Author Archive

What is the Holy Spirit? (my favorite possession)

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, This morning I sat in a chair in our living room with the sun rising and coming through the windows behind me. You curled in my lap Kate… Continue reading

Twin Encouragement

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, I have a friend, fellow triathlete and writer who often serves as an inspiration for me. I was introduced to Bo Parrish by a mutual friend because we… Continue reading

Dan Gable

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate,   A lot of people choose to “go with the flow”. They float downstream, because it’s easier. Because there’s not a lot of risk in being disappointed again,… Continue reading

Mizuno Wave Sayonara 3 review

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, Mizuno running shoes have become my favorite brand over the last few years. I’ve raced half ironmans in the Wave Hitogami, logged plenty of long miles in the… Continue reading

Part 3: Parenting a (very) young student athlete through adversity

READ PART 1 READ PART 2  Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, It was silent for a few moments. I sat and rubbed your back while you stared at the wall. I stood to… Continue reading

Part 2: Parenting a (very) young student athlete

READ PART 1 HERE Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, “Is she with you?” I said. “Yes. In the van,” she said. “She’s okay. Just needs a little while.” “What was her time?” “Don’t… Continue reading

Parenting a (very) young student athlete through adversity

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, We’ve been running together in the evenings, Izzy. As soon as summer swim season ended you said you were ready to start “training” for middle school cross country… Continue reading

Why we go back to the Sea (Seagrove 2015)

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, Each year I think that perhaps the waves will feel just the same as before. Like some familiar part of my life that has lost it’s mystery. Like… Continue reading

Fireflies (republished)

Revisiting an old post from June 2013: Fireflies. So much of it still resonates with me today, including this: “There will be more later this summer,” I said as a matter of fact.… Continue reading

There’s still plenty of summer left

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, This morning as I swam at 5am it took the sun just a while longer to rise. The summer is beginning to feel the slow pinch of time.… Continue reading

Our Life: A Smiling Skeleton with a Lightsaber

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, Mommy texted me the picture of you wearing the skeleton suit and wielding Darth Vader’s (your favorite character) light saber a few days ago. To the uninitiated such… Continue reading

Goal Setting: the path to both success and failure

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, You went through the top drawer of my old dresser at Nana and Papaw’s house a few weekends ago. You pulled out treasures in the shape of old… Continue reading

2015 Y Tri at Old Hickory Lake

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, After a year’s hiatus my hometown race The Old Hickory Lake Triathlon returned – now called the Y Tri at Old Hickory Lake.  Going home to race in… Continue reading

Backstroking your way past fear

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate,  I watched you from a few feet away. I could see the sob working it’s way up within you, the quiver of your lip, and then – the… Continue reading

Gratitude in the midst of a full swing life

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, Summer is in full swing at the Nikazy house. That means swim team in the morning, summer camp, gymnastics, taekwondo, swim meets on Tuesdays, a full slate of… Continue reading

Meditation and Regular Life again and again

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, I’ve written to you a lot over the last few years about relevance, being authentic, about how each of you is your already your own little person and… Continue reading

Excellence, Success, and Knowing the Difference

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, I wrote the article below recently for my LinkedIN blog. As I watch each of you discover your gifting in sports, subjects at school, and personal interaction, I… Continue reading

Memorial Day 2015

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, I promised you that I would eventually get back to writing to you about the day-to-day of our lives. While there isn’t always something profound about our daily… Continue reading

Rain hitting the ground and Thunder that echoes forever

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, I was at home sick much of this week. Monday evening I had a sharp pain in my ear, completely out of the blue. The intense pain kept… Continue reading

Parenting over time: One day ends another begins

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, Life has been busy. I used to hear that as you kids grew up our life at home would grow busier and busier. I started to feel that… Continue reading

New Years Day 2015

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, This photograph expresses our year better than I can with too many words. I get lost in it when I stare at it – in the blending of… Continue reading

Better with Age: 7 things I learned by running a marathon and going back to school at 40

