Tuesday, July 28, 2009

July is over??

What's up with that? I can't believe we only have 2 days left in July. The weather here in Oklahoma has been quite nice lately. I can handle high 80s/low 90s during an Oklahoma summer. Sign me up! Monday was perfect. Cloudy, rainy, and about 75. It made me ready for fall and the cold weather just around the corner. Football season, here we come!

Nothing too exciting the past couple of days. Work has been work. Big 12 football media days are ongoing and it sure gets me even more excited for Cowboy football. I am very optimistic and excited for a great season. Maybe this year we can finally topple the dreaded Sooners and our orange blooded neighbors to the south. It's our time to shine. Only 38 days and counting until kickoff in Stillwater. Go Pokes!

Keith Urban is also just around the corner. I have tickets on the floor, center stage, about 25 rows back. I haven't been on the floor for a major concert in quite some time. It should be a great time. Plus, Sugarland is opening for him so that makes it even better. Other than that, nothing else really on the plate over the next few weeks. I am trying to rally support for a mid-August float trip but I can't get much movement. What's up with everyone wanting to sit around lately? Oh well, it's probably better that way. It's about time to get focused, disciplined, and ready for a lot of training runs. Only one and a half weeks until the official start.

Only one run since the last post:

Tuesday, July 28th : 3.06 miles - 35 minutes - 11:26 pace

Warm-up of 10 minutes, ran 2 miles at a 10 min/mi pace and cool down of 5 minutes. Nothing special, but it was a nice recovery run.

Cross-training tomorrow for 30 minutes, 2.5 miles on Thursday, and then 5 miles this weekend. Slowly building up the base. Trying to keep up the good work.

Have a good night everyone. Speak to you again soon :-)

Sunday, July 26, 2009

I guess this is a weekly blog...

Well, another week has passed. I guess I have turned this into a weekly blog until I get some more free time during the week again. Getting on the computer in the evening has been very low on my priority list lately.

The week has been pretty entertaining. I got in 3 pretty decent runs. I went to a Land Runners meeting here in OKC. I attended a mid-week barbecue at a friend's house and then went to Missouri this weekend to enjoy the sun, outdoors, and way too much beer. I figured I could let loose considering this would be one of my last "free" weekends before training starts. Only 2 more weeks until the 18 week schedule begins. That's crazy!

The Land Runners meeting on Monday was a good experience. The Land Runners is a running group here in OKC that holds monthly meetings, random group fellowship events, and also does training runs for spring and fall marathons. The training runs and meeting up with fellow runners were my main appeals for signing up. The meeting was a success. They dedicate the first 15 minutes or so to let everyone show off their recently acquired running medals and tell their race stories. It is uplifting to hear of others successes and a good learning experience to listen to stories of hardship and defeat. Runners are a very interesting group of people. We come from every walk of life and yet we all are united around one common goal. To run and have fun.

The second part of the meeting is always a "teaching" session where someone comes in and speaks to the group about certain running-related topics. This particular session was given by a doctor who specializes in Active Release stretching. It was interesting and something I may try if necessary. Hopefully the injury bug has passed for a while though. To top it all off, they do door prizes at the end of the meeting and I won an entry to a local 5k race on August 22nd. I wasn't overly excited because I really hadn't planned on racing any until October or so since I am still rehabbing, but I went ahead and accepted the prize and can use it as another slow, steady run on the weekend. I think I have to run 7 miles on my schedule that week so I can just continue my run after the race is over.

This weekend was a blast. I had never been to the Elk River so it was an all new experience. It was only about a 3 hour 45 minute drive from Oklahoma City. Four-lane highway nearly all of the way there so 75 mph speed limit can get you to places very quickly.

The Elk River is situated in the very southwest corner of the Show Me State and apparently is a big-time party river. I really didn't know what to expect honestly. My group rented kayaks and elected to do the 8-mile trip which was a very wise decision on our part. I arrived Friday night around 8:30 pm and was welcomed with open arms, a cold beer, and some BBQ chicken and ribs. It was a great way to unwind after the long car ride.

