Category: Family

Pick Up the Pace

Spoiler Alert: I may get the feels in this post.

We have an emotional weekend ahead. Tonight we take our beautiful daughter, Shannon, to college. She is heading to Asheville, NC to attend University of North Carolina – Asheville. If you don’t know our family well, you will have to take my word on how close knit we are. We have had a little time to begin getting used to her absence as she had such a wonderful friend group here and they have had an emotional few weeks already as they have been saying goodbye to one another as each departs for the next chapter. I will miss many of her friends as well that have nearly lived in my living room the last few years.

Today, I wanted to pick up the pace for a number of reasons. I wanted to see if there was a faster pace where I might actually find some comfort running and holding that pace. I needed to get done with the run as there is a lot to do today and Ana and I are both working. Plus, I just felt like kicking a little ass.

I went out in what felt comfortable but decidedly faster than my two precious runs that I ran the entire 3 miles. The pace that I settled into was fluctuating slightly but it was under 11 min/mi pace. I decided about the 3/4 mile mark that it wasn’t sustainable for 3 miles yet. I held it to the mile and then began intervals. In my neighborhood I choose to use the streetlights for demarcation. They vary in separation but average maybe 100 yards. I run to the next at about an 8 min/mi pace and then walk to the next at maybe a 14 min/mi pace and kept this up for the second mile before increasing the walk length to two streetlights and eventually three to complete the third mile.

Even with the intervals of walking the entire 5k was completed in over 1′ 30″ per mile faster pace than Tuesday’s continuous run. And based solely on perspiration and hyperventilation, it was much more challenging as well.

For good measure, I knocked out ten push-ups and 10 myotatic crunches (Follow the link for a demonstration)
before hitting the shower.

3.12 mi
12′ 34″ / mi

10 push-ups
10 myotatic crunches

After tonight’s long drive, we will be loading my baby girl into her dorm room tomorrow morning. Not long after that, she will depart for convocation and we will hangout in Asheville hoping against hope that she has another minute to spare or needs anything before we drive home without her.

We are just as unprepared to let go of our kids as we were to have kids in the first place. We have no idea what we are doing and we will just have to figure it out as we go.

The next run on the schedule is for this Saturday. If it goes as planned, I will be running in and around Biltmore Forest.

Stay hydrated and go do something. Geez!



Early this Sunday morning, Mickey and I were up to join a group for bike ride from Oviedo Aquatic Center out to Fort Christmas and back. Full disclosure, I do not yet keep up or ever make it to the full length as these guys can easily knock out 50 miles in the time it takes me to do half that. I do, however, love being up and out. I secretly hope to make a “brick” of it. A brick is the combination of two sports. I have never been able to transition from the bike to a run as my legs come off the bike feeling like concrete or bricks. I can only assume that’s where the name came from, but I will have to check into that. I hope to add a mile run after a 10 mile bike this morning.

As the group took off and headed East along 419, I jumped into the middle of the pack and enjoyed the first mile or two with the group as they stretched their legs and added speed. I am fine with the consistent building of speed. Where they lose me is when we slow for a stop sign or for some debris in the road and then they take back off with serious acceleration and I am dropped. By mile three, I am off the back. Before mile 4, I can no longer even see them ahead.

After mile 5, I decide that if I have any chance of pulling off this brick, I had better turn back. I make a casual u-turn. Enter wind.

The first 5 miles had some false flats with slight climbs and a couple of long sloping downhills where I was able to pour speed into the bike. I was completely unaware of any breeze at all. After making my turn to head back, I became bluntly aware of what I would later learn was a 14 mph wind that had been at my back all along. I don’t know if you are all aware of what a 14 mph headwind does to the pace of an overweight bicyclist, but take my word that it took longer to get back than it did to go out.

Simultaneous to the wind hitting me in the chest was the epiphany of this metaphor in my brain. I had many thoughts as I lumbered my bike into the wind for the 5 mile slog to the car to transition into my running shoes.

