know, and of course I wasn't listening half of the time. Over the last fours years I have started to realize the depth of his wisdom and humor. Not a day goes by that I haven't missed him, but I try to honor him every day by being the best husband and Dad that I can. Thanks for being my Dad, and I will always try to make you proud "Pops!"


Saturday, April 13, 2013

The Heart of the Matter

I actually started this post in December to talk about my heart issues that I was still experiencing from earlier in the year. Either timing or for reasons that I really don't understand I never got around to posting it. Here is a little recap for some of you that are just joining us. I decided to start blogging about this last year when I starting experiencing chest pains and palpations about a month or so before Buffalo Springs 70.3. I went through a few tests that found that I was in good shape, and the only problem that was found was that my genetically awesome ability to produce cholesterol was doing well at a total of 243 (should be below 200).

I have kept having the same heart issues for the last year. I have been able to pin point some triggers, but there are still times where I just have issues. Even the last race I started experiencing chest pain around the 5th hour, but I have now trained with this for so long that I know what is my normal issue.

The doc even had me do a holter test for 24hrs to see if anything was detectible, but it happens so random that everything came back clear.

So he has added a med that I should take if I experience an issue, but as I was feeling the scrip the pharmacist told me that considering the condition I am in (lowish HR) I might experience times where I pass out. If I take this it will have to be bad!!! If you see me acting like the video below of the great Redd Foxx don't worry it's normal.

Now to add to this nonsense of not really finding out if anything is wrong with my heart. I badly strained a ligament on the back of my knee right after the Tall Texan race. So I have been having to take it easier and swim a lot. I did have to pull out of the Willie McCool race, but it was great getting to volunteer and ride around with one of the very passionate race directors Nick Cordes (Great race by the way). Surprisingly, I am staying calm about all of this, and Tim will let me know when the time comes that we might have to talk about pulling out of the HITS race in Marble Falls. Below is the video that Tim sent me to explain his philosophy on how to handle this injury.

As usual when I am not training at my normal levels before races I start feeling out of whack. Part of it is that I like how my body feels when it is being pushed, and then part of it is my time I get to spend with my faith or talk to my Dad. It is a time I need that keeps me balanced, and even though I have a day off today to help with healing. Things don't don't feel right. I know that even if it wasn't this it would be something else, and I am not doing this for the next race or even this season. I am doing this to fight for my health for the next 20-30 years, and hopefully inspire others.

I know If I wasn't doing what I am doing I would reach a point where I might not have the ability to fight. These years we have aren't free. So tomorrow will be a new day, and I will be ready to fight.

See you on the flip side,

Monday, April 1, 2013

"The Epic" Tall Texan Triathlon Race Report

When I was thinking about this years races I kept wavering back and forth on doing the Tall Texan this year. It is a great small but tough race that is good to kick the season off. My wavering had more to do with us running out of "free" time, and I wasn't sure if we wanted another weekend away in our budget. So a few weeks ago Jerred and I decided to just go down without families and race and then come right back.

As the time started getting closer I was really doubting if I was in the shape I wanted to be in for a 70.3 distance race. The answer is that I knew I have been in better shape to race competitively, but I also knew I was in good enough condition for a long day of training.

I think that my higher than normal stress in the rest of my life made me not anywhere near my normal pre race freak out mode. Susan even committed that I was nearly blowing off the fact that I was just going down to race a 70.3, and as usual she was right (don't tell her I said that). This transition I have made over these last few years has made me forget the struggles and pain from when I shifted from "working out" to "training." The pain has both been mental and physical, but it has melted away the part of me that says "I can't" to more of " Hell! why not."

Before I knew it Saturday morning was here, and I was rushing to get all of my crap out in the front of the house since Jerred was going to come pick me up. Then I finally looked at my phone a saw that he had texted that he had something come up and couldn't go. After calling him and finding out he wasn't screwing with me I had to make my decision if I was going. Susan and the girls couldn't go, and in case I got hurt Susan didn't want me to go by myself. I knew there was only one person I could call who would be up for a last minute adventure, my Mom! So I called her, and she told me that she had just gotten back from Kerrville the night before , but she was good to go. Thanks again Mom!