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, A kind, warmly dressed, middle-aged woman caught me by the shoulders and steadied me. She made eye contact and spoke calmly in a motherly voice, “Congratulations on your… Continue reading

Mizuno Wave Rider 18 review

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, The Wave Rider 18 is my third model of Mizuno’s flagship shoe (the 16, 17 and now 18 all being in my collection over the last couple of years).… Continue reading

Both ends of the cute spectrum

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, I found you feeding your breakfast to Pluto a few mornings ago, Kate. I couldn’t help but to sneak a picture. We both laughed as I mimicked the… Continue reading


Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, We sat in the chair together, Max beside the just decorated Christmas tree, watching movies. You ate a popsicle – and then leftover tater-tots from lunch, your knees… Continue reading

Perseverance and hollowing out the stone

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, I had to walk. Somewhere around mile 18 during my 22 mile training run yesterday I started feeling bad. Really bad. I was suffering from nausea. My hands were… Continue reading

Izzy and the Tennessee Aquatics Invitational

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, This weekend we went to Knoxville for your second Xcel swim meet of the year, Izzy. We always stay at Aunt Carolyn and Uncle Roy’s cabin in Farragut… Continue reading

The Best Strategy for Getting the Best out of Yourself in life and sport

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, Half-way through life I’ve learned what my strengths and weaknesses are. I used to dwell on my weaknesses, wring my hands, squint my eyes, and worry about them.… Continue reading

Leadership lessons for a 5th grade CEO: The Gable Way

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, You woke up before mommy and I today. That’s rare. Last night was like Christmas Eve for you before bedtime. Today is your first day as a CEO… Continue reading

Happy 6th Birthday Max and Kate!

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, I’ve told people often over the years that I never really saw God in my life until I first saw you Izzy. I believed long before that, but… Continue reading

The Secret to Success in Business: The Rule

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, I wrote an article for my LinkedIN page last week called “The Secret to Success in Business: The Rule”. I figured that title would draw interest from the… Continue reading

The Treadmill: reunited with an old friend

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, In the early years of my triathlon and road racing “career” I used to spend a lot of time on the treadmill. It was a quick, easy, and… Continue reading

GU Brew’s new formula reviewed

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, One thing I’ve struggled with over the years is finding the right ratio of endurance sports drinks to gels to solid foods during my racing. Before switching almost… Continue reading

The echo of that strong wind remained

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, This morning I set out for a ride in the early gloom and wet streets of overnight storms. The roads and yards in our neighborhood were strewn with… Continue reading

Mizuno Wave Sayonara 2 review

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, A while back I wrote to you about my first experience with Mizuno’s Wave Sayonara – a shoe that bridged the gap between Mizuno’s pure racing flats and… Continue reading

A Pirate Looks at 40

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, I turned 40 a few days ago. Someone asked me how I feel about it; I’ve been thinking about that question ever since. I’m not sure – I guess… Continue reading

Why I decided to go back to school after 15 years

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, It’s been nearly a year and a half since I finally took that big step, a flying leap really, into the unknown. A leap of faith – across… Continue reading

Izzy and the 2014 Half Pint Triathlon

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, You raced in your 4th triathlon on Saturday, Izzy. This particular race was put on by the Williamson County Parks and Rec department: The Half Pint Triathlon: 100… Continue reading


Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, Homework is hard when you’re 5 and when you’re 10. We sit down at the table after cleaning the dinner dishes off and go through your homework. Actually… Continue reading

Pearl Izumi ELITE In-R-Cool Tri Suit review

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, 12 years ago, when I first got into triathlon, I used to race in a one-piece tri suit. By 2006 I made the shift to a two-piece suit… Continue reading

Rest, Power, and Possibility

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, I took it easy this week. I rested Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday entirely and then went for a short swim on Wednesday. I kept it nice and easy… Continue reading

Toughman Alabama race report

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, I raced in my 6th half-ironman distance event last weekend. This was the first of hopefully many Toughman Alabama events produced by my friends at Team Magic. They… Continue reading

