Tag Archives: Danny Alexander

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Good for What Ale’s Ya

Fest of Ale brings 100 breweries, beer aficionados to New Albany Riverfront Amphitheater

Story by Mandy Wolf Detwiler | Photos by Danny Alexander

If you’re a Kentuckiana beer connoisseur or just plain like a pint or two on a hot day, there are fewer places to enjoy a brew than the Fest of Ale at the New Albany Riverfront Amphitheater. Now in it’s 12th year, the event not only brings together more than 100 breweries with beer fans, it also raises money for the WHAS Crusade for Children.

This year’s Fest of Ale will be held 3 to 7 p.m. June 3 at the amphitheater. Hosted by Keg Liquors, there will be more than 250 craft and imported beers to sample. Keg Liquors owner Todd Antz is the son of a Jeffersonville firefighter who spent plenty a day raising money for the Crusade for Children. Looking for his own way to help, Antz spearheaded Fest of Ale more than a decade ago, which raised more than $16,000 for the Crusade in 2016.

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“Last year was our first year at the New Albany amphitheater,” Antz says. “That was a huge change from us over where we had held it in Clarksville before. Just that setting of the river in the background (and) there was so much open space that we were able to set up and use. We’ve learned from that first year.”

Don’t expect random guys pouring small tastes of ales. Representatives from breweries big and small will be on-hand to field questions and talk about their offerings.

“We have over a hundred different breweries represented, and we’re one of the few beer fests in the area that I’ve seen actually brings in the majority of the actual brewery employees themselves,” Antz says. “Through the event and my stores, we’ve just established good relationships spectrum, whether it’s people just getting into good beer, or you’re a hardcore person who’s knee-deep in good beer.”

There will also be a small sampling of vino available.

“We usually have eight to 20 different wineries there,” Antz added. “There will be a good combination of local and national wineries represented. We get as much as we can locally, but then some of my distributors actually come in and pour different wineries as well too.”

Live music will also keep the event, well, hopping. Food trucks are available.

“We suggest to people that you’ve eaten a good lunch before you come out. We see many people make that mistake,” Antz laughs. “Keep well hydrated. It’s not a sprint, and it’s not drink-as-much-as-you-can. I tell people to be choosy. There’s more beer there than any one person can make it through. Look for (beers) you haven’t had before, or experiment with a style you might not have tried before. With 250 different beers available, there’s something there for everybody. I always try to push people outside of their comfort zone.”

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No one under the age of 21 may enter the event, and designated drivers are encouraged and enter free of charge, but are not permitted to sample. Volunteers at the event will also call a taxi service if needed. Fest of Ale is handicapped accessible.

New this year is a shuttle service in conjunction with Mellow Mushroom, which is located in Louisville. For an extra $15 per person, attendees will be shuttled back and forth from the pizzeria’s two locations in the Highlands and on Shelbyville Road.

Tickets to the Fest of Ale are $40 in advance or $50 on site. The event will be held rain or shine. To purchase, visit Keg Liquors at 617 E. Lewis & Clark Pkwy. in Clarksville or at 4304 Charlestown Road in New Albany. Tickets may also be bought online at www.kegliquors.com.

Inside Scoop on Abbey Road on the River Tickets

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Ultimate Ticket to Ride

If you’re a true fan of 60s music, you’ll want to spend every minute at Abbey Road on the River, which comes to Jefferonsville May 25 to May 29. The Ultimate Ticket to Ride tickets will give you access to the festival every day Thursday through Monday. The very best ticket, you’ll be able to see all concerts and events including Herman’s Hermits starring Peter Noone, Peter Asher, The Grass Roots, Mark Lindsay, Ambrosia and The Family Stone. The Ultimate Ticket to Ride enables you to have reserved seats in rows 2 through 11 after 6 p.m. plus all-day access to the air conditioned indoor venue, 300 Spring, as well as all late-night activities.

Cost for the Ultimate Ticket to Ride is $219.95 for adults (plus all applicable fees) and $79 for kids under 21.

Note: If you purchase the Ultimate Ticket to Ride package, you’ll get a 20 percent VIP discount at participating merchants. See the list at GoSoIN.com/abbey-road.

Exclusive Saturday Main Event and Backstage Meet and Greet

If you want guaranteed front-row seats, the Saturday Main Event package is for you. Front row seating begins at 5 p.m. for Mark Lindsay and includes all concerts for the rest of the evening at the Main Stage including The Grass Roots, Herman’s Hermits starring Peter Noone and The Family Stone.

6:15-7 p.m. Meet the artists backstage, including Peter Asher, Peter Noone and Mark Lindsay.

Then head back to your seats for shows featuring The Grass Roots, Peter Noone and The Family Stone.

Single Day Reserved

If you can only stay for a day or two, you might want single-day reserved seating tickets. These are valid Friday, Saturday, or Sunday and include all concerts and events including Herman’s Hermits starring Peter Noone, Peter Asher, The Grass Roots, Mark Lindsay, Ambrosia, and The Family Stone. These tickets will give you access to the reserved seats in rows 12 through 30, which are available after 6 p.m., and all-day access to air conditioned indoor venue 300 Spring and late-night activities. Single Day Reserved Seats are theater style and are sold on a first come, first served basis. The on-site box office will exchange your ticket for a reserved section special wristband.

General Admission

General admission tickets are available and give you access to all outdoor concerts and events including Herman’s Hermits starring Peter Noone, The Grass Roots, Mark Lindsay, Ambrosia and The Family Stone on Saturday; Ambrosia on Friday; Jake Clemons and The Love Concert on Sunday. They are available on a first-come, first-served basis. General admission seating will be behind reserved sections, where applicable. Lawn chairs and blanket seating.

Discounted general admission tickets are available for purchase at all area Thornton’s for just $20 (regular price is $35) and they include free admission for a 21 and under guest.

Dinner 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Sunday: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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Fit Like a Glove

By Steve Kaufman | Photos by Danny Alexander

Shelly and Jay Sorg are experts at nutrition, exercise, strength-building and the mental parts of sports. It’s how they conduct their business and how they connect their lives. 

Shelly Sorg does not seem to be a woman who minces words.

When she says that the high-carb diets advocated in the 1990s have produced “a nation of diabetics” – with all the conviction that she brings to most topics having to do with fitness and nutrition – you automatically try to remember every bowl of oatmeal or banana smoothie you ate in 1995.

When she says that only one of 50 people who come to her gym has “good body fat,” you automatically reach down and pinch your stomach.

When she says that warm-ups we used to think were good actually were harmful, you find yourself thinking back to every 15 minutes of stretching you did before you went out on your run.

Sorg is more than a woman of strong opinions. She walks the talk. A high school volleyball player in Elgin, Ill., she went off to Morehead State on an athletic scholarship to study something most people didn’t know too much about in 1991: exercise science.

“Not many schools had exercise science programs back then,” she said, “but Morehead did.”

s1So, she played ball (she was MVP of the Ohio Valley Conference) and studied exercise science, but she also minored in business. “I knew I wanted to go into business. My parents both owned their own businesses. So, I went for a master’s degree in health promotion and wellness at University of Louisville.” She also got certified as a strength and conditioning specialist.

Her focus was, characteristically, a laser beam cutting through all the superfluous: “I knew I wanted to do something where I made a difference in people’s lives.”

Also, at Morehead, she met Jay Sorg, a baseball player from Trinity High School in Louisville. As they tell the story, they had sprained ankles together and met in the training room. When Jay was drafted by the Reds in the 15th round in 1994, Shelly was along for the ride.

