Monday, September 29, 2008


“Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.” — Seneca the Younger

As Ironman fast approaches, so does the close of my first year of triathlon. I’ve covered a lot of miles over the past year. To be exact —sort of: 220,000 yards swimming; 2,300 miles biking; and nearly 400 miles running. Not a lot by Ironman standards, but for an old couch potato, not bad for the first year.
One year ago I couldn’t swim a lick. I may have run 5 miles the year before and maybe biked about 800 miles in that same year.

Over this past year I have discovered a lot about myself: what I’m made of; how tough I thought I was, but wasn’t; and how indomitable the human spirit can be. I learned that I will NOT remain calm if I see a shark while swimming, a marathon is much harder mentally than physically, that I can be surrounded by a thousand other people in the ocean during a race and still feel utterly alone, and I discovered how much I really rely on my knees and how you can’t get by with only one good one (I’m recovering from yet another knee-popping incident).

But as my first year comes to a close I don’t see it as an ending but rather as a beginning. A beginning of a new chapter in the life of a couch potato. A chance to show that this year wasn’t a fluke. That I will continue to train, to work through all the injuries and maybe even get this old knee fixed at last. That I will try to face some of my fears (swimming with sharks and a thousand crazy people all at the same time and be relaxed or at least not think about dying) and maybe even accomplish a few PRs along the way.

We’ll just have to see how this story writes itself. Hopefully, it’ll be a great one filled with action, adventure and a little mystery. And like a well-written story, I hope this new beginning will have a fantastic opening line. Something along the lines of “It was a dark and stormy night, but no injuries were in sight ...”

And speaking of great openings, here are some of my favorite opening lines from some great authors: Warning: It’ll make you want to read their books ...

“We don’t get much snow, and we hardly ever murder one another. Suicide is more our style...” Uncivil Seasons by Michael Malone

“If I could tell you one thing about my life it would be this: when I was seven years old the mailman ran over my head.” The Miracle Life of Edgar Mint by Brady Udall

“I joined the baboon troop during my twenty-first year. I had never planned to become a savanna baboon when I grew up; instead I had always assumed I would become a mountain gorilla.” A Primate’s Memoir by Robert Sapolsky

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way.” Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

“It was a dark and stormy night; the rain fell in torrents — except at occasional intervals, when it was checked by a violent gust of wind which swept up the streets (for it is in London that our scene lies), rattling along the housetops, and fiercely agitating the scanty flame of the lamps that struggled against the darkness.” Paul Clifford by Edward Bulwer-Lytton

“Call me Ishmael. Some years ago — never mind how long precisely — having little or no money in my purse, and nothing particular to interest me on shore, I thought I would sail about a little and see the watery part of the world.” Moby Dick by Herman Melville

“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.” The Holy Bible by God

Thursday, September 25, 2008


I'm a Poe fan. That's Edgar Allan Poe. Eldorado is one of my favorite poems of all time.

Why? Well, as with most poems, it is a metaphor for what ever you want it to be (regardless of what the author intended it to mean). Eldorado has two definitions: A legendary kingdom of enormous wealth for anyone who can find it; and an unattainable idea.

Some say that the gallant knight represents the author and his search for peace, his nirvana. Some say the knight represents the transcendentalist movement of Poe's time. Some say the poem is about each of us living our lives and trying to find where we fit in. That many of us grow old and never find our "Eldorado" — that place where we belong.

Maybe Poe is telling us not to waste our time. Not to chase shadows — those things that are unattainable. Of course, it could simply mean when your time comes, man up to it and ride boldly to your demise.

But I like to think of it in a more optimistic light. That after years of searching and hard work trying to obtain his goal, God sends the gallant knight an angel (the pilgrim shadow) to show him the way. Only now, in his older years is the knight ready to ask for help. And only now is he ready to listen. It's no time to give up now. If you want to achieve your dream sometimes you have to descend into the valley of the shadow. Just remember to ride, boldly ride ...

ELDORADO by Edgar Allan Poe

Gaily bedight,
A gallant knight,
In sunshine and in shadow,
Had journeyed long,
Singing a song,
In search of Eldorado.

But he grew old--
This knight so bold--
And o'er his heart a shadow
Fell as he found
No spot of ground
That looked like Eldorado.

And, as his strength
Failed him at length,
He met a pilgrim shadow--
"Shadow," said he,
"Where can it be--
This land of Eldorado?"

"Over the Mountains
Of the Moon,
Down the Valley of the Shadow,
Ride, boldly ride,"
The shade replied,--
"If you seek for Eldorado!"

Friday, September 19, 2008


Well sports fans, it's that time again. The time when Kona starts sounding like the United Nations. Just three weeks until Ironman World Championship. Walk into any grocery store and you can hear a dozen different languages being spoken by a dozen different triathletes and their families.

I swam at the pool today. As I arrived and was getting my stuff out of my moped two men exited the pool area pushing their tri bikes and were speaking Italian. In the lane next to me was a swimmer speaking to his family in German.

Of course, Oz is a second language around here, so lots of Aussies in town. Throw in the Asians, Brits and the other Europeans and it becomes quite a mix. There's even a few people walking around with distinct Texan accents. Y'all give a holler if y'all see 'em. They're the ones in the Speedos and cowboy boots. And let them know we were all praying for them during Ike.

But no matter what language is being spoken, everyone seems to understand the language of triathlon. The hard work, sacrifice and dedication it took each of them to get here. It comes with the understanding that no matter what your ability, whether you are a pro or an age grouper, you have earned a spot in the big show. Good luck to all the athletes in their endeavor to accomplish their goals. Have a great time while you are here and keep safe.

