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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

My final blog before Death Day......

This will be my final blog before I leave for Vermont.......

What an amazing 10 months this has been........ I'm not even sure where to begin.  Doing an event like this allows you to have a platform to express yourself, find yourself, allows us to step out of our daily grind and identify a period of your life.  I have been asked over and over again... "why do you do this?"  "What do you get out of this"....the answer is not simple and I am not sure i could express it well in a blog..... I will say that this event has given me a place to look at the past year which has probably been the biggest change in my life and just be reflective..... I will say that I feel that I am a better person, much more appreciative, grateful, patient, and understanding.  Just to look on the surface..... in the last year, I have changed my body, formed life long friendships, changed my attitude on fitness, got a divorce, formed a new relationship, lost my house, dog, and time with my daughter, found religion, got a promotion..... I mean what a year!  But this race, this event, has given me the skills to come out of all it a better person.  I truly believe it is the training the attitude, the vulnerability, and the courage to look at who i really am, face my problems, and know that I have the strength to come out on top. 

I have always said "Its about the journey, not the finish"  What I do race day is irrelevant.  I am going to win, but that's not what we remember.  I am fortunate in that I have been coaching and competing for many years.  I have been on many journeys as a competitor, with someone as their coach, or with my own coaching competitive dreams...i have discovered that you wont remember the wins and loses.  What you will remember is the journey taken, the friendships formed, the training for something you want more than anything, the vulnerability and spirituality of it all..... Coaching has really made the biggest difference for me.  Taking the journey so many times before with so many different people, with so many different goals, dreams, reasons, highs and lows, it made this particular journey in the middle of my life so much more understandable for me.  I was able to appreciate all of it, understand where I am going, what it means, and hopefully where it will take me.  There were so many wrestlers that all brought me to a place as an athlete where I felt like i had a total understanding of this journey....... There are simply to many stories over the years, but without each of them, taking the ride with each and everyone of them, I don't think I would have had the same experience, the patience, and the appreciation to know how short a ride it is, and to make sure and enjoy and Cherish each and every experience......

When we are in high school we allow ourselves to be much more expressive, exposed, vulnerable, and we allow ourselves to feel without regard for the rest of the world.  That's what an event like this can do for you.  When you look at peoples facebook pages, most of their "friends" are people they knew in high school, people they have not spoken to in 20 years....why is that...its because we go to such a pure place at that time in our life, we feel without regard, we believe in dreams others deem silly, we lose ourselves, and that's what i have been able to do at 38 years of age. 

All of the training, the life changing events that happened this year, I was able to express it, enjoy it, and handle it because I was on this journey to conquer one of the worlds toughest races.  I exposed myself for my friends and family to see, and I allowed myself to believe in something greater than myself.  I allowed myself to become a kid again, let go, and dream. 

I can still remember the first time Yesel, Tom, and I adventured in Angeles National Forest.  Deep in the mountains, we found ourselves lost.  I can remember the stress I felt and how it overtook me physically and emotionally.  I can remember the break down and feeling lost.  What i learned that day...after letting go and trusting in my friends, myself, and that particular journey was that if you let go, trust in where you are headed it will all work out the way it is supposed to.  That day forever changed me and the way i look at the world and tackle my life.  I have learned to let it believe.  When you are training like that, you get vulnerable, exposed, it takes you to a spiritual place where you are completely broken down and are forced to face yourself.  I learned how to strip myself to the bare bone, look inside, and actually like what i see.  The rest doesn't matter as long as you like who you are at your core, as long as you believe, as long as you dream. 

The Death Race is about dreaming.  Its about adversity.  Its about finding yourself.  In the race if you go one hour or 40 hours, it really doesn't matter.  What matters is that you have the courage to break yourself down and face the adversity.  You had the guts if even for one moment in time to dream. 

My life is forever changed.  I found myself again......

Monday, June 13, 2011

almost there.....

Wow!  So I just went through an old email account which is linked to this blog.  In it I found a ton of messages from my blogs that i have never seen!  How motivating to go back, realize people were responding and encouraging, and relive this journey..... I feel God had it planned....I randomly looked and its 2 weeks before the race....couldn't have come at a better time!  So sorry Andy, Amy, Al, Craig, Mom, Spencer, and others who writing back responses and encouragement and I never received it!

