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Ode to my dad

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Dad,
Well, big guy...here we are. The morning of the day when we lay you to rest. For the last couple of days, I've been struggling to figure out if I wanted to write something that was just between you and me. But after meeting with people last night, I couldn't keep it to myself. I was reminded of how you taught us to live our lives and I couldn't keep that from people. You gave us the gift of storytelling so I wouldn't be doing your legacy any justice if I didn't put it on paper. 
Loving. Caring. Sharing. I can't even count how many times I heard those words since you took your final breath. So many people have come up to me and told me that they had no idea you were even sick, but that's the way you wanted it. That's the way you lived your life. With a sparkle for the now. A life that steered away from sadness and guided the ship toward laughter. A life that revolved around making people smile. A life that was filled with grins, even when the times…

Being a Dad is Like Training for an Ultra

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I've spent a lot of the last 13 years running. I've also spent the last 13 years being a dad. It all started with our spunky redhead and over the years our family has blossomed to a household of 4 children and a really dumb cat. All of them have their own distinct personalities and ways that they've taught me that being a dad is much like the training to be an ultra runner.

Now, obviously, the physical training is significantly different so I won't go into that piece, but here are just some of the things that I've learned training for both:

Different days...different foods I love how open my kids are to trying new foods. They are, for the most part, very adventurous eaters and will try most things once. I've tried most energy gels and/or sports nutrition products on the market at least once. Sometimes they work, sometimes they don't. I've found that in the middle of a race, something that worked at the last race, may not work this time. Just like my kid…

You Need To Fight Like Hell

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Turbulent. That's how I would describe my 2018. Rocky. Unsettled. Raging. Rolling. That's what much of this year has felt like.

I've been blessed with good health and a wonderful family, but my 2018 has been anything but healthy. From family health scares to my own personal demons. For the past 12 months, I have struggled with my identity. I would go to work every day feeling empty. Emotionless. Sad. Stressed. Numb. Running wasn't fun. Family time wasn't' fun. The things that brought me joy every day were a chore. Every day I would pray for God to give me happiness and every day was worse than the day before. I was questioning whether or not God truly loved me and wanted me to be happy.

About 3 months ago, my trajectory changed. My world changed. My day-to-day was about to become even more turbulent...or so I thought.

The saying goes, "God won't give you more than what you can handle" and I've always stuck by that notion, but the past 2 years…

It's the most wonderful time of the year...

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Welcome to December. The month that brings images of the family gathering around the fireplace to sip hot chocolate as we watch the snow fall. Or laying in bed with your favorite flannel sheets. Or wearing your favorite pajamas as you nuzzle with your loved ones...well...that's what we'd like to imagine December being...

In our house, December definitely brings "fewer" activities for the kids, but not "less chaos". What it does bring is more excuses for staying inside and watching Netflix because...let's be honest...it's cold out and nobody wants to be outside. It means the kids wanting "just one more piece of candy". It means screaming, running around, fighting and the "I don't need to go to bed!!!!" which then forces mom and dad to search for that "perfect winter cocktail".

Because we live in Iowa, we are typically subjected to one of three winters:
TONS of heavy snow on the ground. Bone-chilling cold. A fantastic…

Creatures of...

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We've all heard the expressions "creature of habit", "creature of nature", "creature of comfort", "creature of the sea"...not sure how that last one applies to what you are about to read...and so on and so forth...and this may seem like a very strange introduction to a piece but bear with me for a second.

Most will know that I am one of the worst at being a "creature of habit". I love to run the same races. When I am need of jeans, I buy the same ones. I listen to a lot of the same bands that I've been listening to for 20 years. I love to eat a lot of the same meals...hell...for 3 years at my last job I LITERALLY ate the same exact lunch every day...That's roughly the same combination of a grilled turkey wrap with pepper jack cheese, lettuce, tomato, and onions for 3 years...Nearly 600 times...

As I got ready for my run this morning, I brewed the same coffee, put on the same old socks, laced up the same style of shoe that …