Lake Life

& Such

Boy Scout Troop #398 meets at the Cedar Creek Bible Church from 7-8:30 p.m. each Tuesday. For more information, call (903) 498-5725 or (903) 498-3830.
Cedar Creek Art Society meets from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. the last Thursday of each month at the Mabank Volunteer Fire Department. A $3 donation per artist is asked.
Cedar Creek Domino Club meets each week on Wednesday at the Mabank Volunteer Fire Department. For more info, call (903) 498-4351.
Cedar Creek NAR-ANON meets at 8 p.m. on Tuesday at 715 S. Hwy. 274, Ste. D in Seven Points. (903) 432-2405.
Cedar Creek Narcotics Anonymous meets at 8 p.m., Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday, at 715 S. Hwy. 274, Ste. D in Seven Points. (903) 432-2405. Saturday is a 10 p.m. candlelight meeting.
Cedar Creek 49ers Club meets every Thursday and fourth Saturday for fellowship and dancing. Doors open at 6 p.m. The club is located off Arnold Hill Road in Seven Points. Call for more information, (903) 432-3552.
Cedar Creek Lake Kiwanis Club meets at noon each Wednesday at The Jalapeno Tree in Gun Barrel City, except the second week of the month, when the club meets Thursday in conjunction with the area chamber of commerce luncheon.
Cedar Creek Optimist Club meets every Tuesday at noon at the Dairy Queen in Seven Points. For more information please call Danny Hampel at (903) 778-4508.
Cedar Creek Republican Club meets every fourth Thursday. For more information call (903) 887-4867.
Cedar Creek Rotary Club meets at noon each Friday at Vetoni’s Italian Restaurant. For more information, call Dee Ann Owens at (903) 340-2415.
Cub Scout Pack #333 meets at the First United Methodist Church of Mabank the second and fourth Monday at 7 p.m. For information, call Mary Harris at (903) 451-5280 or Tonya Capley at (903) 498-4725.
Girl Scout Troop #112 meets at the First United Methodist Church in Mabank the second and fourth Monday at 7 p.m. For more info, call GeriLeigh Stotts at (469) 323-7943 or Malisa Bilberry at (903) 340-7451, or email
Disabled American Veterans Chapter 101 meets the second Monday of each month at the Senior Citizens Center on Hwy. 31 in Athens.
Girl Scout Troop 2667 meets every Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. at the Aley United Methodist Church. For more information, please call Suzann Smith at (903) 887-3889.
Gun Barrel Quilter’s Guild meets from 10 a.m. on the second Wednesday of each month at the Tri-County Library in Mabank. For more information, please call (903) 451-4221.
Kaufman County Republican Women’s Club meets the third Saturday of each month at the Farm Bureau Insurance Company, located at 2477 N. Hwy. 34 in Kaufman. For more info, call (972) 287-1239 or (903) 880-6770.
Kemp Kiwanis Club meets at noon each Tuesday at the Nutrition Center in Kemp. For more information, please call Dr. Jim Collinsworth at (903) 887-7486.
Lake Area Council of the Blind meets at 6 p.m. on the second Saturday of the month at West Athens Baptist Church.
Lake Area Democrats Club meets at 6:30 p.m. on the third Tuesday of the month at Dairy Queen in Seven Points. Everyone is welcome. Email  for more information.
Mabank/Cedar Creek Area Lions Club meets at 6:30 p.m. on the fourth Tuesday of each month at the Tri-County Library in Mabank. Call (903) 887-5252 for info.
Mabank Garden Club meets at 2:45 p.m. at the Tri-County Library on the third Tuesday of every month (different times in May and December).
Oak Harbor/Tanglewood Crime Watch meets at 7 p.m. on the second Tuesday of the month at the R.T. Beamguard Community Center in Oak Harbor.
Roddy Masonic Lodge meets at 6:30 p.m. the second Monday each month. Call (903) 887-6201 for info.
RootSeekers meet at 7 p.m. on the third Monday of the month in the Tri-County Library in downtown Mabank. The public is welcome to attend.
Southeast Kaufman County Senior Citizens Center Board of Directors meets at 1 p.m. on the fourth Thursday of each month at the center, located at 300 N. Dallas Street in Kemp. For more info, call (903) 498-2140.
SUICIDE SURVIVORS GROUP for those grieving the loss of someone by suicide, meets every Monday at 6:30 p.m. at First United Methodist Church in Mabank.
TAMARACK LADIES CLUB meets at 11 a.m. the first Wednesday of each month at the TLC Hall.
TOPS (Take Off Pounds Sensibly) meet at 6 p.m. each Monday at the First Baptist Church of Mabank. Contact Gaye Ward at (903) 887-5913 for more info.
TVCC Singles meet at 7 p.m. each Monday in the Nutrition Center at TVCC, located off Park Street near the Athens Country Club. This is a support group for singles of all ages and is supported by TVCC. For more info, call Hilda Anding at (903) 489-2259.


