Category Archives: Austin Marathon

IT’S OPEN ON THE BIG END, BABY !!!!!

yogiI know that I have used this quote on more than one occasion, but I just love it ! It is so true too. I really like where my mind is going these days in terms of my fitness goals and triathlon goals. There have been plenty of occasions that I could have chased out some negative thread of thought and said “No way I can do this.” Even this morning at the pool I had one more occasion to get to ride someone else’s negative rift, but frankly I just feel to good about the progress made so far to allow that! I am still feeling pretty high from the weekend at the Austin Marathon, my confidence is growing. What was once my worst fear of an event, swimming, is now becoming one of my favorites. While I thought that my running times seemed so insanely slow, I made progress that was beyond what I would have thought possible. So today my mind is right on track!

I remember one thing that my mentors in another area of my life always told me “you can’t think yourself into right action, you have to act yourself into right thinking”. If I had not learned this lesson and listened to people that had learned how to make positive changes in their life and then taken actions that at times didn’t appear to even make sence, I wouldn’t have the life I have today. Truth be known, I would probably not be alive. So I keep that experience close to my heart when I hear those negative voices, either internal or external, giving me the skeptics chant. Those voices are only real if I act on them instead of acting in a positive way regardless of what else might be heard.

Learning to shelve the negative voices is only a part of the game though, watering the seeds of the positive life-giving voices is the other side of the coin. The more that I feed “the good wolf” the stronger it will get! So everytime I complete one more good workout , I feed “the good wolf”. Everytime I do my workout even when my mind might want me to slough off, I feed “the good wolf“. The smile I get after completing my swim workout, that is food for “the good wolf“. The time I spend getting to practise meditation, that is food for “the good wolf” too.  Every time I get the chance to give someone else a lift of encouragement and share my experiences with my difficulties and how I was able to walk through them, that too is feeding “the good wolf“. That’s what I want to be about, feeding “the good wolf“; not only mine but others too.

One of my favorite sayings that my mentor consistenly tells me is “life is open on the big end , baby” ! The guy helped me walk through some of the darkest times of my entire life and kept telling me that over and over.  He didn’t ever promise me it was easy though, but he always told me it would be rewarding beyond my wildest dreams. Ride a bike 100 miles? Run a half-marathon? Swim a mile? Do a 70.3 triathlon? Not even imaginable 5 years ago. Ride a bike 100 miles? Run a half-marathon? Swim a mile? Do a 70.3 triathlon? Hell ya !

And ya know what, that’s just what I can see and dream today! I believe in the un-imaginable today ! IT’S OPEN ON THE BIG END, BABY!!!!!

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Weekend In Austin

austinstartThe last couple of years we have gone to Austin, Texas for the Livestrong Austin Marathon/Half-Marathon. Austin is one of my favorite cities to visit, which is strange for a life long Sooner to say, but we always enjoy our visits to Austin. In the past when it is marathon weekend I am usually really relaxed and I have always enjoyed following the girls all around the course to cheer them on, but the last 6 months have changed our game plan since I am now running too.  One part of running in these events that I really enjoy is getting to see a city from a different perspective, seeing the city on foot running is different than any other way to experience a city. My fitness level continues to get stronger, feeling the difference physically from the two earlier half-marathons to yesterday’s was really gratifying.  So to give you a glimpse into the biggest part of my weekend training, let me share a some of the Austin highlights.

The city of Austin has a  feel unlike any other city than I have ever visited. There is just such a positive vibe about the whole community. Austin is considered one of the most physically fit cities in the country and my experience has been that the more physically fit I have become the happier I have become too. So it is no surprise that people in general just seem to be happy about life, there is a certain aura that people generally have in Austin, they seem to have this carefree positive attitude that just exudes from them.  Of all the places that I have ever visited in my life I am certain that there are more people out with there dogs in Austin than anywhere else in the world, seemed like everywhere you went there were people with their pup dogs tagging along. Who doesn’t smile when they have a great dog-friend to run around with? So besides the music and awesome food, those two points stick out about this great city!

So the stage is set, we are getting ready for a great weekend in Austin on marathon weekend. I have done a bunch of these events with Becky and Cynthia over the last 12 or so years and always loved following them around the different courses to root them on! As a spectator watching your family members get to work hard and accomplish their goals on race day, that is a lot of fun. I am always really proud of them. That was how race day had always been until this November when I became a participant myself. Now the thrill is different, there is more of a common bond about being at the start of these big races with them. Not only is it the excitement of getting to expereince what you have worked hard to do, but getting to do that with your family is even extra-special for me. The girls do the full marathon and I am doing the half marathon. There is a since of closeness doing that together that I suspect few get to experience. It is just so odd to even be thinking about it too, going from someone who never exercised to actually being out there doing this type of thing still blows me away. None of us would have ever thought that we would be doing this stuff together until the last few years. So we are really gratefull for the experience.

