Tuesday, May 20, 2014


Good morning! I am operating off an old computer and not sure what this is going to do. My main computer has been dying a slow death for quite a while. Right now I can get about a minute with it before it shuts off. The internal cooling system is shot. I need to figure what I am going to do about a replacement. I am not looking forward to it but it has to be done. Yesterday was a good day. It was fairly busy but productive. I helped a family, had a couple of meetings, and then finished the day in West Washington. I drove the girls' softball team there. While there, in addition to watching some of the games, I went out for a run. I am going to start pushing my self-imposed limits, striving to move up to 10 miles. I did 6.5 last night. There was considerable pain but I think things are different and better. Overall, I was encouraged. Also last night I was able to do some reading and prep for Sunday. It was a productive evening and a beautiful one. We got home around 9:15. Today is going to be another busy one. I need to meet a couple of guys at different times this morning to help do some things. Then I hope to get some more prep for Sunday in. This evening is pace line Tuesday. I am looking forward to getting back on the bike and hearing stories about Saturday. It's going to be a warm one! Thanks for stopping by.

Monday, May 19, 2014


Run start
Good morning! It's going to be a beautiful day and a warm week. My air conditioner needs replacing, so I need to get on that this week. Sounds like we are going to need it soon. I am not excited about spending the money to get a new one, but I think in order to stay in the husband of the year and father of the year race, I must do it.

Let's see, where were we. Let's pick up with Friday. Kedra and I left home a little after 7 a.m. She had a huge praxis test at IU. I dropped her off and headed to breakfast with my good friend, Pat. After breakfast, I headed out to the Bike Doctor for a couple minor adjustments on the Kestrel. Then I continued to wait for Kedra to finish up her test. Pat prayed for her at breakfast, and I continued to pray for her success.

She was taking a test that would move her math teaching license from the 9th grade level all the way through 12th. This is a hard test. It includes calculus and other things that are well beyond me. Around 11, I got the text I was waiting for: "I PASSED!"  I am so proud of her. Now we need to find her a teaching job close by. Math teachers are in fairly high demand, so we are pretty hopeful.

After I picked Kedra up, we made our way over to Terre Haute. We had plenty of time, so I was able to finish purchasing a few things for Luke's rapidly approach wedding. I needed a new shirt, tie, and belt. Check, check, and check. The rest of the afternoon and evening involved eating, resting and packet pick-up, including checking out the lake. It was so cold Friday afternoon; it even hailed on us at one point.

I slept well Friday night, and you can read below to see what happened Saturday morning. I will add to my race report the race was not super-organized. I find this frustrating, and I afraid it may die as a result. Oh well. The main frustration was how long it took at the end for the awards. I missed out on some activities I planned to attend at Camp.

We got back home around 3 and got a few things done in preparation for Sunday. Sunday was busy: class, church, preschool program, wedding shower, followed by life group at our house. I left home at 8:30 and got back home literally at 5:00 p.m., right before our small group arrived. It was a good day but a busy one.

This week features Ben's high school graduation. I still have one more day of smoking before then. I am trying to carve out that time. It's going to be one of those where I get the smoker going and have to run back and forth to town to get things done. I don't like doing it that way but don't see any other way.

Two weeks after Ben graduates, Luke gets married. I think I better buckle up. The ride for the next couple of weeks could get a bit crazy. Thanks for stopping by.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Another Birth

Dazed and Confused in T1
Birth is messy and ugly but the end result is wonderful and becomes more so the further we move away from it. I experienced a birth of sorts on Saturday. Fifty-five years ago I was born the first time. Then several years after that, I was born again, baptized into Christ. Those two births are the most important, so much more important they stand in a different category.

Saturday a triathlete was born. That would be me. I have presented false labor over the last couple of years, dabbling with a little swim of some kind or another, followed by a ride and a run. Saturday in Terre Haute was the real deal, birthing me into a triathlete for real.

I wish it was a story of me emerging as some kind miracle child, wowing the crowds with unusual athletic ability for an old man. No, it was ugly, but that’s ok. At least some of the best friends a man could have tell me it’s ok. I believe them and appreciate them.

