One year later…what a difference!

Filed under:Adventure,Cool Stuff,Family — posted by Tyler on May 7, 2011 @ 11:51 pm    Print Post

Today I completed an official marathon!  It was not the first time that I’ve run 26.2 miles, but it was the first time that I ran in an official marathon and it happened exactly 1 year after that bad rock climbing accident I had that broke my skull and sent me to the hospital.  The accident led to the discovery of kidney cancer that was removed exactly one month later.  And then I ached to get back to normal for months!  But it’s amazing what a difference a year makes!

On December 7th (6 months after my partial nephrectomy) I decided to force the issue and try to get my life back to normal by running a marathon.  But there was nothing official going on so I just drove my car 26.2 miles out of town and ran home.  Life-back-to-normal backfired on me at mile 6 when I tried to answer my phone and slipped off a high shoulder and sprained my ankle pretty good.  I was determined to finish so I ignored the pain and finished anyway.  It took me 7 hours and 53 minutes to complete.  I called my wife and asked her to bring me a flashlight since it’d be getting dark.  She met me with 7 miles to go and it took everything I had not to wimp out and just get in the car with her.  Heather is so amazing that she didn’t even tempt me by offering me a ride home.  She later said it took everything she had to drive away as she watched me limp on down the road.  I paid the price for running 20 miles of my personal marathon on a sprained ankle and it took months for it to get back to normal.

A couple of months ago I was enduring my commute (over an hour each day from Tooele to Orem) and I saw a billboard advertising the Provo City Marathon.  When I saw that it would take place on May 7th I immediately knew I’d be participating. The fact that portions of our registrations were donated to the Huntsman Cancer Foundation was an added bonus.   My cousin had recently finished running the Boston Marathon in under 3 hours and I decided I’d be happy to double her time.  She’s amazing!

The official marathon I ran today was quite a bit different than my personal marathon.  This time I experienced the anxiety of not waking up on time which included a little nightmare that was all too real and left me waking up thinking I really had missed my alarm, despite the fact that I set three different alarms.  I experienced a heck of a bus ride up to the starting line.  Our bus driver had a trampoline seat and every bump had him springing 3 to 4 feet up into the air as he hung onto the wheel for dear life.  He didn’t even know where the starting line was and had to ask us for directions.  I experienced the cold and anxiety of waiting for the official start.  For the first 6 miles I got to run with other people, but because this was the first year of this distance for Provo City there weren’t too many of us and things thinned out pretty good after that.  I was able to experience the wonderful volunteers, a bib number, a timing chip and many encouraging honks, shouts and waves.  And, best of all, I experienced the joy of seeing my family cheering for me at the finish line.  My kids even ran with me hand in hand across the finish line.  What a day!

So things are well with me.  I’ve come a long way and I’m feeling so blessed that I’m alive and in good health. The temporary pain I pushed through today just reminds me that I am indeed alive!


Peak Fever

Filed under:Adventure,Family,Griff,Peak Bagging,Photography,Sami — posted by Tyler on November 3, 2010 @ 12:11 am    Print Post

I love hiking to the tops of mountains! And the last few climbs have been with my children (daughter, 9 and son, 7) which has been such a pleasure!  My daughter and son joined me on a hike to the top of Deseret Peak early in October.  On the way up Griffin (my 7-year-old) saw a man ahead of him and was determined to catch him.  He forged ahead and left me and Sami in the dust.  I finally had to call out to him and have him wait for us as he reached the ridge-line and just about disappeared from sight.  His attitude about hiking

is a big change from when we bagged Grandeur Peak last year.  We had to hike down in the dark and he broke down and cursed the rocks that kept tripping him. But without the darkness hindering him on this occasion, he thrived!  I was so proud of both of them as we got to the top and looked out at the many peaks and valleys surrounding us.