It was a bumpy ride, beginning with the 232-day baseball strike that wiped out parts of two major league seasons, from August 1994 until the following April. It did, though, allow Jay to finish his degree.

“I was slated to go to the Instructional League, but it was cancelled because of the strike. If that hadn’t happened, who knows when I would have been able to get my degree, if ever? There were no online classes back then.”

Jay spent the next 12 years in the Reds organization, bouncing around from Princeton, W. Va., of the Appalachian League; to Billings, Mont., of the Pioneer League; to Charleston, W. Va., of the South Atlantic League; to Burlington, Iowa, of the Midwest League; to Chattanooga, Tenn., of the Southern Association. He hit .283 and drove in 72 runs for the Burlington Bees in 1997, but mostly it was a typical minor league career seeming to go nowhere.

But it did lead somewhere, because life does that.

“I was drafted as a third basemen, but it was the same year the Reds drafted Aaron Boone (out of the University of Southern California). Once they tabbed him as their guy of the future, I was moved to first base.”

Toward the end, he was even tried as a catcher. “I wish I’d done that earlier, because one of my best tools was my arm strength.”

He thought he might be headed to Triple-A Indianapolis for the 1999 season. Then, in spring training that year, it all came crashing down on him – literally, and ironically, on the weight bench. (Ironically, because it’s the kind of accident Shelly preaches against.) Jay, himself, calls it “a dumb thing.”

“I was squatting – about 400 to 500 pounds – and I misracked the weight. I thought I’d racked it securely, so I kind of let go of it, it fell on me and as I twisted to avoid it, I turned my ankle over. There was a lot of ligament and tendon damage.”

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“He was maxing out to build strength, which is what they did then,” said Shelly. “I thought he ought not do that so early in spring training, but hindsight is always perfect.”

In hindsight, though, what it did give Jay was the opportunity to move onto the next phase of his life. “I was given a few options – keep bouncing around in the Reds’ system, take my release and try to hook on with another organization, or become a hitting coach.”

He said it was tough to accept – “when you’re in the heart of it, you always think you’ll make it up there, eventually” – but he took the coaching job and found it was something he was really suited for.

He started with the Rockford (Ill.) Reds in the Class A Midwest League, where his 1999 roster contained Adam Dunn, Austin Kearns, Corky Miller, Brandon Larson and Travis Dawkins, all of whom made it to the majors. Dunn hit 462 home runs in 14 big-league seasons.

Jay also managed a couple of times – in Clinton, Iowa, and back in Billings. “When Buddy Bell, our farm director, offered me a managing job, I was 26, the youngest manager in the nation.”

But Jay found he liked the teaching part of the game better. So, in 2006, he left the Reds for the head coaching job at his alma mater. Shelly found that Jay’s career offered her a calling as well.

“I was Jay’s personal strength coach, because they didn’t have that then,” she said. When the Reds had their spring training camps in Plant City, Fla., weight rooms were nonexistent. “We had some benches and some lat pull-downs,” said Jay. “Fast-forward three or four years, the weight room is elaborate and there are strength coaches at every level.”

When Jay returned to Morehead, Shelly became the team’s strength and conditioning coach. And she began to develop a very specific training regimen.

“We’d work on nutrition and body fat, how to gain 25 pounds of muscle in the off-season,” Shelly said. “As I tracked who lost weight, who kept it off, who stayed injury-free, who performed better, I started putting everything together.”

“Shelly did a really good job of keeping up with the science and the technology,” said Jay, “and the more experience you have, you can say, ‘I know this is what the book says, but this is what my body is telling me.’ Maybe, if she weren’t an athlete, she wouldn’t have those insights. But she was. And she did.”

Eventually, the couple opened their own fitness studio, Sorg’s Sport & Wellness in New Albany. Shelly has advanced the science to the point where she proclaims, as the studio’s tagline, “Transforming lives, inside and out.”

It’s a thorough and holistic approach, whether she’s working with Central High School’s soccer team, or teens whose parents want their children to have improved skills and confidence; or adults rehabbing an injury or seeking more endurance or flexibility.

“My goal is intervention,” she explained. “I do a lot of balance and a lot of core, for every muscle group. And then I concentrate on what they need individually, whether it be speed, agility, endurance, vertical jumping, biometrics.”

She said everybody thinks “exercise science” is just diet and exercise, “but it’s more comprehensive. My master’s thesis was a 100-page paper on the interconnectedness of mind-body-spirit on sports performance. Most trainers focus on eating and working out, but the mental part is more important than anything else.”

The Jay Sorg Baseball Academy works with teams and individuals, generally ages eight through high school, though “we’ll have college kids who come back, and even some pro guys who work out with us until they go to spring training.”

There, Jay offers hitting, pitching and fielding, but not just the mechanics. There’s also strength-training, vision-training and the mental side of baseball – confidence concentration, situational intellingence. “We do a lot more than just ‘come on in and swing the bat.’ ”

Among their most apt students are the four Sorg children, ages seven to18. Ty is a senior at Floyd Central High School, where he plays football and wrestles.

“Next year,” said Jay, “he’ll play college football somewhere. He’ll be recruited as a tight end. He’s 6-foot-4, 245 pounds Where will he play? You can hear Jay’s voice swell with pride. “If he’s accepted, he’ll go to Harvard – or Washington University of St. Louis, or Centre College – and study computer science or engineering.

“He’s really smart.”

Kyley is a junior in high school, running cross country and track. Casey, an eighth-grader, “follows me in baseball,” said Jay, who coaches Casey’s Ironmen Elite baseball team.

As for seven-year-old Macy, “she’s into everything.”

“Shelly always had them doing something,” Jay said, admiringly. “Even Macy does some of her mother’s classes, the footwork and speed-and-agility stuff. We always encouraged them as far as sports were concerned, but we never forced them. All we asked was that they do something physical every season. It’s good for their overall development.”

“I’m a big fan of what sports does for discipline, teamwork, social skills, responsibility, accountability,” said Shelly. “You learn all that in a different way than you would in other avenues.”

They not only walk the talk, they work it out.

Where Total Fitness Rules 

Sorg’s Sport & Wellness is 5,000 square feet of sport-turf flooring located at 800 E. Eighth St. in New Albany. Shelly Sorg proclaims that her 12-week transformation training Wellness Workshop and Universal metabolic makeover PQ program transforms people’s lives, whether it’s the high school athlete or senior citizen.

The intensive hitting program at the Jay Sorg Baseball Academy is aimed not only at better batting mechanics bu also at mental training and focus.

To find out more, call the Academy at 502.797.2970  or 502.727.0930; email transformation@shellysorg.com; or go to www.shellysorg.com.

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The Longest Longshot

By Steve Kaufman | Photo of Carla Grego by Danny Alexander | Historical photos courtesy of Beth Buckley

In 2006, when 50-1 shot Mine That Bird burst out of obscurity to win the Kentucky Derby, it resurrected the name of another longshot from the distant past.

In 1913, Donerail – the longest of Derby long shots at 91-1 – broke from the pack to defeat front-running favorite Ten Point. For a few months, 93 years later, the story of Donerail’s improbable victory was on everybody’s consciousness.

Mine that Bird’s jockey, Calvin Borel, became as famous as his horse. That’s how today’s personality-driven media work today. But how many people know the name of Donerail’s rider from that May afternoon 104 years ago?

One who does is Carla Grego, the membership manager at the Kentucky Derby Museum. Grego grew up in a horse family on Southern Parkway in the shadow of Churchill Downs. Her parents had a riding academy. Her name then was Carla Warren. Her mother’s maiden name was Donna Goose. Her mother’s uncle was Roscoe Goose.

