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
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
This was a really good week of work. Looking back at all of the workouts, I am pretty pleased. The main thing is the effort was there and all of the workouts were completed, the best I could. As I mentioned a few days ago, I even had fun while doing it too! That’s what its all about; having fun with the process, enjoying the road. I just rounded out my week with a nice call with my coach. So all is well; I am chilling out watching a little football now and tomorrow we will start a new week.
Today I capped off the week with a 2 hour morning run on the Oklahoma Christian University trails. My wife, my daughter, and my friend Lunz all met up at our house to head out on the run. Becky and Cynthia went on ahead and Lunz lagged back with me for the majority of the run. My legs were a little sore from the day before, but that went away after the first 1/2 mile or so. I wanted to really work on following the directions today. The last time Amanda gave me a run workout like todays, I totally spaced out on the directions. So today I wanted to get my head out and do it right. 🙂 It went pretty well too. I was satisfied with how it went. I think one thing that kind of chilled me out was seeing my “threshold pace” go down 50 seconds this last week. It made me feel good about the process and progress.
Speaking of measuring progress, today talking to my coach we over this weeks workouts. We will be doing some testing on all three disciplines. I really like that too. I think it will be good to compare it a few weeks down the road to see how it is going. We will be testing for heart rate and power for the bike, and heart rate and maybe pace on the run, and then cover a couple of 500 times on the swim. Probably will get Lunz to come count laps and time for me on the swim test, just to make sure I get it right. Another thing we will be adding is stregth training this week, it’s gonna be a fun week!
I was visiting with a cycling friend today and we were talking about this early January training and how we were both excited to see where it takes us in the summer months. I know that I am getting a big jump on where I was this time last year, and the extra work ought to really pay off in August and September.
I really can’t say enough how grateful I am to be able to do this. I know that I am fortunate to get to enjoy the life I have. No doubt.
U2’s Beautiful Day will be tonights tune.
Have a great week.
Filed under Abundance, Attitude, bad coffee, body, Buddhism, Cervelo, Christianity, couch to 5K, Cycling, Determination, discipline, Dreams, Edmond, Fitness, Good Life, Gratitude, Happy, Herman Memorial 70.3, Life, Lonestar 70.3, Memorial Hermann 70.3 Texas, mindfullness, Music, Newton Running, Now, Oklahoma, Oklahoma City, Recovery, Road To Galveston, Running, Slow Fat Triathlete, Swimming, training, TrainingPeaks, triathlete, Triathlon, U2
Today I rode with my buddy Lunz. We met up at Lake Hefner at noon and headed out to do the Redman Triathlon bike route. This was the first time that I had ever been on this route. Today I decicded it was time to get some saddle time on my tri-bike Ike, this would be the longest ride I have had on Ike. My workout for the day was to ride 2:45-3:00 hr without a Garmin or Heart Rate monitor, just have a fun day on the bike ! Then I was to follow it with a 20 minute run. That should make for a good workout!
Lunz and I have been riding together for about a year or so now. We have a bunch of mutual friends and when he got his bike last year he started riding with Big Brian and I. He really has picked up the bike fast. He was already a really good long distance runner, so he was in pretty good shape to begin with. He is also a running coach for Team In Training too(check that out if you want to do the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon). He started the bike deal to pursue triathlon. He did his first 70.3 at the Redman in Oklahoma City last fall. I really have a good time doing stuff with him and he has a super-supportive and sweet wife too, Jeri. That is another great thing about endurance sport, the positive people that you meet and become friends with. So Lunz and I are going to be doing the Lonestar 70.3 together. I had to laugh a little bit there, we are training together and might start together, but he will finish much sooner than I will. Having said that I did kick his much younger ass at the Hotter N Hell Hundred this year. 😉 (I do reserve the right to brag about that until next year!)
Today was my longest ride on my new tri-bike too. I bought Ike in late September and have done several rides at Lake Hefner on the trails, but today was the first time to get out on the open road with him. Ike is a Cervelo P4 with Sram Red components, a dream bike for a guy like me. Every time I ride that bike I am amazed at how smooth it really is. The only reason I haven’t done more long rides was because I wanted to get a little more accustomed to the handling of the bike. Today was a good 50 mile test too. It was really great. There were some stretches that I rode out of the areo-bars maybe more than I should have, but that was because I wanted too. Remember, my workout instructions were to have fun and enjoy the ride!
So the ride really was pretty enjoyable. I love riding out in the country-side. I really love being out in areas where there is farmland and I certainly feel right at home to see a pumping unit on and oilwell, home sweet home!!! The ride out north to Waterloo road was at times kinda tough, due to the in city traffic, but after getting north a ways it thinned out nice. There was one stretch going west on Waterloo Road that was fairly hilly and it was also straight into a pretty good wind. It seemed like it went on forever too. I started getting a little bit of an attitude about it, then thought about my directions again. Have fun, lighten up, enjoy the ride; it’s called endurance sport for a reason. So that westward stretch took us about 45 minute into the wind, but going back it was just a 30 minute ride with the wind at our back! The traffic going south back into town got a little hairy in spots, but we made it fine. I only shouted at a few cars. 😉
After we finished the bike ride we did a 20′ minute run around the east side of Lake Hefner. I was surprised at how well that went too. That was the longest distance I had done on the bike and then followed with a run. Of course my legs felt a little rubbery at first but I actually kept a pretty fair pace, almost as good as my normal pace. So I was plesantly surprised there.
I will chalk this ride up as a success! This is going to be a fun Road To Galveston.
Tonights music will be Jimmy Fallon’s new Armstrong tune! Have a great week-end!!!
Filed under Abundance, Attitude, bad coffee, body, Buddhism, Cervelo, Christianity, CycleOps, Cycling, Determination, discipline, Dreams, Edmond, Fitness, Good Life, Gratitude, Herman Memorial 70.3, Jimmy Fallon, Lake Hefner, Life, Lonestar 70.3, Memorial Hermann 70.3 Texas, mindfullness, Newton Running, Now, Oklahoma, Oklahoma City, Recovery, Running, Team In Training, training, triathlete, Triathlon
“The man who removed the mountain began by carrying away small stones.” ~CHINESE PROVERB
Today is a rest and recovery day! So rest and recover, I will!
I think this cold snap has kicked off a strain of Colorado memories for me, lots of great times in Crested Butte. Was a strange time of life back then, I guess just a part of growing up. Today I look back on it fondly, Crested Butte will always have a special place in my heart. So for tunes today I am going with Dan Fogelberg’s Part Of The Plan. Enjoy and have a blessed day.
Filed under Abundance, Attitude, bad coffee, Buddhism, Christianity, content, Crested Butte, Dan Fogelberg, discipline, Edmond, Fitness, Good Life, Gratitude, Herman Memorial 70.3, Life, Lonestar 70.3, mindfullness, Now, Oklahoma, Oklahoma City, Recovery, Rest, training, TrainingPeaks, triathlete, Triathlon