After a great ride down to San Antonio we  picked up my packet, and I found out that only 85 people were signed up for the race. Mainly these people were like me and were ignoring the weather forecast of very freaking cold and windy( Ron Roberts would love that technical weather term). Then I got in a bike ride and a great dinner while waiting for the front to hit.

My first indicater the next morning was the sound of the wind, but considering our standards in Lubbock it didn't really sound that bad. As we got closer to the race sight I could feel the car shaking a little from the wind, and was thinking well maybe the swim will be cancelled and we will do a duathlon. I even told Mom to just stay in the car since it was so cold (around the 40's, windchill maybe high 30's) I probably wouldn't be swimming. Then they announced that we were going to have the swim it was just going to be a little short, because one of the buoys had blown way off course (WTH!). The one good thing about the swim was that it was warmer in the water than it was outside. The start of the swim I felt like I started off well but that only lasted about five feet then the white caps started hitting me. I had a good clear line to swim, but really felt like I wasn't making any headway. If I breathed on one side I got choked by the waves, and on the other side I was blinded by the sun. As I was sighting the front pack coming in I thought that I was way at the back, but with the waves we had all gotten so spread out I was actually 19th with a 28:02 swim. Being cold and wet did not make for a quick transition, but I did have the sense to put on socks and gloves before leaving.

This bike is a tough very hilly course without bad weather, but I had no idea how bad it was going to be today.  The temps were still low, and the winds were staying in the 20's with gusts in the 30's. One of the first down hills that I should have been going 20-25 on was going 12-14 because of the wind.The cold was so bad that at the first water stop I pulled over so that I could get someone to tear open my gel, because I couldn't feel my hands well enough to hold it. The whole day felt like I was in some of the worst cold head winds I have been in. I would love to say I stayed strong mentally and just powered through it, but the truth is I was hoping for a flat so I could quit. One of the only things that kept me going is that I thought if I quit I would have to wait a couple of hours to get my stuff out of transition (The truth was so many people were dropping out they were letting them get there stuff out early. Glad I didn't know that). One of the last things that really demoralized me was the last 20 miles I was completely by myself. The only way I would know I was still on course is that I would see some white arrows on the road. I will say that I once I finally have a tailwind near the end for a few miles, and I was instantly going close to 30. Only one racer (not me!) had a bike under 3 hours and he was a pro. I ended up losing a few spots back to 24th with a 3:31:47 bike.

Before my run my transition was another horribly slow one, but this time it was because I couldn't feel anything and was cramping. When I finally got going I ran up a hill and was running on the dirt dam when I thought I had a rock in both shoes, but it turned out to be only my frozen feet! To give you the full effect of the cold I didn't get full felling back to my feet until around mile 6-7. Even with all of this I felt very good and strong on the first of a two loop course. I really think that the main reason for this was that it was finally getting into the 50's, and for the first time all day I was sweating. To this point my nutrition was spot on (Thanks Gu!) and I was good and hydrated. I had really been in my lowest point racing on the bike that I have been in a long time, and now on the run I was finally feeling back to normal.

One of the things that helps motivate me is yelling for others, but the weird thing about this race is that on the first loop I was way behind the group in front and ahead of the group behind. This meant that for several miles I only saw the people at the water stops, and they were great in yelling us on.

I really felt strong through the second loop until I hit a stretch of road that was into the headwind, and had to dig deep into a well that I was sure was empty. My run ended with a 1:56:01, and I finished 21st overall with a 6:00:39. Also, I would like to add that only 57 of the 85 folks signed up finished this race.

To sum it up I told the race director that this was my second slowest time in a 70.3 distance race, and I was as proud of this finish as I was my best time. He just said with a smile, "It was epic, wasn't it!"

To finish with I crossed the finish line at 2:00pm and was on the phone with a plumber, because Susan had been dealing with some bad plumbing issues since I left. Mom and I were on the road by 2:30 heading back to Lubbock.

This was a great way to start the season off, and it is crazy what a week will do for your thinking. After that kind of torture I was ready to call off all racing, but then after a few workouts I am ready to go again. Unfortunately it looks like the Willie McCool 13.1 will be out for me this year (more on why later), but the Keebler clan will be out there to volunteer and cheer on all of our racing brothers and sisters.