Roscoe Goose was aboard Donerail on Derby day 1913.

As a young girl, Carla didn’t know this great-uncle, or in fact too much about the family’s history. “I was 12,” she said. “I was more worried about what was going on with me.”

But then this small man, 74 years old by then, suddenly appeared in her life. “We had horses and were going to horse shows all the time,” Carla said. “It was in 1965. I was riding that day at the state fairgrounds horse show. Roscoe came to watch me ride.”

He became a regular Saturday morning visitor at the Warren household in the short time before his death in 1971.

“I can remember this little man driving up in this big Cadillac, every Saturday morning. All you could see was his fedora sticking up above the dashboard.”

The old jockey clearly wanted to become part of this family. “He was lonely,” said Carla. “His wife had just died. His only living brother was in Florida. I guess he wanted to reconnect.”

derbAfter coming to the show that afternoon, he called her mother and asked if he could take Carla somewhere to buy something for her pony. “He took me to Becker and Durski (the preeminent Louisville tack shop), and bought a halter for my pony, Black Jack, with the name across it.”

Even then, she admitted, “I really didn’t know much about him. He seemed like a nice enough little gentleman, but I hadn’t yet gathered the significance of him.”

She knew he had been a jockey, and even that he’d won the Derby, “but I was more into quarter horses, cowboy stuff,” Carla said. “At that age, to me, the Derby was just something that happened once a year around here.”

Until her mother took her to the house Roscoe had lived in since 1913, on Third and Central. And the reality began to sink in for her. “In the living room, there was a huge painting of him on Donerail,” she remembered. “And all around the house, there were nothing but win pictures. In fact, Eddie Arcaro (who was then one of America’s most famous jockeys) had sent Roscoe some of his win pictures.

“I felt it then – that Uncle Roscoe was somebody who’d been really prominent in the racing industry.”

Yes, prominent. So prominent was the Louisville-born-and-bred rider in 1913 that Donerail’s owner, Thomas P. Hayes, didn’t think the horse was worthy of Goose, and told the jockey to ride another horse that afternoon. But the other horse was taken.

Derby Museum curator Chris Goodlett related the story, in a 2014 short video on KET, that Hayes told Goose just before the post: “We’re going for cornbread here.” In other words, not much – just a piece.

Donerail, a high-strung three-year-old, was being stabled at Douglass Park, three or four miles from Churchill Downs. So, the morning of Derby, Goose and Hayes had to walk Donerail over to the track, along Third Street and other city avenues. Of course, it was 1913. Horses on the street were nothing unusual.

So feisty was Donerail, said Grego, that in the win picture Roscoe was sitting bareback on his mount. “He was jumpy when they tried to put the blanket of roses on his neck,” she said, “so Roscoe hopped down, took the tack off the horse, wrapped the roses in the blanket so Donerail couldn’t see them and hopped back on the horse for the photo.”

It turned out not to be a profitable victory for Roscoe. Before the race, the jockeys had agreed to celebrate that night at the Seelbach Hotel with their winnings. “The total purse was around $5,500,” said Goodlett, “and the jockey got about $550. By the end of the night, it was all gone. But he said many times, later on, that he’d do it again.”

Goose was one of the racing industry’s most successful jockeys. But, sadly, for only a short time. Two weeks after Goose rode his memorable Derby ride, his brother, Carl, won The Kentucky Oaks aboard Cream (yes, the Oaks occurred after the Derby back then). It has never happened again, two brother winning the two races in the same year. (Carl raced under the name Carl Ganz, the family’s original name in Germany – “ganz” is German for “goose.”)

Two years later, in 1915, Carl died in a horseracing accident at Latonia. And Roscoe never rode again.

He did, however, stay active in the sport. Following his brother’s death, he reportedly began advocating the use of helmets in races by all jockeys. He trained horses, advised owners, was a bloodstock agent – evaluating, buying and selling horses – and served as president of the Kentucky Thoroughbred Breeders Association. He became a wealthy man.

He also mentored young riders. Carla was told that apprentice jockeys would come stay at his house and learn from the old Derby winner.

“When young riders would come to him, he would evaluate their hands and feet and he could tell how big they’d get,” Carla related. “Most of these kids were 14 or 15, hadn’t yet had their growth spurt.

“He told (Hall of Fame jockey Eddie) Arcaro, ‘You’re not going to make it, find something else to do.’ Eddie apparently never let Roscoe forget that.”

At one point, Roscoe managed the stable of James Graham Brown. Brown was evidently allergic to horses, so he’d drive up to the track in what Carla called “his big everybody-take-notice car” and watch the horses from there.

“My husband galloped one of his better horses, a filly named Woozem,” she said, “and after he galloped the horse, he’d have to parade her in front of the car so Mr. Brown could see her up close without having to get out of his car.”

Not surprisingly, for a child who grew up around Old Third Street and whose childhood playgrounds included the bridle path that ran along Southern Parkway from Churchill Downs to Iroquois Park, Carla’s entire life – her entire family – revolved around horses.

Her mother, Donna, was born in 1929, one of three children of Bill Goose, Roscoe’s brother and the only one of five Goose brothers to have children of his own. Bill Goose owned racehorses.

“Mother grew up on Southern Parkway,” Carla recalled. “At the time, there were more horses going up and down Southern Parkway than there were cars.”

When she got married to Robert Warren, they started a riding academy and leased out horses for the day. “Their academy was in an alleyway just behind Southern Parkway on Ashland Avenue,” said Carla. “My father had been a saddlebred trainer. There was never a time in my life when I didn’t have horses or wasn’t around horses.”

She said her mother was “a very good rider, who rode horses 24/7. It was part of who she was.” However, it was strictly recreational. “Back then, women being anywhere around the track was taboo generally – and very much so in the Goose household.”

According to Carla, her mother and her friends did indeed find a way to raise up the fence at Churchill Downs and get their horses onto the track. “But they were terrified that Uncle Roscoe would find out.”

When Carla grew up, one of her first jobs was at Wagner’s Pharmacy on South Fourth Street across from the track. “I also worked at the track, much to my mother’s dismay. There were plenty of women at Churchill by then, but Mom had been raised with such a strict rule. It was just something you didn’t do if you were a lady.”

Carla met Don Grego over the breakfast counter at Wagner’s. They were married in 1976. He exercised and broke horses, then moved into training. He was the farm trainer at Calumet Farm, where he broke the yearling Strike The Gold, who went on to win the 1991 Kentucky Derby, and Criminal Type, the U.S. Horse of the Year in 1990 for D. Wayne Lukas.

“One winter, he went south and left me at Calumet with a few horses, including one I loved named Peon,” she said. “I had my trainer’s license by then, so I asked Churchill Downs if I could get a stall of my own and race him there. Pat Day rode him. I won a couple of races with him.”

She said, “There was no day on the racetrack that felt like a job to me. And I think most racing people feel the same way.”

Which is why she gravitated to office work at Churchill Downs. “I started as an office clerk. Then Tom Meeker, who was president here, gave me some opportunities and I ended up as director of the Twin Spires Club.”

She came to the Kentucky Derby Museum in 2006. “I haven’t gotten off this corner in 45 years,” she laughed.

One of her projects is working on the oral histories they compile there, interviewing every owner, trainer and jockey who wins the Kentucky Derby.

