Sunday, June 30, 2013


Today I heard a song that I had not heard before, but was immediately moved by it.  The song was praise chorus called "I Will Exalt You."  The song has one particular line that stuck with me through the rest of the morning:

Because your with me. I will not fear!

I immediately thought of my beauty, smart and strong partner in this world.  My wife is the rock that my foundation is built on.  Her love and my faith has gotten me through many tough times over they past 16 years. Because she is with me, I will not fear. I will not fear life. Whatever comes our way I know I can make it through because she is with me.  I will not fear failure.  Because she is with me a failure is just a learning experience. So often it is my wife that helps me see the new path to take.  

Later in the day I was struck with the implications this phrase has on my current life journey.  I have encountered so many people with words of encouragement and support.  I have also been told by many that my journey has inspired them to start a journey of their own.  To all of you: Because you are with me. I will not fear!  I will not fear that big bowl of pasta. Because you are with (watching) me I have the will to eat to satisfaction. Because you with me binges will be a thing of my past.  I will not fear the miles and miles and miles to go to meet the gargantuan goals I have set.  Because are with me (sending encouragement and watching) I have the will to get in the pool and on the track/road and on the bike, even at times if I don't really feel like working out.  Everyone one of you seeing this today have a hand in me reaching for the top of the Ironman mountain.  Because -  you are with me.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Weekly Check In - June 29th

Milestones:  I am now lost 50+ pounds!!!!!!  I made to through a meal at Mazzio's sub 500 calories.  Had a sub 17 minute mile split mile on one of my walks.

Realizations:  I have dropped two pants sizes since starting and I am a better swimmer than I thought I was.  Big THANK YOU to Colton Krause All Metro Swimmer of the Year for taking time out of his busy schedule to work with an old guy just getting started.  The drills are all ready working.  I really felt that workout this morning.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The Finish Line and Full Circle and Random Thoughts

I had a great weekend.  I swam another mile as you probably know if you saw my check in from last week.  Also on Saturday I took the girls to the driving range.  My oldest daughter will be playing in her first official year of school golf.  She had the opportunity to practice with the team as a 6th grader last year, but could not compete until this year.  She is super excited about this which makes her Daddy super excited.  I believe I now have a life long golfing partner.  Look out Bartlesville mixed scrambles here we come.   It is fun to watch her work so hard at something and begin to see true results from her efforts.  Her swing has improved greatly in just a few weeks, and she mostly 2 and 3 putts now.  Gone are the days of 5 and 6 putts.  There is nothing better in the world than seeing her face after lacing one 170 yards down the middle of the fairway.

Then on Sunday it was the younger daughter's turn.  She participated in the Oklahoma Bedlam Softball clinic (They run a good clinic ya'll, if you have a young softballer that is looking to work on their game this would be $35 well spent.)  I got to spend the day watching her do what she loves.  It was fun to hear her talk about it on the way home. How she caught all but one of the pop flies in the drill, how they fixed a pitching issue she was having and she even admitted that they told her some of the same stuff I have been telling her about a bad habit she had developed in her throwing motion and that she will work on fixing that now, because you know, the definition of an expert is anyone living more that 20 miles away.  

Also on Sunday I kept up with my new local hero Brett Andrews and his quest to finish his first full Ironman.  For those of you who don't know what this is Brett swam 2.4 miles, biked 112 miles and then ran a full marathon (that's 26.2 miles ya'll.)  I received Facebook updates throughout the day as his wife posted his progress.  I even had the opportunity to watch him leave the transition from the bike to the run. While he as on his run I watch a couple Ironman videos called Full Circle.  The Full Circle videos are inspirational stories about individuals who are running in a particular Ironman race.  The video I watched while Brett ran showed a daughter running because her mom had been diagnosed with ALS and a man who did the Ironman for a friend with cancer, as well as a man who used his journey to Ironman to lose a lot of weight.  Soooo, I was hooked.  I think the producers sole goal with the videos is to make you cry, but you are so emotionally invested in these athletes as the video goes on that you ride the emotional roller coaster with them and you are inspired. Just as I was inspired as I later watched as Brett triumphantly cross the finish line.  