Thursday, September 18, 2008


Dear Son,
I am writing this real slow, 'cause I know you can't read very fast. We don't live where we did when you left. We read in the paper that most accidents happen within 10 miles of home so we moved. I won't be able to send you the address 'cause we don't have one. The last family that lived here took the numbers off the house with them for their next house, so they wouldn't have to change their address.

This place has a washing machine. The first day I put four shirts in, pulled the chain and I ain't seem 'em since. It only rained twice this week — Three days the first time and four days the second time. John locked his keys in the car yesterday. We were worried because it took him two hours to get me and Shelby out.

You know the coat you wanted me to send to you? Well ... Aunt Sue said it would be too heavy to send in the mail with them heavy buttons on it, so we cut them off. I put them in the pockets so you can sew them back on. Your sister had her baby this morning, I ain't heard whether it is a boy or a girl, so I don't know if you're an uncle or an aunt. She says if it's a girl she will name it after me and call it mom.

Your Uncle John fell in a whiskey vat, some men tried to pull him out, but he fought them off, so he drowned. We cremated him and he burned for three days.

Three of your friends went off the bridge in a pick-up truck the other day. One was driving, the other two were in the back. The driver got out. He rolled the window down and swam to safety. The other two drowned cause they couldn't get the tailgate down.

There's not much news this time, nothin' much has happened.
Love, Mama
PS - I was going to send you some money but the envelope was already sealed.

Dear GOD,
I would like to live 900 years like the guy in the Bible.
Love, Chris
Dear GOD,
We read in school that Thomas Edison made light, but in Sunday School they said You did it. So I bet he stoled your idea.
Sincerely, Donna

Dear GOD,
I bet it is very hard for You to love all of everybody in the whole world. There are only 4 people in our family and I can never do it. — Nan

Dear GOD,
Maybe Cain and Abel would not kill each other so much if they had their own rooms. It works with my brother. — Larry

Dear GOD,
I think the stapler is one of your greatest inventions. — Ruth M.

Dear GOD,
It rained for our whole vacation and is my father mad! He said some things about You that people are not supposed to say, but I hope You will not hurt him anyway. — Your friend (But I am not going to tell you who I am)

Dear GOD,
In school they told us what You do. Who does it when You are on vacation? — Jane

Dear GOD,
Did you really mean "do unto others as they do unto you"? Because if you did, then I'm going to fix my brother! — Darla

Dear GOD,
Please send me a pony. I never asked for anything before, You can look it up. — Bruce

Dear GOD,
Instead of letting people die and having to make new ones, why don't You just keep the ones You have now? — Jane

Dear GOD,
Did you mean for the giraffe to look like that or was it an accident? — Norma

Dear GOD,
Who draws the lines around the countries? — Nan

Dear GOD,
Are you really invisible or is that just a trick? — Lucy

Dear GOD,
People say we aren't supposed to question you or your works. Is that true? — Gina

Tuesday, September 9, 2008


After being off island for a week, we are finally back. Good bye freeways, malls, Sea World, Zoo, civilization and crazy Russian taxi drivers. We survived. In tow we brought back lots of souvenirs, lots of pride and one brand new U.S. Marine.

PFC Daniel will be home for a week before heading back to San Diego and Camp Pendleton where he will go to the School of Infantry for about 6 weeks before getting shipping out to the fleet most likely to Iraq or Afghanistan.
VIDEO: Shamu soaking the crowd.

We had a blast in San Diego. We were reunited with our son, did some shopping on base, went to the zoo and went to Sea World twice. We fed the seals, got soaked by Shamu, took a raft ride, got the tea cup spinning so fast on the tea cup ride that Karen is still nauseous after three days and walked mile after mile.

Rebecca brought back a rather impressive collection of drink containers as well as some clothes, stuffed animals and jig saw puzzles.

VIDEO: Daniel spinning the tea cup.
This has been my first full week off of swimming, running and bicycling since I started training for Lavaman nearly a year ago. I'd feel good except that I caught a terrible cold while gone — teach me to take time off from training. It's the first time I've been sick during this past year.

Karen and I brought back lots of memories, and a lot of good times!

Saturday, September 6, 2008


Graduation is not the end; it's the beginning.
— Orrin Hatch

Graduation day is tough for adults. They go to the ceremony as parents. They come home as contemporaries. After twenty-two years of child-raising, they are unemployed.
— Erma Bombeck

On Friday, Daniel graduated from MCRD — Marine Corps boot camp. Although he has officially been a Marine for a week, it was the culmination of 13 weeks of change. From boyhood to manhood, civilian to warrior, dream to reality.

Here are a few photos from graduation of 3rd Battalion, Mike Co. I'd post video but for some reason the hotel wireless won't let me.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008


Well we finally arrived in San Diego for Daniel's graduation from Marine boot camp. We haven't got to see Daniel yet, but we did make it to Sea World and it was a blast. This is the first time I've been out of Hawaii in three years. FREEDOM!

The top photo is of Rebecca, Karen and me waiting for the Shamu show to start. The next photo is of flamingos. You know why flamingos are pink? Well you would if you were here, lol.

A killer whale swimming upside down while getting warmed up for his upcoming performance. Actually, there are several killer whales that perform during the show and all have their own personalities. Know how you can tell the difference between a boy killer whale and girl killer whale? If you were here you'd know that simple answer without having to look in the wrong place ...

You know what kind of fish this is? Well you guessed it, if you were here ...

Tomorrow is family day at MCRD and we will finally get to see Daniel and meet some of the families we've been talking with online over the past three months. On Friday is graduation, YAY!

Take care and wish you were here...


How many times in your life have you installed seat covers in our vehicles? I've probably installed 20 or more sets of seat covers ...