It was amazing to go back and read from the reasons for doing this, where I was when the training started, remindimg myself I am doing this to show Madison the importance of living life to its fullest, the people that inspired me....the complete journey...that was AWESOME!!!

This past weekend we did a crazy workout!  Tom's second death race workout.  Andy and Joe really should hire him.  I'm at the end of this journey now.... and the one thing I take away more than anything is the friendships, and something like this race to give this time in my life a little more meaning or purpose or reason to remember everything in my life.  I wont ever forget the past 10 months....EVER!  So much has happened...I am a completely different person.  Who I am, what I believe, spiritually, emotionally, my priorities...all of it.  Most of all I am much more appreciative of what I have rather than worrying about what I don't have.  I feel more patient, more grateful, and hopefully I can be a better father, friend, lover, son, business owner, athlete, human being...this life is sooo short.  Find your purpose and live it.  Whatever it is.  Be the best dad, friend, athlete, artist, gear head, whatever it is you can do to leave your mark on this world, make sure you leave it.  You wont have a second chance to ever do it again.  Do it all now.  LIVE.........

I will write again before I leave.....but i truly want to thank everyone for all of it.  My life is half full without each of you and the memories we share.  Spencer and I had it right when we were kids and we used to say.... "its all about the story"

Below is our death race training #2.  I cant thank Tom enough for all his efforts and all he does.  But the thing I took away the most was the water challenge.  One death racer went out in waist high water in the ocean while another was blindfolded and put a pillow case over their head.  The other death racer had to verbally lead that person to the death racer in the water who was holding all their gear over there head....when you put on a blindfold that is one thing..but put on  a pillow case and the lights really go off.  You are so vulnerable, and humbled.  It is the oddest and most alone feeling...but what i learned is if you just relax and trust the person you are supposed to trust...your friend and yourself you will find where you are supposed to go.  I learned so much about letting go, trusting, the journey, and overcoming adversity.  Its the spirit of the death race and I am forever grateful to this race...the journey....

Final Death Race Workout
Designed by Tom McFadden
Laura, Yesel, Daren and Tom…
Mandatory Gear – Mountain bike, jean shorts, goggles, 6 rocks, rosary, pillow case, gloves, sledge hammer, duct tape, 2 – 5 gallon buckets, 1 pair of jean shorts…

Arrive at Seal Beach AM there were flags roped off to make a 200yard  route also Tom had made wooden crosses out of 8 foot pine studs customized for size of the death racer

  1. 400 walking lunges from crosses.
  2. 50 warrior lunges – with pockets full of rocks
  3. 100 bucket squats (filled with sand)
  4. Backward low crawl on our back in jean shorts: on our backs with the buckets full of our equipment and mauls 400 yards
  5. Mental challenge – religious question I got mine wrong so 25 bucket pushups
  6. Blind Equipment retrieval – each death racer took turns leading the other racer into the ocean, one blindfolded with pillow case and the other acts as the leader guiding them verbally only to the 3rd racer who was in waist deep water
  7. Cross carry 1 mile in sand – each quarter lap place cross in sand and do 25 lateral burpees
  8. Mental Challenge
  9. Bucket Carry ½ mile full of sand
  10. Sand sprint ½ mile
  11. Got on Bikes were supposed to ride to Rio Hondo JC.  We got very lost and about 8-10 cities away from Seal Beach.  Ended up in the hood (this was the hood version of death race).  Great to deal with the adversity!  Somehow found Tom in “the hood”
  12. Rode to Rio Hondo Community College where we snuck into the police cadet training center
Did there obstacle course a couple times
Everyone was pretty done after the crazy bike ride!  Ready as ever….Death Race!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

I have not posted in a while.... I have been tapering down a bit.  I'm doing 3-4 days in the gym, and taking every other weekend off when I have Madison.  It all has to be kept in check, or balance.  So I am very comfortable with what I have done.  Some people have done more, some less, but  I feel stronger and faster than I ever have in my life, and have been able to achieve that while also keeping my focus at work, with my daughter, Sindy, moving, friends, etc....I feel good that I have been able to have some balance while getting through all this. 

