Thursday, August 5, 2010

Hot Summer


What a summer it has been! Another TNT season has passed and we are head long into summer.

My lifetime race July 10 was great this year. The 2010 Triathlon teams raised $280,000 for the Leukemia, Lymphoma, Society!
It was an honor to serve as a "Team Captain" this season as we guided along many new athletes to the world of triathlon. I have so many highlights to the year, just like every season. I will share a couple that really stick with me. Racing with survivors of cancer really touches me. It inspires me to keep up the fight and get others to join. This season we trained and raced with eight survivors. Matt Haley a good friend from past marathon teams crossed over to the Tri world and had an exceptional race. Matt was in stage four cancer just two years ago and the new therapies backed by LLS have his cancer in remission. Josh Bertleson, our honored teammate, was working overtime this season as we watched him race Ironman Utah (st.george). After his triumphant finish at Ironman he came back to race with "team" at Lifetime in the sprint division and metaled in his age group. Josh is another person that has directly benefited from LLS backed treatments. Those are just two of the many stories that I was close to this season.
The other point of major inspiration this season was the Wilk family. Darrell Wilk had lost his wife just this past Dec when their family decided they would fundraise and race in her memory. Darrell, his son David, his daughter Jeanine and her husband Mike Roddy all trained and fundraised in the wake of tremendous loss this season. They all inspired the team to amazing heights this season and finished with incredible finishes on race day. I count myself lucky to have gotten to know the Wilk family and pray their continued healing.
Personally my race was one of my favorites for the listed reasons above. Numbers wise is not at all where I had trained to be, but you get what you get race day and I chose to love it! The swim was to warm for wet suits so that means slower swim times. That being said I loved the swim and was extremely happy with my swimming efforts. The bike felt great as I put out the strongest most consistent bike I could. It was a solid bike on a beautiful day. The run I found complications that allowed me to enjoy the course a while longer than I would have hoped. I had been experiencing some signs of a chest infection earlier in the week but was not concerned. Race day brought me a more restricted airway as I attempted to push as hard as I could on the final event. My body was ready but my airway would not let me push as hard as I wanted. Four weeks later and the chest infection still lingers.
Even though race day did not match my exceptions in terms of race time, I can say that it was my favorite season yet. I put very little stock in race time, it is the overall experience and the quality of training during the season that is the key. My season was amazing with incredible people striving to put more cancer survivors in the race.

With the season over I look forward to sleeping in Saturdays and not having to drive around town for training's, but I always do really miss group workouts.
The next race we need to finish is "Job Search 2010" it has been a challenging season in the job search field as my continued efforts to secure full time employment continues to elude me. The things I have (and continue) to learn about endurance training have come in handy as the search is now into its eighth month.

If there is a connection out there that may yield an opportunity out there for me I would appreciate any contact you would have.
We are very mobile in terms of being able to pick up and move. My background would translate well into most any field.

Thank you all for all the prayers and support over the last four years. Eight races and thousands of miles of training has been wonderful for me and my family.

"The miracle isn't that I finished...The miracle is that I had the courage to start."
-John "The Penguin" Bingham

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Fathers Day!


Hard to believe summer is now in full swing. So many things to do so little time to do it all with. Not a bad problem to have. As training ramps up for me I am reminded even more, of the value and the necessity of perspective.

One of the most valuable lessons endurance training reminds me of is perspective. There are special skill/talent sets that we all have uniquely, and on top of that only so much
time to to it all with, so finding a way to enjoy exactly who you are, and where you are at, is key to enjoying the blessings around you. Stress is such a joy stealer! Things never go exactly the way you want them to, and there is not much youcan do about it. Choose to accept it, or be crabby and affect everyone else around you. So often I see people that I train and race with that have good realistic goals for their training and racing. But once they get pulled from their goal it wrecks everything else they do. It happens everyday
to everyone no matter what you do.