As I drove in to the camp site, I was a little overwhelmed by the sheer number of people and very intoxicated 20-somethings stumbling around the campgrounds. I went with a group of older people. Kari is my age, 26, but she is married to Scott, 39, and we were part of his traveling group of friends. All together there were 7 of us on this trip and we stayed in an RV trailer and thankfully were in the "quiet" part of the facility. We ended up staying up way too late the first night and I definitely paid for it on the river on Saturday. I swear I could have fallen asleep at least 4 times that I can remember while lazying down the river.

Our day started off early on Saturday. 7 am wake-up call and some very quick breakfast and coffee before loading up on the bus to be taken to our drop-off spot. I was well-prepared for my 8-mile adventure. 12 pack of miller lite, 2 bottles of water, a PB&J sandwich, some almonds, and my trusty tennis ball for river games. I latched the cooler to the back of my kayak and off we went.

The first 4 miles of the river was very calming and scenic. We were nearly alone on the upper part of the river due to our early departure and, something that became very apparent later, the party environment of the river itself. The weather was nearly perfect. Mid to upper 80s, cloudy, and no wind. Superb for kayaking down the river. I think it would have been miserable if the sun had actually came out that day. It was very humid and calm so any amount of sun would have turned the whole river into a sauna. We saw loads of trout and other fish in the river and more interesting human wildlife as we neared the half-way point. There really are no words to describe the white trash that we ran into during our trip. I mean, seriously. Do we really still have people who believe in "White Power"? It was rather disgusting seeing that some of that mentality still exists. He was even proud enough to tattoo it to his belly and throw in a swastika for good measure. Truly sickening.

At the 4-mile mark of our trip it went from a relaxing, scenic cruise down the river to a beer-infested, bare skin showing, out of control party mess. It was shore to shore rafts of purely insane, drunken idiots. Unfortunately, or fortunately, I was not in the mood for the craziness that day. I was enjoying the company of my trip mates and didn't really find it very amusing to see some crazy idiots show off their "goods" if you can call them that. Believe me, in this crowd, there wasn't much good to look at anyway. We weaved and bobbed our way through the crowd and we were thanking our lucky stars that most of the party people didn't start their day until 11 so once we got through the initial rush of people we pretty much had the river to ourselves again. All in all, it was a very fun river trip, although I could have done without the college frat party atmosphere about 2 miles of the way. Maybe if I was 21 and in college again, but alas, those days are over.

After getting off the river, we promptly ate like we hadn't seen food in weeks and then crashed for 4 hours to take a nap. The plan was to rest up, start drinking again, and then hit the club down the street. I was strongly against going to the bar, because if the river was any indication of the type of clientele at the bar, I was going to be in a world of hurt. After a few hours of sitting around the fire listening to music and having a few drinks, we opted out of the bar and enjoyed the Missouri evening. The weather was great, the beer was good, and people were crazy. (I just sang that last line to the tune of Billy Currington's "People are Crazy" song.)

Today was a nice lazy day. Four hours on the road. Laundry upon return to OKC. I also managed to get in 4 miles at the gym which is my longest run since the half marathon in April. The hip felt pretty good and I am still cautiously optimistic that training will go well. I also booked my hotel room for Dallas so one more thing checked off the list for marathon preparation. I still am waiting on the Garmin to arrive. I am guessing it will get here this week. Just in time for my first week of training.

Here are the runs for the week:

Tuesday, July 21 : 2.78 miles - 30 minutes - 10:47 pace (ran 2 miles at 10 min/pace)

Thursday, July 23 : 3.40 miles - 37 minutes - 10:53 pace (ran 2.5 miles at 10 min/pace)

Sunday, July 26 : 4.75 miles - 50 minutes - 10:32 pace (ran 4 miles in 39 minutes with pace of 9:31 min/mi to 10:00 min/mi)

I also did one cross training day of 8.0 miles on the stationary bike on Wednesday, July 22nd.