I have reached another level for sure.  My workouts are all in circuits now, and I hit 7-10 exercises on a target muscle group, then go do 20 min. of cardio, repeat, and then hard cardio in the sauna.  I have taken what cross fit does, combined with all my years of wrestling and weightlifting and found a very tough groove that has kept me injury free.  That was the theory behind Cross Fit Endurance...cross training at 20 min with very focused, form concentrated workouts to prevent injury while staying athletic.  I would go to cross fit, however, my workouts are way tougher than what a cross fit can provide as they are in a group setting.  What they do in 20 min. Ill do that with twice as much and for longer periods.  I need that type of training for an event as large as this.....

A few things as I draw near.......  I have really enjoyed the community and people I have met on this journey.  Having social Internet sites has changed events like this.  You now have a place where people from all over the country or world can communicate, blog, message, text, and talk about their journey.  Its amazing to know that what you are going through, everyone else is sharing..... its the struggle that makes it so special.  Its important to remember that.  I have learned to enjoy all of it, and take it all with a smile.  I honestly believe this entire experience and all I am going through will ultimately make me a more patient, understanding, and appreciative person....

Speaking of appreciation.... I am VERY appreciative of all the support throughout this.  All my family, friends, Sindy, and other athletes have pushed me through a truly incredible adventure.  Madison who believes in me, Sindy who stands next to me and has ice when I need it :) Tom and Yesel my trinity, Spencer, Al, and Craig who give me words of encouragement, my uncle rich who always has the right thing to say at the most unexpected times, my cousin Amy who has always been the person I would want to be, my brother who reminds me that in the end you need to have fun, all the other people who have contributed, helped, opened up their homes and heart during this training process, my friends in the Death Race community who give me the competitive drive needed, my mother who thinks I am nuts but is always proud of me, and the other day I got a very nice text from my cousin who told me she was speaking with my father who was very proud of all I am doing.  That meant a lot to me as he never really shows that side of himself to me.  I have always wanted to make him proud, or just share something we have in common.  I think through just the person I have become, driven, ambitious, family first, we have found that common ground.  It doesn't have to be a car for us to share interest....sometimes you can be completely different people on the surface but be so similar at your core

So my workouts have gone down to a circuit, cardio, another circuit, and sauna.  Usually takes me about 2-3 hours, which believe it or not is a taper.  The other day I had a guy give me possibly the biggest compliment of my life...he is a larger gentlemen, probably 300-350 lbs.  The past couple of days as he waits for his class to begin he has watched me in my cardio workouts.  The other day as I was doing my thing, he stopped me, and I tried to shrug him off because I want to work.  He told me "sorry to bother you, I just wanted to tell you that you inspire me.  I have been thinking about quiting the gym and thinking that i cant do any of this.  When I watch you and your diligence and devotion I think that maybe some day I can get there as well.  If you can do that at that level, i can commit to my plan.  You inspire a lot of people"

That really motivated me.  To come from a stranger....well, it was really amazing.  I'm ready for this thing, I plan to give it my all. 

btw....I have one last "mini death race" this weekend with Tom...

he is pretty creative with things and here is my gear list thus far....LOL......

mountain bike
3 rocks the size of the palm of your hand
sledge hammer or maul
duct tape
pillow case

then he got mad when I guessed what this was for and added 3 more rocks and jean shorts, which I still don't know if I will show up with or not...LOL....Id almost prefer some punishment....make it tough......

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Like Spencer says "YOU WILL FINISH"

Well 4 weeks away....and the one thing I know is....I'm as ready as Ill ever be.  I have reached a new level one that I have never been at.  I just came from P.T. where the doctor told me she thinks I am in amazing shape, but also told me I am over training, but at least I am aware of it.  I am doing all the right things to get myself there mentally and physically.  All the mental preparation (staying in a positive place), physical, and most important recovery.  I wish I could work out 5-7 days a week, but I do my 3 days of gym, and try to get in my tough day on the weekends. 
Sometimes I forget or doubt where i am at...but then I get reminded.  I am ready.  Last night in the gym I was called "IronMan", "7%", and "intense"  I didn't know what 7% was until the guy in the sauna told me he calls me that for 7% body fat..... I have trainers asking me to train them, but my favorite was the quiet trainer who I really respect stop, look at me, and he said "you are ready" 
There is a place you get to when you peak.  I feel there.  I have a great support system of friends, teammates, Madison, and Sindy.  I have finally taken that step I have always wanted to take....I feel...well....elite.  I'm going to enjoy this no matter how often Tom and Sindy make fun of me for "looking in the mirror too much"...LMAO!  I may never get here again, or I just might do this every year....either way, I'm happy.  Mentally and Physically.  I feel like I can take on the world.  I have no idea what June 25th will bring but I am prepared and that's all that matters.

