Tag Archives: Inspire


INSPIRE | January 2018

screen-shot-2017-12-28-at-4-08-14-pmPhoto by Angie Fenton

Delmar Johnson is a familiar sight to his New Albany neighbors. That’s because the 90-year-old takes a brisk walk around the neighborhood just about every single day, rain or shine (though he will – reluctantly – take a day off if the weather makes for slippery or dangerous conditions).

“I’ve always worked, and I was in the Navy and I had to do exercise, so I just kept it up,” he explained.

Mr. Johnson sets out on his walk “sometime in the middle of the afternoon,” but that’s not the only exercise he gets: He mows his own grass, rakes his leaves, tends to both a flower garden and vegetable garden, grows grapes and, “much to our displeasure,” quipped Mr. Johnson’s granddaughter Marjie Vertees, he still gets up on the roof.

“I look for things to do. I can’t stand sitting around,” Mr. Johnson said. “I’m very healthy. I feel good. I expect to see 100.”


Ready, Set, Run!


So, You Want To Be A Runner


By Remy Sisk | Photos by Danny Alexander

Dr. Ryan Modlinski first started running in medical school as it was one of the only forms of exercise that easily fit with his busy schedule. He quickly began to relish the mental benefits of running – being able to let stress from school go and clearing his mind of all the things he had to do. But he also, of course, saw the physical benefits of running and exercising regularly. On days when he ran, he had more energy, was less tired, slept better and was just an all-around happier person.

Today, Modlinski is a nonsurgical orthopaedic physician with Norton Orthopaedic Specialists as well as the medical co-director of the Kentucky Derby Festival Marathon and miniMarathon and helps patients achieve their fitness goals every day. Modlinski also believes that everyone, even people who consider themselves couch potatoes, has more potential than they realize to get up and get moving. All you have to do is take that first step.

screen-shot-2017-12-05-at-1-42-23-pmIf exercise isn’t currently part of your schedule, Modlinski encourages changing that as we head into the new year. And for those who are setting fitness goals and making resolutions, the number one priority must always be to be healthy.

“The most important thing about this is getting healthy because exercise can play a wide variety of roles as far as treating a lot of different chronic diseases. It’s not just being more fit or running a specific time,” he said. “Chronic exercise has been known to reduce high blood pressure, high cholesterol and improve joint pain. There are so many medical benefits that I stress to patients… . I say, ‘Look, at the end of the day we’re doing this to be healthy, and then the secondary goals of time and distance can come later.’”

However, with any lifestyle change, setting specific, concrete goals is only natural. Modlinski said those interested in turning over a new leaf in exercise must first assess themselves to be sure they are setting goals that are realistic. To do so, you need to figure out where you are at the start: What are you able to do without fatigue, shortness of breath or pain? It’s a subjective situation to be sure, but fitness devices such as Fitbits and Garmins can help you figure out when you may be pushing yourself too hard, as Modlinski says in training, you should challenge yourself at a level that’s just beyond where you are now.

When the average person hears about a runner in the news or online, it’s usually due to some sort of extraordinary triumph. If you’re just starting out, comparing yourself to a well-seasoned athlete is not an advisable way to approach your journey, Modlinski cautioned. “Some people have this idea that they get from a family member or see in a magazine that, ‘Gosh, this lady ran a full marathon in four months – I can do that!’ And that’s great for that person and you can do a full marathon, too, but let’s have a more realistic timeframe. Considering where you’re starting from, maybe that’s going to take us a year or nine months to accomplish. So, we always want to come up with a realistic compromise on their goals.”

As with most endeavors, the beginning is always the most difficult. But once you’ve decided that becoming a runner is something you want to do, putting in those first three weeks will have unparalleled payoff in the end. “The first three or four weeks are very difficult with any new routine, whether it’s exercise or quitting smoking,” Modlinski said. “A lot of studies have shown that three weeks seems to be a magical time for some strange reason to recondition and reprogram the brain. So, I tell patients, ‘Look, you may not like this for the first three weeks. You may hate life. You may be a bear to your family. But if you can get past those first three weeks, you’ll start to feel a lot better. You may not see a huge weight change or anything, but you’ll feel more energy and you will feel better.’ And once we get there, then it’s not hard to convince that person to stick with it.”

