Sunday, February 24, 2013

Perfect Day

I was once asked, what was your most perfect day?  Without hesitation, that day would be November 25, 2008.  On Maui, it started with a surfing lesson with Soul Surfing Maui (, where my 8 year-old daughter caught her first wave (see photo below), a basketball game watching future Denver Nugget Ty Lawson lead North Carolina in the Maui Invitational (, a call from NASA to schedule my astronaut interview at halftime (I was a finalist for the NASA Astronaut Corp in 2009), and an evening celebrating with my family at the Hula Grill (

Hannah's First Wave at Age 8

But what got it started off on the right step was the man throwing his arms up in celebration in the photo above as my daughter caught her first wave, Brian DeCook.  Since that first wave we have been lucky enough to go back and surf in Maui with Brian two other times and they have all been phenomenal experiences.  My family always looks forward to returning to Maui and surfing with Brian is a key aspect of every vacation we have had there.

The last time we visited this past November, my wife joined our line-up and tried surfing for the first time.  Despite ACL surgery less than a year earlier, Brian helped her catch her first wave.  All three of us had an incredible day catching waves and enjoying the beautiful Maui weather.  To give us the opportunity to relive the experience over and over again, Brian used his Go Pro camera mounted on one of the boards to capture all of the fun we were having. He then edited in some great local music to go along with the best clips to capture this incredible memory.  I invite you to watch our surfing adventure at the link below and I recommend to anyone going to Maui who wants to learn or improve their surfing to look Brian up.

Soul Surfing with the Moshers

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Finding My Dedication

This past week has been the tale of two weeks when it comes to the Lavaman Triathlon that I am training and fundraising for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Team in Training program.  Like ying and yang, I have hit a February lull (typical of New Year’s resolutions) in my training, while having my most incredible week yet in raising funds.

Last Sunday, I ran the Valentine’s Day 5K in Washington Park and with my pace getting back to my PR setting pace of last year and improving over the Super Bowl 5K I ran the week before, I felt good entering the week.  But a business trip Monday and Tuesday, then working late Wednesday instead of going to swimming, pretty much put me into a slide. Even when I had time to exercise Friday, Saturday and Sunday, I talked myself out of it every time.  Although I did play volleyball, Tuesday night, it has pretty much been a lost week.

Where I did channel some energy was into my fundraising with a big push of LinkedIn, Facebook, and email messages.  Starting off Sunday at just over $3,000 I tried to push to meet my fundraising goal of $5,000 as soon as I could so I could focus the rest of the time until the triathlon March 24 on training.

Here is where I overachieved as I raised over $2,000 in a single week to exceed my goal and I was reminded why I do this in the first place.  My largest donation came from my friend Dan Shaver who wrote the following, “My mom is currently in a Houston hospital with AML - fighting for her life. Leukemia destroyed her first stem cell transplant and she is undergoing chemo with hopes at a second shot. In many ways, Leukemia has robbed her of her dreams to spend her retirement with her grand kids. We HAVE to find a cure. We can't let our kids suffer the same fate. And while we still have hope that she will overcome this vicious disease, we know that Leukemia is intent of killing that optimism too. Todd, please keep up the great work to inspire others to act so my son and daughter won't be donating/writing the same thing about me in the future!” You can read more about Dan’s Mom and her battle at:

So after this inspirational story tugged me out of my doldrums, I am going to put my slacker training days behind me and dedicate my efforts to Dan’s mom.  I have four solid training weeks left (with a taper week before the triathlon).  I am going to attempt to do each of the three triathlon sports twice a week (using combined workouts called bricks in triathlon terms to help) as well as two cross training workouts per week.  That may seem like a lot, but it pales in comparison to the effort that Dan’s mom is putting in every day fighting cancer. Thanks to everyone for the support, so as Dan said above, our children won’t have to fundraise for this cause in the future.