I was unaware of the wind when it was supporting and pushing me in the direction that I wanted to go. I took all the credit for my athleticism and strength as I rode along the highway. I did not consider the wind at all. I certainly was not thankful to have it. I was blissfully ignorant. The birds were singing. The sun was shining. The trees were green. The cars were happy to pass me leaving plenty of room.

When the wind literally hit me in the face, my bike slowed. I immediately felt as though I was much too far from my car. Where had this wind come from? Why is it just appearing now? The smallest uphill became mountainous. The birds fell quiet. The sun was beating down on me. The trees were swaying. The cars were impatient and dangerously close.

The ride back was harder, but I enjoyed it for what it was. The resistance of the wind made me work harder. I became immediately grateful for the tailwind I had received for the first 5 miles. Now here is the part, you need to get your head around. I was also grateful for the headwind on the way back as a chance to grow. The resistance would reward my efforts with added strength in the future. I was not the victim of some evil force. I was the benefactor of an empowering force. I had an opportunity to face the wind with grace or to quit and curse it.

I can’t see wind, but I can surely feel it. I can’t see wind, but I can surely see the impact it has on people and the world. I don’t know the word for wind in every language, but I am sure that they are describing the same thing. I can’t see wind, but I know that whether everyone believes in it or not, it’s there.

Remember that I said it was a metaphor?

Key Largo Mixer (or No Arms Were Twisted)

Let’s go change some lives in Key Largo!


Hold up. Key Largo? You want us to spend a few of our precious Spring Break days on a small sliver of land between the Atlantic and Florida Bay as Winter turns into Spring? Okay. Nobody had to have their arm twisted for this trip. Team Make It Happen went to Key Largo this weekend.

Well over a month ago invitations were sent out and phone calls were made. Our friends, Ted and Meghan Jones, and their wonderful kids we’re going to join us and come talk to our friends and family and their guests in Key Largo. We were so excited to see what was going on in Key Largo, where people wanted to go and how we could help them get there.

We shared and connected with so many locals. We sat on the back dock on the canal that looked right out to the Bay. Pam and Sarah made so many healthy snacks and had quite a spread. It was amazing to hear some of the results that many have already had and heart wrenching to hear what so many have tried and how desperate many are for results. There were some that needed energy and others that wanted to lose weight. There were some that wanted to achieve fitness goals and a few that wanted a plan b income opportunity.

It was inspiring to see the passion and community in Key Largo. Also, I will never tire of hearing Meghan share her story or seeing her empathy for others. We are pairing up some current champions with some future champions to coach them along the way.

We spent a lot of time in the ocean or very near it. We went to state parks, marinas and some local haunts. We went to Bahia Honda State Park and Anne’s Beach. We ate some great seafood and kept hydrated. We visited Islamorada Fish Company for a beautiful sunset and Chad’s for the Keys best sandwiches. Island Grill at Mandalay delivered their famous tuna nachos. There was fishing and snorkeling and the property value on the hammock skyrocketed. All kinds of bait were tried and a few fish were caught.

We will be coming to a city near you soon. Make it happen sooner by reaching out to us at our site.

There may not have been any twisted arms but there was some twisted tea.

In an unrelated story, stay tuned for the tale of Caleb Jones and the Magical Sea Urchin.


Let’s Get It Started

Where have you been?  I have not written anything in some time.  If you look at my last post, you will see, like I just did, that it was posted on September 1, 2012.  What happened back in the first week of September?  I changed my life.  I lost 30 pounds in a little more than 30 days.  I made money while losing the weight and changing my life.

Let me explain.  And I will continue to explain in the coming weeks and months and may invite some guest bloggers to share their stories.

