This summer has been especially brutal. I say that because we’ve been completely spoiled the last two summers with low humidity, event though the temperatures were high.
Oklahoma City used to be notoriously humid but it seems like we’ve had dry, arid summers the last few years….and we had the lake levels and water rationing to prove it!
This year is very different though. We’ve receive a lot of rain. I’m not sure we received enough to move us out of our drought funk, but the lake levels are definitely higher and that’s a good thing! One, because the Redman Triathlon will go as scheduled and two, because we need the freakin’ water! We’re human, ya know. We need it to live.
Every morning I drive my car to work with the A/C blasting in hopes of cutting through some of that humidity. When I get out of the car in the parking garage, my glasses immediately fog up! I walk half blind into my office building where an arctic blast hits me like a tornado the second the doors open. It’s a welcome blast and I’ve only had to walk about 50 yards from my car to the door. The fog on my glasses dissolves to reveal the lenses normal state: fingerprint smudge.
Like most hobbies/mid-life crises’ I take on, I jump in 1000%. I’m not saying I master the hobby/mid-life crisis, but I’m definitely OCD about it. So when I started running in 2012, I jumped in with a marathon. This wasn’t exactly the right way to go about it. I mean, if you wanted to go mountain climbing you wouldn’t just sign up for an Everest climb, would you?
So I decided that I wasn’t going to make the same mistakes with my triathlon efforts. If you follow this blog, you know I’ve competed in two duathlons and a splash-n-dash to get prepared for the main event, the half-ironman distance at the Redman Triathlon this September.
I won’t recap those. You can dig through the blog to find my worthless recaps of the events.
Anyway, multi-sport has been eye opening to say the least. As a runner, my body is used to a set group of muscles. I fatigue those muscles and then do it all over the next day/week. In a multi-sport event like duathlons and triathlons, each sport works a different set of muscles that affect how the the other muscles react.
Swimming pushes the upper body and I was shocked the first time I jumped in a pool to swim laps. I realized I needed to get back into boot camp to strengthen my shoulders and upper body.
The bike stresses your quads but gives your upper body a rest.
Then you hit the run and your hamstrings, feet, and core come into the picture.
The entire time you’re doing this, your cardio-vascular system is stressed. Taxing all of these systems in races that could last 5, 6, or 7 hours….or more….takes special training and attention to nutrition as well as an understanding of fatigue. That’s the main reason you build up to races like Redman instead of jumping in and letting the sharks circle you.
This all built up to my first triathlon yesterday in Guthrie, Oklahoma. I’ll admit, I was nervous as hell going into this. I freaked out in the water on my first splash-n-dash and I didn’t want that to happen again. I decided to get to the outside this time and just take it easy. I wasn’t going to let the crowd or other swimmers distract me from my goal: finishing the swim on my own terms.
I actually ended up having a great swim and finished the 500 yards in 10:44. It was actually a little less because it took me about 30 seconds or so go get to the transition point.
T1 was horrible. I must wear socks on the bike and run so I spent a lot of time putting on my toed socks. That meant T1 ended up being 3:44. To put that in perspective, the winner of the race complete T1 in 1:09. The guy who took second place was even faster at 0:38 seconds! Obviously this is an area that needs work.
I finished the hilly 12.6 mile bike course in 47:01 and hit T2 with a decent 1:46 time. That still needs work but I was pleased with it.
Then came the run. I’m a pretty steady 27:30 5k runner. But after the bike ride, your crotch and legs have issues trying to adjust. I ended up walking 3 times on the out portion of and out-and-back course. That gave me a horrible 30:51 for the 5k.
My total time was 1:34:03. My goal time was 1:50:00 but I figured I could come in at 1:40:00 so I’m taking a 16 minute sub-goal, or 6, depending on how you look at it, as a great achievement in my first triathlon.
I have to tell you, this was an absolute BLAST! We had perfect weather in the low 70s and the water, while cold when you jumped in, warmed up quickly once the swim started.