As important as it is for future generations, Carla gets wistful about all the past testimonials they’ll never have. “We’ve lost so many,” she said. “Wouldn’t it be wonderful to hear, in Ben Jones’ own words, how he came up with that full-cup blinker he put on Whirlaway the day of the (1941) Derby to keep him from drifting on the outside?”

And, of course, her very own ancestor. “It pains me,” she said. “I’d love to hear the Donerail story in Roscoe’s own voice.”

Another wistful regret is that she never rode with her famous uncle in the six years they had together. “By that time, I don’t think he was getting on horses anymore. In fact, I don’t think he rode after 1915.”

At all? “For people who make their living riding horses, it’s not a recreational thing, it’s their job,” Carla explained. “They don’t spend their free time on horses.

“My husband galloped horses for 40 years, and I couldn’t pour him on my horse. He just doesn’t have any interest.”

For Carla, however, it’s still a passion. “I still ride. I have a paint horse that I take to little shows around here, just to keep my hand in.”

She shrugged. “It’s a Goose thing!”

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Yoga for Climbers

By Jessica Malloy | Photos by Danny Alexander

Photos of Jessica Malloy taken at Climb Nulu, 1000 E. Market St. in Louisville 

Whether you’ve been climbing since the 70s or just started yesterday, there is something addictive about the ascent. It is a sport that calls upon muscles in the body you might not have known you had. A solid core, strong upper body, flexibility, and good footwork are key to being a competent climber.

Being a Yogi gives the athlete an edge when it comes to climbing. Body awareness learned on the mat translates well to a vertical plane. Yoga is more than stretching, and climbing is more than pull-ups; the two complement each other and fill in gaps. For example, climbing lacks pushing movements, whereas yoga uses mostly push muscle groups (think pectorals and triceps). In reverse, yoga lacks pulling movements while climbing relies heavily on pull muscle groups (think forearms and lats). Keeping the balance between push and pull muscles maintains posture and prevents long-term injury.

Lean, mobile, and functional muscles are important to conserving energy and climbing smart. The book Training for the New Alpinism: A Manual for the Climber as Athlete, by Scott Johnston and Steve House, says it best: “Climbers do not view strength gains as an end in themselves. We don’t get stronger just to be stronger. We gain strength so that we can climb longer, harder routes.”

Below is a list of five yoga poses that can be used to help your practice on the wall or prepare you for the first time you walk into a gym.

 

Crescent Lunge (Anjaneyasana) 

Begin standing. Step your right foot forward into a wide lunge. Lift your left heel high so it is ystacked over your left toes. Bend your right knee directly over your right ankle to stack your joints. Sink your hips to the floor and reach your arms up. Hold for 10-20 breaths. Modify by dropping left knee to floor. Repeat on other side.

Benefits: Stabilizes hips, quads, hip flexors,
and hamstrings.

Why: Strong quads and hips prevent “Elvis Leg.” Flexible and strong hip flexors and hamstrings allow for making high steps and reachy leg moves.

Goddess (Utkata Konasana) 

y2From Crescent Lunge, pivot both feet so they are parallel. Take a wide squat and sit low so hips are level with knees. Press your hips forward and knees back. Hold for 10 to 20 breaths. To add more, lift both heels off your mat. Hold for 5 to 10 breaths.

Benefits: Opens hips, legs, chest. Strengthens legs, calves, knees.

Why: Strong calves and quads help straighten the leg from a bent position. Stronger legs help conserve upper body energy. Flexible and open hips help keep climber’s center of gravity on the wall.

Chair Pose with Heel Lifts

Begin from standing. Set your feet hip-width apart. Bring hips down low like you are about to sity3 in a chair. Reach your arms up. Tuck your tailbone down and in. Draw your belly in and up. Hold for 10 to 20 breaths. To add more, life both heels off your mat and bring hips lower. Hold 5 to 10 breaths.

Benefits: Strengthens glutes and quads. Chair with heel-lifts strengthen ankles, calves, and feet.

Why: Helps with heels hooks, precise foot placement, high steps, and balancing on small holds. Helps legs have endurance for longer sport climbs and stemming moves.

Dolphin Pose (Ardha Pincha Mayurasana) 

This pose is a forearm variation of “Downward Facing Dog” (Adho Mukha Svanasana).

y4Begin in forearm plank. Walk your feet in and lift your hips up and back to create an upside-down V. Create space in your shoulders by pressing your forearms down firmly into your mat. Draw your belly button in and up. Soften your knees. Hold for 10-20 breaths.

Benefits: Strengthens arms, shoulder girdle, core.

Why: Climbing with a strong core helps conserve energy and helps keep hips in line with the chest when climbing overhangs. This also stabilizes and isolates the shoulders, and is a strong alternative to Down Dog that gives sensitive hands and wrists a break.

Gorilla (Padahastasana) 

Begin from standing. Set feet hip-width distance. Fold forward. Slide hands underneath feet with palms facing up. Bend your knees as much as needed. Bring hands all the way under youry5 feet so your toes touch your wrist creases. Tilt sits bones up toward the ceiling. To add more, shift your weight into the balls of your feet so you are standing on your hands.

Benefits: Flexible leg muscles help endurance on slab and face climbs. Stretches wrists, forearms, and upper back.

Why: Wrists, forearms, and hands often get worked in climbing. This is a counter-pose for forearm flexors. This also stretches hamstrings and upper back to relieve any tightness. Perfect post-climb stretch.

Interested in climbing or yoga? Try these great places in Kentuckiana:

Climb Nulu, Louisville’s newest bouldering gym. They also have a growing yoga program and yoga studio with various teachers. Climb Nulu, 1000 E. Market St. in Louisville
www.climbnulu.com | 502.540.0072

Inner Spring Yoga, which offers instruction in Hatha, Yin, and Vinyasa for all levels and abilities, as well as an incredible yoga community. Inner Spring Yoga, 137 E. Market St. in New Albany and 335 Spring St. in Jeffersonville | www.isyoga. me | 812.207.2070 (New Albany) and 812.207.2070 (Jeffersonville)

Hoosier Heights, the older sister to Climb Nulu, based in Bloomington. Find quality yoga classes here as well. (There is also a location in Carmel). 5100 S. Rogers St. in Bloomington
www.hoosierheights.com | 812.824.6414 502

Power Yoga, where you can meet a thriving yoga community and incorporate a strong and addictive practice to your off days. 502 Power Yoga, 2210 Dundee Road in Louisville www.502poweryoga.com| 502.208.1012

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Keeping up With Adam Baylor

Adam Baylor, second place winner of Extol’s Inaugural Benchmark Mile, is nearing the completion of his first year as a New Albany Firefighter. On the other hand, he’s also a Spartan, Tough Mudder and Rugged Maniac, to name a few of his prestigious titles. 

By Grant Vance | Photos by Danny Alexander

Firefighting, in and of itself, is a tumultuous idea. The act of “fighting” an elemental agent of extreme heat and chaos— dedicating one’s life to protecting others and preventing mass destruction— is quite the career. Whew. It’s quite a lot to think about, not to mention the level of fitness and physicality that goes into the job. Can you imagine donning the weighted protective suit, oxygen tank and (fairly heavy) helmet into a fiery structure on a regular basis?

Adam Baylor did.

Close to his one-year anniversary as a firefighter, Baylor, 36, is also a seasoned race competitor, traveler, churchgoer and a husband and father of two.

“Family is number one, and a lot of church. I go to church in Jeffersonville, and I’ve grown up in the same church since I was a kid,” Baylor said. “You know, family and God first— or God and family first, I should say.”

