We Each Have a Story

Given in the Holladay 10th Ward

Sources

  1. “We Each Have a Story” by By Elder Gerrit W. Gong – Apr 2022 General Conference
  2. It Didn’t Start with You: How Inherited Family Trauma Shapes Who We Are and How to End the Cycle by Mark Wolynn, published 2016
  3. Coco, Disney-Pixar, 2017
  4. “The Family Stories That Bind Us” by Bruce Feiler, published March 15, 2013 in New York Times
  5. Job 1:21 KJV
  6. Notes on The Hero’s Journey from Damon D’Amore
  7. Beyond Order by Jordan B Peterson
By |2022-07-21T14:36:23-06:00July 10th, 2022|Faith, General Life|0 Comments

My Personal Travel Tips – Making Weekend Trips Awesome

When I lived in New York my brother’s family was in DC and later Philly, and my sister’s family was in Boston. I liked seeing my nieces and nephews . . . and getting cannoli in the North End . . . so I visited them a lot. You’ve heard people say, “I need a vacation from my vacation,” and sometimes my weekends were like that too. After a couple weekends that were more exhausting than rewarding, I wanted to figure out how to have a great weekend and still hit the ground running once I was home. These personal travel trips are what came of my thinking on managing wellbeing while making the most of travel time.

Travel Tips – Schedule

  1. List what I personally want to get done over that period of time
  2. Ask of people I am staying with / traveling with (a) what’s fixed on their schedule and (b) what they’d like accomplish/do with me
  3. Put their fixed items in my calendar
  4. Communicate what I have fixed in my calendar AND what I’d like to get done, and, generally, what it takes to do those things
  5. Considering 1-4, talk through, negotiate, manage, plan the days with my travel companions / hosts

No surprise — often a large chunk of what I want to get done is exercise. I appreciate family and friends who support my getting out and being active.

And here’s one example of loosely laying out a week:

Travel Tips - Week Plan

Travel Tips – Transportation

Rent my own car.

And if I’m not renting, intentionally create ‘I’m not renting’ as a choice. Visualize being driven and taken care of.

Travel Tips – Sleep

Think about what I am going to sleep on/in. Be with it. Practice zen detachment about it. Anticipate that it may change. Consider specific needs/desires (e.g. temp, pillow, light) and make requests.

Go to bed by 1230am the first night.

Get up by 630am the first day.

Shower and change into day clothes the first morning before 10am.


There you go. Curious to hear what works for you.

By |2022-07-21T14:38:07-06:00May 2nd, 2022|General Life|0 Comments

’Tis the Set of the Sail

Dang, this is good.

And from 1916.

But to every mind there openeth,
A way, and way, and away,
A high soul climbs the highway,
And the low soul gropes the low,
And in between on the misty flats,
The rest drift to and fro.

But to every man there openeth,
A high way and a low,
And every mind decideth,
The way his soul shall go.

One ship sails East,
And another West,
By the self-same winds that blow,
’Tis the set of the sails
And not the gales,
That tells the way we go.

Like the winds of the sea
Are the waves of time,
As we journey along through life,
’Tis the set of the soul,
That determines the goal,
And not the calm or the strife.

Ella Wheeler Wilcox (1850-1919; found here)
’Tis the Set of the Sail
By |2022-07-21T14:37:23-06:00April 19th, 2022|Faith, General Life|0 Comments

Merry Christmas: “Witnesses of Christ” Christmas Concert

Christmas concerts, cookies, caroling and celebrating Christ. I look forward to the holidays every year.

But as the years go on, I wonder if I’ll feel the spirit of the season — whether I’ll access the youthful, innocent spirit of wonder, or if cynicism, disappointment and growing responsibilities have layered so thick that even the penetrating messages of Jesus’ birth and the magic of Santa Claus won’t reach my heart.

When I was young, my parents gave me The Polar Express.

A Christmas Concert: Witnesses of Christ

Inside the front cover, my mother wrote: “May you always hear the bell.”

Not a year has gone by when I haven’t asked, “Will I hear the bell again this year?”

The disappointments and challenges of the year are what they are. And music doesn’t make them go away. But the performers in this Christmas concert offered praise that reached my heart. And so, once again, I thank God that I have heard the bell and felt the promise of the gift of His Son.

🔔

Merry Christmas to you and yours.

A Christmas Concert: Witnesses of Christ

  • Hark the Herald Angels Sing / Performed by Truman Brothers
  • Witnesses of Christ – Introduction / Host, David Butler
  • Witnesses of Christ: Shepherds / by Adam Hartshorn
  • While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks / Sung by USU Chamber Singers
  • Witness of Christ: Simeon / by Matheus Santos
  • It Came Upon a Midnight Clear / Sung by Daniel Beck
  • Witness of Christ: Manger / by David Butler
  • O come, O come Emmanuel / Sung by Allie Gardiner and Wade Farr duet
  • Kids Talking about Christmas / Presented by Shaunna Thompson
  • Deck the Halls / Played by Josh and Lindsey Wright
  • Witness of Christ: Mary / by Mary Alisa
  • Infant holy, Infant Lowly / Sung by Stella Yeritsyan
  • Moment Video – Nativity
  • In the Bleak Midwinter / Sung by Rise Up Children’s Choir
  • Witnesses of Christ Today / by Host David Butler
  • Oh, Come All Ye Faithful / by Abraham Thomas, Aitana Alapa, and Terrell Baker

Memories of singing at Temple Square and my music background.

