Sunday, July 29, 2007

Weekend Train

I Have been without my girls now for two and a half days. Good thing I have had lots to do.

Good friends, Clark and Molly, drove up from Chicago Friday night and moved in for a month until they close on their house here in Minnesota. It's great to have great friends so close. I am doing the Waupaca Tri with Clark also. He is the one who got me interested in tri's two years ago at Waupaca. His uncle Steve has been competing in it for years and I hope to come close to his caliber this year. Molly is a Marathon runner so the three of us went out for my four mile hill run Saturday afternoon. Good times!

Earlier Saturday I had a swim training at Lake Harriet from 10:30 to 12:00. I found out that I have not been breathing correctly in my swim stroke, so it was back to the drawing board.

Sunday it was an early rise to be back down at Harriet at 6:30am for an hour swim then a three hour bike. What a beautiful morning. We have been learning proper lake entry and exit. There is so much to learn about tri's it's great. You really don't need anything but shorts, shoes and a bike, and the wil to finish, yet there is always something to learn to make yourself faster if you choose. There is always smarter and always faster. This morning's swim revealed that I have more work to do on my breathing. I know that patience will pay off eventually. Distance swimming requires comfortable full breathing and I will eventually find it. The bike was fantastic. Not hard core but beautiful. Susan our coach lead us on a loop from Harriet on the Hiawatha trails to St. Paul and back on Summit Ave. What a great ride. There is a crazy hill coming out of St. Paul to get up on Summit. Coach thought it would be a fun idea to do it twice since I had never been on it before. Once was a challenge, twice was all most too much but I got to the top. It is a times like that, when you want to check out because you have nothing left. My mind immediately reflects to Adam. He didn't quit, he never wanted you to know how much pain he was in or how weak he was. The things he endured I will most likely never have to endure. Ever! Certainly not training for this race, nor during the race. So what is my threshold? how far will I go. I am thankful for Suzanne, our coach. She preaches efficiency, running your own race. No waste, all positive, all technique. I need that angle. I am emotional. I push. I want it all now. In tri's you need balance, technique before the push. Efficiency before the emotion.

Tuesday morning, mom dad and I leave for Canada. So the rest of my weekend was filled with preparation for the long drive. I will be bringing my bike and the rest of the gear so I don't loose any of what we have built up to. Did I mention that I miss my girls? We were going to do the drive in two days. Not so much anymore. I'll get us their in one! One thousand miles here we come!

Janet was able to see her mom in the hospital yesterday. Pray for all of the girls (Jennifer, Vanessa, Michelle) and her father (Victor). It is a difficult situation to see your mom in that position. Bernice is struggling to remember who everyone is and fades in and out of reality often. Her mental and physical condition has been turning for the worse for the last month and Janet was very taken back to find her in that condition. It will be difficult for me to be in that position again, yet I feel confident that God will allow me to draw upon my past experience and his strength in the situation.

Faith is the daring of the soul to go farther that it can see. - William Newton Clark

How far will you go today?

Friday, July 27, 2007

The Need To Run

Yesterday I took the day off for many reasons. We have seen better days. I am so thankful to be able to reflect back on all the positive things that I have learned in the past nine months and pray that the current struggles will only help us all to grow together. All details aside the evening ended in the hospital with my mother and that is never a fun experience. All is well, just a bad combination of food, heat, and emotions. It was hard to re-live a medical experience so close to the family so soon, yet another reminder of how little control we have over things. It could have been serious. God gives each of us the strength to handle anything we encounter. I needed to claim that promise yesterday, it was a rough one.

So today, I needed to run. That is my first reaction when I am emotionally overloaded. Today I ran. I was excited to see the where I was in terms of my conditioning. I have not consistently ran since I was twenty-three. I have this fancy little gadget that I can use to track my bike stats. It also records the breakdown of the run in terms of speed, distance time and the averages of all those things. I was able to shave thirty seconds off my average minute miles over the four mile loop that I have been running. It felt good to see the progress and it really helped me to refocus after yesterdays train wreck.