The water was cold, around 65, and air was a lot colder, around 40. The lake was calm, fog beautifully rising in the sun that was doing the same. Humans dressed in black neoprene looked like a bunch of seals walking upright. Nervous talk filled the air, dominated by weather commentary.

Practice swim anyone? Jimmy said, "Come on, Al!" I said, "OK," joining several others. The water felt fine. I baptized myself and took several strokes. I felt good and confident. I was smooth and my breathing was calm and controlled. "I’ve got this," I thought. I did not think it was pride, the kind before a fall.

The elites took off, and a minute later, two by two, swimmers ran into the water to begin the day. Chip timing allows a more controlled start. Knowing I would be slow, I seeded myself at the back. I, 121, lined up with 120, an unknown female. "3,2,1, Go!" In we went. Why was this so different from the practice swim?

Panic showed up, almost shocking me. I really didn’t see it coming. Panic, by nature, is irrational and unreasonable, so all my reasoning and self-talk were pretty much ignored for a little while. There were others around me having trouble, one guy in much worse shape than me. I feebly tried to calm him, since I couldn’t completely calm myself. If it is possible, my panic was a controlled panic. I did not let it get me to the point of wanting to quit.

I had moments in the water of getting everything under control. I made my way slowly across the lake. I had trouble sighting. My goggles fogged up and leaked a little. I never stopped. I kept moving, at times very slowly, toward the completion of the swim. I finally made it out, taking nearly twice as long as I hoped.

Once out of the water, I put on a pair of old running shoes to make my way to T1, the place to transition from swimming to biking. I peeled my wetsuit to my waist, while making my way up the hill to my bike. There I sat down and finished pulling off my suit. The swim beat me up mentally, so I had some trouble focusing.

I got my socks and shoes on, and methodically made my way up to my head, donning sunglasses and helmet. I put a jacket on to finish it all off. Surprisingly, biking in wet clothes was not too bad. Though in the 40s, I never really felt the cold, except on the way back and only in my feet. My ride was less than stellar and less than I expected.

The swim had taken too much out of me mentally and physically, I guess. My legs burned a lot. I just tried to keep steady pressure and keep taking what the course gave me. The course was a little hillier than I expected, and there was a slight headwind coming back. The bike portion was mostly uneventful. I did pass several people and did not get passed. That’s what a slow swim will do for you.

As I rolled back into the park and up to the dismount line, the official confused me about where to stop, telling me to go to the top of the hill. I thought he meant another 50 feet, and I had already clipped out. After struggling to get moving on the top of my pedals, he said, "there," which was only five feet more. Crazy. The problem was I dismounted in a very awkward way and really tweaked my left hamstring.

Wincing in pain and groaning a bit, I really thought my day was over. I could hardly walk my bike back to the rack, but I did. I went ahead and put my shoes on after taking off all the bike stuff. I grabbed my race belt, with my 121 bib on it. I made myself run, and it hurt. I kept going and it kept getting better as I went.

It took about three and a half miles before I could feel my feet properly. They were some kind of numb which made them feel like solid blocks of wood. It was a weird and unpleasant feeling. At one point I looked down to make sure I had running shoes on and not my bike shoes. Once that feeling went away, I started feeling more comfortable on the run, finishing relatively strong. Overall it was a slow run. I’ve been fighting injury for about two months, so I was not super surprised. I’ve been averaging about 10 miles a week for the last 6 weeks.

The finish was sweet and a little emotional. The emotion came from being surrounded by a great group of guys who have encouraged me for more than a couple of years to experience this birth. Their encouragement continued.

This was an interesting day and major move toward Ironman Florida. I confess lots of doubts about Ironman during the early miles of the bike. I was deeply disappointed by what happened in the water. Doubts quickly follow disappointments. But as I continued to think, I reminded myself that this was my first open water swim of the year and that I will get more comfortable with the water in a race context.