I could make this the longest post ever if I started to explain all the things that have not gone the way I could/would have expected life to go in the past five years. It is what it is. These are the challenges I have been faced with, and I have been promised that I have the skills to handle each and every challenge weather I want to or not. I have lost great friends, Grandmothers, my brother, wisely chosen to move from the house we
built and loved,
excused from my job with no explanation, and I will never get an answer to
why on any of it? Is that unfair or what? I don't think so, not for a minute! This is what life has given me, and I know that as tough as much of it is, I am blessed beyond measure. There are hardships out there that make my situation look like a beautiful summer day.

It's fathers day today, and I went for an early morning jog (5am) with
my dear friend Angel that I had the honor of racing my first TNT race with in 07. As we ran and talked I reflected on Adam and my Mom and
Dad. I thought about how I could never possibly un
derstand the gravity of loosing a son. He was my brother and my longing for him grows stronger every year he is gone. But to loose a son....I marvel at the strength they have. The support they have given us. The joy they find in every day. Even if is just
a little. To find any joy after that loss is a marvel.

It's fathers day today and I miss my brother. It would have been so fun to see him with his son Adison as he grows up into the big boy he is today. It's the simple thing that are so precious. I am reminded of
it every time I hold my kids and am overwhelmed by the joy they bring to my life. The innocence they have, the seemingly limitless joy and excitement they have in the simplest things. It feels embarrassing to know that we loose so much of that joy as we get older, but I know it is never lost. We just have to slow down.....relax....turn off the distractions and find the joy all around us. I feel foolish every time I am tempted to turn the TV or radio on when my kids are around as if they are not worth all my attention.

Today I am jobless and my heart feels great loss, yet I look around and I am blessed beyond measure. My wife is my everything and is so amazing and trusting with our situation and were we are in life together. We live at home with mom and dad and sister again and I must say as challenging as it is to have seven in one house, it has brought us a level of healing together that would have never happened any other way. Funny to s
ay that I don't struggle to wonder why nothing has been working out for me these past six months. I know where I am at and it is a wonderful place, as difficult as it is sometimes.

I don't think it was God's plan for all this junk to happen in our lives. I do know that it is exactly His plan for us to trust that He will be our strength to get us through it and bless us beyond measure on the other end. I know what it is that gets my parents through the day after loosing their son, it is the grace and the passionate love of God and their choice to accept it. Honestly there is no other answer. Great things will likely be in store for us soon but I reflect on today and I feel blessed. I know we are exactly were we need to be and I am excited to see the doors open for us in a new and refreshing way.

I am in control of today and what I will do with it, and soon I am going to take a nap :) It's fathers day and soon we will enjoy the company of family and friends at the house here. Today started with my run with Angel at 5am for two hours then a swim in the river with five more friends from TNT for 2 miles. This daddy needs a nap!

Happy fathers day to all those fathers out there and a blessed day to those whom fathers day has a tint if sorrow. I pray that you find grace and peace where you are at, and make the time to see the blessings around you. It may not be the way you wanted it but it is exactly were you are at and I promise you it can be a good thing.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Season Opener!

Today was the Buffalo Triathlon, the unofficial season opener for the MN tri scene. It is a fantastic race that is super family/spectator friendly. This was my third year racing at Buffalo as it is a good practice race for the Lifetime race just six weeks away. Buffalo is a great race for first timers and I love to see their excitement when they finish the race. For many it is just the beginning of a wonderful and healthy past time that adds to the summer fun.

My training this year is solely focused on the Lifetime race and the Olympic distance (.9Swim/ 26Bike/6.2run). In years past I have done far too much and all over the map with Half-Iron distance Tri's and Marathons and half marathons. With life in such a major transition I felt it best to have simple focus. Two races shorter distance. With the help of specific coaching from my good friend and TNT coach Scott Beesley, I have really found a good mix of quality workouts that maximize my training schedule and keeps my priorities with my family and my job search. What a blessing he has been!

This past week has been packed with constant unpacking as we prepared for our TNT garage sale that helped me get close to my fundraising goal for this season. It was a great success as we raised all most $1400 for LLS. As touching as it was to see the generosity of friends and neighbors, it was equally touching to hear the personal stories of triumph and tragedy with cancer from people that we had never meet. Cancer, like many struggles in life, is one of life's unfair tragedies. It leaves us with the option to be better or bitter. I continue to race and fundraise because it helps me to be better. No amount of training or racing nor any level of success with it will ever fill the hole that we were left with when Adam left us. But I know that his legacy of goodness is reflected when I choose to help others in simple or great ways.