The First day of Kindergarten and continuing the journey

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, It came and went so fast. And for the nearly 6 years leading up to it I wondered what the moment might feel like. The truth is, while… Continue reading

3 simple things half ironman training taught me about life

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, I’ve learned a few things about training for half ironman races over the years. In the process, triathlon has taught me a lot about life. And I hope… Continue reading

The beach, faith, and inbetween

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, The trick to leaving the beach is to pretend it’s not there – that without you – it ceases to exist. At least until you come back to… Continue reading

Quiet breaths

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, Yesterday evening, around sunset, out on my bike I stopped and watched kids swinging on a rope swing into a deep creek. This morning, from my truck, as… Continue reading

Of Monsters and rainy southern summer nights

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, We went to the tractor pull Friday night, Max. You girls stayed home with Mommy – which it turns out meant going shopping and for milkshakes. You and… Continue reading

Seadragon of the Year

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, You scooted over closer to me, shuffled your feet on the concrete floor, took a sip of the Sprite can, and hid behind it nervously. “I didn’t get… Continue reading

Freedom and the Art of Riding Without Training Wheels

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, I watched you ride off, across the empty parking lot – through the waves of heat. You gave me a quick glance as you turned to come back,… Continue reading

Training partners

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, I’m training for what will be my 6th half-ironman event since October 2010. By some standards that’s not a lot – by others it’s monumental. For me it… Continue reading

The Lonely Pursuit of Significance

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, I wake up early. It never gets easier, but now my eyes usually open 10 minutes before the alarm on my phone sounds – be it 4:50am or… Continue reading

Before the Day tries to steal away and leave us behind.

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, Summer is a ride through quiet streets in Papaw’s convertible. climbing trees. Making homemade icecream on the driveway and smores on the backporch. Playing outside past dark with… Continue reading

A simple life is lesson enough

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, Someone asked me recently if I’m still writing letters to my kids. I tried to justify the fact that I’m just busier these days than I used to… Continue reading

This is not a Fugazi tshirt

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, A few days ago a friend sent me a link to a video of a concert: April 1993 – 328 Performance Hall in Nashville  – Fugazi I was… Continue reading

Driving a truck with no shirt on and running with horses

  Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, They saw me coming around the corner I guess. And by the time I reached the fence dividing them from me and the road and their open… Continue reading

Making the most of a short season

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, I can still feel the pinch of the chlorine in bridge of my nose, that familiar smell of swim practice, tee shirt wet around the waist from riding… Continue reading

Silent, across the horizon

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, Sunrise. Pastels. Water colors. Silver tipped reflections blend, swirl, and foam. God writing poetry. His voice thundering over the water.  Washing over my feet. A solitary boat, silent… Continue reading

Wired for Community

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, Community is important to our family – though we haven’t always been great at pursuing it outside of our substantial immediate families. Here is an article I wrote… Continue reading

Graduation day: slow down, because time won’t.

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, I forgot to set the alarm on my phone last night. It normally startles me awake each morning at 5:00am. I woke up on my own at 5:04 in a… Continue reading

How to deal with the big moment: don’t fake it, become it.

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, I heard a social psychologist named Amy Cuddy speak recently about the power of body language on personal self confidence. She suggested that through trials and studies at prestigious universities… Continue reading

Happy Landscapes

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, I’ve written to you many times about our kitchen dance parties set to Bob Marley and the Grateful Dead. I’ve also written to you in particular, Kate, about… Continue reading


Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, I drew a line in the dirt with my foot. Dug my toe in. Then swept across it again with other foot – brushing the earth even. Standing… Continue reading

Swimming for daylight

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, I left in the dark. Half asleep. Dangling my feet in the water flexing my ankles, pulling waves to the surface with my bony toes. Looking across the… Continue reading

Tee ball, Mules, and Chris LeDoux

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, After church on Sunday I helped you change into some “play clothes”, Max. I noticed that all of your blue jeans, excluding one pair, have holes in both… Continue reading

Triathlon spring product roundup 2014

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, It was in the upper 70’s today. After a long dark winter – the coldest I can ever remember – the warmth and sun made me feel like… Continue reading

All at once; where do I start?