But Baylor, though only fighting fires professionally for close to a year, spent 10 qualifying. That’s a decade of dedication working to get the opportunity to don the suit, tank and helmet into a fiery structure on a regular basis.

“I started trying out when I was 25,” he said, “(but) I didn’t grow up as a kid dying to be a fireman. I kinda wanted to go into the military. I never did. I don’t know why I didn’t pull the trigger on it.”

Baylor, though relatively new to the world of firefighting, is no stranger to the required levels of fitness and health required to be a firefighter. He’s been an athlete all of his life and regularly competes in different races and physical challenges around the country.

abHe’s competed in roughly 16, including but not limited to: Rugged Maniac 5K, Tough Mudder Mud Run, Spartan Challenge, King’s Domain Obstacle Course’s OCR Championship, Firefighter’s Challenge and the Extol Sports Inaugural Benchmark Mile presented by Norton Sports Health.

Baylor has always had a love for fitness, but he needs a goal— a new challenge—to keep it interesting. He can be hard to keep up with.

“As a kid I played everything: baseball—that was my first love, baseball—football, I wrestled for a little bit, and then as I got older I just sort of stuck with football,” he said. “But I love shooting basketball, even with friends and stuff. I love sports in general.”

Baylor grew up in Floyds Knobs, attending Floyd Central and Indiana University Southeast, eventually taking a job with his family plumbing business, where he’s worked 15 years.

In the meantime, before starting to dedicate his time to competitions and becoming a firefighter, Baylor traveled the world with his wife.

“We went to the Caribbean—we went everywhere we could. Virgin Islands, Aruba, Costa Rica, we went to the rain forest. It was pretty nice,” he said.

Despite an athletic background, it was not his love of sports and fitness that first got him into racing, even if that’s what kept him into them.

“In my mid-twenties, I kind of was out of shape. Not kind of… I was out of shape a lot,” he said. “I was overindulging, I guess.

“(My wife and I) went to Marco Island in Florida, and when we got back, I was looking at pictures of us. She looked really good, and I didn’t. And I didn’t want my kids to remember me as being out of shape, because I never was. I saw those pictures and I immediately started exercising.”

Baylor’s wake-up call took him to all kinds of interesting places before he took off to the races, one of which was jiu-jitsu. Alas, a lack of motivation progressively made exercising less and less appealing for the newly-revitalized workout guru. That is, until his top motivator, his wife, gave him a suggestion that led him down a path to his passion.

“There was a Rugged Maniac race in Paoli, and it’s an obstacle race,” he said. “So, my wife was like, ‘This is kinda like military, obstacle style stuff—I think you would like this.’

“So I did it, and it just about killed me. But it got me motivated.”

This was the first of many, as Baylor jumped around from race to race, competition to competition. He placed around 30th in his first Rugged Maniac, gradually placing higher in each various race from then on out. This includes the Rugged Maniac, a race he revisits each year. Last year, he placed second.

“I became obsessed with it,” he said. “The more work I put in, the better I got at it. And the cool thing about it is you can’t just go run. There’s carrying five-gallon buckets of rocks up hills. There’s rope climbs and barbed-wire crawls.”

With the Spartan Beast in Asheville, Tough Mudder in Kentucky and rehashing the Rugged Maniac once again, Baylor is planning on six to seven races this year alone. Luckily, his competitive drive lends itself to more than top-tier fitness, travel and networking with like-minded competitors.

“It (lines up) perfect with what we do in the fire department,” he said. “You’re carrying a lot of weight, and it helps a lot being in good shape.”

The Firefighter’s Combat Challenge is a competition directly associated to the practicality of staying in shape as a fireman, blurring the line between Baylor’s competitions for sport and the demanding physical requirements of firefighting.

“Aaron Sparks, another guy on the department, he gets a team together every year to do the ab3challenge,” he said. “You run up so many flights of steps with a hose, and then somebody pulls the hose up with a rope – it’s all timed—and there’s Louisville and New Albany and departments (from) all over the country. … They’re doing their biggest one in Louisville this year, so I think I’m going to do that with Aaron.”

These competitions focus highly on cardio, the most important aspect of a firefighter’s fitness regime, according to New Albany Fire Department Chief Matt Juliot.

“Statistically, the leading death in firefighter is cardiac arrest,” Juliot explained. “(Their) hearts are going from a resting state to running a marathon, high adrenaline, zero to 100. … (A firefighter’s) cardiovascular health is very important.”

Another leading health scare for firefighters is acquiring cancer derived from the burning plastics found in most homes. Juliot strives to prevent this by highly emphasizing gear cleaning after runs.

“Toxins soak into gear,” Juliot said. “If they aren’t properly cleaned, they’ll be absorbed when they sweat.”

As far as general health goes, Juliot says it comes down to the individual. Not everyone is competing in regular high-octane competitions like Baylor, for example. But, as Juliot explained, firefighting is a “very physically demanding job” and he’s grateful for all the exterior strives made in order to acknowledge this, including the state-of-the-art exercise facilities provided by Mayor Jeff Gahan.

On top of everything, Juliot also brings in a dietician on occasion to encourage healthy eating.

Baylor, with all of his competing and training, yields to a healthy diet of his own. He regularly drinks protein shakes with the “good organic stuff,” especially beets, which he is very fond of. Some other favorites include tuna salad, salmon, grilled chicken and broccoli. But that doesn’t mean he’s always healthy.

“I’ll eat pizza on the weekends,” he laughed.

Although Baylor is talented and prepared in a lot of different health-oriented ways, he is still very new to the world of firefighting.

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“There’s still so much to learn on the department and there’s a lot of great guys to learn from in New Albany,” Baylor said. “You can do all the training in the world, but some of these guys have seen stuff I may never see. I’m in great shape, but, you know, I’ve never been there. I have a lot to learn before I’ll be as good as I want to be as a firefighter.

“Some of these guys are so sharp. … You could put them in any field of work and they would thrive. Fighting fires is a lot more complex than people might think. It’s not just running in,” he said. “There’s reading smoke and knowing when to vent something and when not to, and car fires and medical. We had to do three months of EMT. You have to pass the state exam. There’s so much that goes into it.”

These aspects of firefighting are rewarding, Baylor said, but it’s not without its sacrifices.

“Being away from family and the kids… that can really suck” he said. “There are certain things we’re going to miss. You can get guys to trade with you, but you’re going to miss a birthday, you’re going to miss a Christmas. … I dwell on that sometimes.”

As he’s made abundantly clear through his multiple wins in competitions spanning the country and career choice as a firefighter: Adam Baylor is a tough guy to keep up with. But despite all his accomplishments, he still attributes his luck to a little bit of timing, God and his wife.

“I tried out (for years to be a firefighter in Jeffersonville), Louisville, New Albany. Looking back now, I probably didn’t deserve it, then,” He said. “I wasn’t doing anything to better myself as far as physical (health). You know, there were probably a lot of guys who deserved it over me … they did. But, through the years and years, I got to the point I was like, ‘I feel like I deserve the job.’ But I feel like it was God’s timing.

“I got hired at the cut-off date—35 was the last year I could get hired (in the state of Indiana). My wife and I were out late and I almost didn’t go (to the tryout) … but I was going to work out (that day) anyway, and that’s the year I made it.”

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A Great Day to Run

Celebrated Southern Indiana distance coach Chuck Crowley hasn’t missed a day of running in more than 11 years

Story by Grant Vance | Photos by Danny Alexander

For the past 11 and a half years– that’s 4,179 days and counting, to be exact– Chuck Crowley has not skipped a day of running.

“Every day is a great day to run,” he’ll tell you.

