I grew up on a farm in Eastern Iowa. I’m the youngest of six children – four brothers and one sister. My sister died suddenly at the age of 16. I was 9 years old at the time. I was devastated and her death had a profound impact on me. I realized at a very early age that nothing matters more than loved ones – that death is irreversible. I also believed I’d never experience anything so traumatic again. So I became a bit of a risk taker, pushing myself as much as possible. We’ll get back to that.
I received post graduate education at Colorado State University, University of London and Iowa State University. After graduation from ISU, I began working at WOI-TV. I had a brief stint in pharmaceutical sales from 2001 to 2003, but missed journalism. Not being in the broadcast journalism field made me feel like I was missing a limb. In 2003, I returned to journalism at WHO-TV.
I’ve reported on murders, missing children, Hurricane Katrina and now focus on investigate reporting, wellness and fitness. I owe a lot to the people who pushed me professionally – and you know who you are.
I began to get serious about fitness around 1990, when I returned from London. Eating fish and chips and drinking pints of stout at the pubs had caught up with me. When I returned to Iowa I stepped on the scale and was shocked. I weighed 184 pounds. I decided to start running – or in reality a walk/run. I would run a block, walk a block, etc.
In 1999, I did my first marathon. I trained with the Leukemia Lymphoma Society’s Team in Training. I had a great run and finished in 3:49. I was hooked on fitness, being adventurous, pushing physical boundaries, the comradery of training with like-minded people and mostly, the euphoria of crossing the finish line.
Since then, I’ve done six marathons, multiple half marathons, 5K and 10K races, multiple triathlons and two Ironman competitions.
That all sounds like a fabulous existence, right? But since then, I’ve also experienced some really bad times – failed marriages, an OWI arrest, public humiliation and some things I’m still not able to write about. I pushed myself professionally and physically to block out some demons – which gets back to being that risk taker, or some might say reckless.
What it comes down to is, I was not happy, primarily with myself. And yes, my childhood experiences influenced that. But with the help of family, friends, and counseling, I’ve learned to accept that bad things happen that we can’t control.
What have I learned from all of this? If I can make changes, anyone can. I’m more compassionate, more forgiving and kinder, hopefully to those around me and myself. We can’t change our past. We can change our present actions, which shape our future. Attitude is everything.
I’m still evolving. We’re all evolving. My dream is to inspire others to achieve their goals, whether it’s getting out of bed when you feel facing the day is impossible, running a 5K or completing an Ironman.
Love yourself, love those around you and love life – it’s short. You should enjoy it!