The other day I day dreamed about finishing the race.  I thought about what that will feel like.  I actually got a little teary eyed...I think this is going to be the most emotional thing I have done next to the day Madison was born.  I'm so happy my cousin and Al will be there....i hope Sindy can make it as well.....

then I just have to think about next year!!  A true Trinity death race with Tom, myself, and Yesel sounds good!  Trained by Spencer.....

I actually thought this workout sucked, until I looked up and realized I started at 4:45 and it was now 8:30...shows how far I have come that a 3-4 hour workout seems short....

Reverse Pull Ups on Triceps with Abs in and set of regular pull ups, power crunch, 1 Leg Push Ups, Close Grip Bench Press, DB Fly, Tri Ext. Overhead, DB Kickback, Jump Rope (Double Jumps), Dips

Elliptical 4 Min - Push Mat around gym with 45lb. weight
Elliptical 4 Min - Box Jumps
Elliptical 4 Min - Alligator Push Ups
Elliptical 4 Min - Seal Crawl, Bear Crawl, Crab Walk, Bear Crawl

Incline DB Bench, Incline DB Fly, Wrist Curls, Skull Crusher, Weighted Dips, 1 lap w/10 lb Med Ball, Db Overhead, Mountain Climbers

5 Min Bike - Pull Ups
5 Min Bike - Push Ups
5 Min Bike - Incline Bench
5 Min Bike - Incline Bench

4 Laps in Pool - 10 Min Sauna cardio work on all calves
4 Laps in Pool - 10 Min Sauna cardio work Abs and P.T. work on Band
4 Laps in Pool - 10 Min Sauna cardio all on Abs and cardio
4 Laps in Pool - after about 5 minutes my triceps locked up and I had to call it a day....
Jumped in the jacuzzi for a bit then the steam room, then out....

Here I come Vermont.......

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

death training!!!

So this past weekend was crazy.....  Tom and Spencer put together one hell of a day!!  The best part of these adventures is the adversity you face with someone.  It brings you to a place you just cant explain.  The best I can say is its very honest, spiritual, emotional, and physical.  What a day....
here is my best memory of the day......

10:30 PM Friday night I get a text.... "4:30 am my house, don't be late or there will be consequences"
We arrive at Toms house, and I get there at 4:30 on the dot.  Gear packed, food, clothes, we have to be prepared...I was happy to pack my gear and test that part out. 

We are told chose an item on a table.  Yesel took a map to Angeles National Forest and I took bug spray.  We actually used both....

We were told to get on Toms mountain bikes.  Then he handed us each an 8 lb. Sledge Hammer and told to deal with it and ride to the Santa Fe dam.  We were not used to the bikes and it was pitch black so that was the first of many challenges to come.  Yesel was able to tie down her hammer to her bike.  About a mile in she found a tie down on the street.  We picked it up and I used it to tie my hammer to the bike.  I should have just grabbed my rope in my pack, but who is thinking at 4:30am?

We got to the Dam....I was having a rough morning....we got a monster hill.  Tom told us to do 10 hill sprints.  We, including Tom did the sprints and did several of them with the hammers over head.  The total mileage was about 2.5 miles.  Just when I felt like I was all but about to check out.....BAM, Spencer shows up!  It was such an emotional uplift....this is what the race is all about...dealing with adversity.....

So we get back on our bikes and ride to the Santa Fe Dam "Beach"  There Tom and Spencer make us do sand lunges (ok, so when they turned their back, me and Yesel cheated and ran behind them, until Spencer busted us).  Then we were told to do sand side squats.  Get to the end of that beach and told to alligator crawl all the way back...damn...this was through the grossest "beach" filled with dog and duck shit!!!

We get there and Tom takes both Hammers and discuss throws them in the water.  We are told to get out there, find em.  Luckily the water was warm and we found them pretty easily.  Now once in this gross ass water at 5:30 am we are told to stay waist high and do 50 hammer strikes in the water.  We pound away and all the people fishing are about to give us a death challenge....

we get out of the water and do 50 more strikes on the beach.  Then the po-po shows up and all my "friends" bail out on me!  Hey spencer....this reminds me of Rome when your ass got left behind, or Tom help me out with the dog catcher, or yesel hey its the park ranger!!!  I tell the po-po we are lifeguards in training....

we get to the beach and tom gives us a mental challenge.  You have 2 minutes to figure out 10 of the trivia questions...thank god yesel put that Phoenix education to work, cause i think I only got one.  She got them all, so no punishment....