Hope you all had a great week. I will try to post shorter, more frequent posts this week.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Has it really been a week?

Wow, I didn't realize it had been an entire week since I wrote a blog. Time flies.

It was a pretty good week all in all. We had some customers visit at the first of the week and I was able to see Karsten Creek for the first time ever. Karsten is the home golf course of the OSU Cowboys and it was quite amazing. I attempted my luck at golf, but once again I was miserable. I just really don't like the sport that much. I lose interest very quickly and my swing motion is so in tune with tennis and softball that I have a natural tendency shank the ball. I really don't care to fix it either. I just don't ever really see myself being a golfer. It's just not that fun. The only reason I would want to golf is to own all the cool OSU gear they had at the pro shop there. It was amazing!

Wednesday was the softball clinic that CHK sponsored for family members. The USA softball team visited the CHK campus and went through a basic skills camp for girls age 8-18. My niece came up and participated in the camp and had a great time. She got to hang out with the likes of Jennie Finch, Cat Osterman, Natasha Watley, and the rest of the USA softball team. They went through the basics of throwing, fielding, and the mental aspects of the game with the girls. They also did a Q&A session and signed autographs for about an hour. It was a really great experience for all the girls present and I know it goes a long way in keeping them motivated to play sports in a society where women athletes are not revered as much as their male counterparts. Female athletes truly play for the love of the game. I think that is why I have a deep respect for all female athletes and will continue to actively support women's athletics.

This weekend was pretty uneventful actually. Friday night was pretty tame which was just what the doctor ordered. Doug, Curt, and I met up with Allison and Kevin at Edna's for a few birthday drinks and really enjoyed catching up outside of work. It's a lot easier to be yourself and just talk when you aren't at the office. Saturday night was my adventure to Scott's 40th birthday party. I showed up about 45 minutes late to make sure there were plenty of people there to deflect some of the attention. Since I was going stag, I knew I would have to post up somewhere and start talking to people or otherwise it would be 2 weekends in a row that I failed the social experiment. I actually had a really good time. It was a very eclectic gathering of people. Most were friends from the neighborhood or friends from the gym. It was nice to chat with some different people about absolutely nothing in particular. It was honestly a lot easier than I thought it would be going into it. I didn't really get a chance to talk to Scott much, but that's expected. The host is always busy entertaining and showing people around the house. I would have to say it was a pretty successful night. I met a few strangers who I am sure I will cross paths with again and I made an attempt to be a friend with a fellow runner in the community. I was pleased with my attempt at getting out of my box.

I also managed to get in 3 pretty decent runs this week. I am keeping with the theme of 2 miles every other day and then increasing my long runs by 1/2 mile (at least) on Sunday. I didn't have much of a chance to do cross-training this week due to the busy schedule, but I will get back into that routine this week. The hip continues to feel ok, but not great. It is uncomfortable at times, but it's not painful enough to warrant a stop. I think I am continuing to make baby steps in the right direction. The true test will be the long runs over the next few weeks. Today was my longest run since the injury. I ran 3 miles and it felt pretty good. I usually feel better at the end of my runs as the legs get loosened up. I hope that continues to hold true. Marathon training starts the week of Aug 10th. Only a few weeks left to build up the fitness base.

In other running news, I bought a Garmin! Yep, I pulled the trigger today. I had debated back and forth about whether to get a Forerunner 405cx or a Forerunner 310xt. I read a lot of reviews on the Forerunner 405cx and it was very mixed. I am a sweater. I sweat a lot when I run. I read a lot of negative reviews about the touch bezel and the fact that if your hands are wet when you touch it, it is non-responsive. No bueno for this wet runner. Since the 310xt is actually not out yet, I couldn't really read much about it as far as actual running use is concerned. I do like the waterproof feature, the ease of use in multi-sport settings (think triathlon in the future), and the vibrating alert feature when you reach or fall under certain set parameters during your run. I figured the versatility and better battery life would make a better all-around purchase for my first Garmin. It is actually on backorder since it is not released until this week and the estimated ship date is July 24th! I am very excited to get it in and give it a go. I will write my own review when I get a chance to try it out on the road. I am on doctor's orders to run on a treadmill until I reach the 4 or 5 mile mark on my long runs so I have a few more weeks before I can hit the pavement.