It was a thrill to see their determination to get down, too.  We hit some steep, slippery, muddy spots on the way down (hiking the loop so as not to backtrack) and Griff took the first spill.  His pants were completely muddy and I thought we might have a repeat of the 2009 summit where he would begin to be frustrated by the decent.  Instead, he shook it off and continued down ahead of me.  That proved to be nearly disastrous as I took my turn at a fall and lost my footing and began to slide down the muddy trail.  With Griff in front of me I piled right into him.  Sami, my 9 year-old daughter, turned out of our way like a skilled bull-fighter and we slid on past her.  Griffin wasn’t sure what was going on as he was forced into my lap, but he managed to catch a glimpse of my smile and realized that we must just be going for a little ride.  We must have slid 25 yards before I managed to hault our progress - just in time, too.   The trail began to turn and we stopped ourselves at the switchback before nearly sliding off the trail off the even steeper mountainside.

After that near miss we continued on down the trail.  We just kept hiking and hiking and after a while Sami pointed out that we hadn’t even taken a rest yet.  We turned around and saw a group behind us up on the saddle and Sami and Griff suggested that we not take a rest the whole way down and added that we shouldn’t let the group above us catch up.  So down we continued and stop we did not.  Although Griff began to doddle and when I suggested that we stop and rest because “you’re doddling, Griff” he asked me for the definition of doddle and I explained it to him.  ”You’re kicking every rock, you’re grabbing every branch and bush.  You’re doddling.”  That didn’t make the difference, but when I pointed out the group of hikers behind us and he saw that they were gaining on us he started running down the trail.  He set the pace for us the rest of the way down and we didn’t stop running until we caught up to some riders on horseback.  Even then we were able to keep a good jog going and the group never caught us.

Griffin and Samantha were very happy to be down, but even more I could sense that they were happy for their accomplishment. They made it all the way to the top of a peak and looked out at all they surveyed.  They endured the trials of fatigue and overcame their desire to stop and rest.  They made it to the bottom safely and we made memories that we will never forget.

Just one week later I felt the need to hike another peak and this time Sami wouldn’t be able to join us.  She cried when I told her Griff and I were going to hike to the top of another peak.  She wanted to join us so bad but she also wanted to go to a church function where she would be able to dress up as a princess.  The princess in her won out and I promised that I wouldn’t hike the peak that I told her we were going to hike - that we would wait for her to hike that peak.  That consoled her enough that Griff and I were able to go without her.

As I thought about alternate peaks I ran through all the peaks I’d love to hike again.  One by one I excluded peak after peak as I remembered their level of difficulty and potential danger due to exposure and drop-offs.  It was a tweet that I saw about the Snowbird Tram being free with a can of food donation that weekend that led me to believe that Twin Peaks American Fork was the peak we would bag together.  I had hiked them once before but I came up the west side and took a “shortcut” down the east side, the side we would now hike up together.  I was also excited about bagging two official peaks and another mountain top, Red Top Mountain or Red Stack (not officially a peak due to its lack of prominence) all in one hike.

We rode up on the tram which was a thrill for Griffin. We noted that the last ride down was at 5 pm.  It was approaching 1 pm as we started off and headed up the trail from the tram.  I was surprised how quickly the trail turned into pure ridge-line as we began to scramble on and over rocks and slipped by trees and managed sheer drop offs.  Griffin was oblivious to the dangers and on one hand I was glad for that.  I didn’t want him to be scared, but when he put his hands in his jacket pockets and acted like he was walking down the side walk I was forced to say something.  I couldn’t believe how nervous I was for him, but I wanted him to be able to tackle this on his own so I just stayed right behind him and placed my arms by him in a way that I could catch him if he fell to the left or to the right, keeping him from falling to his death.  It was the first time that I remember being scared as I hiked to the top of a peak!  It made me wonder if I’ve been as oblivious to the looming dangers as Griffin was today.  I began to fast forward 10 years when Griff tells me that he’s going to bag Lone Peak with some friends.  If he’s as nonchalant as he is today (and as I’ve apparently been for years and years) then I hear myself denying his request.  But I talk myself down from that and convince myself that he’ll be fine, just as I’ve been fine.  I’m flashed back to the present when we come to a spot on the ridge-line that looks impassable and I have to survey where to direct Griffin next.  The “trail” doesn’t get any easier as we continue our ascent, but we carry on as thoughts of turning back have long since expired.

