Thursday, April 29, 2010

Recovery Week

After such a great weekend at the OKC Memorial, mentally I was amped up to hit the road hard and continue to build my way to my fall marathons. However, my body was telling me differently. I have taken the opportunity to rest and recover this week and I really think it's going to do me wonders over the next few months. My knee is feeling really good right now and my soreness is gone from this weekend's race. My body feels healthy and ready to tackle another bout of training, but I am still making myself give it a few more days before I lace up the shoes again. I read something the other day that every time you think you are healed up from an injury, take another day or two just in case. The time off won't hurt your fitness that much and it will pay dividends for your future health. We shall see if that is indeed true.

This week hasn't been a total bust though. After taking Monday off completely, I went to the gym on Tuesday and got in a little weight training before I jetted home to get my bike. The weather was absolutely perfect on Tuesday. No wind, mild temps, and abundant sunshine. I ended up hitting Lake Hefner about 6:45 which allowed me to get in a nice 1 hour ride before it started to get too dark. It was one of those days where the water was like glass and the evening temps had a bit of bite. It reminded me so much of a cool, crisp summer evening in the mountains. It's my ideal weather. If I can throw on a long-sleeve shirt or a light jacket and be comfortable I am in heaven.

My quads were pretty sore after the half marathon so the nice, easy bike ride on Tuesday went a long way in helping ease some of that soreness. It also helped me stay off the knee while still managing to get in a decent cardio workout. I tried to use some new tri shoes that I bought, but evidently I didn't secure the cleats very well and they turned on me during the ride so I need to perfect my cleat attachment skills apparently.

Wednesday was my group swim workout with Team-in-Training, but it was a very light turnout. I am guessing that the previous weekend events had everyone still in recovery mode or something. The swim was great though. I had never swam over 200 meters non-stop before Wednesday night. Coach Ryan decided we should throw in a long swim workout so we ended up doing a 1000-meter non-stop swim to test out our pacing and endurance. Honestly it went surprisingly well! I was kinda shocked. I didn't burn up the swim lanes with blazing speed, but I finished fairly easily and felt confident in my ability to swim the full 1500 meter distance for the Olympic distance tri. Our next experiment involves open water swims which begin next week. I guess I should probably try to get my wetsuit on now. Oh I dread putting that thing on for the first time. That's why I keep putting it off every day.

Today was another rest day for me since the wind was blowing 40+ and it was a scheduled run day. I considered biking, but honestly it sounded miserable in this wind. Instead I came home and did some chores and am now writing to you guys. I think it's time for me to get in some stretching and call it a night. I hope everyone has had a great week. It's another night in the pool for me tomorrow and I am actually looking forward to it.

Tomorrow is Thunder Friday at work too! Thunder up! Beat LA!

Monday, April 26, 2010

OKC Memorial Half Marathon : What just happened?

Last week I had several people tell me that I was going to do really well at the half marathon. They all had the same reasoning : "Well you ran a full marathon, the half should be easy now." I agree, after running a full marathon, the half marathon does seem less daunting, but I really wasn't sure my running fitness level was where I needed it to be to perform well. The Redbud 10k two weeks ago didn't do me any favors by instilling loads of confidence after I struggled to hit the 52:47 mark in my first race since the Dallas White Rock Marathon. I really just didn't think I had it in me to run well. I knew I could finish and I knew I could have a respectable time, but not in my wildest dreams did I expect to PR. Yes folks, that's what happened! After almost a month and a half of no running, and a last ditch effort to cram in some mileage the last two weeks, I managed to pull off a PR in the half marathon thanks to pretty decent weather and an overall improvement in fitness thanks to triathlon training.

Going into the race, my running partner and I talked about keeping the pace slow and just striving to get in under 2 hours. We really didn't have any other goals and neither one of us felt confident about our running fitness going into this race. Even on race morning there were words of doubt being spoken by both of us. Running is just one of those sports though, sometimes things just seem to fall in place. This happened to be one of those days for me.