As you set out in your training, Modlinski also advises taking it at a pace that doesn’t rock your current routine too severely. This will help prevent burn out and is also the best method to get your body used to your new regimen. “I stress to patients that you will get stronger and better by pushing the body and allowing it time to adapt,” he said. “Taking a day off between training actually helps you get a little bit better. When you get farther along in your journey, maybe we can go up to four or five days a week. And we talk about not biting off too much as far as a timeframe. So many people set a goal by a certain date or a certain race. If they start in January for the Kentucky Derby Festival miniMarathon and they get off their schedule by a week or two, then they start to panic and start to press more, which can lead to more pain and injuries and less success with their goals. So, if it’s your first (race), I’d throw out the deadlines and timeframes.”

With all those factors in mind – focusing on being healthy, setting realistic goals and sticking to a reasonable pace of training – you’re ready to run. Just keep in mind that every individual is different, Modlinski said. What takes someone else three months may take you six, and what takes you four weeks could take someone else eight. Listen to your body and push yourself. As long as you keep your own health in focus, you are positioned for success. And once you achieve your goal, every late-night gym session or early morning run will suddenly seem worth it.

“It’s exhilarating,” Modlinski said of finally crossing the finish line. “No matter what your time is, the concept of starting toward a goal for 10 weeks or three months or six months and setting out from where you start to where you finish and then finishing that race and finishing it healthy and feeling good gives you a great sense of accomplishment and motivation because you can finish it and say, ‘I felt great, I felt amazing, it was such a thrill to do this and accomplish a goal I set out to do – now, what’s next?’”

“A lot of studies have shown that three weeks seems to be a magical time for some strange reason to recondition and reprogram the brain. So, I tell patients, ‘Look, you may not like this for the first three weeks. You may hate life. You may be a bear to your family. But if you can get past those first three weeks, you’ll start to feel a lot better.”

Dr. Ryan Modlinski, nonsurgical orthopaedic physician with Norton Orthopaedic Specialists


FIVE TRAINING TIPS with Stephanie Fish 



If you’ve never done a race at all, maybe your first goal is a 5K and then maybe a 10K and then a half marathon and then a full. A lot of people who have never run a day in their life want to go for the long one right off the bat, and I can tell you it’s very, very hard to do that.


Find a running buddy or running group. It’s really hard to achieve some of these goals by yourself. That helps people stay accountable and also train properly. Having people with you can also keep you motivated.


A training plan will keep you on schedule with where you need to be and make sure you’re not moving too fast or too slow. With a schedule, you can also throw in some days of rest and cross-training, which helps prevent overtraining and/or injuries.


Nutrition is something that people tend to forget. In training for anything, 50 percent of it is physical and 50 percent is nutrition. You can’t go out and try to run five miles if you haven’t eaten anything or you’re not properly hydrated.


The Triple Crown of Running is almost the perfect goal-oriented training program to get you to that half marathon. It starts with a 5K then a 10K then a 10-miler, and any person who ever comes up to me and says they want to do a half marathon, I immediately tell them that they should sign up for the Triple Crown as it gives you great racing experience and helps you build up to the half marathon.

Join Stephanie Jan. 11 at the Kentucky Derby Museum as Norton Sports Health kicks off its training program for the Kentucky Derby Festival Marathon and miniMarathon. The free event will take place at 6 p.m. and will be the inaugural event for the 14-week program wherein participants will be able to talk with professionals about nutrition, training tips, injury prevention and education. For more information, visit derbyfestivalmarathon.com.

screen-shot-2017-12-05-at-1-52-24-pmROCK OUT WHILE YOU RUN 

with Ben Davis

Sure, Ben Davis is co-host of “The Ben Davis and Kelly K. Show” on 99.7 WDJX (and one of the funniest people we’ve ever met), but did you also know he’s a dedicated runner, too? If he’s not streaming one of Alpha Media’s radio stations (99.7 DJX, B96, G105.1, 102.3 Jack or Magic 101.3) or listening to a true crime podcast (or picking up dog poop) while he runs, Ben has these songs on repeat to keep him motivated.


