Growing up…

Growing up in southeast Texas, I participated in typical school and church league athletics. However, I did not pursue any sport beyond the minimal weekend warrior level. I hoped to be like my dad who was six foot four and played high school & semi-pro basketball. But I ended up on the average height and weight benchmarks as a teen. As I got older, I mindlessly emulated some of his typical nutritional habits – double this, extra that, super large everything – even late in the evening. That lifestyle seemed to have little impact during my teen years. Then things changed. While completing my masters degree in my early 30’s, I found myself not exercising regularly, eating poorly, suffering with kidney stones and weighing around 50 pounds beyond the range for my size and age. The impact was clearly obvious, however, solutions seemed elusive.

Wake-up call…

In my early years of serving pastoral positions, the impact of making a lot of hospital visits (and recurrent funerals) was a wake-up call for me. It was a reminder that our days are numbered. In light of this, how could I be a good steward of the days that I will have? In most cases, regardless their illness, I found a striking commonality of these wonderful people. Whatever they were dealing with, the majority made it clear to me – they regretted not taking better care of themselves. Whether it was from indifference, procrastination or misplaced priorities, they all shared this sobering reality. All I knew was, whatever might come my way, I did not want to be in those same shoes of remorse one day if at all possible. That experience, along with some personal motivating issues, galvanized me to make some lifestyle commitments to pursue a balanced and healthy life. Here is a quote that embodied many of the conversations I would have with people in days ahead: “Many people in their early years ignore their health in the pursuit of wealth, only to come to the end of life and spend all their wealth trying to regain their health”. I was able to compete in triathlon and other endurance sports since the mid-90’s. I rang this bell for all those years as a pastor and then as a certified coach beginning in 2012.

Detour…

I began working in the advocacy for inclusion of adaptive athletes in triathlon around 2014. Then my life of service and hope would be turned upside down and took on a deeper meaning. My adult daughter, Whitney, narrowly survived a life-changing, near fatal vehicle accident in the summer of 2016 in the Denver, CO area that included a severe traumatic brain injury requiring a craniotomy, significant facial reconstruction and cosmetic surgery, bi-lateral humeral displaced fractures, compound fracture to right tibia, major cuts, bruised lungs, and fractured tailbone to list a few. This resulted in me suspending my coaching and athletic pursuits while attending to her during six months of intensive hospitalization in Denver and then being her caretaker. Being in the good hands of professionals and mighty hands of God, she has made phenomenal progress & is a walking miracle today. As she makes progress, I have returned to rebuilding my coaching business. Having walked through this significant event has made me a better man, dad, and coach. I can truly identify with those who struggle to with adaptive and other life altering hinderances in a much more personal way.

Survivor…

Just two years later, in summer of 2018, I had a nasty kidney stone that was not going to pass. After all the images & scans were taken to locate it, those pictures revealed I had cancer on my right kidney which required immediate removal. Now I am a cancer survivor. This is the only time I have ever been thankful for a kidney stone because it may have saved my life. God works in and through mysterious ways. Whitney & I are both survivors on the road to recovery and both desire to one day compete again at some level.

Never alone…

Para Endurance Coaching has the mission to help others achieve their athletic and wellness goals in a safe, purposeful, and healthy manner. “Para” means to “come alongside”. That is the heart of my coaching services: alongside, together, supported, encouraged, and enabled to be successful. Our athletes improve their physical abilities as well as their knowledge base in endurance sports. This fosters confidence to overcome obstacles and exceed boundaries they previously didn’t believe they could in their journey. The culmination of their athletic experience translates positively over into daily life. I was made for this. As I still learn and grow, I desire to be an influence in the world of endurance sports of an authentic faith and life. I want to model and assist others to run the ‘race of life’ with passion and purpose (Hebrews 12:1-3). I am “More than a Triathlete”. I am now back serving and dispensing hope. I hope to always declare that you don’t have to run your race alone.