After meeting up with my Team-in-Training crew, we headed over to the start area to assume our spot in the masses of people in the corral. This was the first year that OKC had two separate corral areas. There was a "black dot" corral, which we were in, and an open corral which was behind ours. I guess we were assigned corrals by our projected finish times on our entry forms and I really liked the concept of splitting up the corrals. This year's start was much smoother than the previous year and I didn't feel like I had to dodge as many people through the crowded downtown streets during the first mile or so which allowed me to get my legs warmed up without having to jump curbs and people like I did last year.

After the first mile or so, the course turned north and I expected to be fighting a headwind, because early on it felt like we would be getting blasted by a brisk north wind on the first half of the course. To my surprise, the wind actually wasn't too bad and we settled into a nice, conservative pace of 8:30-8:40 minute miles for the first 4 miles. At that point, I knew I was felling pretty good so I started to pick up the pace just a bit to see how we would do. My breathing was comfortable, my legs and knee felt ok, and my confidence was growing that it was going to be a good day on the course. As we wound our way through the historic neighborhoods in central OKC, it was refreshing to see so many people out supporting the runners and offering words of encouragement along the way. We even had a group of people give birth to the now infamous "Gorilla Hill". It is definitely one of the longer hills on the course and all of those who ran will forever remember it by the spectators dressed in monkey suits waiting at the top.

After hitting the 10k marker, I looked down at my Garmin and realized we were on pace to do really well. I looked over to my running partner and told her that we were doing really well and we could possibly close in on qualifying for a better start corral at Chicago if we picked up our pace a bit. At that point, I also realized that a PR was within reach and the adrenaline started pumping.

At mile 8, we turned the corner on NW 50th and started our southbound trek back to downtown OKC. As we turned, Classen didn't seem quite as intimidating as it did last year when I almost got knocked over by the stiff south wind. This year, we had a nice northwest breeze blowing us home. It was at mile 9 that I grew confident. At that point, I knew that I could get in under 1:50 and qualify for a better start corral in Chicago and set a new PR. I still felt really strong so my plan of attack was to slowly start bringing up the pace as we got closer to downtown. Here are my splits for Mile 9 until I reached the finish:

Mile 9 : 8:32
Mile 10 : 8:23
Mile 11 : 8:00
Mile 12 : 7:54
Mile 13 : 7:31
Mile 13.1 : 6:06

Mile 10 is where my running partner and I split up as I made the final push for the sub-1:50 and a new PR. The course took us through Heritage Hills, just to the north of downtown and even though we were up and down hills through the last 3 miles, I slowly kept knocking off time each mile. Mile 12 proved to be tough as we hit several hills back to back and it made me doubt whether I could keep up the progression, but I kept telling myself that "PR's aren't easy!" "Come on Bryan, you can do this!".

As we turned the corner onto NW 13th, I decided this was the time to make the final push. It was going to be the determining factor in whether my chip read 1:49 or 1:50. I really put the hammer down and made myself sprint. No looking back now, it was all in or nothing. I really felt like I was flying. My legs felt so strong and I was astonished at how much I had left in me. My Garmin officially averaged me out to 7:31 and 6:06 the last mile and change, and my best pace clocked in at 5:22. As I crossed the finish line, I was smiling ear-to-ear. I really had just PR'ed and I qualified for the next starting corral for the Chicago Marathon at the same time. Holy cow! I pumped my fist and smiled as I walked back to the refreshment area to wait for Katie. I felt great. I felt like I had more miles in me. I felt motivated. I had renewed confidence in my run and I felt ready to tackle another challenge. It was a great race and what will hopefully be the start of a great year of running. Official chip time : 1:49:16! A PR by 2 1/2 minutes.

Improvement is the key and we learn lessons from each race. I thought this race taught me a lot about my running self and I felt like I grew up on the course. I am still a rookie at this running thing and slowly but surely I am gaining confidence in my ability to read my body and know what works best. Right now I know that I need to take a week or two off running to get my knee back to full strength. It's really tender today and it just needs some rest. I don't have any big runs coming up and the 10k at CapTex Tri is not of a concern. I am only 5 weeks out from my triathlon so my taper will start about the same time that I will be coming back to full strength hopefully. The plan is to take some time off from running, get stronger in the swim, and hit Austin firing on all cylinders.

