Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas!

And Happy New Year!

It has been a year of tragedy, tears, laughter and joy. It has been a year filled with challenges and blessings.

I am very grateful to be blessed the way I am. I have a wonderful family and wonderful friends.

I am constantly humbled and in awe of what I have been entrusted with.

I am also humbled and in awe of the Rock of my salvation.

I hope blessings rain down on you and your family for the rest of this year and throughout 2009!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

It's A Wrap!

Ya know, through it all, memories were created and isn't that what you're trying to do on a vacation? Without question there will be memories from this ski trip. As a matter of fact, it might be one of the most memorable.

Friday was a big day filled with shopping, skiing and plenty of food. Will seems to be a natural with skis on...he made three runs on one of the junior slopes and didn't fall once! I wish I could say the same thing.

Lilly Kate finished strong as well. After being a little frustrated early she became very determined, and when LK's determined, look out! She really got the hang of the slow-plow and the turn and stop. She was thrilled and therefore, so was I!

Ashley made three runs as well, fell only once. I made 8 runs on the day, three in the morning and 5 Friday afternoon/evening. Yes, night skiing. I did my first blue, the Spring Dipper. It was all fun-and-games early as I stayed on my skis. But at the end it was long and steep to the bottom. I bit it twice! Very humbling, but fun. And pretty exhausting.

After the 8th and final run of the day it was off to the shower and then pizza.

In the end, despite the multiple trips to resort medical clinic, the oxygen level below that of the Marlboro Man, Will's multiple deposits in the white-bowl-of-truth and an I.V. to get him back up to par, it really was a fun trip. We spent time together (a lot of it in the car! - we drove all the way back Saturday), we laughed together and in the end created a lot of memories.

Now, call Hallmark!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Final Day Redemption

This vacation was down big mid-way through the 4th quarter with little chance to come back. But after a quick touchdown we tried the onside kick....AND RECOVERED!

Last night Will was still a little out of it so he and I stayed home. But the rest of the clan went out to eat with the entire group. That was a big first down...and they go out of bounds to stop the clock without using one of our two times-out!

This morning, Alex went back to the doc to check his blood oxygen level. And as the shirt suggests, yes, he does have oxygen again.

He measured 96...out of the woods and a far cry from the 67 he measured Wednesday morning. The doc even said he could ski today if he wanted....he didn't want. He said he didn't want to feel bad again. I can't say that I blame him.

Will is much better today as well...

...looks like he just saw a ghost...but it appears to have been a funny one....

...a nice 18-yard reception down the middle of the field. A first down and we burn a time-out.

I made three runs down Schoolmarm...fell only once. The third time down I deviated from the normal route and went down Dercum's Dash which is a little higher up the mountain and much steeper than the normal end to the 'Marm'. I tried the Dash a couple of days earlier and fell three times. This morning I didn't fall at all...

...another first down and we're in the redzone....there's under a minute to play and we have one time out...

...this afternoon I'm going to try my first blue...tick, tick, tick...the clock is winding down. Will this vacation come out a winner? Only time will tell...tick, tick, tick!

I have high hopes!

Wally World

At least Keystone was OPEN...

...and there was snow on the ground.

But there are a lot of similarities between this vaca and every vaca Chevy Chase has ever been on.

It's probably not good when you have a standing reservation at the resort medical clinic and they welcome you as if you were Norm at Cheers.

What was thought to be a cold which developed into possible bronchitis was actually High Altitude Pulmonary Edema (HAPE) for Alex. As it turns out his blood oxygen level was lower than that of a smoker with emphysema. I told him to lay off the Camel non-filters. He's going back to the clinic for the third day in a row to get checked again. He's been on oxygen since Wednesday. He hasn't skied since Tuesday.

Will threw up 7 times Wednesday night into Thursday morning. He went to the same clinic and ultimately was put on an I.V. because he was dehydrated and spent the better part of 4 hours there trying to get him back up to speed. He had fever the rest of the day and stayed in bed.

Poor Will thought his mother and I were laughing at him while he was paying homage to the porcelain doubt it was poor timing, but at that point it was uncontrollable.

Hey, at least I didn't brandish a gun running wildly throughout the resort or we didn't drag a dog on it's leash from the back of our van for hours along the highway and I certainly haven't unleashed a profanity laced tirade in front of our entire group of family and friends.

Now if the distant relatives pull up in a Winnebago....I'm out!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Ski School

My last post was headlined "-4!!!", which pales in comparison to what the temperature was as we headed for ski school early Monday morning. Yeah, I know it's kind of blurry, but it does read -18! -18 degrees. I don't think I've ever been in -18 degree temperatures before...if I have, I don't remember it.

It sounds crazy but once we got outside it didn't really feel that cold. Our instructor had us moving alot so maybe that was it.

The kids had their own instructor. Alex, Ashley and I were in a group of 7. We learned the basics and took baby steps. The biggest obstacle was learning how to get on and off the ski lift! We all mastered it on the second go around. Both of our instructors were great, very patient and encouraging...two key ingredients to being a good instructor.

After class was over our instructor, Bert, was kind enough to take us on our first green run. It was a two-mile run and I gotta tell ya, a little intimidating. Hey, I don't mind saying it. We made it down and felt good.
Day one in the books.

Sunday, December 14, 2008


We've arrived in Keystone for our much anticipated ski adventure! The picture to the right is out the back door of our condo....a true winter wonderland.

It's beautiful...and also frigid. Right now as I sit here and type it's -4 degrees. I will say there's no wind here right now, so this -4 degrees is much warmer than what we drove through to get here.

