The first big event for me this year is going to be The Half Pint at Dirty Kanza. This is a new kind of riding for me. Just getting ready to delve into it. It will be 100 miles on gravel/dirt roads. I understand that it is also a pretty hilly ride too, that will give my old man legs a good workout. preparing for this should help me with my second big event of the year too, TBA as soon as I get registration paid. So the training begins.
I guess the first thing you might ask is “why do a gravel/dirt road event”? Fair enough. I think the biggest draw for me is just the fact that I grew up in small town Oklahoma and we spent many a day and night out in the country on those old red dirt roads. I have a lot of really great fond memories on the roads of Seminole County growing up. Memories that go back to early childhood; riding in the pickup with my grandfather checking the oilwells that he pumped in and around Wewoka and Ada. I can’t think of a time that I could have ever been more at peace and happy. Then as I grew older and into high school we spent many a night out on the edges of town drinking good cold beer and maybe a few other recreational choices just enjoying life! Still to this day if I am out away from home making sales calls on customers out of town, there are times I will choose to just take those old red dirt roads back to the city as far as I can just to get some space and clear my mind a little. Maybe roll down the window with some good tunes or maybe just enjoy the silence and have one of those talks with God. So the dirt roads are a huge part of life for me.
Having said that, this is going to be a new type of riding. So if you are a big boy who still like his toys, you know there isn’t anything like a new bike for a guy like me. Looks like I will be springing for the new wheels sometime this week. There are two bikes that I am looking kind of set on: one is the Cannondale SuperX CRX1 and the other is the Specialized Crux Expert. Both of them would be great bikes. I should know in the next couple of days which bike I will be getting. Either one will be a great addition to the stable!
The big thing for me has been finding the motivation to get this year jump started. I think this week I finally found it. It was probably a combination of several things that pushed me on to the point of getting going again; watching my wife at the Houston Marathon, fond memories of the fitness level I enjoyed last year, and the the big tipping point was that I could just barely get my dress shirt to button to wear a tie the other night. I just thought “come on Mark, off your ass… enough already, lets go!”
So this is a part of what I am looking to do this year. There will be two big events before July, Dirty Kanza and XXXXX , then after a recovery week in Atlanta at a conference I will remeasure and decide what to shoot towards for the last half of the year. At any rate, I am getting excited again. So here we go!!!
What better tune than this one from Brooks and Dunn !
Filed under Ada, Brooks and Dunn, Cannondale, Cycling, Dirt Roads, Dirty Kanza, Endurance Sport, Gratitude, Gravel Grinder, Seminole, Seminole County, Specialized, Wewoka
I really wanted to put out some good sounding blog stuff that would “wow” my audience but here is the real deal is; I am an out of shape guy that found a way to improve my health. I wanted to live a big year before I turned 50, so I packed some cool stuff in that year. Along the way I have found a pretty cool community too, the Oklahoma endurance community; people of all sorts of abilities, those that compete at every level imaginable from local, state, regional, national and even on the world-wide stage for one local superstar. They are a people that motivate and inspire me to be a “better me”. I found that endurance sport not only helped me to get in better shape physically, but that it would affect me as much or more mentally and spiritually. So I am biten, time to get going again!
So here I am dragging myself back to blog again too . I plan on using the blog to help me with personal accountability and also self motivation. Anyone reading this, you should know that I don’t know squat at the end of the day about what you should or shouldn’t do in your endeavors with endurance sports, I am just putting out my own experience and don’t want to come across like I know a damn thing. If you want to leave some kind words of encouragement feel free, that fires me up! I’m not sure how often I will blog this year, but I am going to try to hit it at least once a week.
From time to time I will probably blog about some other interest’s too; family, friends, good books, music, food, addiction recovery, spirituality…. some of the other parts of my life that I love too.
And as usuall, I always like to end with a little music.