Thanks again to everyone who participated, spectated, or volunteered at the race this weekend. It was a very special weekend here in OKC, capped of by a Run to Remember. The OKC Memorial Marathon is a top-notch event. If you get a chance, you really should come pay us a visit. Mark your calendars : May 1, 2011. Hope to see you at the 11th Annual OKC Memorial Marathon!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

OKC Memorial Marathon Eve

I remember a year ago at this time I was a nervous wreck and paranoid that I was going to flame out doing my first half marathon ever. Tonight I am relaxed, calm, and excited for my 3rd half marathon and my 2nd consecutive OKC Memorial half marathon. My how times have changed.

This week has been a pretty light training week for me. I took yesterday and today off to rest up for the half tomorrow and hopefully let my body have a few more days of healing time since I have been battling the knee bug over the past month. Last night I did nothing but cook up a big batch of pasta for the weekend and catch up on my DVR. My TV and couch have felt very neglected the past few months, not that it's a bad thing. It's been refreshing to have a reason to be out and active nearly every night of the week. A great positive side effect of triathlon training is that when my marathon training kicks into full gear in a month or so I will be very strong in 2 cross-training disciplines. My last marathon training journal showed a marked lack of cross-training so the plan is to not have a repeat performance.

Today was my turn to volunteer at the expo for Team-in-Training. I showed up at the expo at 8:45 with my Starbucks goodness and settled in for a few hours of sharing the Team-in-Training message with those who would listen. I am not a great salesman, but hopefully at some point today I said something that will stick in someone's mind and make them think about joining up with TNT. I have nothing but good things to say about my experience and I think most people would share my sentiment.

After helping out there for a few hours, I took my turn at walking around the expo and shopping for things I don't really need. I actually made it out of there rather unscathed. Finally, after almost 5 months, I bought a 26.2 sticker to put on my little Mazda to show off my marathoner status. I also bought some race number ties for my SpiBelt and picked up a sample of Athlete's Milk for my post-race recovery tomorrow. I have heard a lot of good things about Athlete's Milk so I am excited to give it a try. I haven't ordered any yet, because I was hesitant to order a whole case without every trying it. Now I can give it a shot and order away.

After the expo, I walked across the street with a couple of friends and took in the sights of the Arts Festival and grubbed down on a great chicken gyro. The weather in OKC turned noticeably cooler around 12 today and I have a feeling it is going to be a pretty chilly morning with a pretty stiff north wind. It makes dressing for the 6:30 AM start more interesting because you know once the sun comes up it will get warm fairly quickly. I think I will stick to a shorts and tech tee theme and just be cold for an hour or so. It won't be freezing, so I think I can manage.

Race morning is going to start at 4 AM so I better sign off here and get myself ready for bed. That is only 7 1/2 hours away at the moment. No big goals for tomorrow other than to go have fun and stay healthy. I am meeting up with the Team-in-Training crew at 5:30 in the morning and am ready to cheer on all of the full marathons after I finish up my run. It's almost race day, I love it! Good luck everyone!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Midweek Funk Busted!

Today was just one of those days where I felt like I was walking around in a haze. Nothing really went wrong and I wasn't feeling bad, I just wasn't all there upstairs. It's been a while since I have had one of those days so it's not like it's a common theme, but it sure killed all desire I had to work out or do anything after leaving the office. The good thing is that I had a Team-in-Training group workout tonight so my lazy butt had no choice. I gathered up my swim gear and off I went to Oklahoma City Community College to meet up with the gang.

Man was I glad to see all of the Team tonight. They always have a way of putting a smile on my face. They are all just so positive and encouraging and every time I see them it reminds me why I am training for the CapTex Tri. If someone can fight cancer, pretty sure I can get over my semi-bad day and put in a good workout. It's the least I can do for all those who have donated and all those who are fighting out there right now.

