Friday, July 27, 2012

Thoughts about Chick-Fil-A Drama...What Would Staley Do

I may have mentioned before, but this blog is going to be about a lot, not just race reports....this is not a race report.  I have been amazed by how many emails I have been getting about my stance on the Chick-Fil-A drama.  I have no idea why you guys care, but I can't put all my thoughts on a Facebook status, so I will write it down on a blog.

First of all, if you don't know what the drama is...Google it.  I am not a national blogging icon, so I am not going to reference articles and all that junk.  If you don't know what the drama is about, I envy you.  I would love to be in the dark about this...better yet I would love to eat some chicken without someone telling me I stand for or against something because of it.  There are 2 sides to the argument about CFA and Gay rights, and frankly I am in the middle screaming, "I just want a delicious chicken sandwich!!"  So here we go, here are my thoughts....buckle your seatbelts and leave your bibles and rainbow necklaces at the door.  Come with an open mind and you may leave with peace.  HAHA, I don't have that kind of power:)  Lets look at the sides first and then expand from there.

Homosexual Side:

First and foremost I am not a Homosexual.  I know and have friends that are. I have listened to their side and understand their argument enough I will attempt to write it down.  However, please understand that I cannot express every single Homosexual's personal view on this, nor could I with Christians.  The way I have come to understand the views on this side are that this is a civil and or human rights issue.  That CFA is against homosexuality and should  be forced to change its view if it ever hopes to have another gay or lesbian patron.  They want the country to accept them as human beings and not as freaks, and to afford them the same rights as everyone else in the country.  They want the Declaration of Independence to be just as much for them, that it is for those crazy bible wielding Christians. 

I want to say as an American I agree with 95% of what the LBGT community feels.  We cannot pick and choose who gets rights in this country, and we sure as heck can't do it based on religion choices.  In college my girlfriend (now my wife) had a stroke.  Her family has not always been the great standard of excellence on nurturing, so 99% of the responsibility of caring for her fell on me.....Now mind you, I had only been dating her for around 4 months. My mother called me and informed me that if I, at anytime, did not give 100% of my support to Angie and my care for her ever lacked, then she would promptly remove my testicles and disown me.  I had a responsibility and I would be caring for her, not running away like most men in college would have done.  Her care was hard though, doctors ignored me, the hospitals would not talk to me, and in the end, I was going to be helping pay the bill.  I had no rights though, because I was not married to her.  I think about my LBGT brothers and sisters that have been with their partners for years and years and the pain and fear they must go through every time their significant other goes through a medical crisis....It would be hell.

Conservative Christian Side:

I want to intentionally say Conservative Christian here...or CC.  The reason being because somewhere over the years there has been a group of Christians that feel they are a political party, instead of a faith....these are CC's to me.  Their feelings are that a marriage in the bible is said to be between a man and a woman and that anything other than that is a sin, or even worse and abomination.  Now, to all my LBGT friends, as a Christian let me explain their extremist views here so you can kind of, at the minimum, understand why they think they have to fight against you.  You see the old testament is chopped full of stories on the wrath that God would display against His enemies.  There are stories of kings that would try and restore the ways of God, but wouldn't kick out and fully destroy the enemies of God and the people that worshiped other Gods in their chosen land.  They were and will always be written as kings that were not good in God's eyes because of those things.  Almost every prophet in the old testament talks about God's judgement and wrath upon the people that did not fully embrace Him and how He would smite them from the face of the earth because of it.  The bible tells us now that when the time comes for us to face judgement, then we will have to answer for everything we did on earth.  By the old testament alone it would make a Christian's butt pucker to have to go before God and tell him that he did not fully support that which God commanded us to do.  What will we say when he says, "Why did you support homosexuality?"  They believe it is better for people to hate them here on earth, than to have God send them to hell for eternity.