And he’s not joking around. Despite his keen sense of humor, he truly believes any opportunity to run is a great opportunity.

As impressive as a 4,719-day streak may seem, Crowley’s romance with running goes much farther than eleven and a half years. This is just his latest numerical accomplishment. Also included are four Boston Marathons, four New York Marathons and 24 years of coaching at Holy Family and Providence High School.

Numbers are always an obstacle to defy for a distance runner. And every race has a starting line.

When Crowley was approached as a freshman by the cross country coach at Holy Cross High School in his hometown of Flushing, N.Y, he turned him down. “I can’t. I’m really, really, really slow. (I was) five-feet tall and weighed 90 pounds,” he said. “Just slow as molasses.”

But, as fate would have it, Crowley decided to run anyway. “(The coach) dragged every little skinny kid out for cross country,” he said. “There were 20 freshmen on the team, and I worked my way up to 10th best freshman.”

He didn’t stop there. “(Our class has a Facebook page) and some kid posted a picture of the seven best freshman on the A-team,” he said. “I just wanted to laugh. If you asked anyone which of these kids, which one of these seven best freshman was the fifth best runner in school history, ran for (Indiana University) and ran the Boston Marathon four times, …it’s none. It’s the kid who couldn’t make that team.”

What Crowley discovered is what inspires many distance runners, especially at the high school cc1age. You may be competing against a slew of other runners, but the true nature of distance running is challenging and pushing yourself on an individual level. Innate talent can only go so far; it’s the work you put in that makes it count.

“I just kept working and working even though I wasn’t near their talent,” he said. “The next year, I ended up passing them and becoming the number one sophomore.”

Coming in as a “talentless” freshman and graduating in the top 25 seniors in New York City, Crowley proved himself not as a “good” runner (in his eyes, at least), but as a hard worker.

“I was still slow as molasses. I just ran a lot,” he said. “I found this was a sport I don’t have to have talent for. If I work harder than everyone else, I will beat them.”

Once Crowley graduated Holy Cross in New York, he found himself in Bloomington walking on the cross country team at Indiana University.

“I always tell people I ran 4:20 in the mile at IU and came in last,” he laughs. “15:34 in the 5k, still in the back.”

Despite his work ethic, this was an especially difficult time in Crowley’s running career. Metaphorical shin splints, if you will. “I ran two years at IU and never got a letter. It was just too much, all the work,” he said. “I did all the hard work and was sorta going nowhere.

“Between my sophomore and junior year at IU, I stayed in Bloomington. I had a job in Bloomington and I was really going to work hard all summer, make varsity the next year. About halfway through the summer, I got mono and it just sort of wiped me out. I couldn’t run, I just wanted to sleep. … It just wasn’t going to happen.”

A tragedy of timing, mono took its hold and prompted hiatus at a pivotal point in Crowley’s running career. He continued on through school, graduating in 1982. Shortly after, he married his wife.

“I didn’t start running again until 1984 when my daughter was born,” he said. “I gained weight. I gained 30 pounds, and this guy was like, ‘You used to run, want to run?’ So we started running again, and ever since then I’ve been running and just kept building and building.”

The building didn’t start and end with Crowely’s own development. Instead, it led into the next logical step in his career as an accomplished runner: coaching. He started coaching in 1992 at Holy Family—the first and only Southern Indiana Deanery school to have a team, thanks to Crowley. This lasted eight years before making the step up to high school cross country at Providence.

“Some of my (runners) were freshmen at Providence, and their moms were calling me, like, you know, ‘This guy (the former coach) smokes; he can’t run with the kids like you can’,” he said. “That was 17 years ago. I’ve been at Providence 17 years.”

Crowley coached cross country and long distance for most of his tenure at Providence, eventually taking over as head track coach. With a lifetime of experience and strong dedication, he took the job with ease.

“(During my interview for head coach I told them) I can time anyone, anytime. I pulled up my wrist and had four watches on. This one does 100 people,” he laughed.

“(The principal of Providence) Dr. Melinda Ernstberger said, ‘You really are nuts, aren’t you?’

“I said yes, thank you.”

Getting the chance to run with the kids he is mentoring is one of the most rewarding aspects of coaching for Crowley. He continues to keep in touch with his team once they are graduates, inviting them to continue to run with him and his team for as long as they’re willing.

Former runner Murphy Sheets, for example, is now a friend of Crowley.

“Murphy and I still keep in touch,” Crowley said. “I’ll meet him down in Jeff, and we’ll run for 10 miles or more.”

“Chuck was a good coach because he kept things low key and mellow, but also got down to business,” Sheets said. “He taught us the value of hard work doesn’t mean thinking too hard. To let the results of hard work speak for itself.”

Letting hard work speak for itself is something Crowley has always prioritized. He expresses this clearly in his upbringing, but also through his coaching. Although getting to run with like-minded individuals is especially meaningful, the most rewarding aspect of coaching for him is finding someone who would never believe they were capable of it and making them a star.

“Spencer Mitchell as a freshman could not run an 800 in four minutes. He was manager his freshman year,” he said. “And then Spencer his senior year made it to semi-state. He ran in college. He holds the steeple chase record at Spalding. He’s a ridiculously good runner. … It changed his life.”

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“Out of anyone in high school (Crowley) influenced me the most,” Mitchell said. “He kept me organized, he would help pay for my gas so I could make it to school and practice. … He was there for me more than anyone.”

Out of all the different students Crowley coached over 17 years, Mitchell is one of his favorite stories. Vanessa Covarrubias is another.

“Stephany Covarrubias drug her sister Vanessa out to (a summer workout). … She was not athletic at all. She was a book person,” Crowley said. “So (Stephany) drags her out there, and she can’t jog a mile and she’s struggling to do each lap of alternating 400s; she just hated it. But she kept coming. She liked the people.

“She runs her whole junior year and she does alright, but she finds she likes to run. She just likes to jog, doesn’t like to do any of the workouts. One day we were doing a workout, and she just kept jogging, she jogged 10miles. And you know what happens if you run 10 miles by yourself and you just keep working and working? When she was a senior, she passed up Stephany. … She was our number one runner her senior year. … Now she’s at Ball State, first or second on her club team. That’s why you do it.”

Despite his love for coaching, Crowley announced his retirement at this past year’s cross country banquet. He cited discretions with administration for space to run and how its prioritized as one of his biggest grievances.

“I’m just over the paperwork and nonsense,” Crowley said.

It goes without saying Crowley holds running close to his heart. He’s run 14 marathons throughout Boston, New York, Columbus, Indianapolis, Philadelphia and Louisville. He’s won Fred G’s Southern Indiana Runner of the Year 10 times, including Grand Master for 50-plus this year, not to mention he’s directed the Run for the Berries since 2003, raising $5,000 for charity each year.

Crowley does not look at running just as a cathartic exercise—it’s a potentially life-changing way of life. A lifestyle celebrating every day as a great day to run.

“Some of you will understand this and some of you won’t. You ask, ‘Why do I run every day?’ People in sports look at running as a punishment. For me, I get to run every day. I don’t have to run. I get to run. I want to run. It makes me feel better. It keeps me in shape. It’s a life-changing thing— it’s not a sport. It’s inside me to want to run.”

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John Boel Runs for His Life

The Wave 3 News Anchor knows how a lifetime of bad habits could have taken him a new way.

Story by Steve Kaufman | Photos by Danny Alexander

The Super Bowl game isn’t always super. And the World Series winner doesn’t exactly reign over the entire world.