The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others- Mahatma Gandhi

I pray that we find the truth in that wisedom.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Hot Hot Hot

As if working outside all day in 95 degree heat is not enough. Why not go for a twenty-eight mile bike after. Surprisingly it was not all that bad. John and I meet at his parents in Coon Rapids and biked across the dam over to Elm Creek and did the north loop and back. We did this ride over a month ago and today's ride definitely reflected our hard work. The hills were easier and the flats were faster. Now we just have to start putting a little run into the end of these bikes and we will really start conditioning. That is the hardest part of a Tri for me and most other racers. The transition from the bike to the run. Pushing yourself on the fastest part of the race (the bike) and then attempting to jump off and get right into your running stride when your heart is pumping like crazy and your legs feel like jelly.

Thank you to all those who have been so generous in supporting my race with your donations. I am so close to goal and it continues to inspire me to push harder. Another thing that surfaced in life that gives me a reason to run is the news that Janet's mom Bernice has just recently been diagnosed with Leukemia and has been struggling for some time now. Janet is leaving this Friday to be with her and my parents are going to make the long drive with me to Prince Albert, Sask. this coming Tuesday. The trip has been planned, but the unfortunate news is new. Life's tragedies certainly do not discriminate.
That is why it is so important to take advantage of every day. What problems do we really have? I am certainly finding it more important to focus on life's blessing not it's problems. God continues to bless us (like it or not) with so many blessings yet we find it easier to focus on the problems. Even in the midst of our sorrow there is joy. Choose it today.

Success is living up to your potential. That is all. Wake up with a smile and go after life.
Live it, enjoy it, taste it, smell it, feel it. (joe kapp)

Choose it today!

Monday, July 23, 2007

Summer Busy Summer!

Every year it happens. You look forward every year for warm weather fun events and more warm weather. Then it happens. They start talking about the state fair and the next thing you know all the back to school sales will be on. I have really been enjoying this summer, but not because it's been relaxing. I'm learning that I am a good juggler but not a great one. I feel like I have been dropping a few too many balls lately. I can only hope to make adjustments on the fly at this point. It seems like I only have had time to mow the yard once or twice a week and nothing else. I need to be doing more. Then there is the myriad of little jobs that I need to be doing after work that I have been slacking on and believe me I NEED to be doing them.
It seems like the only things I want to do lately are train for the tri and hang out with Bijou. She is getting so big so fast she is just learning how to crawl and her laugh is getting so fun. She is such a happy baby. What a blessing.
I know that I need balance in my life. Just because I have found something (the tri) that is very fulfilling to train for. And even though Bijou is the greatest blessing that has ever come into Janet's and my life, the rest of the world is still moving. It is becoming a big challenge to give time to all the other areas in my life that need attention. Looking forward down the road of life it looks even more challenging. I think that allot of my struggle is simply trying to adjust to life without Adam around. It just feels a bit empty. Time has been good but not at all easy. Training has become difficult at times lately because it feels like too much. From the back of my mind, thoughts creep in to stop running, or quit swimming, or when the hill gets to long and hard on the bike and my legs feel like giving up I actually consider it. I have never had that. I have never backed down, and I don't believe I will yet I struggle with the fact that the thought is there. I will not quit yet my struggle is unexpected.
I did not train last Sat. and Sunday I did not feel like training but thankfully Brad pushed me into a bike and then I put Bijou into her stroller and we went for a run. We ran up to Adams plot at the cemetery at the top of the hill and I realized just how fresh the pain still is. I have been trying to learn and grow so much through this that I haven't really given in at all into the emptiness that is inside. I am proud of the days that I was able to share with my brother and admire how strong he was until the end. There were times of weakness but he finished strong and that is what I intend to do in my race. Life can be a long journey and I will do my best to continue to do what I can every day. Along the way I pray that God will allow me the wisdom to balance "life" and its many things we all juggle.
Today I was able to relax with Bijou for a little while. Then Janet and I meet John and Kristine for a swim on the river. We were able to get in around three quarters of a mile in decent time. We were both tired. This week of training will be good because of the hot, steamy weather. I would imagine that race day will be allot like this.

Thursday, July 19, 2007


Happy birthday Pa Pa Dom!

Today is Grandpa's ninety-first birthday! What a blessing it must be to experience so much life. I recall past conversations with grandpa about "life" and his thoughts and reflection's and I have come to understand that there are many ups and many downs. The longer you live the more of them you experience. Not that that is new information to anyone, yet it is a reminder that we must enjoy the simple things in life. Not sweat the small stuff. Put things in perspective. Do your best to enjoy everything. It is all a blessing. Grandpa has always been humble and thankful. Respectful to the core and unselfish by nature. Now that is the measure of a man. What a honor it has been to look up to my grandpa Dom.
There has been a tradition in our family to measure your height in grandpa's basement at the bottom of the steps. As I reflected on that board tonight I recalled so many memories. Adam and I were first recorded Christmas of 1976. I always wanted to keep pace with Adam but that never happened. What memories. Tonight I stood Adison tall and made his first mark. I know that Adam was smiling down, what a proud moment, what and honor. By the way Adison is right on pace with his old man, look out. Then I stood little Bijou up and Jayna helped make her mark. Life is precious, enjoy every bit, it seems to go so fast. What a blessing.