As a Christian, that was raised in what I will refer for now as an "Old Covenant" mentality, I will tell you that I get it, and would have stood for this just the same a few years ago.  However there is another point of their argument, one that every time I hear it, it baffles me to the point where I get that dog, cocked head to the side, look......BBBUUUTTTT this is actually the biggest point to understand in this CFA drama!!  There are a large majority of CC's that believe if you sit quietly and allow people to do as they please and go against Christian values, that eventually, Christians will have their rights removed too and will lose their rights to worship freely.  This is actually a very valid argument to a point.  In Arizona right now there is a man who has bible studies at his house and the city is fining him and telling him it is illegal to do so.  Also we cannot forget that praying in schools is practically illegal now.  History has shown that every time the country adopts something that Christians don't like, it becomes harder for Christians to worship.  So before I move on, we have to see that this is not a black and white issue for either side.  It doesn't mean you have to agree with either side, but you can't sit there and say its simple.

Staley's Side...PS, I'm Staley:)

First of all, I am a Christian, down to he very marrow in my bones, I worship Jesus.  I have seen and drank from His cup and my heart is full.  I have layed hands on the sick to pray for them, and seen them healed.  Broken bones, open wounds, all healed right before my eyes.  I have prayed for tormented people that don't speak a word of English, and had them look me in the eye and call me by name as the demon inside of them tried to scare me off.  BTW, those things shocked even me.  I know that God is real, I know that He is not just a fictional character in an old book.  I have gotten to know Him as a God, a King, a Father, but most best friend.  So the question of, "Is there a God?" is not a question or a thought in my life.  The question is for me, how do I love Him with every single fiber in my body, and how do I honor Him, as I would want my children to honor me.  I believe in doing so I need to adopt the 2 core things that Jesus taught.  See the bible tells us of a time, when the disciples were hanging with Jesus, and they just wanted to know, out of all the hundreds of commandments that they had been raised to believe and follow, which one was the most important to get right.  You see the "Old Covenant" led people to follow laws.  There was a direct consequence to the laws, and even more than now, you did not want to find yourself on the wrong side of the law.  So Jesus told them this...and I'm going to put it in easy to understand words..."First, Love God with everything in your being, Your heart, Your mind, Your soul, Your me." "Second love EVERYONE, as you would want to be loved."  A "New Covenant" Mentality, is that Jesus came to FULFILL the old laws and with those 2 commandments, everything in a nutshell would be fulfilled.  He did not abolish them, but instead fulfilled them.  He showed that down to the very seed and nature of his commands for our life, is love.  He later tells the disciples that if they go around healing, prophetically speaking over people, telling people about Him, but they don't have love, then He won't know them in Heaven.  They missed the whole purpose of creation.  God has done everything for us, because He loves us.  We are the imperfect ones, we are the ones that drop the ball, not Him!  

I once found myself sitting on a bench with a gay man outside of a Starbucks. I was close to 500lbs, and struggled with all kinds of sins, including the sins that caused me to be 500lbs.  The two of us were having a great conversation, when a couple of kids walked by us.  These kids were all "Gothed" out.  They had the makeup on, the crazy hair, and satanic based shirts.  The gay man looked at me and said, "Wow, now those kids need Jesus!"  What was my thought?  I thought to myself, "Umm, you need Jesus!"  The next day in my quiet time I was flat out, called out, for those thoughts.  God basically let me know, I needed Jesus as much as everyone in that story.  See He was blunt and let me know that there is only ONE unforgivable sin in the world and that is not accepting His love for me....Period.  I learned in that moment, that there is no special place in hell for people. Hell is hell, more than a place I look at it as a total separation from the One who created me. Therefore, I have worked the last couple years on looking at people with Christ's eyes and not my own.  When Christ looks at me, He sees my potential, He gets excited about what I can and will do. He does not look at me with judgement.  The bible is clear, there is 1 day, not 500, not even 2, just 1 day for us to be judged.  That means God is always looking at me in pursuit of greatness, not in disappointment.  I sin everyday, I'm not perfect, and I know that God does not hold it against me.  When I curse under my breath at the car that cut me off, He celebrates when I repent, but doesn't say, "Well maybe tomorrow I will love you a little more, if you are a good boy."  No, the power and love of God, is continuous and never changing.  2 Minutes after I sin, He may use me to impact someone's life.  Not 20 minutes later when I realized I did the wrong thing.  Therefore, how can I look at another of God's creations and judge them?  I can't and frankly, Billy Graham himself could not convince me otherwise.  I will love my LBGT brothers and sisters, I will love them so much it hurts.  I will cheer for them when there is a moment to celebrate, and I will hold them tight when they are in pain.  Why?...I love them, not because the bible tell me so, but because I somehow get God's love for me.  The world would look at me now and see a good Christian man, but I am not good.  Sometimes I treat my wife like junk, most of the time I'm selfish, Sometimes I throw cups of water down in aid stations to slow the runner down that's behind, I may go to hell for that one:)  However, in the end, I love, I chose love, I pursue love.  I have a friend named Richard.  I call him a friend loosely,  because I have never met the man.  He is a Facebook friend.  Richard is an openly gay man.  However, I have never once looked at him as a gay man.  See the reason I friended him is because of HIS love.  You see Richard was once obese like myself, and like myself he overcame it.  He, however, is an example to the formally obese community.  You see, he and his partner Carlos have made it a mission in their lives to help others overcome obesity and train them to be athletes.  He doesn't ask for money, he just helps.  In fact, if you get his help, he accepts you into his family!  You are welcome on he and Carlos' ranch, to laugh, eat, and grow together.  He does not look down on you for your choices, even if you are not training as hard as you should.  He meets his friends in their place of need and he walks them through it.  He is a perfect reflection of God's love....really, a gay man loves people the way God desires to love us.  Who knew?!?!?!  I believe that God is proud of Richard.  I believe that God looks at the angels around Him and says, "That's my boy!" Like any proud father would do. In fact I pray my children grow to have even a fraction of the love that this man has.  God does not look at those angels and ever say, "I'd be more proud if he would like girls."  That is human love, not Godly love to think that way.  I tell you this now, I guard my kids because I believe that it is my duty to do so.  I would let Richard and Carlos spend a weekend with my girls before half of the people I am related too.  I trust them, and I have never even talked to them in person.  However....what does this have to do with Chicken and Homosexuals, whats my thoughts on the CFA drama?......