Filed under Al Green, Annie Lennox, bike, Cycling, Endurance Sport, Fitness, Music, Recovery, run, spirituality, swim, triathlete, Triathlon
Looking back on 2013 I feel really pleased with the way it all went; there were highs and lows, but certainly more highs than lows. It was a great year of progress and learning too; some things gracefully and some things not so gracefully. It was a year with three pinnacle events and milestones; experiences that deserve a story all to their own. I wanted to finish out this year before my 50th birthday living life as fully as I possibly could and I have.
When I attended the Redman Triathlon in September of 2012, I left wishing I was on that line and doing that race. I knew that 2012 was a year of progress, but while I was satisfied I knew I had more in the tank to give and more progress to make. I remember coming home last fall and registering for the Ironman Lonestar 70.3 and knowing that this was a “stretch event” for me physically, emotionally, and mentally, but somewhere in my mind was that old saying of “if you can think it or dream it, you can do it”. As many of you knew, swimming was a bigtime issue and had been for my entire life. Getting to the point of being able to even visualize swimming 1.2 miles was probably the biggest hurdle of the year, the second biggest was actually doing it. I was fortunate to get the chance to do some work with Amanda Stevens, who was to become my coach for the year. She worked with me at workshops and a few private lessons then helped me to stretch out my distances and eventually get to my goal. While swimming had its own unique set of challenges for me, so did running. When I started out the year I had never done anything beyond a 5k, and that wasn’t what you could even begin to call a great base to begin with. Over the course of the season I was able to finish four Half-Marathons and eventually my first Full Marathon in Chicago. That was the perfect end to a full season!
When I first started cycling four years ago none of this could have ever even been on my “radar of possibility”. After finishing the first Hotter Than Hell Hundred in 2010, it left me really high with a feeling that the sky was the limit! True, but what I learned about that sky was it wasn’t going to be as easy a trip as that beginning enthusiasm made me think it would be. There was to be much hard work along the way. Sometimes the progress has seemed so slow too, but it always came if I kept to the work. Endurance sport is so honest; what I mean by that is that there are no short cuts to take. The work you put in determines the outcome you get; and when the work is short-changed, the outcome is too. That was a humbling lesson I learned this year. I am proud of finishing the two Ironman 70.3’s but, I also know that I had the ability to do more physically if I had done a more consistent job of training. The cool thing about that, I know that next year has the potential to be another year of progress for me. I know that I will gain more strength and physical ability this next year, but I also know that will be as much about changes in mental toughness maybe more than my physical changes.
So looking back on the 2013 Season there were three pinnacle events for me: Ironman Lonestar 70.3, Ironman Buffalo Springs 70.3, and the Chicago Marathon. Each event was special for different reasons. The Lonestar 70.3 was an awesome experience of accomplishment for me; it pushed me on all levels of my being. Right from the very first jump into Galveston Bay, it was an endurance fight for me. Being able to gut out the swim and make it onto the bike was huge for me. I know that when that was over that was the biggest physical challenge I had even met, it was an unbelievable experience. The Buffalo Springs 70.3 was a different event, my coach encouraged me to go when I wasn’t sure I could. Again, I didn’t get the follow through that I wish I could claim in preparing for the race but Amanda encouraged me to just do it! So I did, my swim was much improved over my Lonestar effort! That was a huge deal. Then there was the bike, wow. This course had some climbs that were tougher than any climbs I had ever done to that date. Driving the course I told my wife “I’m not sure I can make those climbs”, so when I made it through the bike portion I was really feeling satisfied in what I had done. The run was pretty damn tough too, but I knew I could gut through that with run/walks and get to the finish line. The final pinnacle event was the Chicago Marathon. It was probably the most enjoyable event of the year, just an awesome feeling doing something with over 44,000 other people. It was the perfect way to top off the year.