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate,  Here’s a letter I wrote to you a couple of days ago, but couldn’t muster the nerve to publish. Fear set in and as I told Mommy “the… Continue reading

Happy 15th anniversary

Karen, We met 16 years ago today. And 1 year later, we married. And today, Karen, I love you more than I did yesterday, and more than the day before, and the week,… Continue reading

The future; no matter what

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, I purposely sat you in the back passenger seat – so that I could quickly glance back at you as we drove, Izzy. I took you to Nana… Continue reading

How to make friends and influence kids at Chick-fil-a

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, I met you and Mommy for lunch at Chick-Fila today, Kate. Izzy was at school. Max was at mothers day out, but you got to spend the day… Continue reading

Rumpled. Exhausted. Wrinkled: Hyperbole and Parenting

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, Sometimes I think the hardest thing in life is getting a 5 year old dressed. Maybe that’s hyperbole. I don’t know. I’ve been through a lot of stuff… Continue reading

Crayon Time!

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, The small moments that make up the big picture have always been the most important to our family; dinner around the table at night, family walks to the playground, trips… Continue reading

Empty cups and God: The life of a professional coffee drinker

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, I went for a ride this morning. It’s beginning to warm up finally, but it was still cool enough for my winter cycling gear.  Before pulling out of… Continue reading

Chipotle Spaghetti

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, He used to walk in the front door – a smile on his face, his shirt and suit still freshly pressed, no dark circles under his eyes. She… Continue reading

The promise of spring

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, New ball gloves and under-hand tosses – the turning cheek of uncertainty grew more sure with each toss. I looked up at the sky, closed my eyes let… Continue reading

Telling my kids about Kurt Cobain

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, It fell, drifted, slid almost silently across the cold tile floor covered with patchwork carpet remnants. Somehow I noticed the quiet fall of the poster from the wall… Continue reading

Happy Valentines Day 2014

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, I found an old DVD in our bookcase a few days ago. Its labeled “Reception/Key West”. I showed it to Mommy and neither of us remembered exactly what… Continue reading

The road is never as long as it seems

Dear Izzy, Max, and  Kate, The picture above is from my very first triathlon in 2002. This morning during my swim it occurred to me that my fitness and my success are both… Continue reading

Scratches, Bruises, and Boys

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, Mommy has never let me forget it. Occasionally she’ll just bring it up. Other times we’re reminded by the photos. Back in 1999 I was still wrestling regularly… Continue reading

The wrestling coach and the spelling bee: a heart to heart talk with a 9 yr old

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, Mommy called me a few days ago while I was at work. “You need to talk to Izzy when you get home,” she said. “What’s going on?” I… Continue reading

The Electric Horseman

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, I sat with my hands over my face. Slowed my breathing, released slow. easy. breathes. felt hot tears fill the corners of my eyes, roll down my cheeks,… Continue reading

The Welcome Home Routine

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, Tonight when I came home you three were sitting on the couch together. Scowls all around. Sometimes you 3 meet me at the door or even in the… Continue reading

The flu, bitterness, and baseball slumps

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, I planned on starting the year off right. Start writing again. Start exercising again – moving towards something that resembled training eventually. And the hardest thing of all… Continue reading

Altra Zero Drop Provision 1.5 running shoe review

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, Over the last 2 years I’ve frequently told friends about the benefits of zero drop or “natural” running shoes. My first foray into the method came with Altra… Continue reading

New Years Day 2014

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, I was asleep when the clock struck midnight on 2014. That’s generally been the way I’ve ushered in each new year for a decade or more. At one… Continue reading

Are you free? 5 lessons from Kate on how to be true to yourself.