By |2021-12-15T14:24:23-07:00December 13th, 2021|Faith, General Life|0 Comments

How to Make Stuff Happen

Everyone’s got dreams: things that have never been done or that are bigger than what can be done alone. A few notes to make stuff happen:

[1] Be up to something.

Be up to this thing until you have momentum. Momentum is the flywheel of force that makes it easier as time goes on for you to continue contributing to this thing you are up to. Momentum consists of habit and ritual you’ve created which draw you back into taking actions for the same thing. Progress is an evidence of momentum. Being up to something means you have something at stake. You are living for something.

Make Stuff Happen - start by pounding the rock
How to Make Stuff Happen: start by pounding the rock for your own cathedral

[2] Test for traction.

Once you have momentum, share what you are up to with another human being. Traction is momentum that attracts. When people are really up to something, it’s attractive. People will ask questions, dive in, ask for more, make offers in the presence of what’s attractive. If they want more of it, you’ve got traction.

[3] Invite.

Invitations without a background of people getting what you are up to leaves them unable to answer for themselves … “what’s in it for them to be asking me?” People are suspicious. Aren’t you? Invitations made in advance of experiencing momentum, with an absence of attraction, fall flat. People have their own stuff they are up to. Why would they create lifeless busy work for themselves? After people witness you being up to something and experiencing the momentum of it, only then does an invitation to participate stand of shot of landing.

[4] Stay the course.

Regardless of response to invitations, keep going. Making things happen requires not being messed with by responses.

Make Stuff Happen - stay the course
Stay the course.

Other considerations to make stuff happen:

Why invite someone to do something you aren’t up to? If you won’t do it, if you aren’t doing it … why would they?

Often a prerequisite to [2] is Make a connection. Connect with another human being so they can paint a picture of what’s going on in their world; something to which you can relate. Give them a chance to say what they are up to. You may find they are up to nothing. Start with a no-stake, no-demand, no-request contact. When they experience that you are willing to look into their world, they then may be willing to hear you offer something from yours.

By |2021-12-27T13:27:49-07:00October 17th, 2021|Faith, General Life, Marketing|0 Comments

Forgiveness + Tribulation

I gave this talk on forgiveness in my ward September 15, 2019.

Three and a half weeks ago, my wife and I landed in the Paris airport, ready to begin a two-week second honeymoon and celebration of my progress in triathlon — the chance to race at the ITU Age Group World Championships.

I qualified to participate during races last year (oly, sprint), and we got married in June of this year. So as we brought our carry-ons down from the overhead bins and shuffled off the plane, we were well familiar with our feelings of anticipation and nerves of excitement to embark on a journey one year in the making.

Forgiveness + Tribulation: Our bags at CDG
Our bags for a week in France, a week in Switzerland and two World Championship triathlons.

After passing customs, navigating French directional signage for traces of English and snacking on chocolate croissants, we boarded a train, hoisted our things up on a luggage rack and collapsed, again, into our seats for a 4-hour ride. 30 minutes in, I got up to walk around. I crossed into the car behind us and, upon returning, passed the luggage rack to look down and find the lower slot empty.

Our bags were gone.

Stolen.


From just those few words, you might have felt, right there in your seat, that gut sinking, stomach-in-a-knot-tying sense of dread — the feeling of being violated, of the world not going the way you think it should, and grand plans running awry.

Perhaps you recalled a time something someone said or did broke your sense of reality, when your trust corrupted, or when unexpected circumstances shattered your sense of the way the world and people are.

We are all familiar with tribulation.

I am going to talk about forgiveness.

We all face tribulation. By tribulation, I mean events that bring about trouble, suffering and sorrow.

We experience tribulation …

. . . from our own weakness
Our own humanity guarantees mistakes.

. . . from our own intention
Yes, on occasion we know better. We rebel.

The line between good and evil cuts through the center of every human heart.

AS, emphasis added

And sometimes, we act in evil.

. . . from others’ weakness
We are surrounded by humans, like us, blumbering along, dropping balls, communicating poorly, forgetting, assuming incorrectly even with good intent, innocently insensitive and so on.

. . . from others’ intention and malevolence
Yes, on occasion we brush up against crime, the intent to harm and destroy and rob another of his or her agency.

In all 4 situations, millstones temporal and spiritual end up around our necks.

