Wednesday, August 15, 2007

So typical

This is exactly WHY I started this blog. It was for YOU. Since I spend so much time training I can't even keep it going. Arg. How many times have you heard that in the last year? Or how about these? "Honey, I promise I will get the house painted soon." Or, how about this one, "I promise as soon as Ironman is over." Oh yeah. I know.

I was reminded of this when someone asked if I had T-Shirts with the Iron Widow logo on it. Yep - I do! I don't make anything on these. I just think they would be cool to have for those of you that make this a reality.

Check out the Iron Widow T-Shirt here!

Thursday, February 15, 2007

The Wish!

Many of us are in the middle of training. Yes it is only mid-February, but "base training" is in full force. So, this post is more of a reflection about why I do what I do....

It is the 10th anniversary of my daughter's diagnosis of Leukemia (AML). I wanted to see if I can make you all understand why people spend so much time training. I will post a series of articles, starting with the last one first and going back.

Rock and Roll Marathon 2000:

It wasn't the fact that I ran the marathon. It wasn't the fact that I finished the marathon. It wasn't the fact that I had a PR. It wasn't the fact that I ran my 5th marathon in 2 years. The fact was plain and simple: My daughter was able to take the trip with me!

Abby was diagnosed with AML (Acute Monocytic Leukemia) January 23rd, 1997. YES - this is the 10th anniversary. The battle was hard and long for Abby, but because of the awesome doctors and nurses at the University of Wisconsin hospital she was able to take the trip to San Diego with her dad some 3 years later. Abby had a great time the entire time while in San Diego. She didn't really understand the significance of this marathon to me. She didn't know that every step took those 26.2 miles was a step toward seeing her at the finish line.

It's funny, however, that I crossed the finish line alone. Abby was nowhere to be seen. This was sad to me. I wanted to see her so bad, I had dreamed about this scenario - I would run toward the finish line, grab Abby from the crowd, and cross the finish line with her in my arms.

I walked for about 15 min after the race looking for her (and the babysitter). I finally found her at the Leukemia Society Team in Training tent. When she saw me, she just smiled and screamed "DADDY." Looking back this was just perfect. Here is a little girl of 4 that was just on a trip to San Diego with her dad. She didn't care if I ran around the world, she just wanted to be a normal girl and do cool things. Maybe I didn't get to cross the finish line with her. I had something better. I had a healthy daughter, something I didn't think I would have when holding her so sick back in January 1997. Thanks to the research and advances in the cure, she got just what she wanted. Looking back, so did I - I had a healthy child!

So what do I want? I want to carry Abby across the 2007 Ironman Wisconsin finish line! that's why I do this!!!!!

Friday, January 12, 2007

Never underestimate the power of Ironman

I said that on SimplyStu MANY times. Each time I looked at it from the training side, the athlete side, the training for 15 hours a week side. I never really looked at that statement from the "IronWidow" side. Huh? Did I just say that? It's true in that I have tried on this site to look at all things from the other side, but never looked or thought about my statement.

"Never underestimate the power of Ironman." Now this is not unique to Ironman, but there is amazing power behind training for such an event. I'm not saying it's negative, it's just something that needs to be addressed. I have dealt with it in my family. Sometimes I've done a good job, and many times not so good. I have tried too hard at times, and not tried hard enough in others. Sometimes I do not think it is right, and other times I know it is wrong. The bottom line is simple, you need to deal with the "power" now, a week from now and a month from now. Talk things out. Talk to others that have done it. Learn, listen and remember there is a lot of power in Ironman - both good and bad (I never see the bad but I know it is a part of it).

I try SO hard to make things right. I've done it twice and you would think I get better at it? Well, not really! I do try and I give it 100%. Isn't that all one can ask? It is not worth loosing a friendship, marriage, or partnership over but it certainly does have the power to rock the boat a bit.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Begin with the end in mind!

When I spoke at my dad's funeral, I told a story that went something like this:

There is a book written by Stephen Covey called the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. In this book there is one "habit" that I just love. It says that you should "Begin with the end in mind." I'm 100% sure that my father NEVER read this book, and in fact never heard of Stephen Covey. What it says is to picture yourself at your own funeral and look around to see what people say about you. You should live each day, treat people, and generally live life as if it was all a test for that final day. With my father, he was just amazing with this habit and he NEVER even tried. Why? Because almost everything my father EVER did my entire life I could have talked about with pride on this day. Can you say that about yourself? Can you say that about your friends? Just think about. When I'm just day dreaming at an airport (I tend to spend lots of time in them), I think about this and do my best to live just like my dad. Not always easy.