Staley's Thoughts on the CFA Drama:

Both sides are wrong....period.  The owner of a business has every right afforded to him by the constitution to not like something.  As well as every LBGT person has the right to protest him not liking something.  Here is the problem....both sides are getting ugly.  As Christians, standing up for CFA and knocking Homosexuals gets you nowhere and only teaches people that God hates them unless they are perfect.  We are becoming a faith more known for what we hate than what we love.  Jesus told us that it is better that we are hated, because He is there.  We are to relinquish our rights and turn over completely to His trust.  Heck, he even tells us that its good for us to be persecuted, if we are He calls us BLESSED!  By fighting against Homosexuality and "Defending" Christ, we are actually removing ourselves from His will and evoking our own.  Remember this Psalm, in fact memorize it....."Be still and know that I AM GOD, I WILL be exhaulted on the earth, I WILL be exhaulted among the nations."  We don't have to defend someone that is greater than us, God is going to get what God deserves.  We need HIS defense, not the other way.  If you believe that God needs you to do His work, then you worship a small god. My God is mighty, My God is powerful, My God OVERCAME DEATH!!  Love and worship Him.  Do as you feel He is calling you to do.  When you stand before God on that day of judgement,and he asks, "Why did you not stand with the others and fight homosexuals."  I think you will be ok and make Him proud when you said, "You loved me, even though I was not perfect, therefore, I was just doing that which you taught me."  Don't be afraid of God, you will find he is a lot more gentler than you can ever imagine.  If a LBGT wants to be legally married, don't stand in their way.  Jesus told us when we feed or care for the needs of his children, then we are doing it directly to Him.  Allow them the rights, so that their needs can be met.  No man or woman on this planet can take away from the POWER of my marriage, so you are not loosing anything by letting them marry.