Ironman Florida is November 1. I will have lots of opportunities to get in the water and continue to improve. In my world of endurance athletics, that is priority 1. I am motivated and ready to keep growing and developing now that I finally have experienced birth.

Even with the problems and pain, the day was quite enjoyable. Most of us love accomplishments, especially the kind where we overcome difficulties to experience them. Saturday was like that, and it will get sweeter as the days go by.

Finishing it up

Thursday, May 15, 2014


Guess who turned 4 months old?

Rebecca with her favorite niece

Luke and an amused or bored Cora?
Good morning! Thursday, damp and cool. Remember a few days ago when you were tempted to complain about it being hot? Don't you wish for that now? The weather roller coaster continues to roll along.

I got an email from the Terre Haute tri director. Here is what he said about the water temp:

As of Saturday Hawthorn lake had a current temperature in the mid to high 60s. I will be measuring the temperature again tomorrow and will update you with the current temp. Regardless of the temperature the following rules will be in place for race day.

If the lake temperature is under 65 degrees wetsuits will be a requirement, if it is under 60 degrees the swim will be shortened to 400 meters, if the lake is under 55 degrees (I do not foresee this happening) then we will cancel the swim and will start the race from the bike in a time trial format with 1 cyclist starting every 5 seconds. The water temperature will be taken at 6:45 a.m. and the announcement will be made by 7:00 a.m. on which route we will take.

Should be an interesting day. The forecast for the air temp is right at 40 degrees for the start. You bike in the shorts and top you wear under your wetsuit, so that should make for a cool start to the ride. My buddies tell me you don't feel it once you get down and go.

My day started out with a little excitement yesterday. I had a meeting pretty early on, and on the way to it, I stopped to pick up a friend who was walking. As I stopped I noticed--and I am sharp like this--that my brake pedal just keep going toward the floor. The truck stopped but took a little while to do so. My brakes failed. Kedra and I are now carpooling for a little while.

Monday and Tuesday were a couple of the more emotionally taxing days I've had in a quite a while. I think lots of stuff I've been storing up decided to show up to add pressure. Anyway, the bright spot in all that was Luke and Rebecca coming home for the day, and, of course, little Cora Jane.

OK, I need to get everything done today. Tomorrow I need to take Kedra to Bloomington for some important career things for her, and then we will head on over to Terre Haute. As for Kedra, we would appreciate your prayers in regard to her finding a teaching job in our area.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014


What can I say?
Good morning! Is it Wednesday already? I'm really far behind this week, due to funerals, and all that surrounds them, over the last couple of days. The days were emotionally taxing, difficult in some ways. I had trouble keeping my composure yesterday, which really surprised me. I guess it's the piling up of lots of things.

Luke and Rebecca came in yesterday for my uncle's funeral. It was so so nice to see them, even for a little while. They stayed here until about 5:30 yesterday before heading back to Nashville. It was Rebecca's 21st birthday. It was nice to see her on her special day. We joked about spending it at a funeral, but such is life. Luke and Rebecca were happy to get to see Cora Jane for just a little while at the graveside service and the meal that followed.

Rebecca and Luke left just in time for me to join up with my friends for a much needed ride. It's therapy, I'm telling you, a relief from all the stuff of real life. We headed out, knowing rain was possible, though it looked pretty good. We hit 337 and made the decision to press on to Washington county, though the sky was certainly more ominous than when we started.

I have improved my cycling this year, and so has everyone else. I got dropped pretty quickly heading out but pressed on, making the line just in time to line up. The wind popped me off about 6 miles in, but the group managed to get my back on.

We shortened our trip as the thunder and lightning got closer. We knew were going to get wet, and we did. I've been in worse. We experienced heavy rain, close lightning, deafening thunder, and brief hail, but we are men, not mice, so we carried on. Yes, we are also idiots. I'm ahead of you. The rain was a kind of cleansing for me. By the time we got back to church, the rain was light. After a quick dry-off, it was time to replenish at Wendy's, where we talked the Terra Haute tri.