The beat and the attitude is perfect!


Attitude is key with this one.


I like music that I can keep the pace to.




To keep things random and upbeat.


Yep, the whole album.




I just like this song right now.


Just a fun song.


Just a gritty rock song that will pump anyone up.

*You can find a link to Ben’s playlist on the Extol Sports Facebook page. 


Nick Walker | High School Spotlight

Nick Walker

Henryville’s senior standout is a team player on and off the court.

By Kristin Kleinert | Photos by Darryl Middleton

On Nov. 21, just four days shy of his 18th birthday,
Nicholas “Nick” Briceson Walker will take the court for the first home game of his final year of high school basketball.

screen-shot-2017-11-06-at-3-56-29-pmThat night he’s set to hit the 1000-point mark for career points scored (he’s only nine away) and,
before the season concludes in February, he’ll most-likely rank in the top five of almost every basketball stat kept at his high school in Henryville.

But folks, he doesn’t tell me any of that.

I sit with Nick in a quiet gym on a Thursday morning during his fall break. Going in, I already know he’s a huge part of his team’s successes over the last few years and that he’s expected to have a great upcoming season. I know there are multiple colleges interested in him and that he’ll be working to bolster that interest over the next few months. But I quickly learn there’s a better chance of me winning this year’s NBA dunk contest than getting Walker to boast about himself. Throughout our time together, he looks me in the eye and calls me “ma’am.” His listens thoughtfully to my questions and answers earnestly, but the word he uses more than any other is: TEAM. He works it into almost every sentence.

It goes something like:

ME:  “Tell me about your goals for this season.”

NICK: “I want the team to win the sectional tournament.”

ME: “Ok. But tell me about a personal goal. Something you want for you.”

NICK: “I want us to win the sectional. My team and me.”

And the conversation continues in this manner. I ask questions about the individual, and Walker gives responses that include his team. He is not uncooperative by any means, but quietly turns the conversation toward his team every chance he gets. It’s organic and sincere, and I have to think about it afterward before it even becomes obvious to me Nick Walker is simply humble.

Though he always had a ball in his hand from an early age, Nick actually began by watching the sport as a spectator at a local youth league. “My friend played at Graceland and I’d go and watch,” Walker remembers. “His coach wanted to start a travel ball team, and he asked me to join. I got to play with guys like Romeo (Langford) and Cobie (Barnes).”

His love of the game solidified, and Nick joined the basketball program at Henryville Elementary School in 5th grade (the first eligible opportunity offered in his hometown). Since that time, Nick has been a favorite among his coaches and an asset to the program.

When Walker entered high school in 2014, Henryville’s varsity basketball was in transition with a new coach and hadn’t experienced any success in some time. In fact, the Hornets had only won a total of three games over a two-year period. Nick was an instant boost to his teammates that year, starting every varsity game but one.

“Nick’s first varsity season – my first season – we won nine games,” said Henryville High School boys varsity basketball coach Jared Hill. “It was still technically a losing season for us, but it was a huge improvement over where the team had been the two years previous. Nick Walker was definitely part of the reason for that growth.”

Of course I only learn this information from Coach Hill, as Nick tells me very little about his personal contributions at all. Instead, he briefly reports on his disappointment in the losses that first year and his pride in the team when they came together to create successful winning records in the following two.

“The times when your team has been working on something together and it’s effective – when you’re all having fun – that’s probably my favorite thing about basketball,” Nick admits.

What Nick’s team cultivated during his sophomore and junior years was definitely “effective.” In fact, the Hornets’ 2016-2017 season saw 19 wins, breaking the school’s record for most regular season victories.