However to my LBGT brothers and sisters, there is a hitch on your side also.  In Chicago and Boston there are pushes by government officials to stop CFA restaurants from starting.  No CFA in this country has ever been accused of discrimination.  In fact the one CFA in Chicago has several Homosexuals working for it.  The same owners that are being stopped from opening another one are the same ones that own the other one.  You won't get anywhere in life by taking someone else's rights away from them, so you can get your rights.  We all lose in that way.  In fact it causes a bigger war than is needed.  Love has to prevail over this.  As a Christian I will stand with you and say that  what Cathey believes is wrong, however I need you to say that what Boston and Chicago politicians are doing is wrong also.  CFA has done nothing wrong. The man that owns the name has said misguided things, but no one has done anything legally wrong.  A LBGT person is freely allowed to work, eat, and patron any CFA establishment.  No one has been denied work or service because of who they love.  Therefore, CFA's rights as Americans are being withheld because politicians don't like the personal views of one of the people in its thousands of employees.  Frankly, in Chicago, we all know that the politicians are only doing it to line their pockets with kickbacks.  They did the same thing to Walmart a few years ago.  Now that they have millions of dollars in contributions, and Walmart is expanding everywhere.  They are using your pain for their gain.  In a time of financial hardship we are stopping others from getting employment....even LBGT people!  I'm not saying back down from your beliefs.  If you want to picket outside of every CFA in America..DO IT!!  In fact, I'll do it with you, but I will be eating a chicken sandwich while doing it:)  Just as we need to stand for Gay Rights, we have to stand for Constitutional rights too, or we are fighting for nothing.  CFA has rights, just as I believe every LBGT brother and sister has rights.

Final thoughts:

Its Ok, if you do not agree with me.  People on both sides are going to disagree.  These are just my thoughts.  I am open to comments for the time being.  I will not reply to them though, simply because I am not a debater.  People that debate are typically not doers.  You can sit and talk about it till you are blue in the face, but unless you get off the couch and do something about it, then you were wasting your breath.  Extremely negative comments will be deleted.  Hateful words towards others, will be deleted.  Attacks, will be deleted.  With that being said, feel free to share this with others....I'll brace myself:)  Finally, there will be typos.  Every blog I do, 2 weeks down the road I read it and it looks like a 5 year old typed it.  As a stay at home dad and a triathlete that trains, I don't have a lot of time for proofreading:) So forgive me please.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Ironman 70.3 Racine. The Day I Overcame Obesity!!

Lets just start with this....This is going to be long.  I mean get a cup of coffee and cancel plans for the evening long.  This was the biggest and greatest event of my life.  2 Years ago I had to grocery shop with a little rascal and on Sunday July 15th I competed in an Ironman event.  So if you don't like long blogs, feel free to look at the pretty pictures and move on:)  I have learned a lot this year with triathlon, I won't tell you all of them because that is a whole blog in and of itself.  However I have now done every size except for a 140.6...maybe someday.  With everyone I was a little nervous and a bit scared.  I can tell you this, it was all the unknown.  After I do it, I know what to expect, and the fear falls away.  Going into a 70.3 I was going nuts.  On the Saturday 1 week before my race, I ran my last long run before my taper.  In total I did 11 miles, mainly because I ran too far and I should have turned around sooner to head back home.  That's the problem with training with time, not miles.  Anyways, the next day I was practically crippled with knee pain.  I literally thought I was going to have to pull myself out of the race.  After 6 ice baths, by Wednesday I was 100%.  I have had to accept that while I run with a minimalist style, I am no minimalist in long distances.  My Nike Free's are not as wonderful as I thought they were.  So they are now being retired to fancy house slippers and I am switching to a more neutral shoe.  

Another problem I had was nervous stomach.  This is a forum for honesty, so let me be honest....the whole week I had massive diarrhea.  I was eating great, so I knew it was just the way the nervous was coming out. That's a part of life, so I dealt with it:)  My wife and I decided to make the trip up on Friday instead of going Saturday like most people.  I wanted to get checked in and just look over the battle ground before Saturday.  I already knew that it would be nuts that Saturday with everyone from my team checking in and getting ready for the race, that there was just no time.  So we made the move up, I put my bike on the back of the Jeep and we started up around 3pm.  Then the first snafu happened.  A thunderstorm cell came though, stopping traffic on the interstate and worse of all drowning my bike!!  Shelia was going to be so mad at me for leaving her out there.  We got to the hotel and I knew I was going to have to clean her up, she got a lot of debris from the overspray on her and worse yet, my expensive ISM Adamo seat had been pooped on by some bird.  We got checked in to the room at the Raddison and I loved it.  It was right on the water.  a 10 minute walk to the south was the Ironman Expo and check in.  A mile to the north, was the race.  All the other hotels were 20 minutes away, cheaper, but 20 minutes away.  After getting settled in to the room we all walked to the expo to get my packet a shop.  That was quite the event, signing wavers, standing in line, getting my wrist band, then my shirt and my backpack.  As a quick side note, the shoebag backpacks they give out are awesome!  Perfect for taking your swim stuff to the pool....moving on:)  The next morning after breakfast we jumped in the jeep and headed down to the beach so I could test the water.  During my quiet time I had already walked down there, but now I needed to get in the water with the wetsuit.  The water was cool, but nice.  I was six thousand times more comfortable than Pleasant Prairie in the wetsuit and with swimming.  I swam with other racers for around an hour, just swimming a couple hundred yards, then breaking for conversation.  After that we went back to the room changed, then I headed to check my bike in with my friend Christine and her awesome family.  I had a great spot, right next to swim in and run out, like 15 steps... that's awesome!  After that we had a meeting with our team, put on by Adam Zucco and Scott Iott with Training Bible.  These guys are veterans of this race, In fact Scott came in 10th overall this year...pretty sweet:)  They taught us a few tips about the coarse and best of all taught us a little trick about taking our wetsuit off in the water....I will talk about that later.  That night I relaxed and went to bed early.  