Here is a picture of the new purchase:

Believe me, I know it won't win any beauty contests, but it will get the job done. I bet all my triathlon friends are green with envy right now! I will let you guys know how it works. Another great feature is the waterproof heart rate monitor strap that is included as well. I know that doesn't mean much to me at the moment, but being able to wear your watch and your strap during the swimming portion of the triathlon has to be appealing. One of these days I will put that feature to use as well.

Time to get focused and ready for the week ahead. I am going to float the river in Noel, Missouri, this weekend with my friend Kari, her husband Scott, and some of their friends from Wichita. Another weekend outside of my box. What has gotten into me?!? Next thing you know, I will be telling you guys that I am dating someone. Ha, ok, maybe not. Take care everyone. It's been great reading all the race reports from those of you in running blog land. It continues to remind me why I am doing this in the first place.

July 14th - 3.11 miles - 35 minutes - 11:15 pace
Warm-up of 10 minutes walking, run 2 miles at 10 min pace, cool down of 5 minutes

July 16th - 2.86 miles - 32 minutes - 11:11 pace
Warm-up of 5 minutes walking, run 2 miles at 10 min pace, cool down of 7 minutes

July 19th - 4.34 miles - 50 minutes - 11:31 pace
Warm-up of 10 minutes, run 3 miles at 10 min pace, cool down of 10 minutes

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Sundays are Fundays

I really like Sundays. They are kinda my speed. I wake up, get some coffee, catch up on news, go for a run, do some miscellaneous activity, and then go home and do laundry and wind down for a good night's sleep.

Today was another run day for me and it went really well. I did the usual 10-minute warm-up and then I increased my run to 2.5 miles today. This is my longest run since May so it was a very good step in the right direction. The hip felt pretty good with only some minor discomfort and the run was fairly easy. It is good to know I haven't lost all my fitness base yet. Although 2.5 miles isn't anything to hang your hat on, it is a mini-accomplishment on the road to recovery. And what did I do to celebrate?? Um, go drink of course. Ha, I am not sure that is the best recipe for success, but the offer was made to go grab a few beers so I accepted. Next week, I will bump my "long" run up to 3 miles and see how it goes.

A good week ahead I think. I have the birthday extravaganzas this weekend to look forward to on Fri/Sat. I also get to make my first trip to Karsten Creek, the OSU golf course, on Tuesday. I have always wanted to see the course and this is my chance. I don't think I will even attempt to play golf, since I am utterly terrible. Who knows? Maybe I will give it a shot. That would require me finding clubs before Tuesday though. Highly unlikely.

Off to watch Big Brother and then to read a bit. Hope everyone had a great weekend.

July 12th - 3.87 miles - 45 minutes - 11:38 pace
Warm-up of 10 minutes, Run of 2.5 miles at 10 min/mile pace, Cooldown of 10 minutes

Saturday, July 11, 2009

One of those days

Have you ever had one of those days where everything just seemed off? Well today was just that day for me. I just couldn't quite get it together. Even the most menial tasks seemed like a laborious chore. Sometimes you just need to sit at home and hope something doesn't catch on fire in your house. Just a very awkward day all the way around. I need a concert, a trip, or a weekend doing something completely random asap. Good thing I have my Noel, Missouri, river trip in 2 weeks. It could be just what the doctor ordered.

Definitely looking forward to another run tomorrow. It will be just the right thing to take my mind off my forgettable Saturday. Good night all. Update tomorrow after the run.

Happy thoughts:

This is from my trip to Europe in early 2009. I am in Finland at my friend's lake house and this is a picture of my awful attempt at ice-hole drilling. I actually received an e-mail from Anne-Mari today and it was great to catch up. I can't wait to make it back over there. Memories like this keep me motivated to stay healthy, young at heart, and strive to be a good friend. We all have our faults, but everyone just wants a kind word, a shoulder to lean on, and an open ear to talk to when they need it most. My hope is that my friends see that in me.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Seriously, we need to do something about this heat!