But the Ironman competition is always “iron” and one of those times when the name seems to fit the event as snugly as a pair of biking gloves (or swimming trunks or running shoes). It’s a feat of iron, to finish let alone to win, the cruel invention of some mad scientist who thought swimming, then biking, then running – all back to back, on the same day – would be fun.

Fun? Only if you think it’s fun to jump into the Ohio River at around 8 in the morning and swim 2.4 miles, half of that against the current. And then, with barely a pit stop to change into something dry, hop on your bike and pedal 112 miles out Route 42 into hilly Oldham and Henry counties, with a loop through La Grange, and back. And then – nope, not finished – get off your bike and start running a full 26-mile marathon from downtown Louisville to Iroquois Park and back, and then do it again.

And yet, thousands of competitors jump in that water every year for the prospect of perhaps losing their breakfast or passing out somewhere along the way.

John Boel, the long-time Louisville TV newsman who co-anchors WAVE 3 News Sunrise, is one of those. He’s competed in the last 10 Louisville competitions, and, he says, proudly, he’s only “balked” twice – the sport’s term for not finishing.

Boel also has competed in events in Ohio, Wisconsin, Illinois and Indiana, and a national triathlon in Florida where he came in second in his division with the second-best time in the nation. He has won a few of these in his age and/or weight group, including a peculiarly named, decidedly unheroic-sounding Clydesdale Trophy in the Ohio Ironman in 1998 and 1999.

“Most Ironmen are organized by age groups,” Boel said. “For some reason, Ohio chose to organize by weight classes. The 200-and-up weight class, my weight class, was called the Clydesdales. The first time, I refused the trophy. Who wants to have a Clydesdale trophy on your mantel?”

But he ultimately did take the Clydesdale trophies home because to a true competitor, a win is always a win. And, Boel says, “There’s nothing about me that isn’t competitive.” (He has since tossed the Clydesdale trophies out. “I don’t want to be a Clydesdale anymore,” he said. “You want to be able to brag, and it’s hard to brag about that.”)

Various generations of athletes have been inspired by the successes of Jim Thorpe and Jesse Owen, Roger Bannister and Wilma Rudolph, Bruce Jenner and Carl Lewis. What valiant athletic performance inspired John Boel? Interestingly, it was a losing one.

“I was in my dorm in college watching Ironman on Wide World of Sports,” he recalled.

It was the 1982 Hawaii Ironman Triathlon, which is remembered today as “the Julie Moss Ironman.”

Talk about the agony of defeat. Moss was the leading woman by far and only feet from the finish line when she began stumbling and falling. She scrambled back to her feet only to have her legs buckle again and finally resorted to crawling on her hands and knees.

As she struggled, Kathleen McCartney came from way back to pass her at the last moment. The Ironman organization calls it “the most famous finish in Ironman history.” The Los Angeles Times said Moss’s “crawl to glory helped popularize the sport of Ironman.”

It worked for Boel.

“It was so compelling, I was transfixed,” he recalled. “I said I had to try that.”

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Boel had always been an athlete and ran track in high school, “so I knew how to run.” During his first job out of school, on a TV station in Rockford, Ill., he borrowed his sports director’s bike and began trying long-distance biking. And he’d also been a state finalist swimmer, so he figured swimming would be the easiest of the three disciplines to master.

“I thought swimming would all come back to me, but it was the hardest to get back,” he said. “I couldn’t breathe right; my technique was bad. I was all messed up. Years of partying in college, I’m sure that took its toll.”

Over the next 20 years, as he made his way to Louisville, he worked to improve his fundamentals. Swimming finally came when he made a New Year’s resolution to go to the Mary Meagher pool three times a week and swim for an hour. Within two weeks, it had come together.

Boel made his way through various local triathlons until Louisville got its own Ironman competition in 2007. “I decided to concentrate on that,” he said. “I’ve entered every one since.”

He’s finished all but two. “Initially, the Louisville Ironman was on the last Sunday of August,” he said. “In other words – hot!” (The event has since been moved to October.)

It was 96 degrees in August 2008. “By the running segment, I was dizzy and felt like passing out,” he recalled. “I got into the first 13 miles of the run, but I was throwing up. I figured I’d get to the end of 13 miles and go right into the med unit. But before I could do that, I blacked out and collapsed, right in front of Ollie’s Trolley (in downtown Louisville).”

He was awakened by paramedics, given oxygen and taken to Baptist East Hospital.

“I guess it was my Julie Moss moment,” he said ruefully. “My wife made me swear on tape from my hospital bed that I would never try another one.”

But he did. Again and again.

But, Boel balked once more in 2014. “Same thing (as 2008) – the heat,” he said. “This time I knew the warning signs: passing out, throwing up, got to the point where I couldn’t even walk. I quit about eight miles into the run and just went home.”

But finishing the October 2016 Louisville Ironman will forever grant Boel his “iron man” status.

He does a Louisville Ironman preview every year for WAVE 3. His subject this fall was Barry Stokes, a certified triathlon coach in his 60s who bikes 400 miles every weekend, coaching groups of bikers as they ride together. That particular weekend, four weeks before the event itself, Boel went out with Stokes’ group.

They were in Utica, south of Owensboro, when “a meter reader in a white pickup truck backed out onto the road. We all had to jump on the brakes. I clipped Barry’s rear tire in front of me and vaulted over the handlebars.”

Broken shoulder. Broken collarbone. Broken Ironman plans?

“The doctor said there was no way I could do the race,” said Boel. “But I Googled ‘Ironman broken collarbone’ and there were lots of different stories – some went ahead and competed. I decided to go ahead.”

The obvious impediment was swimming two and a half miles with a broken collarbone. But surprisingly, using a kind of modified sidestroke, rolling on his side and depending on his good arm to propel him, he lost only three minutes off his previous year’s time.

Nonetheless, it hurt to swim. It hurt even more to bike, hunched over the handlebars, jarred by the road, slowed by a few stops to flex his arm and try to relieve the pain.

Still, Boel was just another half-hour slower than last year, going into the run.

“But when I got in the run, I completely imploded,” he said. “I ran a six-hour marathon.Woeful!” (Normally, when he’s at his best, he runs the 26-mile course in four and a half hours.)

But he finished, even if his overall time of 14 hours, 46 minutes was nearly three hours slower than his goal of making or breaking 12 hours, a kind of benchmark in Ironman. He’s done that only once, in 2011, with a personal best of 11 hours, 50 minutes.

Of course, there was a reason for that personal best that year. And it’s not one Boel is proud of. He got two DUIs in a two-year span in 2010 and was fired from his job at WLKY.

“I went to rehab at the Hazelden Betty Ford Clinic in Minnesota,” he said. “When I came back, I was unemployed for a year, basically all of 2011.”

He had no job and lots of free time, so he wrote a book, On the News, In the News, “a memoir slash recovery book about some of the personal, inspirational stories I’d covered as a reporter and then, when the tables were turned, when I was in the news and the subject of scrutiny, going through all the kinds of things I’d reported on.”

As he has said, his life is pretty literally “an open book.”

So, he wrote. And he trained for Ironman. Non-stop. Eight hours a day, like the pros do.

That year, he recorded a time of 11 hours, 50 minutes. He has since recorded times of 12:16, but has never again beaten 12.

“WAVE hired me at the end of 2011, working 3 a.m. to noon, which pretty much destroyed every facet of my life,” he said. “I had no nightlife, I was constantly tired, my circadian clock was off kilter, so trying to train for Ironman was really hard. Employment messed up my performances.”