Back on bikes and we ride back to Toms house.  We are told to Ride to Toms house.  We get back there and are told to ride to Eaton Canyon....great another 15 miles up hill on un-familiar bikes in gross ass clothes.  We stop by the church and say a quick prayer which was great.  So we get up to Eaton Canyon Nature Center and find tom there.  With full packs we do 100 step ups and 100 squats.  Then he takes off the tires and tells us to carry the bike to Henniger Flats.  This was the toughest part for Yesel.  We all have our moments, and this one was her test.....

We reach our next stop.  Bikes go down, and we are told to hike through, hinneger to Iddle Hour - Inspiration Point - E. Mountain, to Lake street.  Up the hill we go with packs.  At some point we stop and realize we are way off the trial and a bit lost.  We have to decide if we quit and go back the way we came or march on.  All of the sudden a guy training for an ultra Marathon comes out and we ask him to point the way out.  We run with him for a bit and he takes us back to the trail.  We did an extra 5 miles out of the way but decided to march forward...... we eat a lot throughout this and had moments where you just don't feel well.  The goo gets gross, your hot and sweaty, blisters, it was tough.  We get to Echo Mountain where we given an envelope and told to open there.  So now we have gone on a 20 mile hike after all the other crap and told we need to find clues to find combinations to a lock where our bikes are chained.  Coming down the trail we find an ICA sign and on the back are our combos.  We are told to memorize, but to hell with that we have a sharpie and write it on our arms. 

By the time we reach the bottom we are something like 40-50 miles in, and 14 hours.  Sindy, Spencer, and others were worried.  Tom had a lot left to do but it was late and we were much later than anticipated.  We walked much of the hike and i think they expected us to run.  It was a crazy day that I was so proud to be a part of...also thankful for some great friends.

I didn't feel great after.  Legs, and feet were a Little banged up.  I was a little worried about the death race as I will triple that time out there.  Blisters and hurt feet, plus food will be the biggest problem.  I have realized that the support crew will be the most important part of it all.....  We went on a hike yesterday back up hinneger with Sindy, Tom, Romie, and Morgan.  It was a lot of fun, but man my toes hurt!  I was very proud of little Morgan for making it all the way up that hill!  Its great to share all this with such great people.....

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Its truly amazing the highs and lows of this journey.  Its really hard to explain at times, and I almost hate going through it.  I put myself out there and don't like feeling so self centered....its just such an amazing journey.  This has been such an incredible journey physically, emotionally, physically, and even financially.  I feel like my whole life I have worked my tail off to try and reach the ultimate.  I missed a state championship, placing in the top 5 of my marathons, being a Spartan Champion, I feel like I have always gotten close but just never been able to sit on that top podium.  But most people get one shot, one chance, to do something extraordinary to them.  This is my opportunity and I am enjoying every second of it.  The pain, the struggle, the sacrifice, all for one moment.....  Life is short, I plan to make the most of it. 
I feel great that Yesel is able to share this journey with me.  I got a rush this morning seeing her pics up there on the Spartan Facebook page, and the attention and admiration she must have felt good.  It feels good to do this with friends.  Having Al call me up and making the flight, the encouraging words from Craig a person who has achieved greatness, my cousin Amy and the excitement of the boys who are coming to cheer, my uncles emails of encouragement, Sindy always being in my corner and looking to come up, Tom with just everything he does, my family who may not understand but sure send me their love, talking to other death racers,  Carrie Adams and her infectious enthusiasm, becoming a spartan promoter, Spencer and his unconditional support of 25 years, the random people who email me or fb to ask me questions about this, the people in the gym who think I am a freak, and most important my daughter who is the light of my life and heart.  Those are the things that are going to push me through this....I only hope some day i can begin to repay these people. 
Craig did remind me of one thing.....I need to go up there to win this thing.  If I don't, or I fall after an hour, or I finish 23rd, then so be it, but he is right..... no one is any more deserving than I am.  My ultimate goal is to cross 1st and 2nd with Yesel with my support crew there.  I envision that moment and it makes me overwhelmed with emotion already!  But I have killed it to get her.  This has been a lifetime of work to reach this level.  And I am there.....I am at another level that i may or may not reach again.  But this is my heavyweight title shot, my chance at greatness....I plan to kick the absolute shit out of that farm.......