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, I’ve written to you a lot about being authentic; True to yourself even when the world doesn’t think you should. I’ve written to you about being relevant; Being… Continue reading

Salted Caramel GU Energy Gel review

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, I was sure I had found my true love, as energy gels go, when I first tried GU’s Peanut Butter flavor gel. Many dozens of packets of Peanut… Continue reading

The Meaning of Christmas 2013

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, We’ve been passing around the “The Jesus Storybook Bible” by Sally Lloyd-Jones in my men’s Friday morning Bible study. While last year I used Charlie Brown (actually Linus)… Continue reading

Hunting explained: Deer. Ducks. Turkeys. Chickens? Cows?

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, A few night ago while picking out a book before bedtime you found this one, Max. It was mine when I was a kid. It was published in… Continue reading

The Christmas Tree

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, You wrote this poem last night Izzy. Thank you for the beautiful reminder (you’ve always had a way of keeping us centered). It made Mommy and I both… Continue reading

Newton BOCO AT review (just in time for Christmas)

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, What’s red, green, and awesome all over? The Grinch? Yes, that’s true. But in the this case I mean… The Newton BOCO AT trail shoe. I love Boulder,… Continue reading

Count your blessings

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, I’ve read a lot lately about the divide between the rich and the poor. The habits of each. The divide that has always existed. And will always exist.… Continue reading

3 things I learned about life from Bodhi, Louden Swain, and Rambo

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, Like most dads I like guy movies. At various stages of my life I’ve enjoyed  a melancholy drama or an art-house “film”, but as I age I realize… Continue reading

Thanksgiving and a lesson on giving over breakfast

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, We spent Thanksgiving surrounded by family. We’re lucky to be surrounded by your grandparents, your uncles, aunts, and cousins. Because you’re the youngest of the nieces and nephews… Continue reading

Erin Baker’s Wholesome Baked Goods review

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, I stumbled upon Erin Baker’s breakfast cookies around the same time I got involved in triathlon. I don’t recall exactly, but I’m sure I saw a Triathlete magazine… Continue reading

“Come look”

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate,  Mommy ran into our room laughing this morning while I was dressing for work. “Come look,” she whispered. I love you, – Daddy  

Wrestling: Having chased a dream

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, Something in me changes when I walk into “the room”. That familiar smell of resilite or dollamur mat, watered down bleach, sweat, blood. The heat. I roll my… Continue reading

Faster. Circles.

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, You play on the tire swing on Saturdays at the playground behind our house. You girls sit on the tire while Max spins you around again. Again. Again… Continue reading

Mizuno Wave Sayonara review

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, I’ve become a big fan of Mizuno running in the last couple of years. My introduction was in the more traditional Wave Rider 16 and then I went… Continue reading

Old Friends

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, Papaw moved our family to Hendersonville in 1985 after retiring from his career in the Army. I was in 5th grade. Because we moved in the middle of… Continue reading

Fall memories and delaying the endless pursuit of perfection

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, We made an entire week out of celebrating your 5th birthday Max and Kate. Sunday we invited family and a few friends to come and play at Ring… Continue reading

Happy 5th birthday Max and Kate

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, I sat alone in a cold empty hallway. A nurse left me sitting in a solitary chair outside a set of double doors.  “I’ll come back for you,”… Continue reading

Why recruiting matters

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, I had coffee recently with a guy I used to work with years ago. He admitted that he’s never understood guys like me. As he put it, “hardwired… Continue reading

The mess and the masterpiece: The triathlon offseason

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, My legs ached and my breathing was labored. The sort of sensations normally felt at the end of a long run. I strained up hill at what felt… Continue reading

Fall break

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, I hurt my knee back in June. At the end of a long day on my feet I stepped out of the cargo van full of empty peach… Continue reading

Taking your 9 year old daughter to see Jack Johnson

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, I put my arm around you Izzy. We sat in the balcony together while Mommy sat on the 2nd row. As the lights went down, you rose to… Continue reading

Acorns and oaks

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, While they moved on, I stayed there focused on a single spoken metaphor. About 30 men meet in the “Hangar” behind the church on Wednesday nights. It’s a… Continue reading