We drove it in two days. First stop was Hays, Kansas, otherwise known as Siberia! As we drove into town I think the wind was blowing 127 miles-an-hour from the south. It was 64-degrees. The very next morning it was blowing 135 miles-an-hour from the north. It was 19-degrees. We drove for about 5-hours through the most desolate country I've been in in quite some time. The temperature actually dropped to -1. Traveling west towards Denver I felt like I had to steer the car on a perpetual right turn just to keep going straight....that's how hard the wind was blowing. Tumbleweed after tumbleweed rolled in front of us across the road. At one point I think I saw a small cow do the same. It got kind of hard to see as the snow fall accumulated and, of course, blew sideways. I thought the car was going go the way of the tumbleweed!

We actually made it to Denver and the clouds began to break revealing these tall sky scrapers and even taller mountains. Majestic! Traffic was slow but sure as we made it to Keystone. Well worth the trip....

...a trip made a lot more peaceful by the ole DVD players hanging on the seats! Thank you Fry family for letting us borrow them. How do you repay peace and serenity?

The condo is very nice and cozy, just ask Lilly Kate. The weather outside is frightful, but the fire is, indeed, so delightful. As is the wifi giving us the opportunity to check the all important fantasy football scores.
Tomorrow it's off to ski school. Is it possible to become olympic caliber in 4-hours? My other question is, where's the nearest hospital?

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Fun CrossTraining

First of all it was just time to get that cheating triathlete off the top of my blog....I was tired of looking at him and frankly, while still no less disturbing, the story has grown ice cold, not to mention as stale as a bag of Doritos that your 16-year-old left open and undiscovered in the game room on the "other" side of the couch!

Now to the topic at hand. For the first time in my life I'm going snow skiing. The same is true for everyone in my family with the exception of my wife. She's been several times.

We're all excited! And ready to go. The Town & Country Touring begins its tour a week from this Saturday as we roll towards Colorado. Keystone to be exact. Everything's ready to go. We have a place to stay (50ft. from the ski lift!), we have ski clothes (courtesy of family and friends. Thank you very much family and friends!), we have our lift tickets and we have our health insurance!

We've been planning this trip for quite some time and my wife has done a fantastic job of researching, investigating, negotiating, confirming, securing, internet surfing, reassuring, purchasing and exhausting every possible thought and/or need we might, I'm exhausted just at the thought of all she's already accomplished! Well done!

On to Keystone. We've been there before. In the summertime. It looks a lot different. I did some surfing of my own and found some cool pictures online of the Keystone area. It looks very snowy. We're definitely going to have to try the ice skating on the outside skating rink. No doubt a few might want to go on the horse-drawn sleigh ride. And of course.....skiing.

As I mentioned, I've never been skiing before. Everyone assures me that I'm going to love it. I anticipate loving it. Everyone says I'll get the hang of it in no-time. I anticipate getting the hang of it in no-time. Just to make sure, the entire family's getting educated with a half-day ski school. Let's get some guidance and practice on the user friendly gentle slopes.

Now to some random thoughts. I looked on-line at the ski report for the Keystone area and I see they have a 25 inch base with 4 inches of snow within the past 24 hours and 7 inches in the past 48. Wow, that's incredible! I have no idea what that means! Is that good? Is that mediocre? Should I be saying, "Wow, that's horrible!"? I don't know much about this kind of stuff, but I'm pretty sure I know two things at this point: 1) there's going to be snow on the ground that my family can ski over & 2) as long as they have these things in this bottom picture I'm pretty sure there's going to be snow on the ground that my family can ski over. That closes the book on random thought number one.

Random thought number two. As I mentioned above, thanks to various family and friends, we'll be fitted with some fantastic ski clothing. I used to play a lot of golf. I would play a couple times a week and play in a few tournaments a year. I remember scoping out the competition on the driving range before the tournaments would begin. Most of the guys would have the latest equipment, the nicest bags, clubs and they would always dress the part of a low-handicap golfer....and then tee-time would come ultimately confirming the old addage that most golfers look better than they play. The same holds true for triathletes as well. The same will hold true for me on the slopes in less than a week-and-a-half...boy am I going to look good! Skiing?, not so much!

Monday, November 03, 2008

Price of Intergrity and Character

I saw this picture on a triathlon website I frequent often and it confirmed a story I heard over the weekend while volunteering at Ironman Florida. You hear grandiose stories all the time and wonder if they're true. Like the one about the guy who supposedly forgot to put anything on under his wetsuit, much to the shock and horror of both he and the wetsuit peeler! Some of the stories are folklore and some, unfortunately, turn out to be true, like the one about this guy in the photo at the left.
You'll notice in his left hand are a pair of fins. Some will tell you they think wetsuits shouldn't be worn because they provide too much of an advantage. Wetsuits help prevent hypothermia. They also help with buoyancy by keeping the hips and lower body on top of the water helping prevent drag increasing swim speed and efficiency. Wetsuits are more of an advantage for more challenged swimmers, like me, but they are completely legal according to the rules depending on water temperature.
However, there is no question as to the legality of fins. They are illegal. As are webbed gloves. As are motorized bicycles. As are MP3 players. As is doing one loop on a two loop run. It's about integrity and character. Apparently absent from this guys make-up. He sold his integrity and character for a few minutes faster on his swim time. I wonder if it was worth it to him. It's akin to getting a couple dollars too much change at a quick stop....and keeping it. It's not the most egregious of acts, but very revealing at the same time.
The spirit of triathlon is that it's an individual sport. You're competing with yourself to do the best you can. You push yourself. You challenge yourself. At mile 96 on the bike your inner voice screams, "KEEP GOING" even though your body's telling you to stop. This guy cheated himself in the race within himself.
I don't condone but understand top professional athletes taking performance enhancing drugs in hopes of gaining that edge. It's certainly cheating but I understand the reasons. There's a lot on the line for them financially and sometimes it's the difference between making it or not. Again, I don't condone or approve...just understand. I don't understand this guys logic. I don't see a Kona qualifier or a professional triathlete here. I see a guy who entered an Ironman race in hopes of achieving an unbelievable feat....swimming 2.4 miles, riding a bike 112 miles and running a one hopes of being able to call himself an Ironman the rest of his life!
Justice would be served if this guy was disqualified. I don't know if he was or not. But then again, as I think about it, it doesn't really matter because for the rest of his life he'll know that he cheated. In this day and time of high priced everything the price of his integrity and character was dirt cheap. It was on sale. Bargain basement prices. A few minutes faster on his swim time. I wonder if it was worth it for him?