As I waited to see Brett cross the finish line I watch the most fascinating thing I have ever seen.   The finish line of an Ironman Triathlon. The finish line is a whirlwind of emotion, watching the athletes that have pushed themselves for 14+ hours to complete this heroic task cross that line was magical. The range of emotions, the support from the crowd, this is now one of my favorite sports viewing pleasures, and I will be partaking regularly.  If you ever doubt the human spirit, just watch the finish line of an Ironman, you gain a greater understanding of the will one human can possess, and you will be motivated to reach higher than you thought you could.

Brett's Ironman Finisher's Medal

This weekend was awesome.  Getting to watch my daughters do what they love and being inspired in so many ways by Brett and his Coeur d'Alene compatriots. As I move through this journey, I know the days will continue to get awesomer and awesomer!!!!     

Sunday, June 23, 2013


  As a teacher I feel I do a fair job of developing relationships with my students and many times their families as well.  I believe making a connection with a student allows you to ask much more from them than they might give you if they are just a number in your classroom.  I foster this by very quickly learning everyone's name and taking time for them to journal and share about themselves as well as allowing them to ask questions about me throughout the year.  I feel it is a great use of time when you have one minute till the bell.   I am also a big story teller and most of my students when crossing paths with me in life will mention their favorite story and/or some random fact about me or my wife and/or kids.  Its funny what they remember or found interesting, but the fact that they do remember tells me the relationship was solid.   I believe throughout the years this has allowed not only for my students to develop a solid relationship with me, but friendships were allowed to blossom in my classroom as students learned more about each other and find connections with others as well.

This weekend I had the opportunity to hang out for a short time with some amazing women, most of whom were former students and basketballers.  They were on a yearly vigil in remembrance of their friend Jenni Sanders, another wonderful young lady and former student/player of mine, that lost her battle with cancer in 2010. This group of Jenni's friends have worked together to raise thousands of dollars with their Relay for Life team Jenni's Girls (click the link on there team name it's not too late to donate.)   I am so proud of these women (it really hard for me to not still see them as anything but tweens sitting and giggling in my classroom, but I digress).  They have a strong bond among the group.  I know of many times they have depended on each other in numerous situations.  I know any one of them could pick up the phone and whoever was on the other end would be there to help.  They value relationships and it was fun to visit and reminisce with them and know maybe I had a very small part in them coming together as such loving and caring adults.  Truth be told, each one of them have great parents that instilled this value, but I still like to think I had a small part.

It's relationships like this that will keep me going in my journey.  The desire to continue the relationships I have developed and to see what new relationships will form on this journey and  through this blog that will drive me toward the goals I have set, and hopefully these relationships will help not only me reach my goals, but will inspire many to reach for their goals as well.  

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Sunday Morning Check In Week 2

Taking the Baby to a Softball Camp in the Morning - So Checkin In early this week.

Sunday Check-In Week 2


On my swim yesterday I blew bubbles (used proper breathing technique) for 800 meters of the 1600 meters I swam (I normally swim using a hybrid side crawl/freestyle that allows me to breath freely) This was also the last 800 meters.  Working on getting comfortable with being uncomfortable.


While walking around the golf course in NW Arkansas watching a lot of very good golf.  Had and I walked almost 4 miles.  Wow, that was tough, but not as tough as it would have been three weeks ago.  Man, I have a long ways to be ready for 140.6 but relishing the journey, and a big big thank you to Christina Kim for making my young golfer's day.  

Christina Kim was already our fav player!
But this just raised her about 100 notches in Had's book!!!

So here is my results from this week.  I will post pics every 8 weeks and hopeful a time lapse at that time as well if I can figure it out.