For more than a year, my beautiful and patient wife, Ana, had been telling me stories of all the success that a few of her peers had been having with weight loss.  In all that time, I steadfastly poopooed her stories of weight loss as I was quite confident that if I enjoyed fewer beers and burgers that I too could lose weight.  As I am sure that you are an avid reader of my “Lose 100 Pounds in One Year” blog, you know that I have spent the last 15 years floating between 50 and 100 pounds overweight.  I have lost nearly 50 pounds in a weight bet among friends and then gained 70 in the next year.  I have lost 20 pounds before the holidays, just to make room to gain them back over that very same holiday season.  Need I say more than that I started the blog “Lose 100 Pounds in One Year” about three years ago?  

Got it? So, what happened in September?  Well, I heard a conversation between my beautiful and  patient wife, Ana, and one Meghan Kelly Jones.  I was driving while Ana had Meghan on the phone via bluetooth in her car allowing me to hear the whole conversation.  Meghan was telling her story and had my attention.  I may tell her story to you someday, if I can’t get her to do it, but not today.  She got my attention with a compelling and moving story of her family and their last couple years.  Meghan is the wife of one of Ana’s former peers at work.

Meghan’s story hit so close to home that I got excited.  While excited, I wanted to get through what must be a candy coating and see what was in the middle.  I hit the internet to find the naysayers and get the other side of the story.  I searched like a skeptic seeking any signs of scam or fraud.  I watched You Tube videos taken from every perspective and sought out competitors.  I reviewed the corporate material and small print.  I weighed my options and considered the risks and rewards.  Then I started talking to my friends and family to see if they had heard anything like this.  When the dust cleared and my reviews were complete, I took decisive action.

Meghan’s story involved AdvoCare.  I had heard the word and vaguely thought that it either had to do with with Health Care or First Aid, and as wrong as I was, I wasn’t too far off.  While AdvoCare is an industry leading health and wellness company with products that support energy, weigh-loss, nutrition and sports performance, they can also be just the “first aid” and/or “health care” that so many neglect to give themselves.

The first week of September 2012, Ana and I joined AdvoCare as distributors and took the 24-Day Challenge together.  We bought in completely to the products and followed the cleanse, supplement and meal plan completely.  We supported each other and got immediate results.  We scoured the web for more information on how others were using the products.  Our energy level was great.  Our clothes were fitting better.  We felt really good.

As we have a million times before with the newest restaurants, movies or television shows, we started telling everybody about what we had found.

Before starting the Challenge last summer, I weighed 310 pounds.  After the Challenge, I got under 280.  I lost over 22 total inches in body measurements including 4 inches in my waist alone.      I have not been given permission to tell my Ana’s stats, but I can say that she had similar results and was just as excited as I am about them.  I know that I just lost some of you reading this, because you don’t believe me. But, if you don’t believe that, you are never going to believe this.  We finished our Challenge over 3 months ago.  Since then, Ana has eaten very well and only “cheated” for a couple meals at special events or holidays.  She still uses a few of her favorite supplements, has continued to lose weight and is wearing clothes smaller than she ever remembers wearing.  I know the jeans she just bought are a size smaller than what she was buying when we were dating 20 years ago and she was 18!  I have “cheated” a lot and binged on holiday food like the world was really going to end.  I drank beer and ate cookies.  I used a few of the supplements that Ana was using and my weight moved a pound or two up and down.  I continued drinking a lot of water and as I sit here writing this, I weigh 280.

Did I spend money on these products? Yes, but no more than we were already spending on so many self-defeating products like lattes and fast food.  So, take note.  We saved more money on items that we eliminated than we spent to add the new.  That alone would be enough, but by sharing our results and excitement, we made money that paid bills, reduced debt and bought refills of supplements or other products we tried.  Again, that really should be enough for anyone, but we also got to truly help people.  We inspired friends, family, coworkers and acquaintances to make a change and feel better.  See the attached comparison photo of my father-in-law, Sergio Padron, that lost a lot of weight and total inches. The numbers that I want to share is what he did to his blood sugar with daily measurements over 150 before the Challenge and now an average of 80.  He changed his life and may have fought off adult onset, Type II Diabetes.  That gets me excited.  Now my mother-in-law and sister-in-law are ready to get started.