Pre Race Nutrition:

I'm really going to spare you.  I ate well all week, proper hydration...blah blah blah.  The morning of, I had to switch out my usual routine.  No coffee, because there was no Starbucks, and no oatmeal, there was no microwave.  I did a Blueberry bagel with cream cheese and a Cliff Bar.  As well as sipping on my UR DRIVEN the whole time.

Race Morning:

Alarm went off at 4am and I was up and going.  I sweat so bad the night before, I needed to start up on DRIVEN immedietly.  I got dressed and headed for the door.  My wife drove me and dropped me off, so that was nice that I didn't have to walk an extra mile:)  Setting up transition was simple, I kind of chuckled to myself with how many people were over thinking it.  I layed out the T-Mat, put my bike shoes out and fully opened, running shoes next to them with socks rolled up, visor on top, sunscreen next to the shoes.  Helmet and glasses on the aero bars, fill my DRIVEN into my Speedfil.  The only thing I did different was that in my Transition bag I put a gallon ziplock bag filled with ice.  I set my Fuel Belt on top of that and I also had a 16oz water bottle with a cool lime Refreshers Via loaded in it for the run.  I just layed the flap of the bag on top of it all and I was done.  I found my friend Suzanne and we started off on the mile long beach walk to the start.  Now I want to say this....I will forever be thankful for Suzanne.  I had never met her before that morning.  She had been added to a Facebook group for my Tri Team, and she is not actually a part of the team. This was her first tri season too and she was nervous like me.  We walked down the beach getting to know each other and then helped each other into our wet suits.  Then we took a little warmup swim, and close to 7 they told us to get out.  Apparently that was just a suggestion though, since we were the only ones that got out:)  About 20 minutes after the pros started, that's when I encountered my first issue.  I was getting nauseous and wanted to puke.  I knew my wetsuit was cooking me and I was worried.  Suzanne noticed everyone else was still sitting in the water, so we moved back in.  My wave was the last one and I still had an hour to start.  Within 5 minutes of getting in the water I was feeling 100% again and that was a relief.  At 8am I wished Suzanne luck and she went and got ready for her wave to start.  As she began I cheered her on and prayed for her, then sat in the water by myself praying hardcore for me.

Swim : 1.2miles Time: 52.01

I placed myself in the back right corner on the swim, and I have never been more grateful.  When they said go, everyone was pushing and clawing to get in the water.  I ran to the swim comfortably and dove in when the water got just above the knees.  My swim was consistent and deliberate.  I was amazingly comfortable in the water and it was awesome.  I even drafted a guy for awhile till he caught on and started weaving to the point he got tired and called for a kayak.  I was amazed how many people I saw clinging onto kayaks.  The water was so clear and calm, I kept thinking, could it be ill training?  I mean I literally never felt like I needed a break.  The swim is a straight line and I knew once the buoys changed from yellow to orange, I was to the halfway point.  So halfway through I glanced at the Garmin and saw that I was at like 22 minutes...I was in good shape.  I made the turn toward the beach at 45 minutes and swam till my arms scooped up a handful of sand, that way I wouldn't run through the water much.  When I stood up I waited till I got to ankle deep water and took off the rest of my wetsuit.  This is where the trick comes in.  It was already in the mid 80's at the point I got out of the water.  There was a long quarter of a mile hike to the entrance of transition.  By then my wetsuit would be dry and the wetsuit strippers were right outside transition.  There is nothing as more difficult that taking off a dry wetsuit.  It came off like butter in the water and everyone that ran by me with their wetsuit on was still in transition when I was beginning my bike.