Friday, October 24, 2008

It could be worse

Just in case you think you're having a bad day.........

Monday, October 20, 2008


Sports can sure make for strange fan-fellows! Being a proclaimed and well documented Sooner fan I have a keen eye on the recently released BCS standings. The first such standings of the 2008 season.
Of course, had the Sooners not lost to the hated Longhorns two weeks ago they would've, surely, been perched atop the list. Yeah, yeah, I know, they might not have been and don't call me Shirley...! But, the fact is they did lose to the burnt orange and they don't sit atop the standings.....OU is 4th. Not a bad place to be. Oklahoma is the highest rated one loss team. In order, the standings read: 1) Texas; 2) Alabama; 3) Penn State; 4) Oklahoma & 5) USC. Just for good measure (because they're a part of the equation as well) 6) is Oklahoma State.
Now, obviously, you don't have to be #1 to get into the championship game, you just have to be in the top-2. That's do-able for the Sooners. First of all they have to take care of their own bid-ness! Not necessarily a given considering they have Okie St. and Texas Tech left on the schedule, both in the top-10 of the BCS.
Secondly, it's going to require a couple of teams in front of the crimson and cream to lose. It's up to teams that I'm not particularly fond of to make that happen. I'm not a big fan of Okie State but I'm a one-day fan of theirs hoping they'll knock off Texas this weekend. With regards to Oklahoma State I will admit it's hard to have a distaste for them when that runs too deep....they just don't win enough! I do have a distaste for LSU and their arrogant coach Les Miles...but for one Saturday, here's hoping they knock off the Crimson Tide. It's one instance where Les is more! And finally, why is it that after losing two national championship games in humiliating fashion in consecutive seasons the Ohio State Buckeyes seem to continue to get a pass on being locked out of the BCS title game? For that reason the Bucks are on my "distaste" list (I'm certain they're concerned!). So this Saturday night I'm all scarlet and silver at the 'shoe against JoPa's Nitanny Lions.
Presto! It's all figured out. Sooners in the championship game against....I don't care (although it would be cool to face off against the Longhorns again). Now here's to hoping they don't embarrass themselves once they get there!

Saturday, October 18, 2008


Saturday mornings are great! There's no job responsibilities, don't have to take the kids to school and I get up early enough that's it's all quiet on the Western Front (or at least the downstairs portion of the house) before the kids get up and shatter the stillness.

I usually brew a pot of coffee, sit down in front of the laptop and browse...check my usual sites...and ponder.

The spinning wheel of pondering thoughts this morning stopped on the Little Rock Marathon. It's a well organized race. One that continues to grow in popularity and stature. It has the biggest finishers medal on the planet. Urban legend has it that smaller framed runners have toppled over after having the ribbon-clad medal anchored around their necks while crossing the finish line in exhaustion. Yet, more material for "Myth-Busters" should someone decide to send it in.
For me the LRM represents the Great Underestimate of '08! I ran the 2008 edition of the race in 4:42:51! It was a little embarrassing for me considering that I ran a 4:57:and change marathon after swimming 2.4 miles and biking 112 at Ironman Wisconsin in September of 2007. That's a difference of less than 15-minutes!
It is certainly my own fault! I can blame no one else. I didn't respect the distance as a stand alone challenge. I mean, really, 26.2 miles is nothing compared to 140.6, right? Of course, I certainly said all the right things and thought the right thoughts, but when it came to training....I didn't train the right way. And I paid the price walking a large part of the second half of the race on my way to a blistering 4:42+! I got what I deserved.
After the race I said I'd probably not run another marathon unless it was part of an Ironman. Well, I changed my mind. I'm running the LRM again this coming March. I want to see what I can do when I train the appropriate way. I've got a training plan and I'm already into it. My goal for 3.15.09 is to run a sub-4. My stretch goal is to knock 1-hour off my '08 time: 3:42:51! I wonder if it's do-able?
What's been your experience? Is it possible to knock an hour off your marathon time from one year to the next? If you read this blog and have an opinion I'd like to read it. If so, what made you successful? I need all the help I can get.

Thursday, October 09, 2008


It's burnt orange and crimson and cream. It's the real start of the college football season in the Big XII. It's Oklahoma-Texas weekend at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas. It's a big game this year like it is every year. Oklahoma's #1 and Texas is 5. The loser will be on the outside lookin' in...of the Big XII Championship...of the National Championship. For the winner it just means that they're not the loser....profound, I know. But for the winner it just means that they continue to move on in this bizarre world that is college football. The winner doesn't win anything except the game....which is a big thing. It's much worse for the loser than it is big for the winner.
Both teams are undefeated. Both teams have top rated quarterbacks. Both teams will face their toughest test of the year to date. Oklahoma has played a ranked team (TCU) this year so far and Texas has not. The focal point for each offense is the QB. OU has an array of targets to throw to. Texas is similar. The Longhorns' QB is a bit more of a dual threat than OU's although I'm sure Mack Brown doesn't want him to take off running too much lest one of OU's linebackers takes off his head...or causes his knee to buckle in an unnatural way.
OU's defense has been pretty tough so far despite numerous question marks coming into the season. Texas' defense has been stout as well. Both offenses have put an ungodly amount of points on the board.
The biggest match-up of the game, and the difference in the game, in my opinion, is between OU's passing game and Texas' secondary. If there is a weakness in the Longhorns' defense it's their backfield.
In full disclosure I am a Sooner fan. Have been since I knew what college football was all about. I've been to many OU football games. But, never this one at the Cotton Bowl. I'll be watching on the small screen.
In 9 games against Texas Bob Stoops is 6 - 3. I predict that come Saturday afternoon it'll be 7 - 3. Shock, I know.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Olympic pose