SKINS C400 Compression cycling jersey review

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, When I think of Australia I think of a few things in particular: Crocodile Dundee (“That’s not a knife…THAT’s a knife.”) Outback Steak House (I know it’s not… Continue reading

Why Dads should wrestle with their sons

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, You’re all getting big enough now that you’re starting to measure yourselves against me. I had heard that day would come. Can I run faster than daddy? Nope,… Continue reading

The problem with relevance

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, I used to worry because I didn’t know how to explain to you kids what I did at work. I lacked relevance in my own heart and mind.… Continue reading

A Saturday nap on the couch

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, I don’t nap. Ever. Unless it’s dark outside and past 8pm, I can’t sleep. In order to sleep I need complete darkness, complete silence, and a full day… Continue reading

How Revolution Changes Everything: Part 2

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, I woke up this morning and fumbled for my phone to stop its 5am alarm. The room was still dark.  I set out for 6 slow miles before… Continue reading

Where writing comes from

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, A new friend asked me today about writing. It forced me to think about my process. The lack of such of a thing. I reflected upon it as… Continue reading

The lines in my face

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, I read about a group of local guys who are riding their bikes from Oregon to Patagonia. I looked them up and realized that I know one of them personally. I… Continue reading

Breathing still: a journal entry from the past in the present

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, Here’s an  old journal entry I dug up from 1999. I wrote it one evening as the sun set over Bohicket Creek, on the Ace basin, John’s Island, SC.… Continue reading

Ever heard of Cambodia?

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, Saturday we went to Nana and Papaw’s church for a block party. You played in the bounce houses, climbed the rock wall, ate from Nashville food trucks, and… Continue reading

Mizuno Wave Evo Levitas review

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, I had the chance to review Mizuno’s Wave Evo Cursoris a few  months ago. I’m a big fan of that shoe, so when I was given the chance to… Continue reading

Izzy and the Brentwood Kids Triathlon

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, One of the best days of the year for us in each of the last three years has been your race at Team Magic’s Brentwood Kids Tri, Izzy.… Continue reading

2013 Mtn. Lakes Triathlon review

Dear Izzy, Max,and Kate Ten years passes quickly. So much in my life is different in 2013 than it was in 2002 when I made my first trip to Guntersville, AL for Team… Continue reading

Tales from the dinner table: Volume 4: We break things

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, It was just the three of us at home last night, Max and Kate. Mommy was teaching swimming lessons and Izzy was at church with a friend. I… Continue reading

With each 1st day of school

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, I’m struggling for words of late. Unfortunately that’s meant fewer letters to you kids. There are a lot of reasons why, but mostly it’s because life is good… Continue reading

The distance you travel is relative

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, We’re leaving this afternoon for my final triathlon of the summer down in Guntersville, AL. I’ve done the Mt. Lakes Triathlon many times over the years since my… Continue reading

Seagrove August 2013

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, We walked on the beach in the dark. I put my feet in the water and looked across the black water. It rose against the horizon, the moon… Continue reading

How life should feel

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, We’re at the beach again this week. We visit the beach twice each year. It’s important to us; a way to connect. A reset for the heart and… Continue reading

A flat stone sinking into the deep

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, Your feet almost reach the foot-board of your bed now, Izzy. I don’t know why I noticed this recently. But as I passed by your room while gathering… Continue reading

Skora BASE running shoe review

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, “Real” is good. We search for it. We try to create it when all else fails. But sometimes the world is just complicated. “Real” is hard to come by.… Continue reading

A summer morning’s walk

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, We walked down to the creek yesterday morning.  You asked to take your shoes off and walk in the shallow parts. I sat and watched from the grassy… Continue reading


Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, I’ve never been the sort of believer who talks freely about hearing God’s voice. It always seemed so out there to me; like something people who are a… Continue reading

Freedom, joy, and High Cotton

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, It’s been a hectic summer.  Odd work hours for both mommy and I, practices, bible school, always something these days. Several weeks ago we started a new family… Continue reading

Back on solid ground

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, I needed some rest. Like Jimmy Buffett said, “I can’t run at this pace very long.”  So I took a week off from training. It’s rare for me… Continue reading

Carpe Diem, my son!