Keep fighting,

Happy Late Easter!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Happy St. Patty's Day!

This is going to be a little shorter than usual, and after seeing what I have scheduled it might help explain my lack of posting. I have finally set my race schedule through the end of June. By far this is the most racing I have done this early in the season. It will be interesting to see how I hold up. I might not be faster, but I am definitely going to be tougher. So many things are still going on that are pulling me away from training, but that is also what life is all about. I was reminded recently, by a good friend, that regardless of how much I race I still have to keep active. It is that training time that I have to myself that I can get in touch with the spiritual side of my life. Thinking all of that through (and being talked into an early race) I decided to push myself here at the start to see what happens. We will see how good I am at scheduling over the next few months :)

Drum roll............

Tall Texan Half Ironman - 3/24/13

Willie McCool 13.1 - 4/6/13

Marble Falls HITS Half Ironman - 4/27/13

Buffman and Squeaky Olympic Distance Triathlon - 5/5/13

Buffalo Springs 70.3 Triathlon - 6/30/13

Starting next weekend Jerred and I will be getting up early to drive down to Boerne on Saturday then race Sunday only to hop in the truck and drive back right after. Should be fun!

Below are some pics to prove that a family with two active racing adults can have some fun outside of races.

Some fine hotel dining

The Buried Cadillacs

They love spray painting stuff!

 Pretty good Juvenile Delinquents!


Drama on the trails
It was a lot harder getting down!

Lizzy handled it better than the rest of us.


Relief getting back to the car.

Fun Day

Finally celebrating St. Patty's Day with a Guiness soaked Pork Loin

Thursday, February 21, 2013

There is a first time for everything

This last week I did something that I haven't done in over seven years. I called Tim (my coach) to tell him that the other parts of my life were going crazy and I needed to step back from my workouts for a few days. Since I did my first 70.3 race in Oceanside in 2009 I have gotten very good at scheduling all the things in my life to meet all  needs. Life has a way of looking at your schedule and laughing while it throws it into the blender. This last week I finally had to say "uncle!"

Normally my workouts are what keeps the rest of my world sane, but lately they have just been adding to the stress of a way over scheduled life. Now this doesn't mean I am just sitting around. I am still trying to fit in some kind of activity, but it just doesn't have a specific purpose for my upcoming races.

Saturday I had to force myself to go on a scheduled trail run that was supposed to be somewhere between 40 - 90 minutes. I did what all of us do, and worked through every reason why I shouldn't be going. Finally, I knew I needed it and decided that if I just got in 30 minutes it would be good. I started from one end of the my normal trail and just went. The first 30-40 minutes my mind was racing with all of the stuff that I have going on in my life. Then I realized that I had set myself up to be running the toughest sections of the trails last. It was one of those moments where you should complain, but you know it won't make any difference. You still have to travel the path your on to get back no matter how hard it will be to make it. The funny thing is that the harder it got the less I could hear the other junk in my head. My focus had to be going forward. An hour and a half later and never running on the same trail finally put me in the right frame of mind.

That evening I was reading some other blogs that made me start thinking we all have our issues, and to each of us those things can be enormous. Sometimes instead of thinking of all the things that are crazy in our lives we just have to focus on going forward. Life isn't just a sprint from one point to another, but instead it is more of of a long training session that you slowly develop yourself to get across that final finish line. Sometimes it is our bodies that need to be healed and made better, sometimes it is our minds that need that help, and other times it is your faith (whatever that might be for you). When one of these is out of whack then they are all out of whack.

This next week I am going to really try on getting my balance back in order, and if not I will just keep going forward each day the best I can. Most of the things going in my world I really have no control over the outcome, and am just stressing out over it. I know that there is so much more serious stuff then just trying to handle our daily lives, and I will just keep reminded myself of those blessings that I see everyday in my family.

Remember your blessings and keep fighting!


2 Timothy 4:7 (New International Version)

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Keebler & Gu

As you get into longer and longer distance races and training one really important factor you have to consider is your nutrition. It is not only about when you are racing or training, a key component is trying to recover faster to keep up the workouts.