So what does this have to do with Ironman and Ironwidow? JUST ABOUT EVERYTHING. It is simple. It's time to sit down and "Begin with the end in mind." Picture yourself and the person you will support the next several months. Picture yourself screaming your head off as they run over the finish line. Made you smile didn't it? Now go and get the person that is doing the race and have them do the same thing. The road to the "end" is very different for YOU and the person actually doing the race. Very different.

I was very proud of my dad. He was a natural at the "journey." He was a natural at life. He was a natural at just about everything. So it is today that I start the journey. It is today that I start dreaming about the end. I just wish my dad could be there to say something about me. I will never get that chance again. I wrote a similar article on today using a similar picture. This picture reminds me so much of my dad. This is the Ironman route, but you can't see the end. The end is something that you have to work on each and every moment. I just hope that I make my dad proud. I hope he will look down on me as I cross that finish line and just smiles. No words, just a smile of pride. I wish this for each and every one of you as well.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

It is time!

Cancer really stinks. No question! The word is impossible to say for some, and easier for others. For me it is something I can say. My daughter had cancer almost 10 years ago. My father died from cancer a few years back.

So why the depressing subject? Why now? Why on a blog? To be honest it is NOT depressing to me. It is a constant reminder to me that life is short. Life is about the experience. It is about being honest and holding integrity close the heart.

Very simple. I enjoy life. I enjoy people. I love my children. I love my wife. I love sport. I think it is safe to say, I'm just a happy guy. This time of year is important for Triathletes. At least those in the this part of the world, it is just about time to start. Time to plant the seed. Time to get serious. Time to look at the family and say a few things:

1) I need your help
2) I will give it my all
3) I have a dream to see YOU at the finish line!
4) Please come with me on the journey!

Life is short - enjoy the journey - make sure you take your family with you!

Sunday, November 26, 2006

The Vacation Dilemma.

8 days and 7 nights! Mazatlan, Puerto Vallarta, Cabo San Lucas! What could possibly be wrong with this? Coming from Wisconsin after a long and cold Winter, the warm ocean breeze and sun couldn't come at a better time? Right?

Ok, I will admit that I love cruises and love being with my family even more. This year, however, I will be in the middle of my Ironman training and just 4 weeks from my 1st 1/2 Ironman race in California. In the past I would have panicked. As I promised all of you, I would use IronWidow to help me all year. This is one of those occasions. Instead of panicking, I just added the cruise to my listing of races, and important dates for 2007.

I will try and sneak in a few early AM runs (have you ever run on a treadmill on a cruise ship. Very interesting to say the least!). I will also ask my coach to help me use this week as a "low" or semi-recovery week. Either way, I made the commitment to IronWidow and I will keep that.

Someone once asked if I combine races and vacation? That is really a entire new post - but for me that answer is NO, NO, NO! And you?

Stu is making progress this year already - don't you think? Are you proud of me?

Sunday, November 05, 2006


"Triathlon is NOT a team sport!"

I heard a spouse of a triathlete tell me this once and did not think much of it. It was after a race and the comment was more in passing. The comment was not meant to be positive or negative - just fact. I think I actually nodded in agreement, but later had to think again. I remember getting in my car about 20 min later and was mad at myself for agreeing to the comment. This is not true for 2 reasons.

1) Let me first start off by saying that I'm not a fan of the word "team" being used loosely. You cannot "make" a team. In my mind at least you "become" a team. I got an E-mail from a guy named Jay that put it perfectly saying: "Recently, the Greek national basketball team beat the US national team in basketball. A group of average basketball players beat a team full of superstars from the US...none trying to be the superstar...just bringing their own strengths to make a superstar TEAM." How cool is that. The US was a "team" but not a team as I like to define it.

2) The people you see are only 1/2 of the "team." The other half is YOU. Yep. That is right. YOU. Yes, triathletes spend a lot of time alone running, swimming, and biking, but that is only a small portion of the day (most days at least). The rest of the team is you, and this is the part that can make or break the entire team. No matter how good someone is on the playing field, there must be a support team to help him or her along. While we ride, swim and bike our team of children, spouses, friends, and co-workers are there for us.

I know that as Ironman day comes close my "team" starts to ask a lot of questions.

"How are things going?."

"How many miles did you ride this weekend?"

The greatest comment of all came from my father as he held my hand just the day before he died "so... how is the Ironman training going?"

With that said, I hope you are lucky enough to be part of a GREAT team both on and off the field.