Swimming was actually pretty good tonight too. I felt good in the water and we did some timed main sets to see if we could properly pace ourselves for 200 meters. I did a fairly decent job of keeping myself consistent with 200 meter sets of 3:55 ; 4:00 ; and 4:10. We took 30 second breaks between each set so it was pretty much non-stop. We also worked on our sighting for the first time in preparation for our first open water swim which should be right around the corner. I am guessing we will probably go outside beginning in May. I am not going to lie. I am a little nervous about the open water swim, but I know it will be fine. It's just a comfort thing knowing that you can stop anytime you need to in the pool. In the open water, you really can't grab on to the lane rope or the wall.

Tomorrow is a bike day for me and then I think I will take Friday and Saturday off leading up to the half marathon on Sunday. There is a slight chance I will put a swim in there at some point, but I think rest may be just what the body ordered. Have a great rest of the week everyone. My bib number is H652 if anyone is following along on Sunday!

Monday, April 19, 2010

April 19, 1995 - We Remember

Today marks the 15th anniversary of the bombing of the Alfred P Murrah building in downtown Oklahoma City. It's amazing it's been that long, because it feels just like yesterday. I still remember vividly the images of that day and the sorrow felt by an entire state. I was only 13 years old at the time, sitting in Civics class at Amber-Pocasset Junior High School when the attack took place. Oklahomans were forever changed that day. It's amazing how emotional I still get when thinking about it. The images of shattered buildings, injured people, and the sorrow on all of the faces of those who were a part of this horrible tragedy. I tear up every time we do 168 seconds of silence remembering those who were killed that day. The OKC Memorial Marathon will always hold a special place in my heart. The 168 seconds of silence at the start of the race is one of the most moving starting line moments of any race you will ever do. If you ever get a chance to run, please come and run for those killed and for every Oklahoman who was changed that day. I know I will be forever grateful for those who show up and participate or line the streets to cheer on the runners. It is definitely a run to remember.

On that note, I am beyond excited and ready for this weekend's OKC Memorial Marathon. I am running the half marathon again this year along with 20,000 of my closest friends. The half marathon and relay have officially sold out and the marathon is close to being capped. I will also be volunteering at the expo on Saturday morning at the Team-in-Training booth so stop by and say hello if you are in town. I should be there from 9 AM - 12 PM. Until next time, count your blessings, kiss your loved ones, and be thankful for the ability to do what we love. Running has really changed my life. I am truly blessed. I just can't say that enough.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Thank You!

I want to send out a big thank you to my latest donors to my Team-in-Training campaign:

Nancy Miller - Alto, NM
Rick Schrimsher - Houston, TX
Jane Winkel/Gareth Sampson - Austin, TX

With those 3 donations, we have now raised $2,952 to help fight blood cancers! Thank you to everyone who has donated and is following along on my blog. Who wants to be the one to push me over $3,000?!? My fundraising total should be updated in a week or so to reflect the latest donations, but all we need is $49 now to officially put me over the top.

6 weeks to the CapTex Tri! Keep the donations coming!

Back in the Saddle

Sorry it's been a few days since I have posted. It was another week of very little time at home and a lot of time out training and working, thus the absence of any posts this week. I did get in a full week's worth of training despite the busy schedule.

Tuesday was another long ride out at Lake Stanley Draper with the Team-in-Training crew. We did the same 26 mile course from a few weeks back and it felt good to get back on the bike and work out some of the soreness from the Redbud weekend.

Wednesday was a very busy day at work and then I had a customer dinner early in the evening before I went up to UCO for our group swim. The swim after eating at a very nice restaurant wasn't the most pleasant experience in the world because typically I don't eat very much before my swim workouts. I was kind of sluggish, but logged a pretty good workout of 1500 yards. We also got our wetsuits for the tri on Wednesday night. I haven't even pulled it out of the bag, but I think I may give it a test run tomorrow and see if I can actually get it on by myself the first time. Wish me luck!