We make it to the top of the first of the twin peaks and feel good about making it to the top.  The ridge-line to the second twin is an easy and care-free jaunt down and then back up and we take a break and eat the lunch we packed.  It’s 3 pm and I consider heading back down without visiting Red Top due to our 5 pm deadline.  But I can’t resist and we carry on to the west to get three in one day.  What an accomplishment for a 7 year-old, I think to myself.  I also have an old geocache that I hid before he was born that I’d like to pay a visit.  That mountain is a little bit further away and a lot more down before a bit more up, but we make it.  The geocache log stalls us further as I read through the entries and delight in the fact that it has caused enough motivation for others to hike to this location of much beauty.

We finally head back but by the time we make it to where we first summited it is 4:10 pm.  We have to make it down the difficult spine and we only have 50 minutes to do it.  I had already considered taking the “shortcut” that I took when I hiked down this side before, but I remembered enough that I knew it to be a risk with a child.  But so was hiking back the way we came and for a moment I thought the shortcut could get us back in time for the last ride down.  As we reach the point of decision I look at the steep slope on my left (north side) and then consider that perhaps the steep slope on my right my be the better “shortcut”.  There are wide ski roads at the bottom of each slope, but the one on the right is a little closer and the terrain is slightly grassy as opposed to scree and rock.  I decide we should risk it.

Note to self - if the words “risk it” are included when considering a decision, reconsider.

We had to down climb a series of cliffs before we could reach the steep and grassy slope.  I would climb down to a spot and then help Griffin down to a place where he would be able to hold on by himself.  Then we’d repeat the process over and over again.  The time for him to conquer this mountain by himself had passed and I was holding on to him for dear life as much as possible by this point.  When we finally reached the steep slope I held out my arm and Griffin held on to it like a sleigh handle and as I controlled our slide down the mountain as he followed down like a kid learning to ski.  He caught on quick and it wasn’t long before he was a pro.

We finally made it to the ski road at 5:35 pm.  I broke the news to Griffin that we probably missed the last tram and I began to prepare him mentally for the hike all the way to the bottom without the aid and comfort of an enclosed carrier dangling on a cable.  I reassured him that the rest of the way down would be nothing like what we had just hiked.  That brought him some relief and he quickly accepted the fact that we had at least an hour or two of hiking ahead of us.

We decided to hike to the tram anyway, just in case.  Earlier as we looked down on the tram we could see groups of people which gave us hope that we still had time to make it.  But now we could see nobody and we accepted our fate.  We were prepared with flashlights and extra layers so I knew we were prepared.  A ride down still would be nice.  I was surprised to see a man appear at the top of the hill as we climbed the last bit to the tram.  The split-second of hope that I felt at seeing someone faded quick as I realized it was a Snowbird employee and I knew in an instant that he was waving us down the hill to let us know that we missed the last tram.  To my surprise, however, he was waving us up the hill and he yelled out to hurry because everyone is waiting for us!  We ran up the hill as fast as we could which was not an easy task. We were both out of breath by the time we reached the top but we were both grinning from ear to ear at the thought that our journey had now come to an end.

I was thrilled that neither one of  us had died or been injured.  I still feel a touch of guilt for taking my 7 year-old on such a tough and dangerous journey.  On the other hand I’m so glad we were able to accomplish this feat, but I’m now determined to stick to the peaks that have actual trails to the top until I have more confidence in my little hikers.  I look back and consider it quite the blessing that Sami wasn’t able to join us.  Although if she was able to join us we would’ve been hiking to the top of Stansbury Island, the peak that she didn’t want us to attempt without her because it’s an island, afterall!  She would likely have been disappointed with her grand delusions, but thank goodness I didn’t have two little ones to look after on our hike to Twin Peaks!