I can tell you this for sure too; none of this is possible all on my own. First and foremost without the Spiritual life that has been spoon fed to me throughout my life and my coming to find God in a way that is special to me, this never happens. Frankly the last 25 years of life wouldn’t even have happened and those that have known me throughout my life know that is truth being told. Right behind my relationship with God is my family; my wife and daughter are always an inspiration to me. How can you not be inspired by watching someone come out of a battle with cancer to do her very first marathon 14 years ago and in Chicago of this year qualify for the Boston Marathon. If that’s not enough inspiration, how about this: she is also a polio survivor too! My daughter Cynthia is always the most encouraging and sweetest young lady that I know; she and her mother will have accomplished doing 12 marathons in 12 months! I believe they call that true Marathon Maniacs. My Spiritual support community, my training friends and my coach were all a big part in this too. No great achievement is ever done truly alone. On the starting line of all these events was my grandfather Cunningham whose last words to me were encouraging me to stop smoking, as he said ” the damn things got me Mark”. So every race I started with him and took him with me.
So it was a great season. Farewell 2013 Season, you were a good friend to me. You have taught me some valuable lessons along the way this year. You will always have a special place in my heart, you helped me put a perfect crescendo on this year leading to my 50th birthday. When I look back on the year I see the places for improvement but, I am proud and satisfied beyond what I could have ever dreamed even a few years ago. I hope all of you get the chance to experience a year like I have. Thanks everyone, I love ya all !!!
Hmmmmm…. and a tune to end…. wouldn’t wanna short change ya!
Filed under Amanda Stevens, Attitude, Austin Half Marathon, body, Buddhism, Chicago Marathon, Christianity, cycliing, Cycling, Determination, discipline, Edmond, Fitness, Good Life, Gratitude, Half Marathon, Herman Memorial 70.3, Hotter Than Hell Hundred, Ironman Buffalo Springs 70.3, John Lennon, Lonestar 70.3, Memorial Hermann 70.3 Texas, mindfullness, Now, Oklahoma, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma City Memorial Half Marathon, Recovery, Redman Triathlon, training, triathlete, Triathlon
I 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!!!!!
Filed under Abundance, Attitude, Austin Marathon, bad coffee, Buddhism, Century Ride, Christianity, couch to 10k, couch to 5K, Cycling, cyclist, Determination, discipline, Dreams, Fitness, Good Life, Gratitude, Half Marathon, Happy, John Lennon, Life, Lonestar 70.3, Meditation, Memorial Hermann 70.3 Texas, mind, mindfullness, Music, Newton Running, Now, Oklahoma, Oklahoma City, Road To Galveston, Running, spirituality, Swimming, The Good Wolf, training, TrainingPeaks, triathlete, Triathlon
When 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.
Filed under Abundance, and soul, Attitude, Austin, Austin Marathon, bad coffee, body, Buddhism, Christianity, couch to 5K, cycliing, Cycling, cyclist, Determination, discipline, Dreams, Ed Sheeran, Edmond, Elton John, Fitness, Galveston, Good Life, Gratitude, Heart, Lake Hefner, Lent, Life, Lonestar 70.3, Meditation, Memorial Hermann 70.3 Texas, mindfullness, Music, Now, Oklahoma, Oklahoma City, Recovery, Road To Galveston, Running, spirituality, Swimming, training, TrainingPeaks, triathlete, Triathlon
Yesterday we had a 3hr bike ride followed by a 18 minute run on the schedule. I put in the time, but it was anything but pretty. I was supposed to keep in my Zones and I couldn’t push into them, from the very start it was as if I was just done. I don’t really have much explaination either. After being at it for about an hour I just resigned my mind into “this is just one of those days”. So I made sure I got the saddle time and did the brick run just to say I got it all done.
I am going to cut back on posts. Probably do 3 a week. The Monday off workout day post will be easy, maybe another on Wednesday or Thursday, and then a weekend post. The longer I go, the more time crunched I get. I like blogging though, it is kind of like an accountability deal. I like the feedback and getting to read you guys blogs too.
Well I am at work now, so I better get off here……..
Today I think I’ll go with The Cars and Drive…. Enjoy.
