Category Archives: Half Marathon

2013 Season Ending Review…. Come and Get It 50!

2013medals

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!

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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

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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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

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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Filed under Abundance, Attitude, Austin, Austin Marathon, bad coffee, Buddhism, Christianity, couch to 10k, couch to 5K, Determination, discipline, Dreams, Edmond, Fitness, Galveston, Good Life, Gratitude, Half Marathon, Jimmie Vaughan, Livestrong Austin Marathon, Lonestar 70.3, marathon, Memorial Hermann 70.3 Texas, mindfullness, Music, Oklahoma, Oklahoma City, Road To Galveston, Running, Texas, training, TrainingPeaks, triathlete, Triathlon

The Fitness Lifestyle Reveiw For 2012

2012There was much to be happy about fitness in the year of 2012. In looking back over the year I will tell you about some of my favorites. From the OCCC SuperSprint Triathlon, Hotter N Hell Hundred, new bike, swimming, and doing a couple half-marathons. It was a full year with ups and down, detours unexpected, even frustrations to overcome. But looking back and taking the year as whole, it was very satisfying. If you put it on a 10 year plot, it is off the chart of posibility. So here are a few highlights.

OCCCtriThe big goal starting off the year was the OCCC SuperSprint Triathlon. Starting off the year I was not able to run or jog at all, not even 50 yards. And if my running was at zero, then my swimming was a -100. So it was a challenge. I had inteneded to train with Team In Training, but didn’t really get a good understanding of when they trained before I signed up. That was a problem beacuse the swim training was on Monday nights and I have another commitment on Monday that kept me from being able to swim train with them. I had started raising money, so I had an obligation to do it. I wanted to keep that commitment. I never did get where I could swim with my head in the water, I just did the ‘tarzan swim’ for the 500 meter swim. I hadn’t progressed enough to even jog the entire 5K either, I had to just do a jog/walk. The only thing that I really was ready to do was the bike, and that went fine. I did this event with my two friends Jeri and Jason Lundsford. We had a good time too. At the end of the day it was a start of something that I would have never believed possible. I was a little surprised by how out of shape I was and didn’t realise how much work it was going to be, but at the end it felt good to complete the event and it was fun doing it with the Lundsfords.

HHHLife is about relationships and shared experiences with friends and family. So there was nothing better than training and doing the Hotter N Hell Hundred this year with our daughter Cynthia. It was fun getting out on the bikes with Cynthia. We got to spend some good times working out hard and visiting together too. We road a many miles from our house out to Jones/Choctaw and back. She even got to witness my Rottweiler crash and burn too. It was a great feeling to be on the starting line with her and 13,000 of our best cycling friends. I also had a good time also riding with my friends Brian Johnston and Jason Lundsford too. I will refrain from saying what order the three of us finished. 😉 Humble, I am. haha As fun as it was starting with Cynthia, it was really cool getting to take our picture together at the finish line too. It was an awesome weekend.

IKEshopHave you ever seen a kid not smile when he gets a new bike? Hell no and you can bet this big kid was smiling too when I went to get my new tri-bike, “Ike”! Ike is a Cervelo P-4 decked out with Sram Red, Zipp 404s, and a CycleOps power meter. I am a gear nut. The picture is Marty and Steve at Schlegel Bicycles getting it all rigged up, they even stayed late to get me hooked up and fit. It was a great time! I promise you one thing, my parents are glad we didn’t have a Schlegel Bicycles in Seminole when I was growing up, that place is my adult equivalent of a “candy store” !

swim Notice that in this picture I am at the pool and almost smiling! Yes swimming makes my list of 2012 highlights. After struggling all year long something finally happened in November and I started swimming freestyle with my head down in the water! Sounds simple enough, right? Well for most it would be, but with my water-phobia this was a big damn deal for me. After starting to get that down I eventually went to a swim clinic that Amanda Stevens did at The Lighthouse Fitness Center in Oklahoma City, that was a blast too. Now I have had a few extra lessons with her and she is coaching me for my triathlon training this year too. Getting that swim deal down was huge though. It opens up a whole new realm of posibilities for the coming year and beyond, starting with the Lonestar 70.3 !