I made it up to Sami by hiking to a high spot in the Oquirrh mountains on Monday night.  The offer was extended to Griffin but he declined.  He had had enough peak hiking for one week  and two days wasn’t enough time for him to forget the trial.  Cold weather has hit the Wasatch and surrounding mountains and it would seem that the season for peak bagging has passed.  Warmer weather this week has caused me to second guess that fact, but the now on the tops of the mountains remains and all I need to do is imagine my children slipping and sliding in the icy snow and my obsession is squelched for the time being.  We’ll get back to it next year when the snow melts off in July.

We’ll also get back to the rock climbing that has dogged me ever since I took a fall in May that ended up saving my life.  I’m the proud new owner of a stylish grey rock-climbing helmet, so we’re good to go!  My kids have missed it this year so we’ll be glad to get back to it.  Until then we’ll look back fondly on the fun memories we made during our month of peak fever!


Oh, I have a blog

Filed under:Adventure,Cool Stuff,Friends,Inspiring,PTA — posted by Tyler on May 21, 2010 @ 7:43 pm    Print Post

There are so many other ways to keep people informed or express thoughts or opinions that I forgot to stop in here and spill a desultory thought or two. For example, back in October of last year I let the world know via Twitter that I was expanding my role in PTA, beyond the role of Trust Lands Appointee on the Utah PTA Board, to include helping more men become involved in PTA. I flew to Atlanta for the conference/training and surprisingly had quite a spiritual experience. I was inspired by the men who passionately spoke about how important it is for the father to resume their role as head of their families and be involved with their children in all aspects. I meant to blog about this, but I never got around to it.

Related to my PTA duties, I meant to blog about the 2010 Legislative session that kept me very busy. I uploaded a couple of videos to YouTube and Facebook that showed the House floor debate that took place after weeks of doing what I could (along with the help of many other people) to make sure that a law wasn’t passed that would hurt the PTA in Utah. The bill was ultimately defeated and the law wasn’t changed.

I also testified on behalf of the PTA in the House Natural Resources, Agriculture, and Environment Committee on Feb. 23. I spoke in opposition to H.B. 323 School and Institutional Trust Lands Amendments (Rep. K. Sumsion) and told the committee that they shouldn’t gamble with our children’s money. You can listen to my testimony here starting at 1:30:00. It was towards the end of the meeting and time was short so what I had to say was cut short, as well. I had spent a lot of time preparing my testimony and you can read it in it’s entirety here.

Unfortunately many people were confused by the stance that PTA had taken, thinking that because we opposed HB 323 (the funding mechanism for H.B. 324 and H.B. 143) that we had taken a stance on States’ Rights issues. We were unable to take a position on that because we didn’t have resolutions that had been voted on by our membership that would allow us to speak on States’ Rights issues. I’m still uncertain that this misunderstanding has been resolved, but we were victorious and an alternate funding source was pursued. It was unbelievable how much hate mail we received! Attempts were made for me to go on the Doug Wright show to clear things up, but it was right during the time of the Primary Children’s Hospital fundraiser so that didn’t work out. If you are one of the people that were concerned about the position that PTA took on the funding of these law suits, please contact me so I can better explain our position to you. I’d be happy to talk to you about it.

Most recently I went on a weekend climbing trip to Nevada with a couple of good friends. Google Buzz and Twitter was the social media of choice for the news of the climbing accident that occurred during that trip and the subsequent retelling of the tale by John Orgill. I’ve been tweeting a lot more lately, too, keeping anyone who cares up-to-date on what is going on with the tumors found in my left kidney and the head of my pancreas. I’ll be going in for surgery for those issues in a week or two. They’re still doing some testing on the pancreas to see if it’s cancerous (the doctor thinks not) or if it’s pre-cancerous. They’ll perform what’s known as the whipple procedure if they deem it necessary. We’re hoping to know more after a scheduled endoscopy is performed.

Thank you everyone for your thoughts and prayers. I’ve been feeling much better since my fall and release from the hospital. The hospital actually didn’t release us so much as kick us out once they discovered that they weren’t in our insurance plan. I was glad to be gone, though. One of the worst parts about the whole thing was that in Nevada they didn’t insert the catheter correctly or all the way. It essentially blocked me from being able to relieve myself and I was almost more bothered by that then I was from the blood spewing out of my right ear. Finally when I got to the U of U hospital they fixed it and it was one of the most joyous moments of my life! So thanks to the University of Utah ER folks who got me peeing again. I really appreciate it.