When I started 7 years ago I rarely if ever thought about nutrition. In reality my nutrition if I worked out was to reward myself with beer, pizza, cheese fries, or wings. I think you get the point. Anyway with shorter distances you really can make it on very little calories, and a lot of us take in more than we need so I really didn't feel I needed to worry about it.

When I started training longer distances I started to try some of the products my friends were using, and nothing seemed to work just right for me. Then I went to the 70.3 World Championships in Florida, and was prepared to have the race of my life. Not only was I racing the biggest race to date for me, but I was using it to raise money for Covenant Hospital to name the Cath Lab waiting room in honor of my Dad. So to say the least I had a lot of expectations for myself and from outside. The short story is that I had a great race going until my stomach started giving me problems on the run. Instantly my race goes from good to nothing short of torture. It was so bad at the end for me that I really wondered if I could race this distance.

A few months later I was in Dallas running a 13.1 race, and at the expo I get to talking to the Gu booth rep and explained to him what happened. Right off he tells me the sugars in the products I was using was probably what caused my problems. He asked me to try some of their products to see the difference. Even being skeptical of another sales pitch I was willing to try anything. So I started with Gu gels and electrolyte mix and everything felt good stomach wise and my energy stayed good. This last season I started using the Gu Roctane and the Gu Recovery mix, and really could see a difference in how I felt during and after workouts and racing. If you feel better you will race better.

So at the end of this last season I was ordering some more stuff from GU and noticed they had a sponsorship application that was due that week. So I decided why not? The worst they can say is no! In a few weeks I get the email that says that they can't offer me a full sponsorship, but because of my passion they want me to be part of their 2013 Pro Program.

I never expected to get any sponsorship, but to get a chance to be part of their Pro Program is a great honor for me. Those of us regular people that do this sport rarely if ever get any help, and nutrition is one of the things that is the first to go when things get tight. Then the fact that I can still remember the guy that was 50-60 lbs overweight, who smoked, and could barely run a block now has a company that wants to help me be better. The reality is even if this wouldn't have happened I would still be using and ordering everything Gu. To have this help I can't express my appreciation to Gu, and especially to you Debbie for giving me a chance.  You won't regret it!


Gu Energy

Sunday, January 20, 2013

2013 The Year of the Keebler?

I'm back! I know that it has been a while since I really posted anything, but the last few weeks have been stupid busy. The funny thing is that for once the busy has been from all of the normal things in life instead of workouts and racing.

The reality for me during this time of the year is that going through my birthday, and the anniversary of my Dad passing always gets me a little down. I know that would really piss him off, but it is also during this time that I really remember how much has changed since he has been gone.

I will never know if my path was always meant to be speaking about fighting for your health, but it is one of the things that drives me to keep trying to find more people and groups to share my testimony.

I haven't been completely ignoring the Keebler blog over the last few weeks, but with everything  going on it has been hard to motivate myself to finish posts. So that means there are a lot of half finished posts for me to roll out over the next few weeks.

Here are some of the highlights from the last few weeks good and bad (in no certain order):

1. The girls got a very cool new puppy

2. Stayed consistent on training even if I haven't really been driven to do it, and still trying to figure out this years race schedule.

3. Finally brewed some beer that had been sitting around for awhile.

4. First time to ever ruin beer in 10 years. Turns out yeast goes bad, but I still let my beer visiting beer apprentices think it was their fault :)

5. First time in my life I understand why people nap. My belief that you go until you collapse might be wrong.

6. After a long break in speaking engagements I have  3 groups on the books, and another 2 in the works. This really has helped me start to feel inspired again that I have a chance to make a difference.

7. Applied with a great nutrition company for their Pro Program and was accepted. Much more on this later.

8. Started feeling recharged again after a busy year.

9. Remembered again why I started speaking to groups and started this blog.

10. Haven't made it to Church as much as I have wanted, but have done a lot to keep working on my faith.

11. We have had a lot of family time.

12. Another visit with the Cardiologist, and had to schedule another visit in 6 months.

13. We were reminded how fragile our health really is after a few of our friends had health scares.

I guess that is enough for now, but I am glad to be back and I hope that 2013 will be the year of the Keebler.

Keep fighting,

The girls with their new dog Lizzy.

Lizzy wondering what family she has joined!