484971_4839303948589_1502879578_nProbably the biggest highlight was the Tulsa Route 66 Marathon and Half Marathon. It was the perfect combination of family and achievement. My wife and daughter did the full and I did my first half-marathon! As I wrote previously, getting to actually go to the starting line with them as a fellow participant was so cool. I have taken them to many marathons and wished them well as a supporter and spectator, but who would have ever thought that I would be lining up with them? It was an awesome day, I enjoyed ever minute and ever step and stride of the run. I took it all in like you should always do, I soaked up the whole experience! Then getting to take the picture with the girls at the finish line was a proud moment for us all! I suspect there will be many more in the future too!

So to say I have had a full fitness life this last year would be an understatement! Who would have ever thought when I bought that bicycle three years ago and went out to ride that first 10 mile loop around Lake Hefner that eventually I would be doing all of this stuff? Not me, and I bet non one else that knew me! No way, no how. So thank you all my family, friends, and supporters for a truely blessed 2012.

Close out tune for the year will be Michael Franti’s Say Hey (I Love You) ! Happy New Year my friends!

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Filed under 2012, Abundance, Amanda Stevens, Attitude, bad coffee, body, Buddhism, Century Ride, Cervelo, Christianity, CycleOps, Cycling, cyclist, Determination, Dreams, Edmond, Fitness, Gratitude, Half Marathon, Hotter N Hell Hundred, Life, Lighthouse, Lonestar 70.3, marathon, Michael Franti, mind, mindfullness, Music, Now, OCCC SuperSprint, OCCC SuperSprint Triathlon, Oklahoma, Oklahoma City, Route 66 Marathon, Running, Schlegel Bicycles, spirituality, Sram, Swimming, training, triathlete, Triathlon, Your First Triathlon, Zipp

Water Works !!!!!

“Baseball is ninety percent mental and the other fifty percent is physical” ~ Yogi Berra

dolphin-278x225Those that have been following my blog on this adventure to the Lonestar 70.3 Ironman in Galveston know and have read of my swim “issues”. From my earliest memory of sinking in the pool as a kid, to struggling to learn to swim as an adult has damn sure had its ups and downs. It was a summer of struggle and I almost gave up, then going out to support my friends Jeri and Jason I just knew i had to get back in there and keep trying! As with so many things in my life about the time I realise I am going to have to show a little humility and get help, a break though happens. I had been “cross-blogging” with our blogging friends The Water Blogged Triathlete and they had suggested searching out area Master’s Classes as a way to find a good coach in the area. One of the places in Oklahoma that was on the site to search for classes was The Lighthouse in Oklahoma City. I was getting ready to put a call into them when I saw a twitter post by Dr. Amanda Stevens announcing a swim clinic in Oklahoma City at The Lighthouse! So it was time to get a move on my coach search!

After going to The Lighthouse to inquire about the workshop, I checked out the facility and they hooked me up with Brian Kidd who is over the aquatics center. So leading up to the workshop I had a few sessions with Brian to get a little more of a handle in my breathing work. Brian was really good in getting me going and giving me some good early direction that helped me move forward.

I signed up to do the Workshop on November 28th, what an awesome experience! Here are a few of the highlights for me: 1. It put me in a setting with other people that had the same interests and I quickly realised that I wasn’t alone in my “water struggles”. 2. Doc Amanda is not only a premiere triathlon swimmer, she is a great coach too.

Being a part of a group with people that have a common interest and cause has saved my life. So it’s no wonder when I get in settings like this with a group of people that all have a mutual interest and passion, it feels at home. Getting to just be a “fly on the wall” and listen to the people that were veterans in the sport was fun and inspiring. I love the fact that the group was made up of people from a wide range of experience. While most all there were much more advanced than I, there were others that were of a similar level to me. For some reason that kind of “lightened my mental load”. It helped me to relax and feel comfortable. If you only knew how friggin self-conscious I have been about this swimming deal for my entire life, you would know that was pretty damned amazing for me. It left me with a feeling of “hope”. I knew I could do this, when I left. And I don’t mean from a “technical” standpoint, I mean from the “mental/emotional” side of this deal. So a big “thank you” to all of the participants that were there with me.