Thursday was my first run day of the week. I had a big plan to run 4, 6, and 10 this week, but due to the busy schedule I had to make some compromises. I ended up running 5 miles Thursday after work. The knee is hanging in there and this was the first run I have done in a long time where I wasn't really sore afterward so that is progress.

Last night I hopped in the pool for a quick 1350 meter swim before heading over to Republic, the new sports bar/lounge near work. My friend Holly was celebrating her 30th birthday so it was a fun-filled evening of eating things I shouldn't be eating and drinking a little too much beer, but I got to spend some good quality time with friends. I ended the night a little early knowing that I would have to get in a long run today. Plus, I just don't have the late nights in me anymore. Once the clock hits about 11 PM I am ready to hit the bed and crash.

Today was my longest run since the marathon back in December. My original plan for this weekend was to go to Stillwater and run in the Remember the 10 run. I know myself well enough to realize I would have run too fast and too hard and it would have bit me in the butt. So, in exchange for a nice 10k run in Stillwater, I opted to stay in OKC and run on my own and get in 10 miles as my last long run before next weekend's half marathon. The weather was cool and rainy here in OKC today so I opted to go inside and run on the treadmill. I am not a huge fan of the treadmill so 10 miles inside didn't sound like too much fun. The run went fairly well with only some minor hiccups with the knee throughout and I actually enjoyed myself. I just popped on some tunes and let myself get back into running. I have missed running and even though it's not pain free running currently, it is definitely getting me back in the mood for marathon training. Although the run wasn't perfect, it was a good confidence boost for next weekend's race. I am now moving on to recovery and taper for this week. I will probably pare back the triathlon training a bit this week to help the body get ready for the OKC Memorial.

Now it's time to stretch and get ready for a little Team-in-Training fundraising tonight. One of our tri team members is having a birthday party/fundraiser tonight so I will go stop in and enjoy the company of the fellow tri team for some food and fun. Hope everyone had a great Saturday of racing and training.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Redbud 10K

Monday has come and gone and I am sitting here on the couch catching up on everyone's blogs and enjoying a much needed rest day. It's great to read everyone's updates and see that training/racing is going well. Keep up the good work guys!

Yesterday was my first actual race since the Dallas White Rock marathon back in December. I really didn't have high expectations for this race going in given the fact that my running has been pretty nonexistent for the past month due to the knee pain. The Redbud is an interesting little race because it is ran in the middle of the afternoon on Sunday. This is my 2nd year to run it and last year it was VERY windy and cold. This year it was just the opposite.

Katie and I showed up at 1 PM to meet up before the crowds got too large. This is a point-to-point race so we parked about a half-mile from the start and walked over to find our spot in line. It was a very sunny and warm day in OKC yesterday and even though the forecasters were saying it would be windy, it was surprisingly pretty calm for Oklahoma standards. The temps ended up being about 82, with about 65% humidity, and 10-15 mph winds. This was a little warmer than we had expected and I definitely haven't ran in any sort of heat since probably last September. We had an abnormally cool fall and winter so this was a little shock to the system. The announcers were advising everyone to slow their paces down by 30sec to 1min slower than they usually run and drink a lot of fluids. I don't know that Katie and I intentionally slowed our paces down by that much, but if you compare my 10k race from April last year to the race yesterday, I was about 1 min per mile slower. Interesting.

The race kicked off at 2 PM and we made our way through Nichols Hills in northern OKC. The area is a great place for a run. Nichols Hills is the very, very rich area of inner OKC and there are houses there that my whole family could never fill. That's great when it's cold and you need a wind block, but when it's 80s and you are baking on the black top, a stitch of wind isn't all that bad. It's a very hilly run for Oklahoma City too, hence the name Nichols Hills. The run weaved in and out of the neighborhoods and just when you thought you were going to catch a downhill, we had to turn a corner and go up another hill. Overall I really like the area for a run and I often frequent it during my training runs because it is safe area and there is minimal traffic. I do wish they hadn't merged the 10k and 5k courses late in the race because by the time we merged back in with the 5k race, all that was left were the walkers and they made it very difficult to run in a straight line. It seemed like we were dodging people quite a bit towards the end of the race.

