The 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.
Now 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.
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
There 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.
The 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.
Life 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.
Have 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” !
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 !
Probably 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!
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