The final race of my triathlon season was this past weekend in Dallas...The US Open Triathlon. Sounds pretty big and official. It actually was a pretty big race in the triathlon world. It was a championship event for pros and amateurs alike (guess which is which in the photo above?!!).
It's really a cool event from the standpoint that it's a who's-who in the pro ranks. First let me start by saying it was an Olympic distance event (1500m swim, 25 mile bike and a 6.2 mile run). As the distance name suggests it's the distance they use for the Olympics....and Olympians were there including Hunter Kemper pictured above with that amateur. Kemper didn't actually race in the event, his season was over, he was just there to support it. But Matt Reed (Olympian) was there as was Andy Potts, Greg Bennett (winner on the day and winner of the series), his wife Laura (Olympian), Sarah Haskins (Olympian), Becky Lavelle, Mirinda Carfrae and Joanna Zeiger to name a few. These are the top names in short course racing. Some will compete this weekend in Kona for the Ironman World Championship (Potts, Zeiger).
It's one of the reasons I like competing in triathlons. In no other sport can you perform with the best in the world, on the same day, on the same course, at the same time (well, ok, they were way in front of me, so technically it wasn't AT the same time but it was, well, very ....ish-like). It's fun to watch them perform and then be able to say, "I competed with them that day." It's also fun to watch them prepare for the race. They each have their own routine.
Also, these pros just look different than everybody else. There's no question when you see a pro, even if you don't know who they are, you know they're not your average amateur. They're very athletic looking, skinny with zero body fat.
These pros are also very approachable and friendly. Hunter Kemper (finished 7th in the Olympics) couldn't have been nicer. He asked my name, talked with me a little, signed an autograph (there's just something about a 44-year-old man asking for an autograph - I don't know, it's weird) and took a picture with me. Nice guy. As a thank you I gave him a Big Mac, some fries and a shake and told him to put some meat on his bones!
Seriously, though, being that thin is one of the sacrifices of being a triathlete at that level. You have to carry as little weight as possible yet maintain enough muscle mass to power you through an event. Being that skinny is also a by product of endurance training. These athletes take in a lot of calories everyday....they just burn a lot as well. You remember the story about Michael Phelps. He consumes between 8,000 - 10,000 calories a day! Yet he has the body that he does. Same with these triathletes.
Back to Kemper for a second and then I'm finished. During the course of the conversation the Olympics, obviously, came up and we (my brother-in-law, Trey, was with me, got his picture taken with him as well, and an autograph {it's equally weird for a 39-year-old to ask for an autograph}) asked him what his plans were for the rest of the season. He said his season was over and that he's having hernia surgery next week. Said it's been bothering him for a while. The guy was having hernia issues during the Olympics and still finished 7th...pretty impressive!
Good luck Hunter. Thanks for the conversation. You've got two new fans.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Remembering Jerry

My friend, and everyone's friend, Jerry Anderson passed away at about 4:25 pm pacific time in Santa Barbara, California, after a short but hard-fought battle against a very aggressive form of cancer. His wife, Candy, was by his side the entire time. She is a true warrior and saint.
Jerry was a fantastic husband for Candy and father to Natalie and Joshua. He was also a great friend and an incredibly successful professional. He was very humble and unassuming yet at the same time he was very tenacious and diligent. Those traits served him well whether at home on the weekends relaxing, in the office taking care of business, playing college baseball back in the day at Arkansas State, racing in a triathlon or riding his bike 100-miles. He was a true competitor yet incredibly humble about his successes...and there were many.
Of all his successes, though, he would tell you that being married to Candy for 18 years and raising Natalie and Joshua was his greatest joy. They are a great family of which I'm blessed to know and enjoy a relationship with.
I am sad today. Very sad. It doesn't seem right for a young man, a vibrant man be taken so early in life with so much to do in the future. I will not be moved, however. My faith will not waiver. In fact it has grown stronger during this time. But, I am very sad.
I'm very thankful that Jerry didn't have to suffer through a long, drawn out illness. I believe the Lord knew that wasn't Jerry's style. He wouldn't have wanted to be the center of attention and he wouldn't have wanted people focusing on him. He would always prefer the focus be put on others. That's what he did in life.
If you haven't seen Candy's blog I encourage you to visit the site. It's a true source of encouragement and strength ( I will end with what she said Jerry would say, and rightfully so, by quoting 2 Timothy 4: 7-8 - "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day - and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing."

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Jerry Anderson

Jerry Anderson is a friend of mine. Our wives are best of friends, our daughters are best friends. We lived next door to each other for many years when we were having and raising kids. I look back on those days as some of the best!

Jerry is in a Santa Barbara hospital in the CCU fighting hard against cancer. A month ago his arm was hurting and he went in to have it checked out. He had a malignant tumor there, as well as in his leg. Now it's in his lungs. The doctors are baffled. The best oncologists in Los Angeles say they have NEVER seen a case like his before. That's astonishing. The weren't able to diagnose it for a few weeks. Then they came back and said it was a germ cell sarcoma, much like what Lance Armstrong had. They say that it's a cell Jerry was born with and it manifested itself this way at this time. They say that this type of cancer presents sometimes in avid cyclists. You certainly can describe Lance that way and Jerry has a love of cycling as well. He was supposed to do a century ride today.

There have been peaks and valleys the past 14 days since he's been in the hospital. I'm boldly praying that the Lord will heal Jerry's body and allow him to raise his children and love on his grandchildren. I'm also praying for his wife, Candy, that the Lord will give her strength and a discernment that is very clear as she makes many decisions during this time.

