Tag Archives: couch to 5K

IT’S OPEN ON THE BIG END, BABY !!!!!

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

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

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

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

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

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Weekend In Austin

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

 

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It’s An Inside Game

light_of_hope__1This morning it was COLD outside at 7am ! I was so tempted to roll over and go back to sleep and wait until later in the day to do my run. When we do Landrunners Becky usually leaves before me to pick up Cynthia, they usually do a little more than I do,  and then I leave a little afterwards. It was so tempting to just get back under the warm covers when she left, but I didn’t. Now that it is 3:30 in the afternoon I am glad I didn’t do that, but it was so tempting.

My running workout today was to be a 90′ run, mostly in Zones 2 and 3. I stayed pretty true to the plan, there were a few times that I would get out of Zone, but for the most part I held myself within Zone 3. My top heart rate in Zone 3 is 160 bpm. I did notice after the run I had downloaded the data off my Garmin that my pace within those Zones has improved, so that’s a good thing. I got a little down about my slowness a few weeks back. I think the testing last week and then some of the intervals made me see that I can and will improve, it just isn’t an over-night deal. One thing I am reminded of is the fact that “fast changes” in life rarely translate into sustainable longterm change. So what it takes is just what it takes! I did notice that my legs felt pretty shot afterwards. I think some of that might have been the night befores bike workout that I didnt finish until 10pm, I did that workout “out of order”. I was actually suposed to have down a 200o yd swim yesterday, but I wasn’t sure I could get it in on Friday with work so I switched it with the bike.  Amanda sent us (her clients) an email and it talked about keeping workouts in the order because they were designed that way for a reason, I’ll do better next week. 🙂

I also added stregth training this week. I am to do two workouts per week. Today I did the one that I needed the weight machines, it went just fine. It was a set of 6 or so workouts to be done in 3×10 set, actually 2×10 and 1x 15 this week. I thought of doing the other set at the same time, but I held back and saved that set for tomorrow. I can do those execises at home, so I will knock that one out in the morning before the afternoon ride.

My attitude is doing better today. I still need to get better at doing a setting meditation EVERY day, it just makes such a difference. Getting that time to let things “settle”, even when it doesn’t “feel” like it is doing anything at the time, always makes my days go by better. A little time with the Creator goes a long way. Ya know, how can you have a relationship with someone if you don’t spend time with them? Or like one of my mentors used to say, “how you going to know what God’s will is in your life if ya never spend anytime with God asking him?” Good point, huh?

Right now I am reading three books; Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time by Marcus Borg, Living Buddha, Living Christ by Thich Naht Hahn, and Body Mind Mastery by Dan Millman. I have really enjoyed all the books by Thich Nhat Hahn, they helped me find some new tools for life and some new perspectives that in some ways I had never had, but in some ways I had always had. The Borg book is kind of challenging for me, actually it feels kind of like my struggle with learning to swim. I am going to just push thru it and see what happens with it. The Millman book was a gift from my daughter for Christmas, Phil Jackson is a big supporter of this book, that endorsement alone makes it worth giving a read.

Well I am going to cut out, it’s 4pm and I am thinking its about dinner time. 😉

Just found this song today, Caught By The River by Doves. Really like it too, reminds me of spending time at the park watching the ducks and squirells when I was going through some tough times. 🙂    

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The Hopeful Path

hopeagainFeels good to get all my workouts in today. My attitude is getting back in shape and just knowing that even though this week was sorta abnormal in the way my schedule unfolded, I feel good about the fact that I will get all my workouts done this week. That’s just pretty cool too. I just decided to not sweat it, just do the stuff as I could. Get flexible, and create a way to get it all done!

This evening I had two workouts to get done; one run and a swim. The run was a 50 minute run that i did at Oklahoma Christian running trails. It is so cool to get out there and see all the work they have gotten done on the trails. They are working on installing the lighting that will light the entire path at night. Night running is just around the corner, that is going to be so cool too. It will make my training so much more flexible; with a good lighted path, that opens up earlier morning runs and later evening runs. We are really excited about that. The swim workouts are the most difficult to work into a busy schedule, but it is possible. Ya just gotta think about the possible, not worry about the impossible! So I flipped this swim workout to tonight just to make sure I got it in. I am continuing to enjoy progress in swimming, I actually really like swimming now. Tonight I had 2000 yards to do, I thought it went pretty well too. I did several drills with the buoy too, that is getting more comfortable all the time too. I got to share a lane with a guy that looked like he was swimming like I was swimming in September/October, it was nice to see. God, he looked like he was pissed at the water! It was like he just wanted to kill the water. So I knew I was making some progress.

I was reading something on Siri Lindley’s(my grand-coach) website earlier that caught my eye. It was about her coaching philosophy, she said “My goal is to have every athlete I coach, achieve their every dream while having fun, and learning about themselves, every single day.” I really like that idea too. She is my coaches coach, and thats the same attitude I get from my coach too. I belive in the process and the road that I am on, and it’s getting more fun every day. It’s work, but damn it sure feels good.