Today is going to be another extremely busy one. I've got several extra things going on this week, and I hope to get those under control today, while catching up from the last couple of days. I've been around long enough to know this will all pass with easier days/weeks ahead. Thanks for stopping by.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014


Good morning! This man always told his wife, "You complement me, you balance my life." When I was in Turkey, several years ago, I did see a lot of scenes similar to this one. There were lots of tractors used as family vehicles. I couldn't get any good photos, so you will just have to trust me.

Today I am headed to Jeffersonville, along with a large portion of my extended family, to attend a funeral for my uncle, Justin Roberts. After the funeral we all come back to Mitchell for the burial, followed by a meal.

Yesterday was similar to today's plan. I had a funeral in Shoals, followed by a good meal. It was a good day in lots of ways. I reconnected with lots of people who are very dear to me. All of it was/is pretty emotionally taxing.

I squeezed in a 5 mile run yesterday morning in the midst of preparing for the funeral. Actually running helps me sort a lot of things out in my mind, so I guess it was a part of the prep. I had hoped to get a ride in around supper time. The rain put a stop to that. I did get a mile in the pool after 8 p.m.

This evening we have our regular Tuesday evening ride. If the forecast is true, then it probably will not happen. We'll see.

OK, I need to get a bunch of things done in the next hour or so. Thanks for stopping by.

Monday, May 12, 2014


Good morning! How are you on this new day of a new week? It's going to nearly be hot today. Please don't complain. Remember the winter and keep your thoughts in check.

Let's see, I didn't check in with you Friday. It was another busy, multi-tasking Friday. I got the smoker going early. I am in the process of smoking meat for 300 people for graduation parties. I am doing it over 3 smoke sessions. Friday was the second, and while I was at it, I smoked a brisket and two chickens for mother's day. I have one session left for 6 pork shoulders. Next week.

With the smoker rolling along well, I left to run and counsel a couple, not at the same time. The run went fine and the counseling did too. In between the two, I managed to do several other duties I am covering right now. With all that finished, I headed back to find the smoker still going along at a perfect temp.

The smoker smoked and I continued to work. I hope to get back to smoking being a relaxing activity. Maybe one of these days. You could take that sentence before last out of context and get me in trouble, probably even in Colorado, considering my profession.

Saturday's plan was for a 40ish mile ride, followed by a run, which is called a brick workout in tri language. We were supposed to depart at 8, but it was raining and raining hard. We delayed and started at 9 and shortened the ride to 30 miles. We managed to get it in without any rain. It sprinkled a few times but that was all.

After getting back from the ride, it was time to don the running shoes. Due to hamstring injuries, this would be my first brick of the year. It started off pretty well, but about a quarter mile in, I had a sharp stride-stopping jolt to my left hamstring. I stopped and told the others to go on. I stretched a little and to my surprise I was able to run/walk back to the truck without problem. I think I could have continued. I will find out Saturday in Terra Haute.

Saturday morning is the Terra Haute tri, an Olympic distance event. Naturally I have a few concerns:
  • Will I be able to run 5 miles after swimming and riding (25 miles)?
  • How will the swim go, 800 meters in open water, without any open water practice? 
  • The forecast says it will be in the low 40s Saturday - could be a cool swim and ride.
Putting the concerns aside, I feel fairly confident I will do well. Doing well is defined as completing all three disciplines without major problems. I am ready to go after it with a solid, steady effort.

Before I get to Terra Haute, I have a crazy busy week. I have the privilege of doing a funeral today for a sweet lady from Shoals. Then tomorrow I will be involved all day with a funeral for my uncle. He was a great man, and it will be good to see everyone involved. There are a couple of other extra things going on this week as well. It's all good. I will jump into hyper-efficient mode.

Thanks for stopping by.

Thursday, May 08, 2014


Good morning! What a nice, pleasant morning!

Last Friday, when I was smoking meat, I decided to re-hang my birdfeeder. I moved it because it was in my way for my new smoking set-up. I have placed my smoker so I can see it from my home office, thus I can monitor temperature while working. This has taken some of the fun/joy out of smoking, because now I end up working instead of relaxing. Oh well that's something I have to work out.