First of all, I have to tell you I was a little bit intimidated by the thought of doing a workshop with Amanda Stevens. I mean she is only the Ironman Swim World Record Holder! Amanda is like many of the other truly gifted people that I have met; they have a passion for sharing what they love with others. She took us through several exercises in a classroom type setting for the first part of our session then we all went out and got in the water. She would break us up into several different groups and kept us all going with different drills and exercises. I really had a good time with it, even though I struggled with some of the drills. Her husband Randy also helped, great guy with a helpful attitude too! I got alot “technically” from the workshop too. The work in the water helped me to improve on the spot. It was super-cool. But again, while it was a big help “technically” it was probably an even better help “mentally”. I swear, this whole thing is as much mental as anything.

After doing the workshop I set up a couple of 1 hour swim lessons with Amanda for me and a friend. The first lesson left me feeling really good. My buddy Jason was fired up too! A great hour experience. I also have asked her to coach me at least through the next six months and through the Lonestar 70.3. I am really excited that too! So here we go The Road To Galveston is going to be a great time, no doubt.

There is still one more workshop coming up on December 15th. Click on this link to find out more!

http://dramandastevens.blogspot.com/

And yes, I wouldn’t ever blog without posting a song!

Next post will probably be about our trip to Dallas for the MetroPCS Dallas Marathon ! The girls did the full and I did my second half. Also I will be having my 1st Annual 49th Birthday on Sunday the 16th. I have a blessed life.

Keep those who are struggling in your thoughts and prayers this holiday season too. I know some really special people that are having some tough times right now. We Sure love you all.

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Filed under Abundance, Amanda Stevens, Attitude, bad coffee, body, Determination, Dreams, Edmond, Fitness, Galveston, Half Marathon, Lighthouse, Lonestar 70.3, mindfullness, Now, Oklahoma, Oklahoma City, Slow Fat Triathlete, spirituality, Swimming, The Human League, triathlete, Triathlon

Positive Detours……. Road To Galveston….. Via Tulsa Route 66 Half-Marathon.

2012HalfWe had a great weekend in Tulsa at the Route 66 Marathon. Usually when we go to marathons as a family, the girls are running and I am chasing them around the course giving them support. This time was a different experience, I was running the half-marathon while they did the marathon. The experience was awesome, from the day before and packet pickup, to race day, and eventually the finish-line. First’s are always so exicting, especially when they are with family and friends. I call it a positive detour, because I didn’t do my “prescribed” training plan for the week in preparation of the event.

66packetWe arrived in Tulsa and checked into our hotel before meeting our daughter at the convention center downtown to pick up our packets. After picking up our packets we eventually went out to dinner at Tiamo’s Italian resteraunt, it was a nice meal with Cynthia and her boyfriend Matt. When we retired to the room Becky and I started getting our gear ready for the morning while watching the OU game on t.v. The game made the night just a little less than relaxing, but at least the Sooners pulled it out. Time for bed!

Getting downtown and walking to our starting corals with my wife and daughter was the first highlight of the day. There were many times that I have taken them to starting lines, but to be actually walking down to the starting line with them was a great feeling. I was proud to be with these two ladies and actually doing the event with them was pretty cool. How many husbands and dads get to experience something like that? They were in coral B and I was in coral C, so while I was alone in the coral I was just taking it all in. I didn’t want to miss anything about the moment. The air was so cool and crisp, it felt so invigurating hitting my lungs. I looked around at all the tall buildings and was just in awe that Iwas actually doing this. I remembered the first time I ever went to a marathon, it was in Tulsa and we were there to cheer on my brother-in-law. Never would it have even occured to me that one day I might be actually doing that, that couldn’t have even been a blip on the radar screen. No way, no how; and here I was. I flashed back to my grand-father and the last thing that he said to me; he was laying in his bed dying from emphasema struggling to get a breath. He called me to his side and said “Mark, I know your still smoking those damn cigarettes. I quit over 20 years ago and it wasn’t in time. They lie to you Mark, they are going to get you. Stop while you can.” My eyes welled up with tears as I breathed in that crisp air and I knew he was with me, as he always has been and forever will be. This race was for my grandfathers and my dad, I said a little prayer of thanks for their inflluences in my life and invited them to come with me!