I glean more information from Coach Hill about Nick Walker, the individual. I learn he is a good student and popular among his peers. His teachers often ask if he is as quiet at ball practice as he is in their classes. He adores his family and is a doting big brother to his little sister, Maya. And when it comes to basketball? Nick is a gem.

“All the guys know, if all else fails, give it to Nick. His ability to make plays – successful plays – is one of his greatest strengths,” Hill remarked with pride, then added: “Now, if we could just get him to quit being so unselfish all the time.”

In last year’s Ted Throckmorton Memorial Tournament at Jeffersonville High School, Nick scored 114 points in four games against some of Kentuckiana’s top teams, making the all-tournament team as the leading scorer overall. This summer, he was honored to participate in the prestigious Indiana’s Top 100 Workout at Ben Davis High School. And the buzz from college coaches is getting intense. (Of course, Nick didn’t tell me any of that.)

I head out of the gym, excited about what the future holds for Nick. He’s a remarkable young man and a talented athlete. Next fall, he plans to become an asset to a new team, this time at the university level, while working toward becoming the first in his family to become a college graduate.

As I’m leaving, I run into physical education teacher John Bradley and ask him about Nick. Bradley is a former high school basketball coach and still loves the game, so of course I’m expecting something basketball-related.

“In all my years of teaching, in all the classes I’ve had, I’ve never had a kid who wants to involve every student – every single one of them – the way Nick Walker does,” Bradley tells me.

I’m interested but surprised that his comment has nothing to do with Nick’s skills on the court. He seems to notice and elaborates: “Every P.E. class has kids that are hesitant, maybe because they’re less-athletic kids or students with special physical needs. But Nick put in whatever effort it took to make sure every kid didn’t just participate but wanted to do so. I’ve just never had a student who could make the whole class join in like he did.”

He pauses, then adds, “It’s just something that stood out to me and it says a whole lot about the kind of person that young man is.”

But folks, Nick Walker’s not going to tell you any of that.


The Athlete Next Door | Josh Keown

Josh Keown, 40, of Louisville 

Art Director for Pizza Today magazine and Digital Coordinator for Comedy Central’sTosh.0 screen-shot-2017-09-25-at-6-53-11-pm

Where do you workout? 

Home four days a week and ProFormance Health and Wellbeing one to two days a week.

What is your weekly fitness routine? 

After a few years of Crossfit, I went back to basics this year. I started working out at home. All you need is a few pieces of equipment and the willingness to get uncomfortable in your comfortable home.

screen-shot-2017-09-25-at-6-53-02-pmMY ROUTINE 

Every day: 10 minutes of mediation, 3 rounds of Wim Hof breathing and Egoscue movements to get the body/mind primed for the day

Monday and Friday: 250 pushups, 75 strict pull-ups, 200 squats, 150 situps

Tuesday: A lot of shoulder work. Weightlifting and mobility because I have suffered a few dislocations in my right shoulder

Wednesday: Punching the heavy bag for six rounds and rowing at ProFormance

Thursday: Leg work and I will mix that in with some fun arm sets

Saturday: Trail run and a few hill sprints

screen-shot-2017-09-25-at-6-53-07-pmWhat about your diet? What’s it like? 

I’m always asked why I don’t weigh 1,000 pounds since I work for Pizza Today, a national magazine geared toward the pizza industry. I limit myself to pizza once a week. I keep it simple. Find healthy foods that you like and eat them every day. I start each day with a protein smoothie that I make at home. Lunch will consist of a chicken breast and bag of frozen vegetables that are easy to heat up in the break room. Dinner is usually more fun with homemade tacos or gluten free pasta.

What compelled you to change how you approached your health? 

I always enjoyed working out, but I also liked wine and eating out six days a week. I wasn’t seeing any results. Then I started educating myself on nutrition and mindset. It was a game changer and since I started cleaning up my diet and meditating, things have slowly started moving in the right direction.

How differently do you feel at 40 as opposed to when you were 30? 

I definitely feel better physically, but the biggest difference is my mindset going into 40 versus 30 is I’m way more focused and happy.