AdvoCare has launched new products and limited time price savings for the New Year’s Resolution crowd that end on January 15th.  There’s the Can You 24 DVD and a bundle of the 24-Day Challenge and Beyond that will get you through 72 days of becoming a Champion.  I weighed in today because I am excited to be starting my second 24-Day Challenge and may go Beyond and use my DVD to see what exercise will do to affect my results.  Did you think that we were working out to get our results?  Last fall, Ana and I worked out 2 or 3 times during the challenge and my father-in-law incorporated a daily walking routine to his plan.

What’s it going to be for you?  Change your life?  I’ll keep you updated on mine.  Are you competitive?  There is a Transformation Contest with $40,000 in prizes.  I signed up for that today.  Deadline is January 15.  I am confident that whether or not I can impress the judges, I will feel great and look better another 30 or more pounds lighter.

Left photo taken Thanksgiving Day and right photo just a couple days before Christmas (27 days).
Left photo taken Thanksgiving Day and right photo just a couple days before Christmas (27 days).

Happy Father’s Day

“Everyone has a father, but it takes someone special to be a dad.”

I’m not sure that I got the saying exactly right but I have heard the sentiment a number of different ways. It’s simple in theory in as much that making a baby is far easier than raising a child into adulthood. This may seem flippant to those struggling with the making part but with God’s blessing they will soon understand.

I think the saying has even more meaning and understanding for those being raised by someone other than their biological father. Kids that have a step-dad, adoptive parent, single mother, grandparent or no parents at all get this without any explanation. I have had no relationship with my biological father or dad since I was very young. Since then, I have had many would-be surrogates from my mother, Big Brothers, the dad’s of friends, a step-father gone awry, uncles and eventually a father-in-law.

I have been a father for many years now. My youngest is now 14. Father’s Day has become much more about getting celebrated by my wife and kids. Each year I value more and more my relationships with them and how they change as they grow up. I used to dwell on how quickly they were growing and tried to cling to each age and wish for it to last. Now I enjoy each moment and gratefully try to flow with whatever happens.

Today, I was up early with Mickey heading to a triathlon (for him, not me, I’m still too fat) hours from home to start my day and came home to a brand new cooler full of beer as my Father’s Day gift. I will review and tell you more about my cooler another time. I got time to watch the “group of death” in EURO 2012 (Portugal and Germany advance to the quarterfinals). Now, Shannon is driving on her Learner’s Permit to take us to dinner at Shipyard Emporium in Winter Park where I will make full use of my mug club privileges.

I have a lot to catch everyone up on and tell you the new direction this blog is headed. I’d also like to hear from you about your parents, family, kids or just how you spent the day. In the meantime, Happy Father’s Day to you and yours no matter what kind of father you have or are, even if you are a mother.


EPCOT Food and Wine Festival

The EPCOT Food and Wine Festival got kicked off Friday, September 25, and we had planned to meet my brother, Jon, his wife, Tara, and our niece, Grace, for an evening of food and wine Saturday night after swimming. My nephew Jack got left with his grandparents to give Grace a chance to stay for Illuminations (fireworks).

We parked at Disney’s Boardwalk and met up with everybody for the boat ride over to EPCOT. Entering near the Great Britain pavilion, a Bass Ale fueled my walk to Future World as I had promised Grace that the first thing we would do is ride the “dragon ride”, which is what she calls Imagination, and Spaceship Earth. On our way forward to the rides, we saw Cork, Ireland; Wellington, New Zealand and Montreal Canada. After riding both rides which have been updated since I last rode them years ago, we headed straight back to the Canada Pavilion.