[B]ut we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope.

Romans 5:3-4, emphasis added

And whether we be afflicted [no matter the source or type of our afflictions], it is for []our consolation and salvation.

2 Corinthians 1:6, emphasis added

Among patience, experience, hope and the many attributes we can develop in tribulation, practicing forgiveness is one that is always available.

A heading from a Come Follow Me lesson reads:

As I am forgiven of my sins, my love for the Savior deepens.

March 11-17

Further, I believe our love for each other and God and the Savior also deepens as we forgive — whether for sin or weakness — ourselves and others.

DISBELIEF / REJECTION

When I first looked down at the empty luggage rack, my initial reaction was disbelief. As my gut sank, I rejected the possibility of theft. “THIS THEFT CAN’T BE TRUE.” I first accused myself of mistake and error: “Am I really looking at the spot where I put them?”

I looked up. Yes, Emma was just seats away.

My gut again said they were stolen, and I held off, granting general humanity the benefit of the doubt as I wondered, “Perhaps someone had good reason to move them?”

Forgiveness in this moment

There was forgiveness for myself: I forgave myself for the natural, hasty accusation that I was in error.

RECOGNITION / ACCEPTANCE

When I determined our bags were nowhere in the car, I shut off my disbelief, my willingness to be generous and my willingness to believe in the goodness of others. I began to accept the reality of theft. After leaving the first station, we had stopped at two others.

“NO, THE TRUTH IS WE REALLY HAVE BEEN ROBBED, AND OUR THINGS ARE GONE, NEVER TO BE SEEN AGAIN.”

Forgiveness in this moment

There was forgiveness for myself: I forgave myself for the harsh abandoning of granting others the benefit of the doubt, and for saying things like, “I’ll never let our luggage out of our sight again,” a statement which implies the accusation that no one, in any circumstance, can be trusted.

REACTION / RESISTANCE

But I didn’t want the theft, or the consequence of it, to be true.

In a moment, the meaning of the theft transmuted from “a few material things are no longer in our possession,” to

  • “this entire trip is a bust!”
  • “Emma will never travel with me again!”
  • “I am a failure of a man, not doing my duty to watch and protect my family and our things!”

In the swell, I resisted the reality and rejected my emotions of sadness and hurt.

Rather than letting my emotions come over me, I fought — “I don’t want this to be true” — by seeking for things I could control in vain attempts to force time backward and reality to undo itself.

“I will contact the conductor. I will get him to undo the situation, notify the police, review the security footage, apprehend the thieves, restore our belongings to us, and make all well in the world again.”

We did that, and I even paced up and down every level of every car of that train, saying to myself, “By checking every nook and cranny I might magically rewind time, undo what has happened and bring the suitcases back.”

My sadness, unacknowledged, gave way to anger, badgering the conductor to do more, and saying under my breath, “Just wait’ll I find those thieves and see what I do to them…”

Were I sharper, I might have metabolized my own anxiety rather than pushing it out on others.

Upon visiting every car and exhausting the conductor, I came to that place where Father Adam and Mother Eve arrived some time after The Fall: the realization that there is no going back to the Garden of Eden.

Emma and I experienced, as we all do, another Fall in mortality. And there was no going back to the way life was before.

Forgiveness in this moment

There was forgiveness for life generally: I forgave, generally, that it happened — to forgive the world, knowing the conditions of mortality.

There was forgiveness for myself: I forgave myself for my own proclivity to catastrophize situations — to shout “woe is me, all is lost!” in a selfish show to win sympathy and attention from others.

I forgave myself for responding to feeling robbed with attempts to rob others of their agency.

I forgave myself for entertaining, even if briefly, the thought that it was Emma’s fault because she was facing the rack.

I forgave myself for being less than gracious with the conductor.

There was forgiveness for the conductor: I forgave the conductor for being a man of limited means and doing his best, which was far short of stopping the train and turning back, or calling in French special ops to drop their present tasks, review security footage at the 2 stations we stopped at and put all resources into tracking down and apprehending the thieves.

There was forgiveness for the police: I forgave the police for doing what seemed to be so little — asking the station Lost and Found departments if they had received anything and inviting us to file a report.

There was forgiveness for the thieves: I forgave the thieves for the feeling of being violated.

REACHING OUT / CALL FOR HELP

I came to myself as I realized we weren’t in this alone and that there were more ways forward than the singular solution I had at first: rewind time and undo the theft.

I sat down across from Emma and we looked at each other, aware of our shared sadness. We expressed gratitude for having each other, and offered each other assurance that all was not lost, that we’d have a good trip, and everything would be OK.

I emailed the Team USA managers to ask about getting a replacement racing jersey. Just in case, I contacted a friend here who had the jersey in my size, and asked him to give it to another friend who was traveling to the event later.

Emma contacted a neighbor to ask her to fetch a new pair of my contacts from our home and rendezvous with my friend before he traveled.