The national anthem was moving and then it was followed by the start of our groups. Anticipation was high and building, I was going to run with all my heart. What a life! My plan was to run the first eight miles in Zone 2, staying around 152 bpm, then do the next 4-1/2 in Zone 4 not topping 168bmp. When I got to the last quarter mile I wanted to throw it all out there, what ever was left! I also allowed for the “faster than I should have start” too. I nailed that one, the excitement of being with all those people really pegged out my heart rate on the first mile or so, that was OK. I settled into my heart rate the second mile and started to enjoy the run. I felt good, and was having alot of fun. One of the coolest areas that we went threw was a little neighborhood called Swan Lake, the houses were really cool and there was a nice duck pond that ran through the middle of nieghborhood, many of the neighbors were outside to cheer us on.

After leaving the grounds of Casia Hall schools we went into some hilly neighborhoods. I wasn’t sure how I would handle the hills, I hadn’t really trained very much on hills. Actually I had a good time running the hills, I just decided my to blow off worrying about my heart rate going up them and have fun attacking them! So I did. That was a lot of fun. I probably payed for that later. we eventually made it to Riverside drive where I finally saw my wife and daughter after they made the turn a ways ahead of me. The run along Riverside seemed to drag on after the turn back to the north. As strong as I was feeling at mile 8, I knew that I was not a full marathon guy by mile 10. Still yet, there was a sense of pride even then. At mile 10 every step that I jogged was a strp longer than I had ever done! At this point I hadn’t done any walking. I am not sure why I even slowed to a walk at mile 11, but the change in motion from a jog to a walk was ackward. I knew that I better get back to jogging or my legs were going to revolt. Mile 11-12 were really slow, and for me to say that you know it was really slow. But I really felt good emotionally, I knew I could finish it out without any hesitation. With the last 1.1 miles to go I made my jump past my lactate threshold heart rate of 169 and jammed on home. There was an old fart just about 20 yards ahead of me and I knew I had to get passed him. My ego couldn’t take having my finishers picture with him in it, much less with me behind him! So I ran with every thing I had to make the final stretch! It was a victory for a couch potato! A guy that not to long ago was 40 pounds heavier and a smoker. A guy that as little as 9 months before couldn’t have jogged a quarter of a mile! #THIS IS THE GOOD LIFE! And the gratitude I have for it is abundant.

484971_4839303948589_1502879578_nThe girls eventually came in from their marathon too. Becky, my wife, had her personal best marathon time! I am so proud of her. Marathons are her responce to her cancer recovery! A lot of time people talk about “survivors”, I don’t ever catagorize her as a “survivor”, she is much more than that! She is a true “thriver”, one who has embraced life and what ever struggles that have come her way. She is always an inspiration and encourager toCynthia, our daughter, and I.

So that’s a brief look at my training detour, if you will. I have a few more blogs that I will be writing in the next couple of days too! Stay tuned for a cool blog on my swimming progress and the awesome workshop that I did with Dr. Amanda Stevens.

I am blessed!