I also have to give a HUGE thank you to the people that dragged me off that mountain. First and foremost is Matt Fisher and John Orgill (my friends who were climbing with me) who say they’re not going to rock climb anymore after being traumatized by the sound of my head cracking on the rock face. I really hope they’ll get over that and join me this summer for some great climbing (after I’ve recovered) and I thank them most of all for having the faith in God to give me a Priesthood blessing. I have no doubt that it helped me through the ordeal and was the cause of a quick recovery. I don’t remember too much about the rescue attempt, but I do remember repeating the names of the people that were carrying me down the mountain on a stretcher. Deputy Aitor Narvaiza was one of the men first on the scene and I was told that I kept apologizing and repeating questions. That was until Aitor arrived and told me to knock it off. He was also the guy that made me repeat the names of everyone carrying me down the mountain and he coached me on some deep breathing so I could avoid throwing up, which is what I remember most about the entire ordeal. I threw up and threw up and threw up!! I don’t ever want to throw up again! Deputy Narvaiza also stayed on the scene after they got me in the helicopter and helped my friends get back to their Jeep. He and all the others who helped me in my time of need are awesome and I owe them all my life! I’m not a big fan of the bills I’ve been getting in the mail, but that’s what insurance is for. I’m really glad there are people out there that you can count on when there is an emergency.

I also have to thank the awesome company that I work for who have been very understanding and supportive during all of this.  The corporate office where I work sent me a card that they all wrote in and it was very thoughtful.  I insisted on getting back to work this week and I started working from home since I still can’t drive due to dizziness.  I also had some stuff to do in our Cedar City office on Thursday and my boss was nice enough to drive me down there.  Heck, he was nice enough to let me go!  I needed to get out of the house and although it was harder than I thought it would be, I was glad I went.  He was also nice enough to lend me his Star Trek movie collection on DVD.  I’m a big fan of Star Trek but I’ve never seen Star Trek I through VI.   Now I have something to watch in my down time!

I’ll most likely just continue to use the micro-blogging platforms to keep people updated. But, for more major news I might just use this handy-dandy blog that I am the owner of, now that I remember that I have it! :D


U2 Live Webcast Was Awesome!

Filed under:Cool Stuff,Media,Opinion,Video — posted by Tyler on October 26, 2009 @ 12:35 am    Print Post

I just finished watching the U2 live webcast on YouTube tonight. They performed in L.A. tonight and let the entire world in on the act via a YouTube stream (the first of its kind) and it was fabulous!! I’ve been to every U2 concert since they started coming back to Salt Lake City. I really love live music. This just about counted. There was something special about it knowing that the rest of the world was watching with me.

The quality of the stream and the sound of the music was amazing. I thought for sure they’d have technical issues with so many people tuning in for a STREAMING broadcast. But it was flawless! I was witness to something special tonight. Now they’re rebroadcasting and I’m going to have to force myself to go to bed. Five o’clock comes too early!! So much for getting to bed early tonight. It was worth it! They better come to Salt Lake City on their second North American leg of the tour!


Colorado Adventures - Day 1

Filed under:Adventure,Cool Stuff,Friends,Photography — posted by Tyler on August 14, 2009 @ 2:28 pm    Print Post

Let me begin by saying that Sprint and Colorado (at least the part that I’ve been in the last few days) are not friends. My friend who has Verizon has had much better coverage, so I blame Sprint for my delays in posting daily updates as intended. Besides that, we’ve also been extremely busy! But I love to document so it’s no burden to relay the events of this trip. I have a couple of hours of down time AND an internet connection, so hopefully I can catch up.