Emma made conversation with the people sitting around us, and the man behind us asked a friend of his, who was into triathlon, to recommend a store where I could buy the proper shoes and pedals for my bike, since mine had been in my suitcase.

WE COULDN’T UNDO THE TRUTH OF THE THEFT, BUT WE COULD ASK OTHERS FOR HELP TO LIVE IN OUR NEW REALITY.

REPAIRS + RESTORATION

Once we arrived at our destination, we spent the next 36 hours receiving help and going to work to restore what was lost.

We visited the bike store.

We got new clothes.

We got toothbrushes and toothpaste, and essential things to live comfortably for the next two weeks.

WE RECEIVED HELP AND TOOK NEW ACTIONS ALLOWING US TO LIVE WELL IN OUR NEW REALITY.

Forgiveness in this moment

There was forgiveness for my uncle: I forgave, even here, my uncle, our host, for not knowing exactly where to take us to get what we needed to replace what we lost.

There was forgiveness for the store owners and the small town: I forgave them all for having what they had — and not everything we hoped they would.

There was forgiveness for the thieves: I forgave the thieves again, now for us taking time to do all of this, instead of our original plans.

RECONCILIATION / PEACE

It is easy to replace a shirt, or pants, or a toothbrush.

It’s harder to replace unique, sentimental and one-of-a-kind items.

Around my birthday in March, Emma remembered that during a previous trip, I threw out a suitcase that had come to the end of its days, and she presented me with a wonderful new suitcase. With our Europe trip months away, the gift was as much a gesture of restoration as a statement of promised companionship in the months to come.

I gave the suitcase a dry run during business travel that spring. Finding myself pleased with Emma’s selection, and also wanting to say, “I’m looking forward to an adventure with you,” I got Emma a matching suitcase. Having matching suitcases for our European adventure was part of the thrill of going.

The suitcases being gone, and everything within, seemed to tarnish the memory and the sentiment. And it seemed buying new suitcases simply wouldn’t polish that out.

One is not only to endure, but to endure well and gracefully those things which the Lord ‘seeth fit to inflict upon [us].’

NAM, Patience, emphasis added

Beneath any temporal restoration lays a sense of spiritual and emotional loss — where the tribulation actually lives.

Even as Emma and I restored our lives temporally, my soul was troubled:

  • Why did this happen?
  • I would have put the suitcases in a different spot had I known . . . 
  • I should have never taken my eye off our bags.
  • I could have prevented this fiasco had I . . .

The bottomless pit of worrying “Why me? Why us? Why now?” in search of an explanation where there is none, and the troubling triumvirate of woulda/coulda/shoulda, are certainly predictable, normal, human responses to tribulation. And I don’t blame myself for having had them, and wouldn’t blame you either.

But they are millstones and were around my neck on that train and the days following.

To endlessly ask “Why?” when the Lord has said, “I give you tribulation for your salvation” seems to be an impatient plea to bring about justice on our time table, rather than to shoulder the cross of mortality and continue walking toward Heaven.


My grandfather died in a military plane crash in 1961.

Some time within a year of that event, my aunt was talking with friends about whether God lets things happen, or if things happen and He is surprised. After that conversation, my 12-year-old aunt knelt in her room and prayed and asked God about it.

The Holy Ghost overcame me from head to toe and the answer was: ‘i-t d-o-e-s-n’t m-a-t-t-e-r.’ And that has given me comfort throughout my life. That it’s not given to us to know in this life. And on the other side in the grand scheme of things, we’ll be able to see and understand. But for now it d-o-e-s n-o-t m-a-t-t-e-r.

PHH, personal notes Sep 22, 2016

The answer revealed to her reminds me of the oft repeated scriptural phrase: “it mattereth not.”

To beat oneself with woulda/shoulda/coulda, seems to deny ourselves “the grace that, so fully, He proffers me” (Hymns) and to reject the gift of the veil and conditions of mortality, wherein we have space between our choices and the necessary, full, eternal magnitude of their consequences coming down on us, so that we can repent and go at it again without being doomed to live forever in our sins.


In all tribulation, there is the physical-temporal component, and the spiritual-emotional component.

The spiritual component and how we feel about it is more important than the physical because …

Things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.

2 Corinthians 4:18, emphasis added

Our visible things will not go with us.

But our unseen hearts and thoughts will.

From President Henry B Eyring:

If we are to have unity, there are commandments we must keep concerning how we feel. We must forgive and bear no malice toward those who offend us. The Savior set the example from the cross: ‘Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do’ (Luke 23:34). We do not know the hearts of those who offend us. Nor do we know all the sources of our own anger and hurt. The Apostle Paul was telling us how to love in a world of imperfect people, including ourselves, when he said, ‘Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil’ (1 Cor. 13:4–5). And then he gave solemn warning against reacting to the fault of others and forgetting our own when he wrote, ‘For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as I am known’ (1 Cor. 13:12).