Local man competes in first triathlon
Coached by Olympic Center instructor, 46-year-old goes from his first 5K to Iron Brothers Super Sprint
By Pearl Cantrell
Monitor Staff Writer

GUN BARREL CITY–If you have ever thought it’s too hot outside, you’re too out of shape or too old to significantly change your level of fitness, this story is for you.
Two years ago, Lance Vernon was just like most of us – in his mid-40s, working a regular job, overweight and underactive.
But earlier this month, Vernon competed in his very first triathlon. Out of a field of 289 finishers, he came in 24th.

Courtesy Photo
Lance Vernon (left) stands with coach William Ritter just before competing in his first triathlon.

In his age category, he came in fifth, just seconds behind third place.
Two years ago, he had never run even a short distance. Now, he wants to know if he can compete again with a faster time.
A year and a half ago, he quit drinking and thought, now what am I going to do?
He turned to physical exercise. At 5-7 and 230 pounds, his knees hurt when he tried to jog. But this did not deter him.
Vernon decided to seek help, so he joined the East Texas Medical Center’s Olympic Center, for fitness building.
Besides using the weight room, he took a water aerobics class, and slowly began to try the other classes as well.
It took him about a year to lose enough weight so his knees didn’t hurt anymore.
While stepping up the challenge to a “fitness boot camp” session, Vernon followed instructions to run five times around the parking lot.
“I’d never run that far before. I didn’t think I could do it,” Vernon told The Monitor. But he did, and that made him wonder – what else could he do?
Water aerobic instructor William Ritter, 25, happens to be a triathlete himself, and that intrigued Vernon, so he asked if Ritter would be interested in coaching him.
Ritter was ready for the challenge. The first thing he taught him was running.
After one month of coaching, Vernon ran his first 5K, hosted by the Mabank Band Boosters in April, and his confidence grew.
“He did better than I expected. I was just trying to get him to finish,” Ritter said.
More than ever, Vernon wanted to do a triathlon, but he needed a bike. Well, he ended up getting a bike frame and building his own, he said.
After learning the basics of bicycling safety, the training began in earnest, with a warm-up, followed by 30 minutes of hard pedaling, 10 minutes easing up and then five minutes at his very fastest.
Once Vernon was doing well at riding, Ritter added running to the bike ride. Ritter calls this “a brick.”

Courtesy Photo
Lance Vernon at the finish of the Jack Weiss Iron Brothers Super Sprint July 12.

He’d ride 60 to 90 minutes, and then run for 10 minutes. As his endurance grew, so did his running time.
Ritter also coached Vernon in proper cool-down techniques, to elevate his legs after a workout and take ice baths or cold showers.
He also taught him to eat foods with denser nutritional value.
The pair of them also attended triathlon clinics that practiced swimming techniques, such as how to have a fast start.
The two also trained at the Cain Center’s pool in Athens and in Cedar Creek Lake with the use of buoys.
“At first, I swam just along the shoreline between two buoys before I was ready to swim out and around the third one,” Vernon said.
Like Forrest Gump, Vernon was willing to take and follow directions. If Ritter said run, he ran. He didn’t question his direction; he just tried to follow it the best he could.
Ritter’s coaching followed a similar pattern to the one his own professional coach used with him.
“I’m glad to know that I can successfully coach someone,” Ritter said. He hopes to get a triathlon-coaching certificate in the near future.
Though Vernon had lost a lot of weight in his first year of gym membership, when he began to train for the triathlon he lost 15 more pounds, and now weighs a trim 170.
“A year and a half ago, I had a big beer belly,” he laughed.
How does he deal with the heat? “I sweat a lot,” he answers.
Vernon added his body became acclimated to the summer temperatures.
“I stay outside most all the weekend. I just got used to it,” he said. “Running is my hardest thing.”
Ritter’s coaching now is directed at helping Vernon build up more strength in his legs.
How does Vernon feel having reached his goal?
“I feel excited about myself. It’s still sinking in,” he said less than a week after the event.
Vernon has already set his sites on two more triathlons, one in August and another in September.
His first one, the Iron Brothers Super Sprint at Joe Pool Lake in Grand Prairie July 12, was relatively short, with a 400-meter swim, an 11-mile bike ride and a two-mile run.
The next two are a bit more challenging. If he needed any encouragement, he has it in his fellow gym rats.
Everyone at the Olympic Center seems to know about his training and his accomplishment.
Perhaps it will even make his fellow fitness trainees wonder, what might they accomplish?

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