T1: 7:39  

My key here was to take it quick, but steady.  I did not want to expend energy.  I got in and toweled off the feet and arms while slipping into my bike shoes. Then sprayed myself with a healthy dose of sunscreen, put on the glasses and helmet and I'm off.  Now for a moment look up at the picture above and you can see the Bike out.  The worse hill on the whole course is at the very beginning.  So needless to say it was a treat, but I clipped right in and started the climb.

Bike: 56 Miles. Time: 3:22:28

The Bike was HOT!!  It was mainly farmland and no shade except maybe a 1 mile stretch of road.  At first I started off strong.  I was in the back of the pack and wanted to make up for lost time.  Mainly that 8 hour cutoff was scaring me and I wanted as much time as I could for the run.  So for the first 15 miles I was good, maybe 20 miles and hour, strong efforts considering the coarse is a gradual uphill for most of the first half.  The worst part of the whole bike was the broccoli fields.  You know that smell when someone is steaming broccoli?  Well Imagine that times 1 million in the 95 degree heat!  I was gagging it was so bad.  My nutrition on the bike was simple.  My Speedfill is 40 ounces.  I had 5 scoops of DRIVEN in it, that's about 580 calories...Good, but not enough.  I had put on a center tube bag and had 4 Chocolate Honey Stinger Waffles in it.  My strategy was every 11 miles to eat one....I needed 1 more..bummer.  I also had 2-24 ounce water bottles in the rear.  Next year I will leave those behind and just use what is on the coarse at the aid stations.I drank them, but they got hot and really the aid station bottle were good enough and always cold.  I did take a water bottle at the last 2 aid stations.  The first one I just grabbed it on the fly and drank some then showered myself through the Aquavent on my Lazer helmet....that thing is awesome and well worth the investment.  The last aid station I completely stopped.  It was at mile 50 and I needed a break.  I took in 1 bottle and bathed myself with another one.  I was hot and tired.  The guy helping me was nice enough to run and get me a bonk breaker bar, so that was nice to get in some more calories.  Now it is important to mention this.  Consistency on the bike is so key. Someone once told me, "Don't chase the Stink, make the Stink come to you."  That was so true on this race.  I let 3 people pass me on the bike.  Within 15 miles I passed all 3.  After mile 40, the only phrase in my vocabulary was, "On Your Left!"  I passed maybe 30 or more people the last 16 miles.  People that were just too pooped to ride hard.  I had slowed down to maybe 17 miles an hour myself, but I still had it in the tank.  some of these people were dead.  I later found out 400 people DNFed and 3/4 were during or after the bike.  With a few more miles left you start riding beside the runners, and I knew it was going to be hell.  3/4 of everyone was walking.  It was hot and the sun was baking humans for dinner.  I came down the hill and saw my friend, Guy and my 3 beautiful girls cheering for me and I moved into T2.

T2: 5.50

I was tired, like walking Zombie tired.  My plan was, rack the bike, then go to the porta potty and have a moment, then come back and get the rest of my gear on....That changed with the help of God.  About halfway back to my rack I heard a thunderous not God, I'm not Moses.  It was my friend Scott Iott.  I mentioned him before, the stud that finished 10th overall, better than a few of the pros.  His race was already over.  In fact he had changed his clothes and was walking back in to pick up his bike. He was screaming at me like a football coach, I won't repeat him....but it was basically the best mid game pep talk...EVER!!  I went and racked my bike and was starting to walk to the bathroom when he basically told me that I would not be doing that and instead I would be getting my booty on the coarse....NOW!!  I am saying this now, because it is important to know, that had I done my course of action, I would have had over 15 minutes in transition.  This pep talked saved my race!  So helmet off, socks, shoes, VERY VERY VERY cold fuel belt Starbucks Refresher, and I'm off.    