I've posted a link to the website where Candy is providing regular updates. It's on the right side of this page, just scroll down a little. If you're a praying person stop by the site. You can leave a comment to let his family know that you've prayed for them. I know they would appreciate the encouragement. The Lord is good and it's amazing how he's already worked in this situation.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

US Open Triathlon

It's less than two weeks until my last race of the season, the US Open Triathlon in Dallas. What a great name for a triathlon. In times past I've been an avid golfer and so now I can truly say that I've participated in a US Open.

This race is the culmination of the LifeTime Fitness triathlon series. There are 5 races in the series and the race in Dallas is the 5th and final for the season. Should be some good pros at the race. Last year Greg Bennett won all 5 races and got this huge bonus, $500,000.00 I think, for doing so.

I'm really looking forward to this event. I've been training hard and I'm going for a personal best at the olympic distance. Well, actually, I'm going for more than a personal best...I'm shooting for a sub-2:20. My best time to date was at Memphis in May in 2007 where I did 2:31.

Race day is October 5th.

Sunday, September 21, 2008


I've thrown a twist into the scores this week by adding one high school score...pretty amazing score though.

Sunday, September 14, 2008


OK, I said I'd do one obscure score a week and no big time colleges. Hey, it's my blog and my obscure score....thingy...

First of all, one could argue if Mississippi State is a big time school and that score was just too fun not to include. Secondly there were just too many good scores to recognize just one.

Maybe Defiance is going to be defiant after all by defying those who want them to win!

Sunday, September 07, 2008


New feature on the right side of the page. In honor of college football I'm going to post the obscure score of the week. The scores are going to represent a lot of different things. I may pick a blow out of epic proportions or I may pick a couple of obscure colleges or very close battles in overtime or some pretty intense rivalries from small colleges. One thing I will not pick is colleges from big time programs (unless it involves the Sooners rippin' on another team or coming up with a big win...however, that wouldn't be obscure because that happens frequently!). Big time programs get enough publicity as it is.

So, come back each week for my obscure score of the week. Because it's a special week, the opening week of the new special, I have two scores for ya.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Trying to explain the unexplainable

A good friend took her own life yesterday.....

It's very hard to make sense of an act that makes no sense at all. You search for the reasons, you try to explain things, maybe even rationalize. But none of it works. None of it solves anything. None of it helps you get past it.

The only thing I know to do is be in the presence of my friend, her husband, and his kids. I can tell him I love him. I can cry with him. I can sit silently with him. I can pray with him.

If you are in contact with this blog...please pray for the Campbells.

Saturday, July 19, 2008


It was my third race of the season, but my first that I didn't receive the nasty three letters...D-N-F. I actually got a time for this one and as it turns out it was a PR at the Half-Iron distance.
The race was the Buffalo Springs Lake 70.3. Trey, Bird and I made the drive to the West Texas town of Lubbock. I know, you're thinking "LUBBOCK!", where do you swim in Lubbock? It's actually a pretty area. The name of the race gives it away. It's a nice canyon area (by the way, the canyon makes for a pretty tough bike leg....more on that later) with a smaller lake called...yes...Buffalo Springs Lake.
The Lord blessed us all on this day with a reprieve from the blistering temperatures that usually exist in West Texas at the end of June. The high was in the lower 80's with significant cloud cover and a steady, light rain for most of the bike leg.
The swim was a PR at this distance as well at 41:17. I'd still like to cut time off this effort in the future for sure. The bike split was 3:07:53...for an average of 17.9. Seems a bit slow but the hills in and out of the canyon made for some tough climbs. I was happy with the split. My run was 2:15:03. Tack on the transition times for a total of 6:10:41.
My first half time was 6:29:33. Less than two years later I've cut 19 minutes off that time. My next goal is to do a sub-6.


It's been a pretty cool summer from a baseball standpoint for my oldest, Alex (and for me too for that matter). The photo above is of the Junior Deputy Major Division Champions for 2008. It was taken after the final game of the season in which we needed to win to secure the championship! As the smiles (and fingers) would indicate, we won the game and championship. A brief description of the last inning of the last game is in order because it's filled with the kind of drama expected from a championship caliber game:

The above photo is of the last pitch of the game and season. Obviously it was successful, but also stressful, says the coach in the corner of the dugout who couldn't watch.

It all came down to the bottom of the 7th. Reds up 5 - 2. The inning started innocently enough as the lead off batter rolled one down the line at first. Alex jumped off the hill, hustled over and threw him out for the first out. Alex walked the next batter. Then Mason McKay made a nice play at third on the next batter getting the force at second. Two outs one on. The drama wasn't over, however. After a walk and a fielder's choice play the bases were loaded with two outs.

Next to the plate was the Braves' best hitter. He'd tripled earlier in the game and hit a two run homer the night before. With bases loaded, two outs, and the Reds holding a 5 - 2 lead this game wasn't over! Alex quickly got him down 0 - 2 throwing two great pitches. The next pitch was in a great location trying to get him to chase it....ball one. By this time, I was in the very inside corner of the dugout by the water fountain. I couldn't see the batter.....I didn't want to....I was a nervous wreck! The next two pitches were good pitches and were fouled off....Alex was still way ahead at 1 - 2. At this point I'll say that while this was the Braves' best hitter and he'd done well at the plate as described above....Alex owned him on this night striking him out two of the three times he faced him leading up to this at bat....and he'd done it on good curve balls. Then on pitch 109...Russell Mays, who'd called an excellent game all night, with the championship on the line, called for the "uncle charlie" one more time. I saw Alex wind up, throw the pitch....I never got a visual confirmation of what happened at the plate....but it was obvious that the good curve got him again when I saw Alex slap his leg with his glove and pump his fist. I heard our stands erupt and saw our players begin to celebrate. It was a thing of beauty! Alex pitched a complete game for his best game of the year!