Thursday, June 20, 2013


I stole this quote from one of my Facebook friends (Thank you Linda!)  It sums up quite well the feeling and thoughts I have had today.  On my walk today I was reflecting on the last seven years and decided that I would/could have not made any decision differently with the information I had at the time.  I think today I finally completely put that tough chapter of my life behind me.  I am grateful I made it through in one piece with the love of my family to keep me propped up.  I don't know that I feel the need to "forgive" myself for anything, but I did need to let it go.  I prayerfully did that today.  Also while on my walk today, I  prayed for Brett Andrews.  Brett is a professor at our local university and will be doing a full Ironman on Sunday (follow Brett's Ironman Journey Here. He is bib # 2146.)  I know I will be drawing on his experience in the future.  I have also watched some very inspiring Ironman videos.  I am truly looking forward to working toward the goal of calling myself an Ironman and hitting all of the mini and not so mini goals to get there.  I know I will need a lot of faith and support to get there, but I must admit knowing you are watching got me on the road today. 

The wisest thing though is to be present in the present, gratefully.  I am extremely gratefully that I was able to play golf with my oldest daughter on Monday and play Apples to Apples with the whole family and hanging out with my girls at the pool and play monkey in the middle and the dunk game.  I am gratefully that I was able to get finger printed at the Sheriff's department and take a drug test (sorry about the poor 1st attempt Raquel), why you ask, because that means I have a new job.  Not only a job but a job with no commute (8 minute from my house, 3 minutes from my gym), which to me is another omen it is time to begin this journey.  Commute time just became training time.  I am grateful to for my  talented and patient wife who loves me no matter what, and makes my life so much easier to live in the present.  

So while I am prayerfully looking to the future, I am so so grateful for my present!!!!!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Respect - Honesty - Caring - Responsibility

Normally when I swim at my local YMCA I use the little round doohickies on the lane markers to count laps.  Yep, I'm a counter.  Truth be known I could very easily have been OCD in that way.  I have strong tendencies, but I digress. However, this swim was on a Sunday when there is no lap swim, but an extra long open swim time.  So I took the girls and told them I was going to swim laps across the pool for the first 30 minutes and then they could waller (southern term for hang all over) me as much as they wanted the hour after that.  So, how was I going to keep track of my laps.  This caused me a little stress.    See, OCD tendencies.  Then I notice this painted on the wall in big block letters. 


I'm sure these have been there all along. I just didn't notice before.  I began swimming and decided to swim a lap for each letter.  As I swam I also contemplated the serendipity of me discovering this mural and how these words sum up my journey on which I am embarking. 

Respect!  This term will be to cornerstone of my journey.  I have a new respect for life.  We have to live each of our days on this Earth to the fullest.  We have to love like each day could be our last.  Being healthy is just being respectful to your loved ones, because with better health we will have a better chance to have more days to fill with love.  

Honesty! This is a term I probably considered the most.  In the past I have not been honest with myself.  I told myself I was happy.  The weight was not keeping me from living the life I wanted.  Really Brian?  I told myself I was exercising more than I really was.  I told myself I was eating better than I really was.  In this journey I will have to be honest with myself, be my toughest judge.  This journal with all eyes on it will help in that respect.  If I am not honest with myself and you the data will show it, and that is where you come in.  HOLD ME ACCOUNTABLE!!!!

Caring! This term is self explanatory!  I now care about my health.  Enough is enough.  Getting healthy will allow me to care for my wife and girls and future Grandbabies, and my wife's mom and my mom and dad if the time comes.  

Responsibility!  This journey has heightened my sense of responsibility.  I now feel responsible not only to motivate my own family, but all who come in contact with my journey.  I want to be successful not only for myself, but for all. Hoping that when I meet my goals someone else will take the bull by the horns in their own life with whatever they want to accomplish.  

On Sunday I did it.  I swam one lap for each letter and brought more focus to my coming week on this journey.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Father's Day Thoughts

“Whatever the parents are doing, 

the kids will follow suit.” 