That We May Be One, Apr 1998, emphasis added

I promise to do my best, to be patient with you. To cultivate a forgiving heart. And to seek spiritual gifts in the tribulation we experience, inadvertently and intentionally.

In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.


Books that helped tremendously in my practice of and growing capacity to offer and receive forgiveness:

I listened to all of these on Audible, except Alice Miller’s work which I found on YouTube. It’s now also on Audible.

Try Audible Plus or gift someone a 3-, 6- or 12-month Audible membership.

h/t to Ashley Rasmussen for these suggestions. Her man Danny was featured here earlier.

By |2021-02-11T14:11:12-07:00September 15th, 2019|Faith, General Life|0 Comments

Weight Loss and Management: Nuts and bolts from a physician

This is a guest post on weight loss and management from my friend and former classmate, Taylor Christensen. He blogs over at Clear Thinking on Healthcare. My go-to resource on weight loss and management is Matt Fitzgerald’s Racing Weight. That book is useful if you are pursuing performance as a very active person or competitive athlete, as I am with triathlon. Having read Matt’s book, I enjoyed his research-based, field-tested, no-dogma approach to nutrition. Similarly, I appreciate Taylor’s straightforward look at the fundamentals. Knowledge like this is useful when well-meaning friends, who are ideologues about nutrition, and glossy marketing fluff come your way. Enjoy.

Weight Loss and Management: Nuts and bolts from physician Taylor Christensen

Speaking as a physician for a moment, I’ve had a long interest in weight loss, and over the years I’ve accumulated a list of things that I believe anyone trying to lose weight (or trying to avoid gaining weight) should know.

If you have any questions about these points, please ask.

Here are my 9 Principles of Weight Loss:

1. Changes in total body weight are attributable to changes in the amount of fat, muscle, water and stool in your body.

Daily/hourly variations are water and stool.

Fat and muscle change slowly over the long term.

If your weight isn’t decreasing over weeks, it’s either because you’re not losing fat or because you are losing fat AND gaining muscle at the same time (if you have increased your exercise recently).

2. 80% of weight loss is dietary, 20% is exercise.

To lose weight, the focus needs to be on your diet.

Exercise has huge mental and physical health benefits (including motivating you to do better with your diet), but it’s not the primary thing that will directly make you lose weight.

An example: It’s a lot easier to not eat a 900-calorie piece of cake than it is to exercise off that extra 900 calories (a 200-lb person would have to run about 6 miles to burn 900 calories).

3. Weight loss is simple math.

You must take in fewer calories than you expend.

If you expend more calories than you take in, you will lose weight (assuming muscle mass is constant). No exceptions.

There are thousands of things that predispose to weight gain or make weight loss more difficult for people (including genetics, sleep, stress, medications, insulin resistance, etc.), but all these things can only affect weight either by causing you to eat more calories or burn fewer calories.

4. There are only three types of calories: proteins, fats and carbohydrates (aka ‘carbs’).

One calorie of protein = one calorie of fat = one calorie of carbs.

But carbs are different in an important way — they also affect hunger/fullness hormones. Eating carbs stimulates more hunger/cravings, which usually leads to you eating more calories total. The more processed (i.e., “simpler”) the carbs, the more they seem to stimulate those cravings.

5. Our bodies are amazing at interconverting these three types of calories, so your diet’s balance of carbs vs fat vs protein is less of a concern for weight loss.

There are a couple caveats to this.

First, as mentioned already, eating lots of carbs, especially simple ones, is going to make it more difficult to lose weight due to the extra hunger they stimulate.

Second, for some people, the timing of eating and also mix of calories (proteins vs fats vs carbs) may have a nontrivial effect on how many calories their bodies are burning. These caveats (and many others not mentioned) do not change the calories in vs calories out equation, and their importance varies by the person.

6. One lb of fat is about 3,500 calories.

A calorie deficit of 500 calories per day means 1 lb of weight loss per week.

7. Setting your daily calorie limit so that you will have a 500 calorie deficit per day (it’s calculated based on your age, gender, size, and activity level) and then tracking every calorie you eat to make sure you don’t go over that limit is a GUARANTEED way of losing 1 lb per week.

The preferred calorie tracking app for this seems to be MyFitnessPal.

This calorie limit will be fewer calories than your body is used to taking in, so you might feel hungry for a few weeks until your hormones adjust to this new intake, and then you will find that you’re not hungry like you used to be and even feel overfull if you try eating as much as you used to.

If you are not losing 1 lb per week, it is because you are either:

  1. eating more calories than you’re tracking (food labels can be at fault sometimes)
  2. burning fewer calories than the calculation estimated, or
  3. gaining muscle mass.

8. Being thin and being healthy are not the same.

You can eat horribly and have a sedentary lifestyle and still lose weight as long as you don’t consistently go over your daily calorie limit.

So please exercise and eat lots of vegetables, not for your weight but for your health.