Yesterday John, Brad and I ran in the Torchlight 5k downtown. What a great bonding experience. We have not had many opportunities to train together and what a great setting to get in a run. We were able to post eight minute miles and finished in twenty-four minutes. What great friends, what great memories.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Rest Day

Today is a rest day! Let me tell you about yesterday.

The alarm rang at 5am. I had the van packed up with all my gear for a full day of training and fun. I hit the beach at Lake Harriet at 6am to get in a quick swim before my "bike fitting" in Rosemount with Bob at 7:30am. The water feels much cooler that early so I brought a wet suit and gave it a try. It felt warmer but changed too many things in my technique so I probably will have to suck it up from now on.
The bike fitting was amazing. I am just starting to understand all the little things about the bike and how it works. You never stop learning and improving in the world of tri's. Bike fittings basically adjust your bike to your body for comfort and maximum power output. I spent three and a half hours on a stationary trainer peddling and being analyzed as Bob made adjustment after adjustment getting things just right for my optimal performance. I now have approximately thirty percent more power that I am able to deliver to the petals thanks to Bob. You rock. I highly recommend it.

After the fitting it was off to mom and dads for a "remembrance party" in honor of Adams birthday this past week. What a glorious day. Everything Adam loved. Food, family, friends, yard games, and the river. We tubed, skied, wake boarded, air chaired and bare footed. We did it all. What a glorious day. A tradition worth keeping.

It was a long day! It was a great day!

John and I were going to get in the water today and swim. We set a 7pm time and come about 6pm we realized how shot we were from yesterdays fun, we decided to call it a rest day.

Looks like tomorrow is a bike day. I can't wait.

Friday, July 13, 2007

The day after

Birthdays have always symbolized happiness to me but yesterday was different. Adam would have turned thirty-three yesterday. Life is so fragile and short. I miss my brother....I could end this entry with that but I know that there is more. Adam said before he died that he felt bad for us because he was excited to start his new life in the presence of God. He said that it would be harder for us because we were left behind to deal with his loss, but he encouraged us by trusting that he knew where he was going. He was right. I miss my brother....

I went for a five mile run today with a loop of Jars of Clay songs playing on the ipod. What a blessing to be able to run. To enjoy the beautiful day. To be encouraged by great music. I broke down in the middle of my run in tears, overwhelmed by the gravity of my loss. I kept running, what else can I do? The day Adam died I ran out of the house and I never wanted to stop. I collapsed in the front yard in a heap of sorrow because I knew I had nowhere to go. I would have ran forever. I can run now, I have something to run for! I can choose every day, even if it's hard, even if I don't feel all that good, I have a choice, for me and for those around me, I have that choice. I will keep running.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Back to training

Monday was a day off. Tues would have been nice too but I had the itch to swim and I felt ready to step it up. Erek Swenson captained the boat on the river and I attempted the mile swim on the river. It was a feel good mile because of the current and the strong north wind. Non the less it was a solid half-hour of swimming and it felt good to stretch the practice out some more.

Wednesday was a bike day and it was clear to me that I needed one more day of rest. There was no turning back though because I was riding for the first time with a good buddy who bikes two to three hundred miles a week for fun. Andy you rock, some day I hope to have half of what you have on the bike. All in due time I know. So I was pushed and did not quit out because my legs were still burned out from last Sundays race. Thank you Andy.

Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved. - Helen Keller

Some times we do not want to be in that position, because life is not always pretty. But you can choose for that suffering to be worth something, there are benefits. Do you believe that? Do I believe that?