As we passed the Festival Gift Shop on our way back to Canada, I noticed that someone was signing Festival Posters and assumed that it was the artist. Knowing that I would by a poster before the festival ended, I though might as well meet the artist and get it signed. While everyone went on to get in line for food, I bought a poster. I met Tim Rogerson and talked to him about what I liked about his poster and his other art displayed there. My favorite piece was one that he called “The Bartender” which it turns out was inspired at Blue Martini in the Mall at Millenia. I got my poster signed after a short wait and learned that he will be the artist for next year’s Festival poster, too.

At Montreal, Canada, we enjoyed the number one selling item at the festival, the Canadian Cheddar Cheese Soup. We also tried some Maple Glazed Salmon with Lentil Salad, Spicy Chicken Sausage with Sweet Corn Polenta and Maple Sugar Candy. We then began our clockwise “crawl” around the World Showcase. We passed many countries and marketplaces looking at menus and offerings. We enjoyed Beef Empanadas with Tomato Salsa from Buenos Aires, Argentina. Mickey really wanted the Serrano Ham and Manchego Cheese plate in Barcelona, Spain, but I said the line was to long and he had some in Barcelona. He did not like that answer but we will surely get some next visit.

Grace spent time walking and holding everyone’s hand. We looked in some stores and watched as the sky and clouds darkened. By the time we got to Germany, we had felt a sprinkle or two of rain. Munich, Germany rewarded us with a Paulaner Oktoberfest and Nuernberger Sausage on a Pretzel Roll. While enjoying my Oktoberfest, I promised myself that on the next visit I would start in New Orleans, USA for the food offerings and the Abita beer pairing. I also gave a knowing glance to the Sam Adams Beer School off in the distance.

Tokyo, Japan was when the trouble started. When we arrived at Japan, they had one Spicy Tuna Roll left, which Ana claimed. I tried to switch to a Tuna Sensation but those too were all out. I tried to negotiate a deal but was rebuffed. Mickey and Shannon each had a California Sushi Roll. I was annoyed not only that they would run out of food on a Saturday night, but that the manager would explain it away so carelessly. I watched my family enjoy their sushi while I finished my Oktoberfest.

We got to the Great Britain pavilion to grab a couple rugby balls we wanted known as the Adidas Torpedo and mini torpedo. While we walked to setup for a place to watch Illuminations, the rain picked up a bit. As the ten minute countdown to the fireworks began the rain picked up a lot and we were looking for cover. Under a tree quickly became not enough cover so back into the sports store. The deluge began in earnest and Grace became inconsolable because she would not see Illuminations and blow out the torches to start the show. We ran for the boat in a “Forrest Gump with Bubba in Vietnam” downpour of rain. Luckily my kids are swimmers so when we got to the truck, we had towels.

Highlander Invite, Day 1

We are at Lake Highland Preparatory School for the Elizabeth Kazeck Invitational Swim Meet. This pool supposedly hosted water polo in the 1996 Summer Olympic Games. Parking is near impossible and the pool deck is so small that we pitch our tent and chairs in a field adjacent to the pool. The younger kids had the early session so we are arriving about 11 am and the heat is building fast. Before the kids are done with warmups, every parent is sweating through their clothes.

Shannon starts the day in the anchor leg of a 400y Free Relay going 28.5s in the first 50 and 1:01.3 for the 100. Then Mickey gets going with a 50 Free in just over 30s. Shannon fires back with a 28.1s in her 50 Free. In his 50 Back, Mickey was cruising and got a best time with 38.38s. Shannon makes a huge move by dropping 4s in her 100 Fly. Mickey lowered his best time by over a second to 1:43.29 in the 100 Breast. Shannon dropped the ball in her best event going 5s slower than her best in her 100 Breast. Mickey finished with an awesome 200 Free dropping 7s to 2:26.1. Shannon finished strong although not a best time in the 200 Free with a 2:15.76.

I haven’t seen any college football yet today, but watching my kids give it all they have was fun. I probably lost about 6 pounds sweating as an added bonus. We will see what tomorrow brings. Tonight we are going to EPCOT for the Food and Wine Festival. I have a good shot at gaining that weight back. I’ll let you know.

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