He paused to make sure I knew he was being facetious. “I’d rather be employed and go slowly in the Ironman than be unemployed and go really fast,” he emphasized. “And I’d much rather be clean and sober.”

He said Ironman provided an outlet when he tried to change his life. “When you’re in recovery, they tell you, ‘One of the things you have to change is everything!’ You have to change your playground and your playmates, get away from all the triggers.”

A great outlet for him is working out, going out on a bike or in the water or on a run. “That, plus clean living, was an awesome alternative to my old habits. It really helped my recovery.”

The peculiar thing for him is that even as “my wheels were coming off in the 2000s, I was still able to post fast-enough times. Some people turn to Ironman as a way to stay clean, but I was competing even though my lifestyle habits were not good.

“Once I got clean, though, I also got much better. I don’t bog down at particular spots in the race anymore.”

Now, he said, he’s battling other obstacles, like a schedule that requires him to be up at 2 a.m., br2in the studio at 3, on the air at 4:30. “I’ve always been an early morning/hunting-fishing guy, but when you’re driving to work past open bars, that’s really early!”

He drives home at noon, tired enough to grab a nap. Then he gets up and starts his workout.

He’s realistic enough to know that at age 54 he can still compete effectively against himself and his own previous times. But the competition from the other, younger athletes can be dispiriting.

“It can really suck to be heading out on the marathon – the final leg of the competition – eight or nine hours into your day. Your legs are gone. And you see some chiseled 30-year-old running his final lap, heading to the finish line while you still have to do the whole route twice.”

The winners usually complete the course in just over nine hours. But he’s no longer worried about them. “Essentially, it’s all about how you’re doing versus last year or other past performances,” he said. “It’s not where you finish. Mostly, you’re competing against yourself.”

And competing for your life, as he learned in rehab.

“They told us at Hazelden: One-third of us will stay clean for the rest of our lives, one-third will return to treatment, and one-third will die of their disease.

“I thought they were talking about cirrhosis of the liver. But they meant suicide. And now I believe that one-third estimation is actually low.”

So how do you beat such a horrible, chronic, progressive, untreated disease?

“One way to succeed is from the way you feel,” Boel said. “When you’re not drinking eight beers after a workout, not waking up with hangovers, you feel better, you want to get thinner and eat better, get in shape and run faster, bike faster, swim faster – and it all becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.”

When he looks back on his life, “I had to be one of the most over-achieving alcoholics in the world,” Boel said. “I was doing the Ironman every year, advancing in my profession, winning Emmy awards, working around the clock, a good family man, while still drinking crazily. I’m glad that insanity has stopped. A lifestyle like that requires a good amount of discipline, but it was a crazy way to live my life.”

THE BOEL GAME

The biggest obstacle to John Boel’s Ironman training regimen is his schedule. As a WAVE 3 News Sunrise anchor, his workday ends at around 7 in the morning.

When he gets home, after “lunch” and a nap, he gets on his bike – or on his stationary bike during the winter. “I do hours and hours inside every morning,” he said. “I need to know I can ride for 80 or 100 miles, so that once the weather gets better, especially as Ironman gets closer, I can go outside and do my long rides.”

He lives in Middletown, so he bikes over to Brownsboro Road and eventually over to 42, where he picks up the Ironman course out to Oldham County.

In addition to his stationary bike, he has a treadmill and elliptical machine at home. But he tries to do most of his running outside, simulating the old mini-marathon route from downtown to Iroquois Park and back, a 13-mile jaunt that he does twice. He gives up swimming for the winter, “because I know I can pick it up in the spring.” He has a small in-ground pool at home and an ingenious way of swim training.

“A few years ago, I bought this little bungee cord with a couple of snap-on things at Leslie’s Pool Supply. You wrap the cord around one of the pool ladders, and snap the two bracelets around your ankles, and it holds you in place in your own little pool. It’s like a treadmill for swimming, you swim in place pulling against yourself, like resistance training.”

He swims either a half-hour or a full hour. “In Going Long, the bible on Ironman distance training by Joel Friel, the first thing the writer says is, ‘No longer think of workouts in terms of number of miles or number of laps. It’s only about time.’ ”

Diet is more problematic for Boel, again due to his schedule. He said a good day for him would be: “Get out of here at 7 a.m. and get a salad from Thornton’s or a plain oatmeal from McDonald’s. Have a sandwich at noon, nap for a half hour, then get up and work out. I try not to eat very much before bedtime, which is 6:30 or 7 because I have to get up at 2 a.m.”

Since a doctor told him heart disease runs in his family, he tries to watch what he eats: salads all the time, chicken instead of red meat (“I don’t care for fish”), cottage cheese.

“I look at the label on everything, looking for low-saturated fat and calories,” he said. “I don’t care about salt – not yet, anyway.”

Sometimes, he brings in a nutrition bar in the morning, something to eat while he goes over his script before going on the air.

But, he said, the Sunrise crew is “desperate, we’re like starving Cambodians. If you put food in front of us, it’s gone. We recently gobbled down a whole crate of White Castles and caramel corn that somebody brought in, even though we knew exactly how it would make us feel.”

And therein lies why Ironman is so important to Boel. “It provides that accountability, that governor on my life that tells me, ‘You can’t do that now, it’s only six months until Ironman.”

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Extol Sports Benchmark Mile presented by Norton Sports Health

Inaugural event a success

Photos by Danny Alexander

NEW ALBANY, IN – The Extol Team closed out 2016 on Dec. 31 with the Extol Sports Inaugural Benchmark Mile presented by Norton Sports Health. The one-mile race along the New Albany waterfront ended with brunch and drink specials at Brownie’s The Shed Grille and Bar. This inaugural mile is the first of many Extol Sports events to come and only the first of this soon-to-be annual benchmark mile.

Runners showed up on the brisk New Year’s Eve morning, competing at all different levels of age and speed. Although casually walking was welcome – as were animals – the competition remained strong at the top with Payton Hall, 13, Madison Hall, 9, and Sydney Kleinert, 14, finishing in the top three of the female bracket.

Andrew Danner, 35, Adam Baylor, 36, and Justin McWilliams, 13, finishing top three in the male bracket. In addition to the top three times overall, awards were given to the top three runners in each age group. Andrew Danner’s winning time clocked in at 5:20, cementing a strong time for runners to top next year.

In addition to Norton Sports Health, additional sponsors include Brownie’s The Shed Grille and Bar, Four Barrel Fitness, Ken Comb’s Running Store, Body Builder Mom, Fam Fitter, The City of New Albany, WXVW 1450, Neace Ventures, Louisville City Football Club, Falls City Beer, Old 502 Winery, AllTerrain Paving & Construction (also known as APC), Sunbelt Rentals, 1-800-GOT-JUNK?, Blue River Cabinetry, Eagle Sign & Design, Griffin Cardwell, Glotzbach Hauling and Recycling, Over the 9 and Norris Dam Marina.

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(Clockwise from left to right)
Thanks to our volunteers, the Extol Sports Inaugural Benchmark Mile presented by Norton Sports Health was a success. | Kelley and Chris Luckett, and Thom
Ham brought their four-legged friends to participate in the race. | Lindsey Neely, manager of Community Events Marketing for Norton Healthcare & Norton Children’s Hospital. | Grant Vance flew toward the finish | New Albany firefighters Madell Peters, Aaron Sparks and Adam Baylor. |Teri and Andrew Danner. | Craig Nance and Case Blecher. | Robert Bertrand and Gerome Stephens ran the race and then enjoyed the after-party brunch at Brownies. | Justin McWilliams, 13, finished third overall with a time of 6:03.