To make things even better, some of my wonderful friends competed in this event too and gave me loads of advice that helped me along. I have to thank Angela Morris for loads of great information. Angela has actually completed a full Ironman distance triathlon at Vineman last year in California. That’s a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride, and a full marathon. She was on the bike for something like 8 hours! She’s a freakin’ superhero in my book.
Steve Schlegel, of Schlegel Bikes, has been teaching me about transition, biking, and how to handle difficult situations in this sport.
To all the other friends who attended, Alex, Susan, Jennifer & Roxanne Henry with their relentless picking at me (but I give it back threefold so I really can’t bitch), Adrienne and Alex, Jill, and Kari, I love you all and thank you for making my first triathlon a great experience.
Throughout 2013 I watched a bunch of my friends jump into the triathlon world. I went to the races and watched them compete and I was totally jealous. I wanted to enjoy the fun, and pain, they were experiencing. Triathlons seemed like a logical step after half marathons and marathons.
I didn’t have a bike. Well, I did have a bike, but it was a cheap $100 piece of shit I bought on Craigslist. I could have competed on that bike but there was no way I was going to be competitive. Actually, if I owned a $15,000 Cervelo I still wouldn’t be competitive. But that’s neither here nor there.
So earlier this year I bought a bike and started riding. Jen’s office offered a deal through Gold’s so we got a gym membership too. That meant we had access to a pool.
I did something absolutely insane today! I registered for my first half ironman.
Two years ago, when I started this journey, I kept telling myself that I’d never run anything over a 5k. Well, as of two and a half years later, I’ve now run thirteen 5ks, two 10ks, two 15ks, a 12 miler, two 25ks, six half marathons, and three full marathons. I’ve also completed a Splash-N-Dash and my first duathlon.
By year end, add another duathlon, two more 5ks, three triathlons, three more half marathons, and a full marathon to end the year on a high note.
I guess when I jump in, I do it with both legs. Actually, it’s more OCD than competitiveness.
Since I don’t have pictures of me competing in the Redman (duh), I’ll post a video from 2012. This guy put together a pretty good video that will give you a good idea of the course. He didn’t take much video of the run though. I’d imagine that’s because the run is a boring out & back on the family trails at Lake Hefner.
When I started running in 2012, I had almost no running friends. I had a handful of people that gave me advice, but I had to get started on my own.
One day I received a text message from my friend Tiffany who told me I should join the Landrunners. The LR is a local running club in Oklahoma City that holds two marathon training sessions in the spring (for the OKC Memorial Marathon) and the fall (for the Route 66 Marathon in Tulsa). I had no desire (at the time) to run a marathon. I just wanted to meet other people who ran and I thought I could get some free training and advice.
I would run with the Landrunners each Saturday morning in a group of about 200-400. Yes, that many people show up for the training runs! I met a handful of people, but I really hadn’t met any good friends.
Everything changed when I decided to get a little more involved and I volunteered for the Landrunner water stop at the Redman Triathlon. I met tons of people and my social structure exploded.
I’m now a little over two years into my running phase and many of the people I met at Redman are still friends….and there are many more.
My point is this: my running has benefited from having all these friends. While we don’t exactly coach each other, the benefit comes in the form of camaraderie and mutual goals. This is why I think everyone who runs should get involved, to some extent, in their local running community. While you still have to put in the miles, hours, and effort, it gets a little easier when you have friends going through the same thing.
This all brings me to one final conclusion. That is, I have the best freakin’ running friends in the world. They’re fun, crazy, insane, and perverted…..just like me!
Sauced…we own this place!
Steve Schlegel at Tulsa Tough. No shame!
My beautiful friend Camille and furry friend Geoffrey
My partner in crime, Shelly.
Kim, Me, Steve at the Wheeler Crit on Tuesday.
Me, Stephen, Kasi
My good friend Masha and me before the race.
The original entrance to the refuge. The 4 girls randomly woke up and put on green!
Omi, me, Mark, Angela, Vincent, and Leslie
Angela, Mark, and Vaden
Laurence and Carrie
Omi and me
Omi and Leslie
My good friend Brian Jacobson. He asked me to serve on the committee. It was a great experience to be a part of this and I already have grand designs for next year!