I know how great the heat is for business, but seriously. I don't know how much longer I can take 100+ degrees all the way out on the 10-day forecast. It makes me sweat just thinking about it. Believe me, I don't need any extra help sweating. I had to let my iPod dry out after the half marathon and then scrape the salt off so it would work. Yeah, I am a pretty sweaty guy. I guess that's what you get when you live in Oklahoma though. Heat and wind.

I had my next doctor visit today. It was a pretty brief appointment. I just talked with him about what I had been doing and he checked me again for range of motion, flexibility, and gave me some more pointers on things I could do to continue to make strides. It is kind of nice to go in and get some encouragement and guidance. It's also nice to hear someone tell me not to be stupid. I can't even remember how many times he told me not to be stupid. It's a great reminder! He also said that it sounds like I am being very disciplined and doing all the right things. I sure hope so. He just reiterated, "Don't be stupid!". I go back in 6 weeks and then should be given the all clear for my marathon training. Until then, he recommended I continue the 1.5 to 2 mile runs every other day, cross-training between runs, and then a long run on Sat/Sun with increasing mileage. I will run 2.5 miles this weekend and keep increasing up to 5 miles before my next visit. He said after 5 miles I could return to the outdoor trails and leave the treadmill behind. That will be a great moment. There is only so much Fox News one can watch while running. I mean, at least let me watch CNN or something. It always ends up that the treadmill in front of Fox News is the only one open. You can definitely tell I live in one of the more liberal areas of OKC. Another reason I won't leave the inner-city of OKC when I buy a house, as if I needed another one.

After the doctor, I dropped some things off at the apartment and then went to get another run in for the week. It was a pretty decent run and I was home from the gym by 5:15. I could get used to this getting home early thing. I can't remember the last time I saw my house on a weeknight before 7 PM. The run went pretty well. I had some more minor discomfort at full extension, but it's definitely better all the way around. All in all, another really good day. Tomorrow will be an off day and then some swimming on Saturday before my 2.5 miler on Sunday. No big plans this weekend besides a swim party Saturday night which should be great. Beer, swimming, and good friends. Sounds like a winner!

July 9th : 3.16 miles : 36 minutes (11:24 pace) Walked 10 minutes, ran 2 miles (10 min pace), and finished with 6 minutes of cooldown.

Oh yeah, almost forgot. I am ordering a Garmin sometime in the next few weeks. Should I go with the Forerunner 405cx or with the new cross-training watch that comes out July 20th, the Garmin 310xt? Or does someone have another suggestion such as a Polar watch? Any suggestions are greatly appreciated.

Have a good evening. TGIF tomorrow!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Is it Friday yet?

It's been a few days since the last update so thought I would give you a little glimpse into the week so far. As usual, nothing too special going on really. The usual work, gym, and eat routine of the working man's life. I did get one more run in this week so far which was nice. It was not quite as wonderful as Sunday's run, but I had to give it 2 thumbs up for definite progress. I also kept the cross-training streak alive. I did the stationary bike on Monday and today so still trying to build up that endurance base and get ready for August when the real training kicks in.

At one time, August seemed like so far away. Now it is less than 6 weeks to the start of my 18-week training schedule. I have adjusted my goals somewhat for Dallas. After my half marathon, I really wanted to run hard and run well. I thought I was immune to those silly running injuries that other people get when they train. Ha, boy was I wrong. I am now approaching this first marathon with a goal to finish and have fun. I still have a time goal in my head, but I won't share that at this time. I fear that if I start publicly stating a time that I will push myself too hard in order to reach it. I do think I will do well, but I mainly want to finish and have fun. Maybe I will save my best performance for the 10th anniversary run of the OKC Marathon. Can you believe registration starts in like 2 months?!