The start of the race was at the State Capital, it is a really beautiful place too. After leaving the capital you weave through downtown and eventually head out on Congress Avenue through one of my favorite places to hangout and eat.  One thing that is dieffernent in Austin than in Oklahoma City is all of the food vendors in “coaches” or trailers throughout the city. There are even trailer park type areas that they are alll set up in that have bunches of picnic tables around  for customers to sit and have their meals. They have some great park areas in Austin too, I hope someday Oklahoma City develops a park system in that same class. As I was running I made notice of all the dedicated bike lanes in the roads, there are some many bike lanes throughout the city, it is just awesome. You could actually safely commute to work on bike in this town without getting run over or have some fat cig-smoking,  jelly donut eatin’ neanderuthal riding up your ass and honking at you to get out of his way! (and yes that may or may not have been me 3-4 years ago) One of my favorite parts of the race was when we were running at about 10 miles with all the Livestrong volunteers out on there in their yellow cheering us on, they were absolutely great!  Again, the atmosphere of Austin makes the race.

medalaustinNow about the race and my fitness gains, this was my best half marathon so far. I was able to improve my half-marathon time by 17:19 minutes! I was really pleased, to say the least. I really wanted to do well and I felt I was in much better shape than back in November and December, but I was a little apprehensive about expecting a great gain in time. At Dallas after the first one in Tulsa, I was actually slower; that stung my pride pretty good. I thought surely I would do better than time.  So with that experience I was a little gun shy about my expectations, especially since I knew this would be a tougher course than the others. I had a little piece of paper on me that showed where my mile splits would need to be for 3 different finishes, one being a “pie in the sky” time that I didn’t think I would even be able to do. Well at mile 11 I was so close to the “pie in the sky”, I couldn’t believe it. If mile 12 didn’t have that one major hill, I could have maybe done it. I tried, I really did, but I just wasn’t able to get up that bastard like I needed to close it out. Having said that I was so pumped about the time I was going to be able to pull off! It was actually a better time than I honestly thought I could do; 2:33:49 ! I felt so stoked about that! I was one big major smile when I crossed that finish line!

 

So that was my training highlight this week, I leave Austin feeling really confident that I will be able to do Galveston. I know that my run is getting better and stronger, I also expect it to be even stronger by April 7th.

Tonight let’s listen to an Austin favorite son Jimmie Vaughan live at Antone’s.

 

 

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Body, Mind, and Soul

Quote-439-300x300When I first started this blog several years ago the original title of the blog was “Body, Mind, and Soul”, so today I am going to go back to that pattern for this post. There are lessons that I am learning along this Road To Glaveston;  some new, some old with renewed strength. So with this being my first post in over a week, I feel somewhat refreshed and not nearly as over-whelmed in writing this morning. I like the tri-concept of body, mind, and soul; it seems to weave a really beautiful tapestry of life.

Body- Physically last week I was to have a recovery week in my workout routine. If recovery was the goal, I acheived that. I had two scheduled days of rest and ended up with 3 rest days. There were three workouts that were my highlights, each for different reasons. My swim workout was awesome this week, I really enjoy getting into the pool. I wouldn’t have ever thought that swimming would become so enjoyable. For me to come full-circle in swimming is a big deal! My favorite run this week was Saturday’s Fridgid Five in Edmond. We did this event with my brother in law. He wanted to do a run to celebrate his 70th birthday, so we had a nice dinner out with them on Friday and met them for the run on Saturday.  Jim has been a lifelong runner and has done the Boston Marathon a couple of times too. I know my wife felt good about doing that with him too. She feels like her mom would have been proud to see them running together. The bike ride on Sunday at the lake was really relaxing, it was to be 90 minutes of riding just for enjoyment. I put in my headphones and did lake laps. It was refreshing too, helped me to get my head clear.  Hopefully with the recovery week I will be able to hit this week  in full gear. We will cap the coming week off with a good trip to Austin for the Livestrong Marathon.

Mind-  My mind is in pretty good shape this week. Mentally I feel pretty positive about where I am with the Road To Galveston. There are times that I wonder “are you friggin nuts?” but those are usually fleeting and I don’t feed them with second thoughts. But more importantly there are times that I think “what else can we do?”, the opening up of a wide range of possibilities is so refreshing to me.  I don’t just mean what other exercise goals, not just the thought of another physical challenge like maybe a 140.6 or maybe something like a Leadville 100 bike challenge; I have some other challenges that are teasing me too. The ability to put my mind in better focus towards goals is opening up some other new possibilities that I have thought were maybe lost to my age.  So stay tuned this year, there just might be some other journeys on the horizon.

Soul- Spiritually this last week was really good. I had the opportunity to spend some time with another man listening to his life story; the good, the bad, the ugly. I love getting to do that, it is a real honor and priveledge. If you have never had the chance to sit down and tell someone your entire life story, warts and all, not withholding anything, give it some thought. Maybe it might be something you would consider for Lent this season. Richard Foster talks a little about this in his book Celebration of Discipline, and I believe that it captures the spirit of two verses in particular in the Christian faith James 5:16 ” Confess your sins one to another that ye may be healed.” and Matthew 18:20 “Wherever two or three gather in my name, I am with them.” When I get the opportunity to listen to someone like this, it reminds me of how we are all just human, trying our best and at times our ‘not so best’, and really I have never felt anything but a real sense of love and care that I know comes from our best “Spirit”. It also helps me to loosen some of that hyper-criticalness I have toward myself too. Looking forward this week towards Lent, I know that I have one commitment that I want to be diligent with, that is daily meditation. As far as something that I might sacrifice, I still am not sure what that will be. I am looking forward to this season though, it is one of my favorite times of the Christian faith.

So there you go! That’s the recap from last week. Hope you find something useful in my ramblings today.

Don’t you just LOVE THE GRAMMYs? Today’s tune is from Ed Sheeran and Elton John singing A Team. Elton John was a true ‘elderstatesman’ last night, what a great man he has become.

Have a blessed week.

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