But the fun didn't stop with league baseball. Alex also played on his high school summer team and had fun with that as well. Being a freshman he played most of his game with the JV team but he probably had his most fun playing with the varsity guys. The highlight came in a varsity tournament at the local college. After a couple of games the starting 3rd baseman had to go out of town. Alex got the tap on the shoulder to take his spot. He did himself proud, played very well, caught the head coach's eye and earned a lot of respect from the rest of the varsity guys as someone who could deliver. In the semi-final game he went 2 - 3 with a double, single and three RBI, made some nice defensive plays and helped his team get to the championship game!

The championship game was the real treat. These guys got to experience playing a game at Dickey-Stephens park...the home of the AA Arkansas Travelers. It was the first non-professional game to ever be played at the park. They finished second in this tourney against some great teams from a 4 state area.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


***Ken Griffey Jr. hit his 600th home run earlier this week putting him in an exclusive club of 6...In order: Barry Bonds, Hank Aaron, Babe Ruth, Willie Mays, Sammy Sosa, Ken Griffey, Jr. Pretty impressive list of names. Griffey owned the '90s. From 1991 - 2000 he averaged 40 home runs and 113 RBIs....averaged! Those numbers include '91 when he hit just 22 and '95 when he played only 72 games due to injury and hit 17. It also includes the strike shortened season of '94 when he played only 111 games but still hit 40. It's too bad that since 2000 he's missed the equivalent of 2 1/2 seasons due to injury. There's no telling where he'd be on that list had he been able to play those games. Considering the fact that Hank called Griffey after he hit his 600th I'm sure he'd rather have "The Kid" ahead of him on that list then that other guy!

***The legendary Jim McKay passed away this past Saturday. From the Olympics to the British and U.S. Opens to the Wide World of Sports McKay's voice is synonymous with sports. He covered them all and did it well. The Olympics won't be the same without him.

***The Celtics are going for their first championship since 1986....that's a long dry spell for a franchise that defined the NBA and dynasties.

***There's the BCS bowl season in football and March Madness in basketball, but one of the most exciting seasons in all of college sports is upon us. The College World Series kicks off later this week in Omaha, Nebraska. Although I've never been to see it personally I've watched plenty of games on the tube and it's one of the most exciting, action-packed, enthusiastic events in sports. It seems like no lead is ever safe and the crowd is always into it.

Monday, June 02, 2008

PFFFFfffffssssssss.......and various other sounds

ZA,ZA,ZAzzzippppppppp, Ka-thump/Ka-thump/Ka-thump/Ka-thump/etc., KLUNK-klunk-bumpalump (x2), sandwiched by a couple of PFFFFffffsssssssssss's!

If you've ever thought of triathlons being filled with a bunch of sounds........the above sounds are not ones you want to hear. Come to think of it, it's pretty hard to spell sounds....try it sometime!

OK. Some explanations are in order. Following the explanations no further descriptions of how my race at the Route 66 Olympic in El Reno, Oklahoma should be needed.

With 5 minutes to race start I'm pulling my wetsuit onto my shoulders and reaching back and grabbing the string attached to the zipper that helps zip it up.....I get a ZA,ZA,ZA as the zipper locks a few teeth together with some resistance....then all of a sudden....zzzzzziiiiipppppppppppppp. Well, now, that was way to easy and fast. Sure enough, the zipper broke! Three minutes to race start and I'm takin' off my wetsuit trying to fix the zipper! A couple of nice volunteers see me and come over to help but to no avail. We had to put the wetsuit "down" right there on the track for everyone to see. Now I'm the only one not in the water and the guy on the loud speaker says, "wait, here's one more swimmer". That would be me.

The name of the triathlon helps explain the Ka-thump/Ka-thump/Ka-thump. The race is the Route-66 as in the OLD, famous, Route 66 highway that stretches across America. Stories are told about it, songs have been written about it and now curse words have been heaped upon it. You see, this stretch of Route-66 is still the original road. Concrete road. With some not so skillfully patched portions of the road. Every 20 yards or so the sections of concrete are separated making a distinct Ka-thump sound as one passes over. So, for 16 of the 25 mile bike portion it's a constant Ka-thump, Ka-thump, Ka-thump and on and on and so forth and so forth. It's enough to drive you nuts all by itself. Except not only does all the Ka-thumping drive you crazy, it also can, and did, cost me dearly in more ways than one.

That brings me to the KLUNK-klunk-bumpalump. The first one was my water bottle bouncing out of my holder on the back of my seat and landing on OLD Route-66. I wasn't the only one losing a water bottle. That particular portion of OLD Route-66 was like a graveyard for water bottles that day. I'm not quite sure what was worse...all the Ka-thumping or avoiding all the water bottles on the road. Anyway, the second KLUNK-klunk-bumpalump was my salt capsule container bouncing to the concrete. It escaped from my bento box while trying to down a GU.

By now I'm sure you can guess what the PFFFFffffssssssss represents. Yep, in the famous words of Howard Cossell (with some variation) "Down goes the tube, Down goes the tube". I'm flying down this hill and at the bottom is one of those not-so-skillfully patch portions of OLD Route-66. It's asphalt with about a 3-inch lip. I hit it doing about 35 - 40 mph. PFFFFffffssssssss is the next sound I hear. My first flat in an actual race. The silver lining in this thing is that I get to practice changing a flat. I proceed to do so and in the meantime I watch everyone zip right by me. I'm not quite sure because sweat ran into the corners of my eyes but I thought I actually saw a three-toed sloth pass me at that point. Anyway, I got it fixed, got back on and headed on my way passing some of those same folks who passed me earlier (no sign of the sloth). I'm back up to speed with a good cadence Ka-thumping my way back to the transition when.....PFFFFffffssssssss.....AGAIN. I usually watch my language but it was at this moment that curse words were heaped upon OLD Route-66.

I'm sure I looked pretty goofy walking a bicycle along the side of the road with a goofy looking aero helmet on and wearing these awfully tight shorts and shirt to all the farmers and ranchers whizzing by me in their cowboy Cadillacs in Western Oklahoma.