In other news, I recently started chatting with a guy at the gym who happens to be a runner as well. I have always noticed him at the gym, but never really felt it necessary to strike up conversation because usually I am listening to music or occupied by my workout partners. Turns out he is a pretty nice guy. Interesting, intelligent, and likes to run. It's nice to strike up some friendships with fellow runners because most of my other friends think I am crazy. He invited me over to his 40th birthday party that he and his wife are throwing next weekend so I think I will go. Allison's birthday is that weekend as well so it will be a birthday celebration type weekend. He also invited me along to run the Austin marathon/half marathon with his group of friends. It seems like a great way to meet some other runners and expand that friendship base in OKC.

I forgot to include my mileage in my last update so here goes for the last few days:

July 2nd : Third run of the week. Walked for 10 minutes at 4.4 mph. Ran for 15 minutes at 6.0 mph. 1.5 miles of running then 10 minutes of cooldown at 4.5 mph. Total of 2.96 miles in 35 minutes. 11:49 pace

July 5th : First great run. Warmed up with 10 min of walking at 4.3 to 4.7 mph pace. Ran for 20 min at 10 min/mi pace. Cooled down with 10 min of walking. Total of 3.46 miles in 40 minutes. 11:34 pace

July 7th : Walked for 10 minutes at 4.3-4.6mph pace and then ran for 15 minutes at 10 min/mile pace (1.5 miles). I ended with 10 minutes of walking at 4.3-4.5 mph pace. Total of 2.97 miles in 35 minutes. 11:47 pace

Not too much excitement, but it's progress. Little by little I am increasing my runs. Tomorrow is my next doctor's appointment. I think I can safely say I have made some progress and may not have to go back for a few months unless something flairs up. Another run tomorrow and then one this weekend. I may go for back-to-back days next week. We will see how it feels.

Take care.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Excited and Encouraged

What a great weekend! It was just one of those weekends. I was in tennis heaven on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday with great matches all around. Wimbledon is my favorite tournament of the year and this was the first time in a long time that I have had the opportunity to sit and watch the final 3 days. I was so happy for Andy Roddick and yet so heartbroken for him at the same time. He played nearly perfect and came up just short. I thought he played well enough to beat anyone except Federer. He played that well and Federer is just that great. Keep your head up Andy. I hope to see you playing in the finals in NYC in a couple of months.

Saturday was family day too. I went to Wynnewood to see some cousins and the grandparents before heading to Amber with the immediate family for some good 'ol small town firework fun. I forgot how much fun you can have when you put on your own show. My brothers picked out the arsenal and were responsible for the pyrotechnic display. They actually did a really good job and after $200 worth of explosives, I would say we all were happy and entertained. Many laughs were had and the weather was perfect after the rain. All in all, a great day with the family. I need to be a better son and visit more often. Maybe I will do a couple of training runs this fall down the back roads of Grady county.

The perfect end to the weekend was my 2-mile run today. It was pure enjoyment. I started off with just a brisk walk of 10 minutes and then started my run. One step, no pain. Two steps, no pain. Three steps, holy shit! I may not be hurting this time. Step after step was even more pleasant and only occasionally did I feel even the slightest bit of discomfort. All those days of watching tennis and stretching really must have paid off. I honestly think the best medicine was not sitting on our horribly uncomfortable chairs at the office for 8 hours straight. I can't even begin to explain how great it felt. I stopped myself at 2 miles and did a 10-minute cool down and headed for the stretching mats. I was elated. Finally, a run that felt good. Finally, a boost of confidence and a step in the right direction. Finally, I felt like a runner again. Now I just need to check my confidence at the door and make sure it doesn't lead me down the same injured path again. I am going to do a little cross-training the next couple of days and will get back to my running routine this week. My objective is to start my spring-training schedule this week and alternate running days with equivalent cross-training time on the non-running days. I think this will help put me back in a routine and get me back in shape for my marathon training that starts in 6 weeks. Slowly, but surely I am returning to form. Baby steps. Keep me in check people.

Off to finish a load of laundry and then to read. Have a great start to the week. Speak to you again soon.