Filed under CycleOps, Cycling, Determination, Dreams, Edmond, Life, Lonestar 70.3, Memorial Hermann 70.3 Texas, mindfullness, Now, Oklahoma, Oklahoma City, Road To Galveston, Running, The Cars, training, TrainingPeaks, triathlete, Triathlon
I’m not going to be very “wordy” tonight. I’m tired and ready to hit the hay. I am thinking of cutting back my blog to 3-4 times a week, I need rest!
Tonight I did a 1:15 Bike trainer ride, doing several high cadence intervals. It felt pretty good. I just wanted to get the workout done. I had to get up early this morning and I am feelin my tired hangin out now. It does feel good to be on track to finish all my workouts this week. Looks like it will be somewhere around 12 hours this week. A pretty good load for a working guy!
I have an early morning run with the OKC Landrunners tomorrow with Becky and Cynthia.
So good night.
Filed under Abundance, Attitude, bad coffee, Buddhism, Christianity, CycleOps, Cycling, Determination, discipline, Dreams, Edmond, Fitness, Good Life, Gratitude, Life, Lonestar 70.3, Memorial Hermann 70.3 Texas, mindfullness, Now, Oasis, Oklahoma, Oklahoma City, training, TrainingPeaks, triathlete, Triathlon
This day has just soared by, never seems like I could get the time blocks to get any of my exercising done. I just can’t seem to get my head in the game, yesterday still has a hold of me. Just the “brevity of life thing” , it’s just kinda messing with me right now. So here I am at 9:40pm getting ready to go get on my bike trainer and knock out that trainer ride. I don’t “not want to”, I just don’t want to. That make a lick of sense to any of you?
Since this blog is mostly about my journey towards the Lonestar 70.3 and training in triathlon, I am curious to here what you guys do when you are struggling emotionally or just having a hard time getting your head in the game? I keep thinking of a saying that a friend of mine says “sometimes you just have to power-thru”. So in just a minute I will be hoping on my bike and getting that hour knocked the fuck out.
Tonights music will be a local clip of The Reverb Brothers. For a lot of years Basile Kolliopoulos was a main-stay and force in the Oklahoma City music scene, he died on Monday. I just hate seeing someone so young leave so soon. We spent a many a good night dancing to the Fortune Tellers and Reverb Brothers music at VZD’s. Hope you have some great memories from their gigs too! So keep his family and friends in your prayers.
Good night, time to ride.
Filed under bad coffee, Basile Kolliopoulos, Buddhism, Christianity, CycleOps, Cycling, Determination, discipline, Dreams, Edmond, Fitness, Fortune Tellers, Life, Lonestar 70.3, Memorial Hermann 70.3 Texas, Now, Oklahoma, Oklahoma City, Reverb Brothers, training, TrainingPeaks, triathlete, Triathlon
This was a recovery and test week in my training plan. It also marked the end of the first month working with my new coach. In reflecting back over the week and even the month I am really excited for where I am going and the progress made. I feel confidence growing, but not just some kind of motivational ‘rah-rah’. I feel confidence because of the work and the process. And here is the important part, I am having fun with the process. I have heard all my life “enjoy the journey, that’s where you find happiness”. Life is about the journey.
I was laying in bed this morning and when I woke up there was a popular television preacher/author starting his sermon. My first thought was “change the channel quick” ( ya like that “PG” version?). But for some reason I decided to watch. He talked of a concept that I have experienced and thought a lot about the last three or so years, his sermon was on “shifts”. He didn’t call it a “paradigm shift” but it is the same concept that has been really big in business re-vitalization movement the last several years. So I thought about “shifts” in training, certainly the swimming experience has been a major fundamental shift. I suspect there will be other “shifts” along the way too. Where I found the minister lacking was in his proclamation that “shifts” just happen and everything is different. He seemed to want to leave his audience with a belief or faith that all will just one day shift and be well. I believe in “shifts” for sure, but not without work. If ya want potatoes, you better pick up the hoe. I didn’t have a “shift” in my swimming by sitting watching other swim, I had to work at it. I don’t expect a “shift” in my running times without putting in the work. I don’t expect an increase in my bike power average without working at that too. To me that’s a cheap “hope”. Here is the “hope” I can buy into; when I am talking to someone that has had the experience that I would like to have and they share with me how they got there, I can buy into that. But just listening to their experience isn’t enough, you better pick up the hoe. I don’t think any of it happens just from my own determintaion though, I do think there are healing “shifts” that happen inside along the way. “Shifts” that only happen by allowing some power that is deep within us all to grow and be Present in our lives.