We got off to a rocky start when at 2 a.m. Chan and I picked up our friend John at his house. We forgot the bike rack and left the trailer behind on purpose so we strapped his bike to the roof of Chan’s Suburban. When we got back to Chan’s house to load up the trailer we pulled into the garage and forgot about John’s bike! His bike (and Chan’s roof rack) were, needless to say, toast! Not a great way to start a biking adventure at all. We decided to make the best of it and take the broken bike along in the event we could make some repairs, but John would have to purchase new front shocks at the very least. His Boxxer shocks were a twisted mess and would no longer be useful.

Matt, the fourth and final participant of this great event, arrived at Chan’s house at 4:30 a.m. We packed up the trailer and left ON TIME at 5 a.m. That has NEVER happened before with this group. I was surprised and impressed.

My wife always teases me that I never tell her what we talk about on these long trips. I seriously always forget what we talk about! With that in mind I decided to keep a log of the conversation of the trip on day 1. It’s quite random, but here are some “highlights”.

John tells us about the power of magnesium.

Discussion: Are germs mobile?

Tyler and Matt discuss the merits of Windows Vista as well as the drawbacks. Both are happy about the release of Windows 7.

Driving up Spanish Fork Canyon. Chan mentions how much he hates this road. We could die on this trip if we fall asleep at the wheel. Other ways we could die: Spontaneous combustion - Matt explains, if you dove into a stream or pond that had been contaminated with potassium…upon drying you would auto ignite. It happened once to Matt’s lab coat.

Matt talks about an $8 tool that will straighten out your rear breaks.

Chan let’s us know that it’s only 44 degrees in Spanish Fork Canyon.

We reminisced about the time that John called in a fire that a train had started in Spanish Fork canyon.

John is surprised about how many entries Tyler is making in this log. The log is reviewed by Tyler. (laughter) Matt predicts the next entry will be four days from now and that it will read, “I’m so sick of this trip! John’s bike is broken and we can’t find a part to fix it!”

Chan suggests that Tyler get a buzz on this trip. He is the only one that doesn’t have one.

Tyler discusses the reason he goes to Sports Clips for his haircuts, despite the $25 cost (including tip).

John talks about his trip to California to replace stained glass windows in the NewPort Beach Temple.

Matt washes Chan’s window with his hat. It’s 33 degrees! Matt begins to wash Chan’s side of the window.

Chan is drowsy. We take turns telling stories about falling asleep at the wheel.

John says, “If I could choose a death I think I’d rather die instantly in a head-on car accident than drown.” John told a story about how he felt like he almost drowned, which is one of his worst fears. Chan related a story about how he felt close to death in Moab and Matt came to his rescue. It had something to do with falling off a rock while climbing or something.

Brother Matt believes his beard makes him a better driver. The skill level has risen. His beard resembles the beard of Mose, Dwight Schrute’s cousin on The Office.

John starts calling around to different bike shops to find himself a replacement shock for his broken bike. “Hi, I have an odd question for you. Do you have a pair of used boxer shorts?” (He meant to ask if they had a used pair of Boxxer Shocks. It was pretty funny, but maybe you had to be there.

Grass Roots Cycle hooks us up with a used shock and only charges us $20 for installation, including all the cabling that was needed after the garage incident.

John preaches to us about Magnesium some more. He reads from a pamphlet he picked up in Grand Junction while waiting for his bike to get fixed.

So, that’s a sampling of our meanderings in conversation. It’s usually quite interesting, although it’s probably not very evident. Anyhow, we got John a used front end shock ($200 cash), a new wheel and disc ($190 and $20 labor). What a freakin’ deal! $410 for a bike made new again. Crappy way to start a trip, though. :(

We drove to Vail, Colorado and walked around for a while. We decided to go drive South to Buena Vista, CO. We shopped at City Market and drove west of Buena Vista to find a campground to camp in. We found a campground called Collegiate Peaks Campground and pulled in at around 9pm. We set up the tent and ate dinner and got to bed at around 11:45pm. Matt, Chan and Tyler took Tylenol PM to aid in their sleep. It wasn’t the start we planned on, but we still had fun getting started.

This post describes the mundane, normal occurrences of our trip, which you may or may not find interesting. The following days are much more exciting, I promise! Enjoy the pictures.


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