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Graniteman: Tune-Up

John Kinghorn and I ran our first race of the year today. A sprint Tri just south of St. Cloud. The course was a one-third mile swim. A fifteen mile rolling hill bike. Followed by a three point one mile run. We have been training pretty consistently for it and felt prepared for it. The conditions were hot but we felt happy with our times. Lots of room for improvement. There were about 337 race numbers given out and 278 finished. John and I were very close, he came in at 1:26:47 and I came in at 1:25:41. We are thirsty for more. August 18 is our next race in Waupaca Wisconsin, and we will be joined by Brad Bone for this one. I am very excited for that. Brad will push us in the swim and the bike. Then after that the three of us will take part in the Disney Tri for "team in training." Our fundraising is going well and we appreciate all the amazing support that has inspired us to do our very best to honor Adams life and to encourage and inspire our "honored team mate" Brenden. If you would like to check our our Team in Training web sites they are
I know that what we are doing is really making a difference. The last Minnesota group from "TNT" that raced in Maui raised over one million dollars. Disney should raise more than that. We are making a difference together. I know that positive encouragement that everyone has been giving me has certainly been inspiring. This next week will be a bit of a challenge for me. Adam and I shared the same age for six days of every year. He was born 7/12/74 and I 7/6/75. Not too many people share that with their siblings and I underestimated the impact it is having on me. Giving back in this way and being part of a team that is doing so many positive things keeps my spirts high. Having John and Brad to train with and grow together is such a blessing to me I could not even express how much it means to me that they are joining me in this inevor.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

The eve of thirty-two....

We're at the point where we can look back at a pretty full life full of incredible highs and incredible lows. We can see monumental errors and a combination of good timing and a lotta' luck. We can look back and through all the peaks and valleys we can say that God was the constant one and I was not. Yet His love has never wavered, His grace always present, His love has always encompassed me no matter what.
That is why I can look forward to the next thirty-two and ponder the wonderful highs and prepare my-self for the unexpected lows. Whatever that is and however that is done we will do our best and rely on Him for the rest. I know that without Him in my life my past thirty-two would not have such a hopeful shine to it.
It is interesting that out of the past thirty-two it is the past five to seven that have really been key. I know that all of life little path's lead you to where you are now, yet I look back and see the last seven as monumental.
In two thousand I married the woman of my dreams.
In that same month we bought a house in Dayton.
We meet a wonderful family of believers led by Dan and Tammy Roelofs.
Adam bought a house four doors down.
We tore down our old house and rebuilt over the next fifteen months.
We watched our dear friend and pastor Dan Roelofs die of cancer at the age of thirty-two.
We saw Adam fall in love and get married to a wonderful girl.
We had Brad and Amy Bone join us as neighbors four houses the other way.
We had it all.
We worked hard.
We played harder.
We had it all.
We waited for good news when Adam's health was in question.
It never came.
We lost Adam last November.
We became pregnant during Adams fight with cancer.
We became parents New Years day.

That is the past seven of thirty-two. I can not imagine higher highs nor lower lows. I don't know how I could have done that without my saviour in my life. I will not imagine the next thirty-two without Him.
Each and every event has given me a choice. To rest and do nothing, and at times I have. To not care and fall away, and at times I have. To accept the situation and know that I am not in control and allow Him to lead the way, in good times and bad.
I need him more now than ever.

I joined a group called the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society last May. I have volunteered to raise four thousand dollars before September twenty-third of this year. On that day I will Race in an International distance Triathlon on the grounds of Walt Disney World. I will do this to honor Adam and many others. I will do this because I know that I now have a choice, now that I have lost Adam. I can become better or I can become bitter. Bitter seems easy. Better is right. I will do what is right. That is what Adam would have done. That is what my God expects of me out of love.
I cannot imagine a better place for me to be than "Team in Training" (TNT) for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS).
TNT has given me a goal both in raising the funds for cancer research and for helping families directly dealing with cancer, and in training for something that will challenge me physically. Long gone are the younger days where we could pick up anywhere and do most anything. This race demands my attention. And if you knew what kind of shape I was in this past Jan.-Feb. I have had a lot of work to do.
I have found so much support in my latest endeavor. More than ever, I know that God has blessed me with a support group that is beyond my comprehension. More that ever I want to excel in this Triathlon to show how much I appreciate all the support that has been so graciously extended my way. I have been inspired with letters of encouragement and money to help me reach my goal.
It is so special and important to me. This blog is hopefully one way that I can give back and keep more people connected to the amazing things that are happening in little Dayton Minnesota.
Following should be entries of my daily training and what is bouncing through my head while I am swimming, biking, and running.
And of course when I figure it out, lots of pictures!

Thank you and God Bless....