9. The above points should make it clear that, to lose weight, you do not need to adhere to some strange or restrictive or trendy diet.

Chances are, these will not be sustainable for you anyway. The sustainable way to lose weight and keep it off is to enjoy food, eat healthfully in a way that fits your life and to not eat too many calories.


Taylor originally published this April 18, 2019. The comments there are worth looking at too. Thanks T!

By |2021-12-13T14:03:18-07:00May 7th, 2019|General Life, Triathlon|0 Comments

In the news: “How A Utah Man Became A Triathlete By Changing His Morning Routines” – KSL TV Feature

Change your routines. Change your life.

Pleased that Aley Davis and the KSL (NBC) TV team asked me to share how routines helped me turn around my life and remain a core part of my success today. (If the video doesn’t show below, click here.)

Wanna try a tri? Come train with Balanced Art Multisport’s #bamtrifam and you’ll fall in love with training in a whole new way.

Or come to an Intermountain Tri clinic for a safe, welcoming space to learn basic skills in swimming, biking, running and triathlon.

Or if you’re not in the Utah/SLC region, check out www.mytimetotri.com (a project by USA Triathlon and IRONMAN) for tips and resources to give swimming, cycling, running and triathlon a go.

And you’re always welcome to ask me for ideas. I love when people reach out with questions about shoes, gear, training on heart rate, nutrition, what races to do, how to run faster …

Our bodies are incredible machines and a big part of my life is mastering mine and helping people celebrate theirs.

Notes:

  • In Jan 2018, I co-founded Intermountain Tri and now serve as the president — join with just your email. Come just to swim, bike or run … or all three in triathlon.
  • When I talk about consistently being up until 3a and having no habits … I’m talking about 18 months into having started my marketing business (launched Aug 2012; 2013 was ROUGH and I kept sliding right into Apr 2014). With no boss to report to, no office to show up to, and so on, there was no fixed activity pushing against the demands of my time. So everything got very loose. I lost sense of the day of the week. Weekends were indistinguishable, as was afternoon from morning and “too late” from “time to go to bed.” And my lack of strength with managing my own time became evident. Just as I crammed assignments and studying in school, I tried to cram client work. Hence the late nights. So many days, I would give myself a huge pep talk that “I’m waking up at 6a tomorrow to reset the cycle!” And then I would surely sleep until noon or 1p. And the cycle continued. For months. Until I did these three things to hijack the death spiral:
    • Signed up for Ironman Maryland. I wanted to have a good experience and knew I had to train to succeed. I couldn’t just show up and wing it. It was too big a stress to waltz in.
    • Asked someone who was already really good at getting up in the morning and going to bed on time for help. Many thanks to Erica Wiley for her gentle and supportive texts as I got sleep on track, starting with shutting down and going to bed at a consistent time.
    • Committed to a training plan. I made half progress here with a half-marathon training plan I found and then peppering in runs and rides. But then I hired coach Alan Gulledge who really got me in gear.
Triathlon routines supported by group classes early in the morning
530a M/W all winter long at BAM’s tri training studio in Sandy
  • The cycling class I teach is the BAM Power Program.
    • The workouts are written by sports medicine doctor and pro-cycling coach, Dr. Max Testa, of Park City.
    • Anyone who rides any kind of bike for any purpose at any level of competition/interest/competitiveness can benefit from the classes because they start with an assessment of your present fitness and then are structured around helping you progress from there.
    • It’s very different from a traditional gym/studio “spin” class, which is structured to burn calories. And it’s not like riding on Zwift or Trainer Road because you don’t waste effort “racing” people. Yes, we’re all in the same room (you can join online too!), but each person is in their individual zone, and there’s no leaderboard. It’s just a cool crew of people working hard together and supporting each other.
    • Dr. Testa adjusts the classes each year based on his research and the real outputs of all his riders.
    • Bottom line: it’s the most effective method possible for gaining fitness on the bike that makes you stronger and more efficient.
  • The doc they interviewed is absolutely correct about momentum is your ally with routines.
    • The momentum also comes, as he says, from “feeling much better than you did before.” Once you experience the state change, you know you can get it and will work to get it again.
    • If your baseline is zero, just start moving. A gain of 1 is a gain from zero! Once you baseline is 1, then a gain to 2 is still a gain . . . and on and on, until you perform the routine 5-7 days a week no problem.
  • At USA Triathlon Age Group Nationals in Aug 2018, I finished 20th in the Olympic-distance race and 10th in the sprint. End of summer 2019, I will wear the red, white and blue on Team USA at the ITU Age Group World Championship in Lausanne, Swizterland.

Watch (2:04) and read the whole KSL story here:

KSLtv also did stories on BAM Coach Suz Martin and BAM Coach Bill Fowler and his family.