Anyway, I moved the birdfeeder. As I hung it, I thought, "This is now in a position for squirrels and raccoons to easily access it." I was hoping they would find adequate food elsewhere. I had a hunch I would be wrong. I was. Last night Kedra and I were wakened by two big fat raccoons fighting on our deck, right above where the feeder is. I broke up the fight, only later to be woke up again by fighting raccoons.

This morning the feeder is empty and a little torn up. And I am a little sleepy. Oh well. Now I have to decide where to move the birdfeeder.

Yesterday was one of the busiest days I have had in a long time. I started out with a decent 5 mile run before it all started. I saw several people yesterday and got several administrative tasks done that have been hanging around. Our new assistant will start before too long. That is going to be a tremendous help.

I hope you have a good day! Thanks for stopping by.

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

Tuesday, May 06, 2014


Cora enjoying Spring Mill Park
Good morning! It's going to be nice, and as many surmised, it looks we are "going from winter to summer." Please don't complain about the warm, the heat. Please don't. Remember how long it was cold?

It's going to be a great day today. I have some writing to do and a few other projects beyond my normal duties, which should make the day enjoyable. I end the day by driving a bus to the track meet at BNL. It should be a great night for a track meet. I will also use the time to do a little prep for Sunday.

Yesterday started with an early 5 mile run, which went better than the one on Friday. Each run is now getting better, so I am pleased about that. The old hamstrings may just make it after all. I was back home and cleaned up by 8 a.m.  I was there to wait for a chimney sweep.

He was coming to do a yearly cleaning. He was supposed to arrive between 8 and 9. At 9 his office called to say he was on the way. I appreciated the call. He arrived a little before 9.30. How long do you think this cleaning should take? 1 hour? 2 hours? Try 3 hours! I was really surprised. It did force me to miss a meeting. Oh well.

Those 3 hours were some of the more productive 3 hours I've had in a while. I got a ton done, which is going to be very helpful during this very busy season of life. I finally made it to church a little before 1. There I was able to continue my path of productivity, helping out with the preschool graduation, which is rapidly approaching. I am taking on several projects for them right now, since we are a person or two short on staffing at church.

As I was working in the afternoon, a  young man came to the door. He was a young man I recognized from years ago. He used to attend church some before moving away. He wanted to come by to see what was going on. He is about to be deployed to the Gulf with a National Guard unit. It was really nice to visit with him for a little while. I prayed for him before he left.

Right before supper I took off for a 21 mile bike ride. It was so nice to sweat on a ride! I have had to battle cold riding for so long. I do not like riding when it's cold, but I have done it, knowing I need to. Ironman is less than 6 months away. The ride went well, though my legs felt the previous 120 miles from the last 2 days.

I got home, grabbed a bite before heading to a church softball game. It was pleasant to watch Lester and Ben, along with their teammates. After the game, I had a little time before swimming, so Kedra and I met at Tropical Snow for a little refreshment. Then I finished the day with another mile in the pool.

Since I completed a reverse triathlon yesterday, run, bike, swim, with incredibly long transitions, I think today is going to be a rest day. I feel the need for it. I've been going at it pretty hard for several days.

I hope your day goes well. Thanks for stopping by.

Monday, May 05, 2014


Sunday Riders
Good morning! What a beautiful morning it is! Wow, that was fast. How did we get from Thursday to Monday? Wall to wall activity, I suppose, made the time move very quickly. I must say all the activity, as varied as it was, was enjoyable.  And the nice, sunny weather was icing on the cake. And there is more to come.

Friday was a day of multitasking. I got up early, like always, and got my smoker going. I was smoking 6 shoulders. This is part of smoking for 300 people over the next 2-3 weeks. It is for 2 graduation parties, one for Ben and the other for Libby, Maddie's sister.