So what does that tangent have to do with any of this? I feel like I am on a good path with a good mentors and a coach to show me the way. And as I said earlier, the important thing is that I am really enjoying it! It is work, but it feels really good.
Today was the last test of the week, a “brick” test. I did two time-trials on bike followed by one running. I felt pretty good about the results too. But as Amanda pointed out the other day, these are to measure progress later down the road. I like where the road is going too. I feel certain that I am moving in a good direction in all three sports. Plus, I am learning a lot about myself in the process too. My one failure this week was in not getting my stregth workouts started. So next week you can be certain that will happen.
Also a special “shout-out” to Becky and Cynthia on their great week-end at the Waco Marathon. They said it was a very challenging course. Becky was top finisher in her age group too, so that was cool !
Tonight I’m thinking of going with Ray Lamontagne’s God Willin’ And The Creek Don’t Rise.
Filed under Abundance, Attitude, body, Buddhism, Christianity, CycleOps, Cycling, Determination, discipline, Dreams, Edmond, Fitness, Gratitude, Happy, Life, Lonestar 70.3, Memorial Hermann 70.3 Texas, mindfullness, Music, Now, Oklahoma, Oklahoma City, Ray Lamontagne, Running, training, TrainingPeaks, triathlete, Triathlon
It seems almost odd to be looking forward to heading to the YMCA for a swim, but that is exactly how swimming has become. Today I had two workouts on my schedule, one was a 45-60 minute trainer ride and the other was actually an optional 1000yrd swim. Doing the trainer ride was good, but the swim was the workout I was looking forward to most.
After the swim test earlier in the week where the 500 yard distances didn’t go as well as expected, I set my eyes on this workout. It was 1000 yards, to be done anyway I wanted consisting of 25,50,75, or 100s. So technically I followed my directions, here is the workout:
8 x 25 x 10r odd swim even catchups
2 x 100 x 30r swim
1 x 500 swim or to keep to the directions uh, 5×100 x 0r 😉
4 x 25 x 20r 2catchup 2swim
I really wanted to get back in there and do the 500 better and not freak the f(*& out this time. So that’s what I did. Ever since the test the other day I have planned on doing that, especially after doing the really good 200 as a cool down at the end of the test that went so well. It felt good to get a good one in, just to prove to myself it was all good.
I did a one hour easy spin on the bike that went just fine too. Mostly I wanted to get it in before we went out to dinner tonight, so that we could come home without something left to do.
Earlier today I got a call from Bill, the owner of Papa Dios, telling me that he was having the special meatloaf tonight! I love food, especially really good food! Their food is always excellent, but the meatloaf is something special that they only make occasionally. When they make it he has me on his “meatloaf” call list. So tonight we ate at Papa’s. That was good for Becky too because she got some good pasta carbs for her Sunday marathon in Waco. I am officially fat, happy, and full now!
Tonight I want a little Five for Fighting’s 100 Years.
Hope you have a great weekend.
Filed under Abundance, Attitude, bad coffee, body, Buddhism, Cervelo, Christianity, CycleOps, Cycling, Determination, discipline, Dreams, Edmond, Five For Fighting, Good Life, Gratitude, Herman Memorial 70.3, Life, Lonestar 70.3, Memorial Hermann 70.3 Texas, mindfullness, Music, Oklahoma, Oklahoma City, Papa Dios, Swimming, training, triathlete, Triathlon, Tyr