Hello! What's up blogger-nation!? You have successfully made your way to "Mark's Corner" and yes of course, I am Mark! The infamous brother mentioned numerous times throughout the year in previous blogs. Yes, I know all of you have been wondering, "who is this 'brother' we keep hearing about and why haven't we heard anything from him?" Well, unfortunately for you,
After sitting here for about an hour thinking about how I want to start this masterpiece, I realized that I just need to start doing what I used do in school papers, which is to just start writing and deleting, writing and deleting, writing and deleting. Somewhere in all the "writing and deleting" I came out with that intro paragraph up there and realized it was just a bunch of "filler words" and fluffy sentences with no real intro into who I am. So what better place to start then here, right?! Like I mentioned above, my name is Mark and I too dabble in this crazy world of endurance. That wasn't always the tagline for who I am. Anyone who knows me or my family, you know that running for absurd distances or cycling long enough that the need to replenish the body with lost nutrients and calories in order to keep moving forward is needed, knows that that exact statement is far from who we are. We are a family born into the sport of baseball. I'm not kidding when I say that the first thing that touched my slimy body when I was born, was a nasty old Cubs hat that my dad threw from his back pocket, behind his back onto the warming tray as I was lowered down....LITERALLY BORN INTO IT!
|This hat has been around!|
|Far too many nights here.|
I played for Parkland for 2 years because it was just a junior college. Never in my life had I been on a team of that caliber before. The year I signed the contracts, Junior year in high-school, they went on to win the NJCAA Division 2 National Championship. Being a Cobra at that time was really cool.
|Signing the contracts with Parkland pitching coach, DJ Throneburg|
Many times after practices or games where we still had our Parkland Baseball gear on, some of us would be around town running errands or whatever, we would get compliments here and there from people who saw us and knew about our program. They would say compliments such as "you guys are a great ball club!" or "that team of yours is a real inspiration to the youth baseball programs in this town!" That was so cool to hear from people! Granted, none of us on that team were on the National Title team, it was still so cool to hear someone say such good things about your program.
|"I'm in Tennessee, now I'm in Virginia!"|
Once you drive through the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, along the Blue Ridge Mountain Ranges, you find nestled away in the middle of an Appalachian Mountain valley, King University! The absolute second I drove into that town on my visit, I knew I was going to live there and continue my baseball career.
|The year I got there was the schools first year as a "University"|
Once I moved in, it did not take too long to fall in love with that place. Anyone who lives in suburbia and has never experienced the great outdoors, should take a drive down through Tennessee! You
wont regret it! The backdrop of our baseball field at King is the Appalachian Mountain Range and it seriously was so hard having to go to practice every day to see that, because all it made me want to do was hop in the car and go get lost up on the Appalachian Trail!
Whenever I had free time, I would go up to the famous trail and hike it, a little bit at a time, going a little further each time until I got to the point where I would go out and hike for hours and not realize it until the sun had gone down.
Being in Tennessee turned me from a "city boy" into an outdoorsman! I even taught myself how to fly fish along the South Holston River just like Brad Pitt in A River Runs Through It. I suggest you check out that movie because its a great visual representation of a similarity of how people live their lives in Bristol, even though the movie is set in Missoula Montana, a bucket list destination I want to visit some day!
|Fly fishing is hard. Very hard.|
|King University, shortly after that snow storm.|
Craig Alexander (Crowie)
|2009 Ironman World Champion|
|2010 Ironman World Champion|
|2011 Ironman World Champion|
|2010 Ironman World Champion|
|Everybody, meet Juan.|
Fast forward back to being in Bristol. What I haven't told you yet is how much I cycled there. Any spare time I had, I would be out riding through the mountains and along the river. I truly learned how to be a really good cyclist out there. Sure enough I became friends with the whole cycling team at King.
|This is Felipe|
During the summer before my 2nd year at King, I bought a newer road bike. It was a Cannondale Synapse Road Bike. Its' name is Felipe. I needed to upgrade my "cycling situation" from my trusty compadre, Juan.
By my 3rd year at King, I had made the big purchase and bought myself a triathlon bike. And it wasn't off of Craigslist this time. It's a white framed Cervelo P2 with blue writing on it! Gorgeous bike and perfect for my skillset. I named it Ali'i. This time around, the name has a meaning.
|Ali'i up on top of the South Holston Dam|
|"Anything Is Possible"|