Tonights tunes will be, The Fixx doing “One Thing Leads To Another”. One of my all time favorites!

Good night !

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Test #3 – Run Time, And The Cup Is Full

running-hiWow, that was probably my best running effort to date. I finished that 1 hour run workout and heart-rate test feeling better about my progress in running than I would have ever expected. I am really pleased with it. I read something earlier today that kind of set my mental tone in a book by Dan Millman called Body Mind Mastery and he said “Strong foundations are the first and most important step toward success in sport and life. A strong foundation is based upon complete preparation of body, mind, and emotions.” My mind set was in a great place going into this workout. I was focused and as present in this run as any run I had ever done.

While my mental game was on, I also tried to remember one thing that my training buddy talked to me about the other night, lengthening my stride. He was telling me about how just adding small lengths to his stride has actually made a big difference in his pace. So today at times during my run I would try to stretch out my stride a little bit and it really did make a big difference, without a big hit on my heart-rate. There were times in the 30′ test part that I was really surprised at my pace. I was pushing myself pretty good too, so when I was finished, I felt I had given it my best.

This has been a really good experience doing the test’s this week. The swim test certainly was humbling, but still I had a positive “take away”. I know how far I have progressed. The bike test went really well too, I was pleased with my overall average MPH. I felt like it was a really solid effort too. So with todays run test, I fell great. I just feel really good about the path that I am on. After the swim test the other day I told Amanda, my coach, that I could look at it one of two ways; the cup’s 1/2 empty or the cup’s 1/2 full. I figured then the cup was 1/2 full and getting more full as we keep working. Today my cup feels full ! So if yours is low, take a little of mine. Isn’t that how it’s supposed to work? 😉

Let’s try Rebecca Ferguson’s Run Free tonight.

Well tonight we are going to go try a new pizza joint in Edmond called Humble Pie. We heard they had some really good deep dish pizza. Sounds like a good plan, Becky needs to get some carbs loaded up for her marathon in Waco this weekend. That’s a good reason to chow on pizza, right?

Have a great night!

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Week-End Update and Wrap Up

weekendupdateThis 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.

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Be Your Own Inspiration

Fruits-Table-Lamp_2Today as I was running I was thinking it would sure be nice to meet some people that are at the same begining level that I am. I had a mentor that used to like to say “seems like just about the time I think I am leading the pack, I look up and I realize I am dead last”. Well I had to laugh at that this morning; I never “lead the pack”, that is for damn sure, but I was right there around the tail end of the group. Today I was to do a 2:05 hour run. With the weather that was coming in our way I knew I wanted to get up and get it done! So joining my wife and daughter at the Landrunner’s 8 mile run was a great way to get out there and get it done.

While I was one of the last ones to finish, that didn’t mean it was a bad run for me. I know that my starting point isn’t where most the other people’s starting point is. I also know this, there are still a bunch of people laying in bed too that are behind me! 😉 So my goal today was to follow the directions for my workout. I wanted to try to stay in my Zones when it asked me to, no matter how slow it might seem or be. It went pretty well too. I did a much better job of staying focused on my run. If it asked me to stay in Zone 2 I tried to keep in that Zone, if it asked me to step up to Zone 3 I pushed it on up. I did do the water stops as they came up. So after I finished the 8 mile run, I went on to complete the rest of my 2:05 hour run. It was kind of cool looking up when I was on the last 1/2 mile and seeing Becky, my wife running toward me. She was to do 16 miles today, so she and our daughter started an hour before the scheduled run.

“Therefore, Ananda, be a lamp unto yourself, be a refuge to yourself. Take yourself to no external refuge. Hold fast to the Truth as a lamp; hold fast to the Truth as a refuge. Look not for a refuge in anyone beside yourself. And those, Ananda, who either now or after I am dead shall be a lamp unto themselves, who take themselves to no external refuge, but holding fast to the Truth as their lamp, and holding fast to the Truth as their refuge, shall not look for refuge to anyone beside themselves, it is they who shall reach the highest goal.”
— Mahaparinibbana Sutta

That is the story that kept coming to mind as I was running. I was thinking, I wish I knew someone who had started out much like myself that has already achieved the same goals that I want to achieve. The thing is, I don’t think I know anyone here locally that fits “my story. As I was thinking of that, inside I knew that I had to be my own motivation and had to let my own story be what pushes me on. The just may not be another story that I will find that can match mine. Sure there are similarities, but I think probably the most important thing is “finding that lamp of my own“. Isn’t that a life truth too? So becoming my own motivation was the message of the morning.

Well after getting home we went out to eat at one of my favorite places, Charleston’s. I had my favorite, grilled salmon with carrots and a side Ceasar. We had a really relaxing meal followed by good one hour massage. Now we are going to try to stay warm and watch a little football and basketball.

Hope you all have a great afternoon too.

Let’s go with Elton John’s Tiny Dancer for tunes today!

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