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, Yesterday Mommy got you two little ones bathed, changed, and generally cleaned up. We were leaving “in 5 minutes” to go deliver peaches. She told you not to… Continue reading

What I learned by falling down

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, I started loading peaches into the truck at the storage building at 7:30am on Friday. I worked on my feet at the Farmer’s Market until 4pm. Then we went… Continue reading

Old Hickory Lake Triathlon 2013

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, Going “home” stirs something in the spirit. When you’re weary and tired from life’s day to day challenges, returning to the place where your dreams were formed and… Continue reading

Sometimes you have to choose

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, Tuesday morning was a learning experience for me. Mommy and I decided to let you go to a birthday party sleepover on Monday night, Izzy; the night before… Continue reading

Learning to let go of control

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, I woke at 4:30am  on Sunday – Father’s Day. I climbed on my bike at 5:15 and rode 43 miles. Mostly moderate-to-hard miles, feeling like the extra effort… Continue reading

Trifatherhood Coaching

There is a lot of coaching advice on the internet and at your local bookstore, but making sense of the clutter is a struggle, especially in the midst of actually trying to train,… Continue reading

Suffering,chocolate donuts and greatness

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, I came across this old picture a few weeks ago at Nana and Papaw’s house. It’s from a cold evening in February 1993: McClellan Gymnasium on the University… Continue reading

Run with me

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, My biggest fear isn’t losing everything; it’s wasting this rare opportunity to change the direction of our life. I may never get the chance again to work with a… Continue reading


Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, Barefoot silhouettes small voices in whispers beneath the trees of our front yard. Hiding our house from the world. The same house that didn’t feel like enough not so long… Continue reading

Newton running Terra Momentum review

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, My first experience with Newton running shoes was with the “Motion”. It’s a shoe that I’ve come to love. It’s light. It’s fast! And I look a little… Continue reading

200 years too late

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, This morning I didn’t want to run. I woke up and turned off my alarm that had yet to sound. I’m preprogrammed to wake up between 4:30-5:00am now.… Continue reading

Time to swim ashore

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, As the sun set into the Gulf I sat and considered the future. How one path leads to another and what’s behind you becomes overgrown sometimes and you… Continue reading

Life in the mixing bowl

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, Sometimes you have to go at the mixing bowl with reckless abandon. No time for keeping things clean. Making sure the time is right. The oven is the right temperature.… Continue reading

Team SP 5k for Oklahoma

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, In response to the tornado in Oklahoma I wanted to do something to help.  It’s a strange feeling being on vacation while so many are suffering. Mommy and… Continue reading

My favorite time of day

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate We’re having a blast on vacation. Each day is filled with hours on the beach, trips to the pool, sandcastles, boogie boarding, and holes dug to “all the… Continue reading

No ones keeping score

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, This morning I walked down to the beach alone.  I sat in the sand, digging my toes in, feeling the coolness of it’s depth – before the heat… Continue reading

The Leap

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, I get emails and messages sometimes from other moms and dads who read my letters to you here on the blog. They often thank me for sharing my… Continue reading

3 Bugs in a Rug

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, I woke up at 4:30 this morning and went for a swim. I’m starting what my coach calls a “transition week,” meaning I’m shifting from a week of… Continue reading

Meet Liz Lyles: mother of two, wife, and Ironman champion

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, I want to introduce you to some awesome Moms and Dads as I write these letters to you. I’m doing my best to balance being a husband to… Continue reading

Rev3 Knoxville 70.3 race report

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, We had such a great time at Rev3 Knoxville last year we decided to go back again this year. I trained hard, through the ebbs and flows of a… Continue reading

Race week mantra: Chop wood, carry water

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate, I wake up thinking about it. I try to put it out of my mind – focus on the tasks of the day, being present in the moment,… Continue reading