Katie and I managed to keep up a pretty decent pace and I felt like we ran pretty well considering our lack of training. It was definitely a wake-up call for the upcoming half marathon though. I realize the weather was hot, but it doesn't look like I am going to get anywhere close to sniffing my time of 1:51 from last year. I will be happy with a 2 hour half marathon this go around if everything goes well. The plan is to get in a couple of more runs this week, try to do a 10-miler this weekend, and then rest the knee heading into next weekend's half marathon. I really hope everything holds up. I plan on taking a week or two off running after the half marathon and let things heal up. I will focus on biking and swimming with a little elliptical worked in to keep up the fitness level, but really need to focus on getting the knee back to 100% before the triathlon and the upcoming summer marathon training.

All in all, it really was a great weekend and I am happy I was able to get out there amongst the racing community again since it has been so long. My official chip time from the 10k yesterday was 52:45. It is only my second 10k ever, so it's really hard to get a feel for what's "normal" for me, but I was pretty happy with it overall. There is a slight chance I will run the Remember the 10 Run this weekend in Stillwater, but I think I may need to give myself a break and just run a nice, slow run here in OKC. Back to the bike tomorrow. It's amazing how fast time flies when you are having fun. Only 7 weeks until the Oly in Austin.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Redbud 33-Mile Tour

Today was the maiden voyage for me on the bike in a tour format, or anything official for that matter. I signed up for the Redbud 33-mile tour a couple of month's ago because Chesapeake is a major sponsor of the Redbud weekend here in OKC so it seemed like a perfect way to test out the old cycling skills.

I woke up this morning to a pleasantly cool 54 degrees and light winds. It was a great indication of things to come as I loaded the bike onto my car and headed to Waterford plaza to meet up with Katie and my Team-in-Training friends. The tour started around 7:00 AM and headed east into the rising sun. The ride was crisp and even a little chilly as the sun started to rise, but the weather turned nearly perfect as we settled into our tour of eastern Oklahoma county. Since this was a tour, we were in no real rush to get to the end, but we did manage to keep a decent pace going and still have the chance to have some good conversation along the way. I also ran into an old friend who I hadn't seen for years and we exchanged numbers so we could start going on rides together since we both have taken up the sport. It's nice to reconnect with old friends and form new friendships with like-minded people who can help make me a better person and a better athlete.

I have truly fallen in love with endurance sports. The people who compete and participate in these events are so positive and uplifting. It's hard to go to an event and not meet someone new or have a good time with friends you already know. Every time I go to an event I am excited to participate, but when I leave I am even more excited for the next one. The good thing is I don't have to wait long this time around. Tomorrow marks the 1-year anniversary of my first ever race as a runner. Last year I participated in the Redbud 5k as a 27 year old guy who was finding his place in the running world and extremely nervous of his upcoming half marathon. This year I will participate in the Redbud 10k as a 28 year old marathoner who is settling into his own in this crazy endurance sports world. It's amazing how much has changed in a year and I am forever thankful I took the leap of faith and gave it a shot.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

What have I gotten myself into now?!

Well, as of yesterday at 11:30 AM CST I am now officially crazy in the minds of all of my friends and family. Believe it or not, I somehow lucked out and won a spot in the ING New York City Marathon on Nov. 7th, 2010. I was shocked, nervous, and excited all at the same time. For those of you who have been following along, I am already signed up for the Chicago marathon with my friend Katie which is on Oct 10, 2010. I am fully committed to this marathon and I only entered the NYC lottery as a way to build up some denials so I could eventually run it in a couple of years when you get guaranteed entry. I never really expected to get picked when I entered the lottery and leading up to the lottery draw I only vaguely considered the possibility of running both of them in the same year. When I logged into my account and saw "ACCEPTED" the wheels began turning in my head. I think I might just make this happen. Is that crazy talk or am I already on a runner's high from thinking about running 2 of the 5 World Marathon Majors in one year? Just thinking about the possibility is making ridiculously excited as I type. Anyone have any suggestions on places to stay in NYC for the marathon? I think it is time to start the search. My wallet is not going to be happy with me after this year.