Mercifully a race volunteer picked me up and took me back to the transition area ending my misery and my race.....Ka-thumping all the way!

Friday, May 30, 2008


There are many cool things about Ironman. It tests yourself to the very core of your existence both mentally and physically. It's a lesson in persistence, endurance, toughness, failure and rising above it, humility, triumph, confidence, exhaustion and the list goes on.
Another intriguing aspect to Ironman is everyone has a story. Ironman finishers come in all shapes and sizes and from many different walks of life. Everyone has a reason for why they are an Ironman....and they all are inspiring in one way or another. Below is a link to one such inspiring story.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Pre Route 66

Gearing up for my second go-round with the Route-66 oly in El Reno, Oklahoma this weekend. The ankle is feeling much better (I bought stock in a generic ibuprofen company....shorting, of course). Swam 2500 this morning with an opening set of 1800 straight. I was planning a 3000 workout but had to get to the house and take the kids to school. I'm also doing a short brick this afternoon.

Did a nice 50-miler (actually it ended up being 47.5....rounding up, don't you know, always looks better) this past weekend with the guys & gal. It was my first trip around the Cato loop this year and that dad-gum hill is still there. Incidentally so are the three subsequent hills after the dad-gum hill. In all it was a good workout and a confidence boost.

More on the 66 next week.

Monday, May 19, 2008

MiM 2008

Two out of three isn't bad, as they say, but it feels crappy. More on this shortly.

Memphis in May was my first triathlon of the season. It happened this past weekend, May 18th. It's a great race and usually someone famous is on hand for the event. last year it was Macca. He captured the victory and the $10,000.00 check. No high profile pros were in attendance this year but a celebrity was there non the less. Sister Madonna Buder was in the ranks and well recognized.

I've said many times that baseball was the first true love of my life, but ironically it did me in for this race. This past thursday night (before the race Sunday) I was coaching my 15-year-old son's baseball game. It's a nice field with dugouts that you step down to the main part of the dugout. In between innings I was stepping down into the dugout to get a drink of water from the fountain. What I didn't see was the baseball I was about to step on that would ultimately cost me the run portion of this race. As soon as I stepped on it my ankle rolled and I swear I could hear tendons pulling beyond the normal limits. I went down like a sack of 'tators and my ankle swelled up like a hot air balloon.

Actually it healed pretty well over the next two days thanks to a lot of ice, heat and ibuprofen. But not enough healing to allow me to run. I was able to tackle the swim and bike portions and went through both transitions but as soon as I crossed the timing mat to start the run I pealed off and ended my day.

I was the first DNF of my short triathlon "career" and it goes against everything I believe and know about finishing events like these.....I want to finish at all costs. But I thought better of it considering it's the first race of my season and not the last and not my "A" race.

About the race....a great race that's well supported. My swim was a little slower than last year at 29:ish (can't remember the seconds) and the bike was roughly the same averaging 21.7 MPH (22.1 last year). Both transitions were faster than last year.

The post-race food was awesome. There was a lot of pasta, burgers, dogs, cole slaw, fruit, chips and the peach turnover was fantastic.

If you've never done this race before I highly recommend it.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008


It's pretty difficult to compare aero helmets and cuff links. One protects your cranium while riding a bicycle, the other holds your shirt together at it's sleeve cuff. While wearing one you hope to break a sweat and get in a good workout. But while wearing the other you hope to avoid sweating at all costs. One is pretty good size and is very apparent when seen. The other is much smaller and doesn't stand out quite as much. Of course there are many more differences that I choose not to go into here because the point of this post is how they are similar.

Aero helmets and cuff links are very assuming, in my opinion, and both make a statement. An aero helmet does more than just protect your head in a crash. It's there to make you more aerodynamic, more streamlined, faster! Cuff links do more than just hold your cuff together. They're more sophisticated, they say something about you.

Both aero helmets and cuff links force you to step into an arena where casual is no longer an option. It's serious now and you're playing for keeps. For the helmet not only are you preserving your health you're saying I'm fast and I want to be faster. For the links not only are you keeping your cuff together but you're doing it with a certain pizazz.

O.K. Now comes the self realization. I have both an aero helmet and cuff links. I guess that makes me all that's above with certain caveats. As far as the helmet's concerned I'm really not that fast I just got an incredible deal on it and couldn't pass it up (more than half-off!). And the links? I got a good deal on some french cuff shirts. How are you going to hold them together without links?

Here's another difference between the two. With cuff links you can kind of pull it off. If you look good, who really knows the difference? But with the aero helmet if people are blowing by you like you're going backwards they're going to go, "yeah, right!"

Sunday, April 13, 2008

"The Shiner"....Part II

An update to the shiner...

It certainly got worse before it got better. He wanted to know how purple it was....being a big football fan I knew he would relate to this so I told him it was Minnesota Viking purple. Being a big Eagles fan I knew he would relate to this even more....I told him that soon it would be Philadelphia Eagle green.

Anyway, the little guy toughed it out and played in his ball game today. Got right back on the horse and rode like a champion today. He made a couple of good plays in the outfield and stroked a triple past the right fielder!

The black/purple/green eye is all but forgotten.


Don't they say that in this life a little rain must fall? Well, a little variation in this case because on this day there wasn't a cloud in the sky. There was, however, one baseball!
Five minutes into practice, one miss with the glove, one connect with the eye and we have our first shiner.
The kid is tough though. A couple hours later after a session with an ice pack he was out shootin' hoops and talkin' about playing in his next ballgame.
Ah, yes, a right of passage! Welcome to shinerville.