Run: 13.1 Miles. Time:3:24.34

The run was brutal.  It was HOT HOT HOT, with a little bit of HOT thrown in for fun.  At the point I started the heat index was in the hundreds.  All the nutrition in the world can't save you from it.  I needed more DRIVEN than what I had on the belt.  I tried to run, but I would go back and forth.  Run a bit, then walk a bit.  There was only 1 serious hill on the run and I had to do it twice, so I walked it every time.  I saw some friends in the run, but we were all too hot to talk.  Every aid station consisted of 3 to 4 cups of ice down the tri suit, sponges, 2 to 3 cups of water, and move on.  I realized after mile 4, I had a major problem.  My Achilles was cramping, causing my feet to curl up in a ball in my shoe.  The only way I could move was to walk and let it calm down while stretching it by pushing my toes straight up.  After a mile I could run for maybe half a mile, then do it all over again while I walked.  The coarse is roughly a 5k, then turn around and come all the way within a hundred yards of the finish, then go all the way back.  When I got back towards the finish I saw my family, did high 5's, and then was very lonely on the way back.  The first 10k there are a lot of people on the coarse, the last 10, the people were staggered every quarter mile.  After 7 miles I was officially on "E"  There was nothing left in the tank.  I was going to walk the rest of the race.  I finally resorted to drinking Perform at the aid stations, since my fuel belt was that is some nasty junk.  If you haven't drank it, think about urine with fruit punch...I'm being dead it didn't help they weren't keeping it cold.  Now I am going to hit you with the spiritual stuff...sorry, but I am head over heals in love with Jesus and I would not have done this race without him, let alone finish.  About 2 miles before the turn around, I started thinking...there are no timing mats, I could turn around right now and no one would know.  I clearly heard God say, "If you did that, you are right, no one would ever know, but you would live your life knowing you didn't finish what you started."  I struggled with the thought to turn around literally up to within 10 feet of the official turn around.  The moment I was able to legally turn around a started to cry.  I was going to do this, no excuses anymore.  I wish I could say though the battle was over, but something else needed to happen.  I was walking at a pace of 20 minutes per mile.  From the actual time I knew that I would finish 10 minutes after the cutoff.  I had nothing left, I cramped immedietly when I would try to run.  So did the only thing I could think of....Worship.  I didn't have any songs I could formulate a thought into words, so at the top of my lungs for a half a mile I just started screaming, "HOLY, HOLY, HOLY ARE YOU MY GOD!!  WORTHY OF ALL HONOR AND PRAISE MY KING...MY FRIEND!!!"  Over and over and over again.  People walking the other way would just stare at me, one gave me a high five.  The medical cart followed me for awhile...pretty sure they thought I was delusional:)  Then I stopped and began to is what I said. "God, we began this battle 2 years ago, and you told me that this was my battle, one that you had to let me do on my own.  You have cheered me on, coached me through the battle with obesity and addiction, and I have been set free.  If there is one thing that I have learned through this, its that I cannot and WILL NOT do it without you.  I know that I will not finish this race and end this battle unless I run.  I cannot run without you.  I need supernatural strength right now.  You promised when your children call on you, you will answer.  I need more God, and I need it now!"  Then like out of a Rocky movie, it started.  I felt a cool breeze and my legs were a bit lighter.  I started to run....and running I did.  It hurt, but I could handle the pain.  I ran through the last 2 aid stations towards the finish.  I could hear the music, I could hear the announcer...I saw my time and I knew I was going to finish.  Then I saw my friends Dale and Carla and their son Nathan.  Carla is my coach too and I would not have been able to do this without her.  Dale is the CEO of UR and DRIVEN has fueled me tremendously through this. So it was great to see them, then they started running with me, which meant even more.  Then we got to the point where I saw my family and they all let me enter the finish line coral by myself.  I was overwhelmed...I have no way of expressing the emotions.  I saw myself in that little rascal, I heard the kids laughing at me because of how fat I was, I felt the pain and the shame of obesity.  When my foot hit the finish line...all went silent.  It wasn't about finishing a race....It was about standing on top of a mountain that I had battled my whole life.  I beat Obesity on July 15, 2012 in Racine, Wisconsin. I finished 7:28 under the cutoff time.  

Finish Time: 7:52:32