Me and SPP
Gina not feeling too well.
My good friend Kari. She and Justin kicked ass with a 4:13:17 for the full. That’s a damn good time with those hills.
Jen, Me, Justin, and Kari
Early group picture
Me, Adi, Matt, and David with Karl in the background
Susan P as SuperCougar
After a nice 20 mile bike ride. Me, Kim, and Jen.
Sandra giving hugs at the 2013 Okc Memorial Marathon.
It’s no secret I hate soccer. I find it boring as hell and I have no desire to watch even one second of it.
Today, Germany beat the US 1-0 in 94 minutes of play. Let me repeat: NINETY-FOUR MINUTES OF PLAY!!! And the score was ONE to ZERO!
Since the World Cup has been going on (too long) and will continue to go on (for the rest of my fucking life), I thought I would post the Top 10 things I’d rather do than watch soccer.
Being chased by a pack of rabid pit bulls
Playing the game “How Long Can You Hold Your Hand on the Stove?”
Lie on a Red Ant hill….at noon….with a bucket of sugar
Swim in the Ganges after the Hot Curry Festival
Be Kim Jong Un’s personal wash-boy
Listen to Sarah Palin discuss World War II foreign policy
Shop at WalMart
Go on a date with Chris Brown
Soccer has too many bad variables to make it a feasible sport in this country. This brings me to my next top 10 list: The Top 10 Things to Make Soccer Better
Reduce the field size
Widen the goal size
Split the game into 15 minute quarters
Toss out a bobcat or jaguar every once in a while to make it actually exciting
When the game ends in a tie, keep playing the same fucking game to decide a winner. In other words, dump the penalty kick bullshit. You’ve played team on team for 80 fucking hours. You shouldn’t play one on one to decide the game.
Put a team of cheerleaders on the sidelines
Make the goalie wear the same goddamn uniform as the rest of the team!
Fighting. Hey, hockey can do it! Why not soccer?
Clothing-optional soccer wives section in the stadium
For several months, Jen has been talking about heading to Bentonville, Arkansas to visit the Crystal Bridge Museum of American Art. If you don’t know, and I didn’t, one of the Walton sisters dropped something like $12 million of her own money to build this museum. I have to say, as much as I hate WalMart, that’s how much I love this place, though. They did a first class job on the museum and it is totally spectacular!
If you get a chance, this is a must visit.
Now, I don’t know shit about art. I know what I like and I know a handful of famous names, but for the most part, I could’t tell you why a piece of art is great versus shit. But I know a freakin’ Picasso when I see it and this place had a traveling exhibit with several.
Every week I run on the Lake Hefner trails in Oklahoma City. I love that they're near my house and they usually provide a decent track (when the wind isn't blowing 100mph) to run and bike. However, the paved trails that circumnavigate the lake have been a source of heated debate and contention for several years.
It's the same thing you hear everywhere: bikers are pissed at the runners and runners are pissed at the bikers….and they're both pissed at the walkers & restaurant grazers. They all think they're encroaching on each other's right to the trail….yada, yada, yada….
But the fact is, 99% of the users don't use the trail properly to begin with. And that's the real problem.
The City is only partly to blame for not marking the lanes better and displaying more signage. That will hopefully change in the next year or so if funding can be secured for new signage. However, until that becomes reality, here's how the trails are supposed to work!
That Damn Dam…
There's a lot of confusion on the dam. Bikers use every single lane. Runners use every single lane. And cars drive too fast! What is supposed to happen is that bikers are ONLY supposed to travel counter clockwise around the lake in the OUTER lane ONLY (the lane near the guard rail and going against car traffic). The lane is marked with an arrow and a diamond and signs are everywhere along the dam that state bicycles are the only traffic allowed in that lane. However, runners get in this lane and force the cyclists into the oncoming traffic.
The center lane on the dam is for vehicular traffic only. Bicycles might have to use this lane to pass, but the lane is for cars only.
The inside lane, where the cars park, is for pedestrian traffic. That means runners! Don't run on the outside lane marked for the cyclists and for shits-sake, don't run in the middle of the vehicle lane!