- Bob Harper

I know every child psychologist that has ever lived has probably espoused this thought in one way or another, but Mr. Harper and all of those child psychologist are right.  For the last few years my wife and I have been working with our daughters on food choices and expanding their palates.  They fought this tooth and nail.  They could eat Mac and Cheese and bread and some more Mac and Cheese topped with a brownie and ice cream.  They knew this wasn't healthy, but it was what they wanted. New taste and textures were avoided and usually met with gagging and screwed faces.  We cajoled. We begged. We bribed. We fought. We reasoned.  New foods, better foods, less food, this was just not going happen. We had given up! Then about six months ago I embarked on this journey.  I didn't ask anyone to follow me on this journey, but they did.  My oldest daughter especially has stepped up and is trying new foods, making great portion choices and asking a lot of questions about what she should try next.  She still has a very picky palate, but she is trying.  All this not because of anything I said, but because of the example I am setting with my actions.  Bob Harper you have it correct. My child is following suit and this is the most powerful motivation of all. 


Sunday Morning Checkin!

As a part of my accountability to you I will be checking in with you each Sunday.  I will be giving you my stats for the week and pics.  The pic of me in the red on the main page is me at my heaviest weight.

Week 1
Week 1

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Being Outstanding

My new friend Sarah Martin Hood, of Listen To Your Mother NW Arkansas fame, (check out her blog, Musings of Motherhood) posted a meme that said:

This quote is applicable in so many ways to my journey.  As this quote came from a running mom blog, I am assuming it is referring to the physical uncomfortableness you must achieve to improve.  You push yourself to that point and you get better for it.  I am finding this true so far in my physical journey: stairs are easier, my body is recovering quicker from workouts and I just have a better outlook on life.

What I was not expecting was how I would have to get comfortable with being uncomfortable (or making others uncomfortable) in other aspects of my life.  Things like setting in an eating establishment with a glass of water while others eat when I refuse to eat after said establishment would not make modifications to their menu.  It really bothered the waiter.  He brought me a menu and would not take it back.  I ate what I needed when I got home.  I had to get comfortable with the waiter being uncomfortable.  I have to get comfortable with driving by my favorite fast food haunts (I love you Taco Casa, it's nothing personal) or ordering only one of one or two of the items I usually get instead of two of the four I am use to eating.   Not making others uncomfortable there, but that probably falls more under my last post about doing what I want most.

The uncomfortable state I am having the hardest time overcoming is the loved ones who use their cooking as their expression of love.  I know can no longer eat 2000 calories for breakfast, or the over-sized brownies and half dozen cookies and pieces of cake the size of your head or steak and ribs and chicken at one cookout but the uncomfortable feeling I get when there is a comment about the leftovers or a slight look of disappointment when the offered dish is refused, well, I will just have to get comfortable with that, because that can be the only way.  Why, because I am on my way to being OUTSTANDING.

PS:  Sarah is a running, triathlete and blogs regularly on these topics as well as motherhood!

Sarah:  Thanks for the motivation today.  I really needed it!!!!!!

Monday, June 10, 2013

The Power of Desire

The gym where I just canceled my membership for several reasons that I will not get into online does have a pretty cool Facebook page where they post various inspirational messages and quotes.  This weekend they had a quote that has come to be a mantra I use to focus.

Don't give up what you want most, 
for what you want now!

So what do I want most?  I want to live long enough to see my beautiful girls have families and careers of their own, I want to see my wife with gray hair (did you just hear everyone of her MVM fans laugh in unison), I want to ride a roller coaster with my dare devil daughter, I want to ride a horse with my not so dare devil daughter, I want to have the sense of accomplishment of starting what I finish.  I want to LOVE life and embrace the challenges it throws at me everyday.

This new mantra kept me in check this weekend at the family reunion.  Did I skip the burgers? No! but I only had one. Not my typical two burgers plus all the extras:  beans, chips, brownies, bags o' cookies.  Did I skip the deserts? No! but I only had three bites of the Pineapple crumble.  Did I maintain this will power through my wife's get together with her New LTYM (Listen To Your Mother) family get-together? No, but they brought peach pie and that was just not fair, but no panic, today was right back on the health wagon and focusing and the items in the paragraph above.   The power of that desire and you, people of the world wide web, will hold my heart accountable.