By |2021-01-15T16:40:55-07:00April 19th, 2019|General Life, Triathlon|0 Comments

Cook a Steak: My How-To

I learned a lot from my father who is a master chef and baker, but we never had a father-son “Now, my boy, come here and let me show you how to cook a steak” moment so this is one thing I’ve figured out on my own . . . with a little help from my friends.

How to Cook a Steak

Step 1: wrap in paper towels

How to Cook a Steak: wrap in paper towels
You want to sop up all the blood. Yes, you want it juicy, but there’s plenty of moisture in there. You’ve heard restaurants tout “dry-aged” steaks, this is what they are talking about.

Step 2: place in the fridge

How to Cook a Steak: put in the fridge

If you’re leaving it in there overnight, put it in a ziplock bag or cover with plastic wrap.

The *best* way to do it is in a breathable situation, but you probably can’t afford to let the rest of your fridge get “fresh” from an aging steak, and I bet you don’t have a mini fridge dedicated to aging meats, nor ventilation to run that funk outside instead of through your basement … so just cover it with plastic.

Step 3: wait

How to Cook a Steak: let time go by

How long (how many days) you wait depends on your schedule. You can unwrap/rewrap in fresh paper towels multiple times. The thicker the cut, the more drying cycles/time you’re gonna want.

Step 4: admire the beauty

How to Cook a Steak: admire the beauty

Mother nature. On my plate. Gorgeous.

Step 5: salt & pepper

How to Cook a Steak: salt and pepper

That’s all you need to cook a steak. Keep it simple. Keep it classy.

Step 6: rub it in

How to Cook a Steak: smush

Push the salt and pepper in there.

I like to smush my cuts down a bit. Helps especially with the thicker cuts.

You can also do the salt earlier in the drying/aging process.

Step 7: put it on a hot piece of metal

How to Cook a Steak: heat

As hot as you can get it.

(Reasonably. At home.)

I’m a fan of a hot pan and oil (vegetable oil; coconut oil smokes, butter burns [but comes into play later]), and lots of times the George Foreman is handy.

If you have a strong argument for why this is a bad thing, I’m open to hearing it. But seriously, I’ve cooked a lot of delicious meats on this simple thing.

For thin cuts (3/4″ or less), a minute on each side will do the trick and keep it nice and medium rare. If you want browner than medium rare, get outta town.

For thick cuts, give reverse searing a try (bake at low temps for a bit first, then sear).

This was a pretty thin cut of bison, it cooked super fast.

Step 8: rest with a square of butter (on a fresh plate)

How to Cook a Steak: rest

Even once you take it off the heat, the cut retains heat and continues to cook. Let it for 3-5 minutes, or until that square of butter starts to run all over. This stage is called resting.

Butter alternative: Mexican crema, ohh baby that’s good

Step 9: enjoy

How to Cook a Steak: enjoy

Don’t use a table knife. Use a knife knife.

Step 10: that’s it

How to Cook a Steak: all done

Hope you enjoy my version of How to Cook a Steak. If you gram your food, use #RedMeatThursday (only, of course, if you cook it on Thursday) and I’ll look for your excellent creations.

I won’t post all my #RedMeatThursdays, but here’s where that comes from:

  • intense workouts on Thursday
  • red meat for dinner Thursday to rebuild
  • recovery-effort training and lighter eating Friday to prepare for . . .
  • high-volume + intensity training on Saturday

Bon appétit.

For faster protein immediately after a workout and that will let you get back to work in a few hours, check out my homemade protein shake recovery mix.

By |2021-01-15T17:06:42-07:00June 21st, 2018|General Life|0 Comments

Pound The Rock

Pound the rock.

It’s in the footer of my website.

It’s in my email signature.

It’s the first phrase of three I have littered all over the internet. (The second and third being “Do good” and “Have a great time.”)

It’s the motto Gregg Popovich uses at the San Antonio Spurs. Their fan club is named after it. In fact, I’ve been told, it’s the only quote/motto/words-of-inspiration that appear anywhere inside the Spurs’ facilities.

So what about it? Why pound the rock?

This:

When nothing seems to help, I go and look at a stonecutter hammering away at his rock perhaps a hundred times without as much as a crack showing in it. Yet at the hundred and first blow it will split in two, and I know it was not that blow that did it, but all that had gone before. — Jacob Riis

Pound The Rock - Jacob Riis

We love telling “overnight success” stories.

They aren’t true.

Every “overnight success” story is … just a good story.

A story designed to get us to believe “we too” can be as successful as the “overnight” success.

Well, we can.

But not overnight.

Because they didn’t get there overnight.

These stories, so it seems to me, often are told to sell “the overnight method.”

When we buy that method, we get burned. Expectations fall unfulfilled, and we don’t succeed overnight — because we need to pound the rock:

To pound out our weakness,

To pound in our dedication,

To pound out non-essentials,

To pound in our focus,

To pound out dead weight,

To pound in muscle memory.

The true backstory of every success (“overnight” or not) is years of trial and error . . .