Here are some of my recent workouts.....take this Death Race.....

All super sets no rest each rep 10-20 xs...
Workout #1
limited on time so this only had one circuit...
2 Leg Squat, 1 Leg Squat, Seated Calf, Butt Blaster, Medine Ball Squats, 1 Arm 1 Leg Curl, Preacher Curl, Jump Rope, Wood Chop
3 Min Elliptical - 100 Push Ups
3 Min Elliptical - 100 Mountain Climbers
3 Min Elliptical - 100 Jumping Jacks
3 Min Elliptical - 100 Yes Nos
3 Min Elliptical - 100 Box Jumps

20 Min HARD Cardio in the trainer room - Non stop mixing up all exercises in 1 minute intervals

36 Min hard carido in Sauna

Workout #2
Reverse Pull Ups on triceps, Pull Ups, DB Kickbacks, Close Grip Bench Press, DB Fly, Tri Extension overhead DB, Dips, DB Overhead on Chest, Jump Rope, Plank

4 Min Elliptical, 100 Push ups
4 Min Elliptical, 100 Incline Sit ups
4 Min Elliptical, 100 Box Jumps
4 Min Elliptical, 100 Mountain Climbers

Incline DB Chest, Skull Crushers, Incline DB Fly, Weighted Bench Dips, Situps, One Leg Push Ups, Lat Push Ups, 50 Jumping Jacks, 50 Lat Jacks, Incline Chest Press

8 Min Hard Sauna Cardio - 4 Laps in Pool

Workout #3
Limited on time :(
DB curl, BB Curl, Iso Db Curl, Row, Good Morning, Pull Ups, Lat Pull Down, Side Step one lap, Stair Jumps(3), Db Row

2 Min Elliptical all out (i went so fast the machine shut down :) ) - Incline Push Ups
2 Min Elliptical all out Sit Ups
2 Min Elliptical all out Dips
2 Min Elliptical all out Jump Rope
2 Min Elliptically all out Pull Ups

Cable Curl, Cable Cross Over Curl, Iso Curl, Tri Push Down, Low Back, Lat Low Back, Plank, Row, lat pull down, seated row, row on delts

hard sauna cardio 28 minutes

Friday, May 20, 2011

going to finish

We got our first email from Andy in forever.  As my friend, Al, said looks like the race has gotten some publicity and they are really going to try and make this thing as tough as possible.  The only thing that bothered me was the idea of it going through Monday.  We had made plans to leave Monday.  I was a little worried at first, but was relieved to hear Yesel tell me she is ok with staying an extra day, and I kinda like the idea of it going for so long. 

I think that email was intended to intimidate, but really all it did for me is motivate!  For a long time I didn't think we belonged or were in the class of some of the athletes.  People like my dad always try to tell me how difficult this is, or how accomplished some of the athletes are, or like he said today "this seems pretty silly.  If they asked me to take a medicine ball keep it over my head in a freezing lake, I would just go home".  But that's the point of this entire race...its a test of the human spirit.  This isn't about speed or your credentials...this is about testing your spirit, who you are as a person....what are you going to do in your darkest moments? 

I have always thought of myself as a grinder.  I was never the most gifted athlete...but I always felt I could outwork anyone.  I would stick things out when others would quit and move on.  I have a lot of tenacity and very little break in me.  This race has already been such a test for me physically, emotionally, financially, and spiritually, and it has been the best thing in my life!  I love the adversity, I love the challenge.  This is the time to find out what you are made of. 

I also am starting to think that I belong.  I have read some peoples blogs and workouts, and even some of the most accomplished athletes do the same or less than what Yesel and I have done.  Both of us have a ton of drive and stubbornness, and I believe we BELONG.....

My new motto for the next 5 weeks as given to me from Spencer is...

I also wanted to write that the support I have been feeling has been overwhelming.  My friend called to tell me he would see if he could make the flight.  Even if he doesn't, that type of support is amazing.  My family, friends, all of it has been awesome.  I just feel so good spiritually and ready to do this.  Today my daughter told me she was making a sign for me.  She told me her daddy could beat anyone but her!  I'm going up there with the support of my gf, friends, family, and it feels great!!!