I know I have put a metaphorical elephant on my plate with my goal of an Ironman, but everyone knows how to eat an elephant, right.  One bite at a time.  My first bite is to continue walking/swimming till I am in the 3's (Hundreds that is) then begin the couch to 5K for the Tulsa run or the Jingle Bells for Basal Cells 5K! Because THAT is what I want most in the short term!!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

The Plan

One of my favorite quotes I have ever heard is: "Dream Big and take baby steps!  Don't know where I found it but have used it for years.  Heck I may be the one who came up with it, but if it is yours thank you.

With that in mind:

Here is the plan folks.  You've got to be asking me how things are going.

PS -I love work out partners!!!

Fall of 2013  -   Do a 5k - (Tulsa Run?)

2014 -       Work on lowering 5k times - Willow Creek Triathlon  
                 and the Tulsa Run 15k  and/or Woolroc road race 
                 Age 42

2015 -       Free Wheel - Willow Creek Triathlon and the Tulsa Run                
                 Age 43

2016 -       A century bike ride and a Half Marathon  
                 Age 44

2017-        Run the OKC Bombing Memorial Marathon
                 Age 45

2018-        Do an Olympic Style Triathlon Event
                 Age 46

2020-        Do a 70.3 Ironman
                 Age 48

2022 -        Do a 140.6 Ironman
                 Age 50

I know with the help and encouragement of my friends and family the baby steps to this Big Dream is so doable!!!!

Thanks in advance for your help!!!


Tuesday, June 4, 2013

The Big Goal

Today I set a goal on my way to the gym.  I will swim one mile.  I had never swam a mile before, been close a few times, but never did it.  Today, I swam a mile.  While I swam I reflected on my life for the last seven years.  The last seven years have been tough.  Four job changes, racking up debt from a failed business, and just being a husband and dad.  Through this stressful time I had the unwavering support of my beautiful wife.  Without her I don't think I could have made it. No, I know I would not have made it, but I didn't come out unscathed.  I gained a lot of weight.  What can I say, I'm a stress eater and I had a lot of stress to eat.

Earlier this year the State of Oklahoma teacher's insurance program started a pilot program to greatly reduce the cost of Weight Loss surgery.  I immediately contacted the doctor and got an appointment to talk.  While going through the preliminary appointments with the Exercise Guy and the Food Girl and the Mind Lady a have lost almost 40 lbs in six months.  I have a new sense of self.  I am a teacher. I am happy being a teacher.  I am good at being a teacher.  I have spent the last seven years trying to be something else for someone else.  From the Exercise Guy I learned I know what to do.  I just need to do it.  From the Food Girl I learned how to eat better and less and still enjoy food and that the post surgery diet and possible complications scare me, and from the Mind Lady I learned to not let doctors and staff bully me into a decision and I have got to make decision that work for me.  I truly believe my weight gain was a lack of direction and self awareness.  I don't know if surgery is the answer for me.  I greatly respect individuals who have made this decision, but I may lose the ability to check off one of my bucket list items if I do weight loss surgery.  I believe surgery would make it too difficult to train for this goal, but I think this goal will require a similar lifestyle change with less of a chance for the scary complications.

I have said several times, I will train for the Willow Creek Triathlon in Enid.  I have never done it.   So my first Intermediate goal is to complete this Triathlon in 2014.  I have set so many goals and not finished them. So in an attempt to avoid surgery. I am making a very large long term goal.  This blog will be the story of my journey to reach this goal.  I hope you will help and encourage me along the way.  It started with reflecting in the pool today and reaching a small goal I randomly set for myself.  I will be setting lots of goals a hopefully celebrating a lot of small victories within these post so please join me on my journey to the:

By the time I am 50 years old I will complete a full Ironman Triathlon!