. . . effort on effort, and upset and defeat followed by persistence and consistency … all of which finally yield a win.

I’ve long said the most important attribute for any marketing campaign is consistency. You can blog once a day or once a year. If you stick to your schedule, people will accomodate whatever pattern you establish … if you stick to it. What doesn’t work is rush then stop. Publish then quit. Launch then disappear, only to relaunch with flare and pizzaz in 6 months quickly followed by flame-out, just as before.

And see that all these things are done in wisdom and order; for it is not requisite that a man should run faster than he has strength. And again, it is expedient that he should be diligent, that thereby he might win the prize; therefore, all things must be done in order (Mos 4:27).

This isn’t bad news.

Success isn’t in one-trick ponies or luck-of-the-draw rewards.

Success is in being adept at producing desirable results again and again, at will.

Success is in knowing “the wisdom and the order” of how things work, the present limits of your strength (your lactate threshold, for example).

Yes, part of success is arriving at the destination, a destination — of finishing or winning a race.

But grander elements of success are:

falling in love with getting there

knowing you can get there when you decide you want to

knowing what it takes to get there, how to command the elements and the circumstances to combine and align in getting you there

in other words, knowing how to get there again, on command … without assigning any piece of arrival to luck or chance

experiencing your personal capacity to do work every day, to conquer in the face of resistance, and to survive or even thrive in the face of calamity.

“Pound the rock” is a motto to succeed every day.

Between each sunrise and sunset, put.in.the.work.

99 of 100 blows of the hammer end with the rock uncracked.

In a darker moment, the uncracked rock may seem to laugh or scorn.

“What are you doing? Does your work even count? You’re not strong enough. You have the wrong tools. You can’t do this. You’re not making a difference at all. What a waste. Now this, what you’re doing, this is insanity!! You keep swinging, expecting me to crack. I’ll never crack. The outcome is the same. And always will be. Move on … move on to easier ground.”

It’s tricky.

Insanity is doing the same thing over and over, seeing no results, and expecting a different outcome.

Yet that definition is insufficient.

There are some tasks that are … a pound-the-rock scenario. A scenario where it just does take 99 repeated blows of no-difference-at-all results, which, when followed by the 100th WHAM! everything changes.

It may seem just one blow counted. One blow must have been different from the others. But no … all 99 changed the structure, strength and integrity of the rock until on the 100th it cracked. All 99 up to that point took mental grit and steadfastness and belief that the work was worth it.

I’m not a “good” runner.

I’m not “gifted” or a “natural.”

I don’t have lean thighs.

My VO2 max, when I’m not fully trained, is super average.

My calves are huge, the extra weight doesn’t help.

My calves also don’t connect high on my leg, so their biomechanical leverage is . . . average.

My knees rotate out and my tibia & fibula bow in to compensate, so some force from every step gets wasted in non-vertical, non-forward vectors.

My early years of swimming made my ankles super flexible, and early years of gymnastics trained them to act like absorbers; but great runners have stiffer ankles, trained to act like springs.

Yet my half marathon times keep coming down:

1:42:09 (7:47/mi) — 2008

1:40:26 (7:40/mi) — 2014

1:28:27 (6:45/mi) — 2015

1:24:35 (6:27/mi) — 2017

Why is that?

Because I pound the rock.

There’s nothing special about me.

Sure, I’m learning better form. As I pound the rock.

Sure, I’m in overall better shape … because I pound the rock.

Sure, I’m more flexible and less prone to injury … because I pound the rock (and rollll out, thanks TriggerPoint!).

Sure, I have better run gear and better workout routines … because I pound the rock.

I just pound the rock.

And anyone can pound the rock.

This much about life seems so simple and clear: when you work hard under the direction of people who understand the mechanics of how things work, you get results.

That’s why I put “Pound the rock” everywhere.

To remind myself of, and to stand for, the ethic of putting in the work.

“In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground” (Gen 3:19).

“Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap” (Gal 6:7-8).

Mastery thru repetition.

Affinity through consistency.

Results from no work are empty gains.

Dreams with no work are naught but wishes.

Gains from shortcuts are, eternally speaking, hollow.

Unearned upsides can be wonderful blessings and grace from heaven, but if converted in my mind and heart to expectations or views that “I don’t have to work because good things simply come my way” or “I will succeed because I am deserving of success” … those attitudes diminish my soul and others’.

Which brings me to another reminder baked into those three words:

To touch base, to make contact with, The Rock … every day. That rock being the “lowercase” rock of revelation and the “uppercase” Rock of Revelation who is Jesus Christ.

To meekly remember I am able from the gift of choice.

To meekly remember I am forgiven and cleansed from His gift of mercy.

To meekly remember I am empowered beyond my natural strength by His gift of grace.

So . . . I pound the rock.

By |2022-05-22T21:13:56-06:00January 3rd, 2018|Faith, General Life, Marketing, Triathlon|1 Comment