After I got the smoker going I went to town and managed 5 decent miles on the run. They were slow but done, which was encouraging. After a quick shower, I did several things at the building before meeting a couple for counseling. After all that, it was back home to keep the smoke going. The heat stayed pretty good while I was gone. I don't like leaving the smoker that long (2 hours), but I had to.

The rest of the day Friday was back and forth between preparing for Sunday and watching the temperature gauge on the smoker. Cora and Maddie came over for supper, so that was fun. I had to break from playing with Cora to pull pork until bedtime. I went to bed tired and woke up refreshed, ready to ride.

We met for a 100 mile ride. In the end it was just 3 of us. There was a lot of wind on Saturday and unfortunately it moved around all day and managed to be in our face most of the time, especially as we headed home, moving to toward the west and north. It was pretty tough, but Bill and John, both stronger than me, helped me make it. It was a decent ride, mostly uneventful.

Saturday evening we had a baptism at church, which was really nice, and then Kedra and I, needing a little break, went to a movie. All that topped off a nice Saturday. I came home from the movie and did a little more Sunday prep/review before crashing into bed again.

Sunday was another busy day. Things went well at church, ending with a nice graduation dinner. This marks the first of a few celebrations for Ben. In the afternoon, I had time to ride 20-25 miles. A group of 8 gathered on a beautiful afternoon. Lester and I could do a short ride, due to church activities, and everyone else decided on a 3 hour ride.

We took off, and once we crossed 37 and picked up a tailwind on the Amish Super 2, things started picking up. Iron Bill said he was heading for the hills. Lester and I turned before that happened, and, of course, took the obligatory abuse for doing so. I finished with 188 bike miles for the week, and that's plenty for me.

This week promises to be busy. I guess I better get started.

Friday, May 02, 2014

Thursday, May 01, 2014


Lester, Maddie, & Cora
Good morning! Thursday! Already! May 1, already! I think the cold winter, which has extended itself into a cool spring, for the most part, has left the impression we are not as far into the year as we really are. Missing have been those occasional days into the 80s we usually get in April and even in March. I have peeked at the extended forecast, and we are heading in that direction for next week. I'm very ready. I'm sure you are also.

Today is going to be cool and kinda cloudy, I think; maybe even a shower later in the day? I hope to hop on the bike around supper time. I hope I can do that. I signed up for a Strava Challenge (see at the bottom of this post). I am 85% finished. I need about 120 miles between now and Sunday. I think I am doing another 100 miler on Saturday, so I should be able to get it done.

Yesterday I got to spend some good time in study. I actually had an hour or two of quiet, uninterrupted time, which is rare. I really enjoyed it. I had a good meeting with someone who has some great ideas about helping the poor. Another person contacted me about helping an elementary student living in a terrible environment. Capstone Ministries is going to help out with that. I got to see some people in the nursing home, corresponded with several, checked in at the ReGen Store, did some of this and some of that, had a couple of meetings, and taught my class. In other words, it was pretty much a normal day.

Today I will continue to work on my sermon and do all the other stuff that makes Sunday assemblies run smoothly (hopefully). I also plan to visit some people, check in at the Store, and do a few other things along the way. I will finish the day by washing all the potential stress away in the pool, hoping for another mile to add to the training log. Oh, speaking of the training log, I was able to run 4 miles yesterday morning. It hurt but it's better. Next up: 5 miles in the morning.

Specialized Spring Classics Challenge
Ride 1,266 kilometers in 40 days.
3/26/14 — 5/4/14
While the world’s best professional cyclists are hammering up the bergs and bouncing over the cobblestones, Specialized and Strava challenge you to ride the cumulative distance of five of cycling’s most storied races that form the Spring Classics, adding up to a monumental total of 1,266 kilometers (787 miles).

For those curious, here is how the math works out:

   Milan-San Remo [294km]
+ Tour of Flanders [259km] 
+ Paris-Roubaix [257km] 
+ Flèche Wallonne [205km] 
+ Amstel Gold [251km]
= 1,266 kilometers

In honor of Specialized's 40th anniversary, we're giving you 40 days to complete the Challenge.