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.

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