Today my race reflected comfort. This is my fourth season racing and although the race day jitters never go away, I was able to really enjoy the day and comfortably put fourth my best effort. Nothing this week went "as planned". Sleep was less then remotely ideal and the stress from the sale was a good factor. But race day is what it is, and there is no changing it, so you can take it for what it is and like it or let it get you down. I have gotten good at fooling myself into believing, "no matter what happens it only helps me to be stronger."

The weather was great. My swim was strong but I did not want to get too hot so I kept things in check in the water. My transition time was good from swim to bike. The first half of the bike was a struggle to find my legs. A bit of a head wind made it work. I did manage to find a groove by mile 21 that felt great but little to late to keep up with the big dogs. Transition from bike to run was great with one of my fastest times ever. The run was a challenge with slight cramping in my diaphragm and as the run course steadily climbed up hill I had to be careful as my quads were beginning to tighten up. Be that as it may I felt really good. Everything was manageable and I was able to keep the "wheel house" moving turning out a strong run to the half way point. The second half of a run is mental. After two hours of pushing the physical limits you really need to pay attention to the simple things and go far beyond yourself mentally to finish strong. Today was basic, drawing off the quiet strength that Adam always had. Cheering others on in their efforts and appreciating the ability (the gift) that we have to participate in such a challenging event. Be it first or last, finishing is the important thing. Appreciating who you are and where you are at and liking it is paramount. Focusing on the efforts of those around you is key as we fight our own physical and mental battles race day.

This year I improved my time my four minuets overall and even better felt great after the race all day long. Granted I have not gotten in a nap yet today and I am struggling to keep my eyes open right now but today was a great day. We finished!

Results

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Garage Sale!



What an exciting time of the year. Summer! The tri season starts this Sunday in Buffalo and I can't believe where the time has gone. Up-dating the blog has been difficult this season to keep up but I will promise to be regular from here on because it is going to be non stop action from here out!
Life lessons have been strong this year. Patience and healing seem to be two main things that have been strong for learning. Choosing to move home after loosing my job has been a physical (space) challenge but as time has gone by it seems that it has been a blessing as the continued process of healing after loosing Adam (over three years ago) has been a comfort here at home. That being said it is exciting to look forward to having our own space again when we are blessed with a new job.
Team training has been fantastically fun this season with many new faces and new places to train. An extra special blessing has been the weather. Getting on road with the bikes and in the lake three weeks earlier than past seasons. I can say that I am a month a head of last seasons fitness levels. This is my fourth season focusing on tris and I am excited to see how I do as I am focusing on the Olympic distance (.9 swim/26mi bike/6.2mi run) with speed and efficiency.
My role on the team as a "Training Captain" has been wonderfully fulfilling. Not only have we witnessed new athletes develop before our eyes but they have blessed me with their new passion for fundraising for LLS. It has also been valuable during my personal training to hear myself echoing the "fundamentals" that I encourage the others with.
Yesterday I kicked off the "river swim" schedule. Memorial Day we swam from the Champlin boat launch to Mom & Dad's dock, a two and a half mile swim. It seems like last week we were in the pool for swim training. Seven of us made this years maiden voyage and it felt fantastic. We will do it three other Sundays this month with exception of this Sunday due to the Buffalo race.
The past three weeks have been my heavy load for training and I am excited that things are coming to a crest.
We are doing a fundraising garage sale for TNT this week! THURS-FRI-SAT
Come out and support TNT with your purchases and help us part with the glut of wonderful material things we have accumulated over the years. Adult and Kids clothes, kids toys galore, TV's and lost of other electronics, VHS/DVD/CD's, HOUSEWARES GALORE. The list could go on and on. Come out one and all. Don't forget to tell your friends.
Till next time.