What advice do you have for others? 

Patience. Be patient with yourself. If you start a program and you have a bad day or week. Don’t quit. Get back up. Be consistent. 

Incorporate small changes into your lifestyle. If you try to overhaul everything on a Monday, you’ll be back to your old ways by Tuesday night. Start with trying a new healthy breakfast for a few weeks. Then move to lunch, and so on. Start hanging out with people who inspire you to be better. Get rid of the friend who tries to drag you down. Keep it simple. Even if you have zero equipment and no gym membership you can have an amazing workout. Just get to moving and break a sweat.

BREATHE. Be conscious of your breath. A few times a day sit up straight and take ten deep inhales/exhales. You notice the tension you have in your shoulders will fade away. Around 3pm every day when I start to feel a little tired I will find an upbeat song and breath to the beat. It’s an instant pick-me-up.

Photo of the Aug. 21 eclipse viewed through tree leaves in Southern Indiana.

Inspire | September 2017

Photo of the Aug. 21 eclipse viewed through tree leaves in Southern Indiana.

Photo of the Aug. 21 eclipse viewed through tree leaves in Southern Indiana.

The Eclipse!

Where were you Aug. 21, 2017, during the Great American Eclipse? Whether you travelled to experience totality, stepped outside of your workplace or home to take a (hopefully safe) glance or didn’t give it a moment’s thought, many did on all accounts. And we’ll have the opportunity to do so again in seven years.

While we (allegedly) won’t experience complete totality in most Southern Indiana areas when the eclipse returns in 2024, we are on the path. Will you be there?

What or who inspires you when it comes to fitness, sports, health and life? Send your favorite photo and an explanation of why you think your photo would inspire others or why it inspires you, and we could publish it in an upcoming issue of Extol Sports. Email us at extol@extolmag.com.


Inspire | August 2017

inspireIt’s a Boy!

Normally, we post a photo of an athlete or location meant to induce inspiration. This time, however, we’re using this space to announce the birth of The Final Say columnist Zach McCrite’s second child, Monroe, though, of course, all props should be given to mama Brit McCrite, who is an inspiration herself.

Monroe Patrick McCrite was born July 5 at 4:26 p.m. at Floyd Memorial Hospital. Expect to see updates and videos of his progress in the coming weeks, months and years. Oh, and if you’re not already following Zach, you should. His Twitter handle is @BigEZ.

What or who inspires you when it comes to fitness, sports and health? Send your favorite photo and an explanation of why you think it would inspire others or what about the image inspires you, and we could publish it in an upcoming issue of Extol Sports. Email us at extol@extolmag.com

Photo by Ashley Bowen Photography 


Inspire | July 2017

Take a moment to stop and smell the roses – or strike a pose.”
–Erica Weddle


Photo of Erica Weddle, who is a personal trainer and yoga instructor in Nashville, Ind., was taken on the Big Four Bridge by Nick Tannehill


What or who inspires you when it comes to fitness, sports and health? Send your favorite photo and an explanation of why you think it would inspire others or what about the image inspires you, and we could publish it in an upcoming issue of Extol Sports. Email us at extol@extolmag.com.



Inspire | June 2017

“Persevere, one of my favorite verbs in the English  language (of Latin origin),  means to continue on  steadfastly, persist. A theme of mine is to persevere  through life with intention  – not merely get by, walk, limp, or be led through a life of decisions made for me by someone else or as a result of my indecision.” – Hannah Cobine

Hannah Cobine is a Southern Indiana born, Louisville living, forever Hoosier with a degree from IU-Bloomington in Public Affairs. Project management consultant by day, fitness enthusiast, champion of women, community, and the concept of self-love by night, this occasional runway model, short-middle distance runner and terrible yet persistent golfer also is a former basketball player (who occasionally still laces up her Js) and has an ear for Jazz, R&B and Neo Soul music, and a taste for Bordeaux-style wines (specifically Carmenere…just in case you were wondering). Follow her on Instagram @hannie_b_