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Filed under Abundance, Amanda Stevens, Attitude, Bruce Springsteen, Cycling, Determination, Edmond, Fitness, Gratitude, Half Marathon, Life, Lonestar 70.3, mindfullness, Newton Running, Route 66 Marathon, triathlete, Triathlon, Tulsa

Road To Galveston Week 2 Recap

What a week! This week my schedule consisted of: swim 3, bike 2, run 4 and strength 2. It was a rocky week at times. i got off to a bad start when I didn’t get my weight workout done on Monday and had to play “catch up” all week-long. I had thought that Friday was going to be an easy day to shuffle in the lost workout but I had not noticed that this week there were 11 workouts instead of 10 like last week. That made the “catch up” a little tricky. Then if starting off in the hole wasn’t enough, it rained almost all day Saturday. I had to shuffle around my Saturday and Sunday workouts and ended up doing my long run on Sunday morning and my long ride on Sunday afternoon. Fortunately it all came together, with a little prodding and encouragement by my wife!

Swimming was pretty good this week. On my two shorter distance swims during the week I made some good progress in my technique. I was about to put some fairly good distances together with my head down and breathing the way I need to. It was a first to get the lengths that I did. So that was a big positive on the week! I am still looking into getting a swimming coach, just having trouble finding one in Oklahoma City that fits with what I need to do. There are people who are great swim coaches for “real” swimmers and triathletes, but that’s not what I am. I need some remedial help. I still struggle with the whole water issue. My friends and family all know that I was a guy that didn’t even learn to dive until I was in my mid 20’s and that the earliest memory I have was sinking to the bottom of the pool at 3 years old. My Saturday swim was the longest that I have ever done, 2149 meters. I was in a bad mood and I didn’t even try to worry about form or anything, I just wanted to get it the done. So get it done I did. So all in all, I was pleased with the swim week.

Biking was fun this week! There were only two workouts: one on the trainers doing “isolated leg exercises” and the other a nice 1-1/2 hour zone1-2 ride that I did at Lake Hefner on Sunday. The trainer exercises are kinda tedious, but it reminds me of doing hills. So I figure somewhere down the line it will help me build some strength. Now the Sunday ride was awesome, the weather was the best possible. Nice sunny day in the 70’s with a good breeze out of the north. You just couldn’t have asked for a better day to be at the lake on the bike. The atmosphere was excellent too, all kinds of people out getting exercise on the trails. People in nature getting exercise are just a happier people than most. They smile more! One thing that really made the ride enjoyable was staying focused on “enjoying this ride” doing my best to block out any “goals” or stuff like that. When my mind started to wonder I would just say a little prayer and try to focus back on the ride at hand.

Running this week came around too. I had started to build up some descent distances towards the end of August but then when I had to get a problem on my foot looked at, I slacked off and didn’t run for a good 3-4 weeks. I really lost some of my momentum, as far as distance goes. One benefit from the rest is my knees seemed to get some needed re-coup time. They were pretty tender from jumping up the distance a to aggressively. So while I am having to back track a little on distance, I am doing it with a pretty fresh feeling pair of knee’s now. I did a 1:20(hour and twenty-minute) run today. On my last two “distance” runs I have gotten back into that “sweet spot” at about 2 miles where my breathing cadence gets into a good rhythm. So that’s really encouraging. I am still a little nervous about being ready for the Route 66 run in November, but I will just gut it out and make it happen.

Strength workouts were probably the easiest to do. The time flexibility to do these workouts is just so much easier than any of the other workouts. I was pretty pleased with my progress too. I am doing the “AA” workout from Joe Friel‘s The Triathlete’s Training Bible. The particular workout is made up of 8 workouts done in a circuit. They are not heavy loaded in weight, but you do 30 reps of each exercise then repeat the exercise 3-4 times. This week I went up a little in my weights on each of the exercises. I felt pretty good about it too. I have never done any weight training before now, so this is a total new deal for me.

This week was a good solid week. My attitude at the end of the week is really strong and positive. My main goal for next week is to get the exercises done! I want to keep up my search for a swim coach and I have been thinking a little more about “power training” for the bike too.

I have a great life and I appreciate that more every day.

Music for this week is a little Outkast doing The Way You Move. Enjoy!!!!


Only 174 Day 2 Hours 52 Minutes to go!!!!!

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