God bless and Good luck!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Kickoff

This Saturday is the kickoff to a new summer season for TNT. This season will be fantastically fun. New coach, new people, fantastic life stories to be shared. I am really looking forward to having a frame work (schedule) to work around. Life has delivered us many changes in the past couple of months and I am excited about the future.

Understanding that you can only control what is in front of you I am eagerly awaiting new opportunities in the job market. I am one of the 1 in 10 americans in search of gainful employment. Here is what I am finding about myself in this process. First of all I am blessed beyond measure. We have all of life's basics in great measure. Shelter, food, health and at least one part time income. I am unbelievably blessed by my wonderful wife every day. She is an amazing support and through these challenging times we are finding new love and respect for one another. Marriage is just what many said it would be. You get out of it what you put into it. It has a lot of merit but beyond that our focus is what is key.

We spent years focusing solely on each other and often ended up frustrated with each other. Learning that we are first and foremost children of God and our focus needs to first be with Him, our lives together have been a blessing beyond words.

I think of the difficulties that we have shared and I am amazed that not only have we weathered the storms but we have grown closer together. I honestly don't believe that is anything short of God's amazing grace and His love for His children.

It has been a monumental change for me to not have a job to go to every morning. Not to have a house to come home to work on. No projects here or there. I of course have found things to do but I have also learned that projects cost money and we need to take a long break on our spending measures. That, and it is full on winter and you just can't do as much with the cold and snow. Being forced to like patience is a challenge. I will choose to like it. I will choose to make changes in the way I do things and think about things to have a more positive outcome. With my time, with my relationships. It has been a struggle. One that I am able to take on because I am not alone. I have the grace and love of my God and His Holy Spirit. I have the love of my wife our precious children and my family and friends.
So many thing to consider to find employment in this market. We will walk this path with a spirit of joy.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

New Year

I am very excited about the new year. The end of the last one was a fantastic challenge. Choosing to sell the house, loosing a job and all of the awkward things that accompany those things made a personally challenging time. There have been many times when I have thought that I was at the end of my rope and I wanted to break, but whenever those moments have occurred, I am quickly reminded by that calm still voice that it is not about me and weather I am at the end of some kind of rope. I created the rope and I decide weather or not I have any more left to give. I am quickly reminded as a follower of Christ that the rope is not mine any more, I have given Him my rope and there is no end to it. In the past month I have felt as broken and emotionally challenged as any time in my life. Trust is such a easy thing to think about but when all of your wordily securities begin to fall away and you really need to trust, when you really need to make good decisions in light of fantastically painful situations, do you do it with joy. Is that trust stronger than your earthly securities that we all rely upon. As a couple Janet and I are in the myer of this challenge. I am so thankful every moment for the partner that God has blessed me with. She is my life saver.
I am excited about the things to come in the next year. I am hoping that our challenges begin to lessen some but know that if we continue to walk in this storm that He will guide us to brighter days. Typing that reminds me of a saying that a prof at College used to say often. In summary it was about how being a christian is not a fix it. Having God direct your life dose not guarentee good things will always happen. On the contrary you will face more challenges. As in life there will be dirty times, and as a christian those dirty times become dirtier because the devil wants noting more than to break you from your reliance upon your Creator. But if you find the joy in your pain you will experience joy like you could never otherwise experience on the other end. As dark and dirty your pitfalls will be will not compare to the joy and happiness you will experience on the other end. With Christ the joy is endless and beyond belief.
There is no doubt that we are in one of life's pitfalls but as we are here we know we are blessed. I am amazed by the things that continue to challenge us but those things that try to break us become really small when we take the focus off of ourselves. IT IS NOT ABOUT US, IT IS NOT ABOUT "ME" OR "I" as hard as it is for me to comprhend I know that placing my trust in God I give up the right to be offended. I am a tool to reflect His grace not my "feeling" and emotions. Those things are messy and his love and grace is endless and consistant. That is our challenge, reflect His love and grace. It is so hard but it is a joy to try. It is our command to try untill our days are through on this earth. I saw Adam do it while he was at his end I can cirtianlly do it now. I know I can't, but I know with his strength I can.
This has basically been a pep talk for myself but more than anything I hope it encourages you too.