In other news, I reached another personal best in the pool last night. I managed to get in a decent 1400 yard workout even though my shoulders ached from the bike ride the day before. I am guessing having to fight the wind the entire ride made me tense up and work my shoulders more than usual. All I know is they ached after a mere 2 laps in the pool. At that point I knew it wasn't going to be easy. It's always nice to finish up another round in the pool and take one more step towards the triathlon.

I also ran 4 miles today on the 'mill even though the weather was perfect outside. I made myself run on the treadmill because I figured the surface would be a little more forgiving for my ailing knee and it allows me to better control my pace and keep it slow and steady. I am not out to break any records this weekend at the Redbud. I just want to go run and have some fun. The knee felt pretty decent overall and I think the RockTape is doing a nice job of providing support during my runs. Slowly making progress. I have a long road ahead of me this year so slow and steady is the key.

Time for me to jump off here and stretch since my inconsistency in that department is probably what lead me down this path of annoying knee pain in the first place. Hope everyone has a great Friday.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Another Stanley Draper Ride

I look up and it's already 9:40 PM on Tuesday. Where does the time go? It's been a busy couple of days already this week and really no signs of slowing down anytime soon. I am really looking forward to a race-filled weekend ahead. I picked up my two race packets this week and have my bibs for the 33-mile bike tour and the 10k run. It feels so great to be talking about a race coming up! It's been since the marathon on Dec 13th, 2009 since I have laced up the shoes and put on a bib. I can't wait!

Yesterday I ran a quick 2 miles on the treadmill at the gym to test out the old knees and start getting in some mileage again. The knees were ok, but nothing spectacular. I will say there is a marked improvement from a few weeks ago so we are on the right track. I am still not sure how enjoyable this upcoming half marathon is going to be, but we shall see. It's still 2 1/2 weeks away so we have some time to get in some more miles and see how it goes from there. The tentative plan is to run the 10k this weekend, get in a few midweek runs over the next couple of weeks, and maybe run the 10k in Stillwater next weekend, followed by a 4 or so miles after the race. I haven't ran enough over the past month to afford myself the usual taper so we will just have to go with the flow. The bright side is that I don't have anything planned for May except for the final stages of my triathlon training and then the Capital of Texas triathlon on May 31st.

Today we did another ride out at Stanley Draper after work. This time our group only consisted of 4 people so we decided to explore a little more and go east from the lake and hit the hills of eastern Oklahoma county. I really enjoyed getting out of the city again and being in the "country" if you can call it that. The hills were a good workout and I really enjoy riding with that group. I can't think of a better way to spend a Tuesday evening ride honestly. I reached an all-new personal record for mileage with 26.1 miles this evening as well. My Garmin went dead on me mid-ride so I had to rely on someone else's GPS to give me the official tally. I knew I should have charged that thing last night when I was sitting at my computer. Oh well, it will be charged and ready for the weekend fun.

One last note : the company I work for, Chesapeake Energy, was recently named to Outside Magazines Top 50 Places to Work for the 2nd year in a row. It really is a blessing to work at such a great company that promotes a healthy, active lifestyle in so many different ways. I am thankful everyday for the blessings in my life. I really have nothing to complain about and those times when I get grumpy and start thinking negative, I just remind myself that it could be a lot worse. It's really amazing how much of a positive influence all of this training, fundraising, and relationship building has had on my entire life. I am grateful every day for being put in this spot at this time.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Easter Weekend - Sunburn

Hey gang, it was a really great Easter weekend here in Oklahoma. I got to spend time with my family in Amber and see my brother hit his 2nd home run in high school baseball action. I had a great Saturday of training and watching basketball with friends and then topped it off with a nice trip down to southern Oklahoma to spend time with my dad's side of the family today. It's been a while since I have seen a lot of the people who have donated to my Team-in-Training fundraising efforts so going out and seeing family and friends to be able to thank them for their contribution was great. I still need to make a trip back to my old church to see friends there who have donated, so that is definitely on the list over the next month and a half as I wind down my training for the Capital of Texas triathlon. Big thank you to Cortney Stone, my cousin, who donated this weekend. We have now raised $2,602 over the past 2 months. We are doing so well. Thank you to everyone who has been involved and continues to support me through e-mails, phone calls, letters, comments on my blog, and messages on Facebook.