Sunday, March 30, 2008


Without a doubt baseball was the first true love of my life. And as far back as I can remember opening day of the Major League Baseball season has always had a kind of it's-my-birthday feel to it. However, sadly, the older I get the less magical that day feels. That less than magical feel was attached with a reason this year because MLB in there infinite wisdom decided it would be a great idea to open the year with two games on the other side of the globe. Boston and Oakland played two official games that counted in the standings in Japan. Everyone on this side of the globe was sleeping when they played so very few saw the they didn't count....but they really did. The crazy thing is that after they played those "official" games both teams came back to spring training for 3 or 4 more games that didn't count in the official standings. The Sox and A's will resume their 4 game series tomorrow.

Having said all that, I still love opening day and it still possesses a certain charm to it that not every day possesses. It's the start of a new season....a new team is in the thick of the race to begin....I get to follow the box scores every day with my breakfast and coffee.

"Play Ball!"

Monday, March 17, 2008


I'm just going to go ahead and get this out there....we live in crazy times! As if you needed me to tell you.

The money that's being thrown around in sports in general and college football coaching specifically is crazy, skewed, out of whack and every other off-kilter adjective you can think of. O.K., let it be said that the SEC is a veritable "who's who" of big name football coaches: Saban, Petrino, Miles, Tuberville, Crooms, Nutt (hold your comment) and that's just in the SEC west! And, yes, I realize that football basically funds the vast majority of most schools' athletic budgets. But come on! Saban was the benchmark of high watermark salaries at 3.75 MILLION A YEAR, and yes, I'm shouting! 3.75 MILLION!!

And then comes along the cocky Les Miles. He just got a raise over the weekend and now he makes 3.75 $1,000.00. That's right, plus.....$1,000.00. So, let's examine that: It wasn't good enough that he made 3.75 MILLION (still shouting), he had to assure that he'd arrogantly be the highest paid coach by demanding an additional $1,000.00. As if I needed a reason to dislike LSU.

You know, it's not that I begrudge anyone from making as much money as they's what we's our society. We pay for entertainment and college football is entertainment. And we pay for a winner and LSU has won. But, it's the attitude and arrogance that gets me. Whatever happened to being humble? It's like Miles is treating every other coach in the SEC like a dog, especially Saban, and rubbing their noses in the mess they each left on the new living room carpet.

Here's to LSU racking up some L's over the next several years forcing Miles to justify his outrageous salary and his even more outrageous ego.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008


I got my April Triathlete magazine in the mail yesterday...I always enjoy the day that's in the "box". I seem to always pick up a jewel of information here and there from each issue and it definitely stokes the motivational fire each month!

I always read it in stages....first there's the "once over", which is a solid glance at it from front to back. Then I'll go from back to front and look at all the classifieds at the back just to make sure there's nothing out there that I absolutely need but don't have. I also like looking at all the, really, of what could possibly make me stronger and faster! You really have to be careful with this though because you don't want your bike catching you looking at pictures of "other" bikes...and this month is especially hard and tempting because it's the annual buyers guide!

My next stop is the "Training" section. It's always nice to see what others do and what might possibly make me more efficient in the water, stronger on the bike or faster in my shoes and certainly something that's going to improve my endurance.

"At The Races" is always a must see as well just to see who the top triathletes are, what their times are and how unrealistic those times are for me to achieve. The usual suspects seem to always be in the top 5...they just, often, switch places.

From there I'll check out Scott Tinley's article that's always on the last page...He's the great philosopher for the sport.

Let me apologize here because it's taken me this long to get to the reason for the post. I don't always read his "Starting Lines" article near the front but last night I read the "The Sandbagger" by Mitch Thrower. The gist of the article is that triathletes will train wherever, whenever and however is possible and they'll overcome great obstacles to do so. So much so that often times it causes other people to raise an eyebrow....and not in a good way. More like in a "man, you're a freak" kind of way. Why are triathletes this way? Well, the answer is simple, yet complex. If you ask 20 different triathletes you might get 20 different answers. But, in the end it comes down to this, and I didn't realize it until I read the article, and I quote: "There is no way non-triathletes could understand the energy and confidence you gain from this sport".

That's it! It's simple, descriptive, complete. Each time you complete a training session, each time you break down a barrier, each time you complete a race, feed off the crowd, "Bonk" and get back out there the next day, succeed, set a PR, endure a tough day and in the process embrace a completely different lifestyle that's healthy and keeps you moving, you build confidence and create more energy.

Friday, March 07, 2008


Wow! It's not everyday we get this in Central Arkansas....a winter wonderland.

finish...with a lower case 'f'

I've been avoiding this post for a while now because I'm not pleased with my performance and, with hindsight in eagle-eye focus, my overall effort and/or preparation leading up to the Little Rock marathon.

I'm not ready to say that I disrespected the distance because I don't think I did....I just didn't have the fire in my gut needed to get the job done. I ran a 4:42 and marathon time at Ironman Wisconsin was 4:57 and change.

I did finish and I'm please about that because at mile 14 I was ready to accept my first DNF. So, there's that.

There is a silver lining in this story....I got some base miles under my belt, which was a goal, as I begin to prepare for the upcoming tri season. I also learned something....again....there's usually a correlation between the outcome of something and the effort put in to achieveing it!

Wednesday, March 05, 2008


OK, not the most joyous of subjects. But then again, maybe it should be. Funerals certainly can be joyous as you reflect on the impact that person made on your life and remember the stories you'll always cherish. Maybe you didn't know the deceased all that well but you're there to support a family member. Whatever the case may be, funerals are important for many reasons.

I went to the funeral of the father of an old friend today. I didn't know the deceased all that well and I haven't seen the friend in several years. I was there to support my old friend. And I know it meant something to him for me to be there when I was able to give him a big hug and tears rolled down his face. I know I would want as many people as possible to be there to support me.

All that leads me to the real point of this topic. It was standing room only at this funeral today. This man loved and was loved by many people and he had an impact on many directly or indirectly. You don't have a standing room only funeral without touching people's lives.....connecting with people.....investing in people.....and gaining the love and respect of people.

My prayer is that we can all have a SRO funeral because that will mean that we've had a postive impact on many people's lives!