The Lake Restaurants
The dashed, divided lane is for bicycle traffic ONLY. The non-divided lane is for pedestrian traffic ONLY. If you are running in one of the lanes on the dashed side and a cyclist yells at you, don't get mad…get the hell out of the cyclist's lane! YOU are the one in the wrong here. One of the major problems in this section is that people eat in the restaurants and then take a nice stroll along the lake. But they don't read the signs that tell them which lane they are supposed to be in. What we get are people not paying attention when cyclists and runners come through. I'm really surprised I haven't heard about a major accident in front of Louie's. Maybe there has been, but I haven't heard about it.
The Trail to Stars & Stripes
This is the trail south of the restaurants and the playground but before you hit the west trail that takes you to S&S Park. It's the southeast corner of the lake.
Here's where most people screw up…and I'm talking to the runners here! Signs are posted everywhere that say, Pedestrians Prohibited. I don't think we have a large number of illiterate runners in this community so I'm pretty sure they're just not paying attention or just don't give a shit. Either way, they need to start giving a shit and paying attention. Runners are pedestrians! Get it right. You need to be on the concrete trail west of the asphalt trail.
The Dream Trail
What I'd really like to see is vehicular traffice closed on the dam and clear signage on the entire trail. I think the signage will come along if funding is ever secured. But I know they'll never shut off the dam to cars and trucks. It sure would be nice though.
In the meantime, read the signs and follow the rules and maybe we won't have bikers and runners fighting…..well, I know that's not totally true, but maybe it will reduce some of the tension.
And lastly, for all the asshole bikers out there that think they own the trail: signage states that you MUST yield to ALL PEDESTRIANS. Remember, the trail isn't a freakin' racetrack. It's a multi-use, family trail. If you feel you need to ride 40mph to train for your next race, the Lake Hefner trails are not where you should be.
And by the way, if you're stupid enough to ride your bike into a group of runners competing in a race out there, then just stay home. You're too ignorant to be in public in the first place!
One of the best parts about being a runner is the social part of it. My social calendar exploded when I got into running. It certainly helps that most runners are heavy drinkers so the social part makes total sense.
A few of us have taken it to the next level and we’ve started traveling together for various events. Camping is a big part of that so last weekend we trekked down to the Chickasaw National Recreation Area for an extended weekend of camping, running, and hops consumption!
Unfortunately, I’ve been sworn to secrecy regarding most activities so the only thing I can show you are some select pictures from the weekend.
Saturday we took a short trip over to the Chickasaw Cultural Center. Those are the non-camping pics! But it’s a beautiful facility and worth a visit.
Jen came appropriately dressed! LOL
We ventured out on Saturday for a nice bike ride around the lake.
Jen tried to push me off the cliff but I’m too fat and she couldn’t budge me.
She’s not hungover at ALL!
Jen and Angela got suckered into an Indian dance that lasted WAY too long!
It seems I’ve been bitten by the biking and swimming bug. And you can probably guess what that means!
Here come the triathlons. Honestly, I think this was part of my OKC Memorial Marathon failure too. I was so focused on upcoming tri and du events I couldn’t get my head into the marathon. Oh well, lesson learned.
In typical “Sean” fashion, I have gone completely insane and OCD and I’ve signed up for enough events to keep me busy through the rest of the year….including a redemption marathon to finish out the season.
Here’s the schedule:
05/10/2014 – May (March) in Okarche Duathlon (5k/30k/5k)
The good part of this is that Steve Schlegel, the owner of our premier cycling store in Oklahoma City, is a good friend of mine so I have loads of help in preparing for the events. In addition, I have lots of other friends who have competed in everything from sprints to full ironman distance triathlons to help me along the way. I’m definitely getting my share of hints and help….and I appreciate all of it. I’m such a newbie I need all the help I can get.
But the difficult part so far has been the tight ass clothing. Damn, those tri tights show everything. Does anyone have a stuff-sock I can borrow?
Stay tuned for more pictures!
Here are a few from our Tuesday night ride with Steve.