Saturday was our group training day for Team-in-Training since Easter Sunday had everyone busy this weekend. We met up at Lake Stanley Draper again and went over some quick tips on our transition areas. I made a ton of mental notes of things I need to buy over the next month or so leading up to the tri. It's amazing all the little things you need for this sport. I love buying gear though so it's not all bad. There is so much I want, just too little time or money to get it all. After going over the transition tips, we saddled up on our bikes and headed for a loop around the lake. The temps were really, really nice and the wind was manageable so it made for a pleasant ride. Being that it was the first day of riding in warm temps and the mid-afternoon sun, I didn't even think about applying sunscreen. Bad mistake on my part because I was white as a ghost and my arms got toasted during our ride. It didn't seem that bad when I left the lake, but the sunburn definitely set in as the night progressed. I will have some very sexy tan lines working in a few days.

The ride was great again. I am really getting comfortable on the bike and feel like it is an area where I can become fairly strong as I get more and more training under my belt. It's like anything else, time and practice are the only ways to get better. I feel like as I continue down the path to my ultimate long-term goals, it is an area where I can make some significant gains with the right program.

After the bike, we hopped off and changed into our running shoes for a quick 10 minute run around the parking lot to get a better feel for our transitions from bike to run. My knee was better, but it still isn't 100% and was very tender when I woke up this morning. It gets better throughout the day as I stretch and work on it by massaging the side of my knee so I will just continue to do what I am doing and hope I can make it work for the next few weeks leading up to the OKC Memorial half marathon. My expectations for that race have changed drastically and I am purely just going to be running it to be running it. No time goals. No expectations. Just go enjoy the event and help remember the lives lost at the OKC bombing fifteen years ago.

Another great week planned ahead with it all culminating in my first two races of the season, the Redbud 33 mile bike tour and the Redbud 10k run. I am really looking forward to a weekend full of racing and hanging out with great friends. Hope you all have a great week.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

3-Day Weekend

Today was a wonderful start to a 3-day weekend away from the office. It has also been a great week of training. We are officially nearing the half-way mark in our training plan and with the exception of the knee bug, things are going really well. I am becoming more and more comfortable in the pool every session and I am loving the bike. I feel like I am making great strides to a successful first triathlon experience.

Today I went for a mid-morning swim at the Downtown YMCA and then went to my parent's house to spend some time with the family. The swim went really well and the pool wasn't busy so it was a double bonus. It was nice to get out of the city and spend some time in small town USA. I miss the small town atmosphere from time to time. I think I would go crazy if I lived there, but it's a nice break from OKC. My brother also had a baseball game in Ninnekah so we went and watched him play and I got to see him hit his 2nd home run of his career. After their win, we went to my old place of employment during high school and had some dinner. It's was just a really nice day overall and now I am refreshed and ready for a great weekend.

Saturday is our group workout with Team-in-Training and we are returning to Lake Stanley Draper for a little brick practice. We are going to bike for an hour and then run a couple of miles to work on our transition from the bike to run. I am hoping the knee holds out. It will be the first time I have run on it since last Monday. It feels better, but you never know until you get out there and try it out. I am also trying out some new Rock Tape that I bought recently and see if it helps with the knee pain.

Only one more week until the official race season begins. I am signed up for the Redbud 33-mile bike race and the Redbud 10k run next Saturday and Sunday. I picked up my run bib and chip yesterday and will get my bike number sometime this week. I am extremely excited to get out and race again. Hopefully it's a healthy, happy week ahead. Happy training everyone. I will check back in with you soon.