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Warriors, Come Out and Play (Ep. 2)

Warrior Dash 2011 just wrapped up in North Texas this past weekend and I was a part of it once again. Last year’s event was held in Forney, TX and from what I can remember and had been told, it was the first time the event had taken place in North Texas. Since it was the first time last year, it felt a little disorganized so I wasn’t too excited to do it again for 2011. My friend Chad had coaxed me into running it with him and his girlfriend (and apparently half of the people that work at Targetbase (my former employer)). I put up the cash and decided #WHYNOT.

Upon arrival at the DFW Adventure Park in Roanoke, TX, I could already tell that it was going to be better than last year. Things were more organized, lines were more controllable and it seemed as if there were more workers to tell you what to do and how to do it. We arrived around 1:15 or so and our wave wasn’t until 2:30 so we just hung out for a while checking in our bags and talking about how excited we were to get intoxicated afterward. 2:30 quickly approached and we made our way to the starting line. This is where the real fun began.

The start was crowded.. I’d say about 300-400 people lined up. We kind of pushed our way closer to the front because we had a few in our crew that were going to race it rather than just go out there and mosey (sp?) around. The gun sounded and the flames burst into the sky… true story… and we were off. I took off down this gravel road passing people with Chad right behind me. Made our way to the front of the pack and came to our first obstacle, a river crossing, Oregon Trail style. We forded across it and began down this trail that was rather muddy because of the water. There were still a few people in front of me but as the trail became less muddy, I began to pass those folks. The 2nd obstacle wasn’t much of one, just a bunch of stuff in your way that you had to pick the best path to go around. Then on down the trail, you came to a bunch of beat up cars that you had to run across the top of and then through a bunch of tires on the ground, high-stepping your way through. Next came the wall jump, going up over 4 foot walls and under 3 foot beams. At this point, there was only 1 person in front of me that I knew of and the people behind me weren’t gaining any ground. The Warrior Wall was next, having to climb a rope over the wall and down the other side. The following obstacles included a blacked out crawl, a balance beam crossing, a cargo net to climb across and a cargo net to climb up. Then you had to climb over a stack of hay bales, swim over floating logs (though I chose to go under them) and finally you approached the fire pit jump and the crawl through 2 feet of mud under barbed wire. Only thing left to do was to cross the finish line.

I finished second in my wave, but didn’t exactly know where I was in terms of overall performance. Last year, it took a while for our times to be posted on the video board and because there are so many people that do this event, it takes a good 20 minutes just get through all the times. Every time I went to look for my time, I either had just missed it and was no where close to where I thought my time was. Turns out I finished 3rd in my age group with a time of 22:58.50 which was also good for 18th overall for Saturday’s races. They actually hand out “trophies” to the Top 3 Finishers in each age group. Had we stuck around for the awards ceremony at 7pm, I would have been given a Steel Warrior Helmet which would have been pretty cool to add to my running trophies (none).

Warrior Dash 2011 got me really excited to either come back to North Texas to do it next year or do another one somewhere that’s close by. They have one in Tulsa in September, but I think I have to pass on participating in that one because it is 2 weeks before the Chicago Marathon and I would really really hate to hurt myself before a big marathon, one where I am shooting for 3:45. So with all that said, look for me to take home a steel helmet in 2012!

Oklahoma City Marathon – May 1, 2011

I ran the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon last year as my first marathon. It was the worst day of my life at the moment and then as soon as I crossed that finish line, it became one of the best days. It is amazing how things change when you accomplish a goal that you thought for sure was out of reach just months before or even just 3 miles before. By mile 23 of that run, I was toast. I was on the verge of tears as a 25 year old man (I use the term “man” loosely). At that point, I was walking then running for about 15 seconds before walking again. It was incredibly painful physically and mentally. I’m usually not one to give up on things because I am extremely competitive but at that point, all I wanted was to be done. It took one guy to come up behind me, pat me on the back and say “c’mon.” That was it. With that one gesture, I kept pace with that guy until I saw the finish line. I didn’t see that guy after we crossed the finish line, but he saved my race and day. I don’t know what I would have done had I not finished, especially having already gone 23 miles.

This time around, I will not be running. I have been training still and running, but I wanted to sit this one out and cheer. Running NYC really got me amped up to cheer. For the entire 26 miles there (apart from the bridges), the streets were lined with people cheering and it was so much fun to have those people screaming your name or in my case, my town because I was in my OKC Thunder jersey. I have quite a few friends running in the Memorial Marathon so I wanted to be out on the course to encourage them. It has always looked really fun to be sitting and cheering every race I’ve been in so I am getting really excited for this one. Take a look at the map for the race.

I already have my spots scoped out for the event, sign ideas are already in the works but I still need to get the champagne chilled and orange juice as well as the Coors Light. I’ve got a month, so I feel pretty confident that I can get those things in order in time for the race. Be on the look out for me around miles 6-7 and 22-23. Drop on by and I’ll have a cold one ready for you… that invitation is extended to spectators and runners alike.

The Final Push Before The Push

I just mapped out my training schedule for the upcoming Chicago Marathon. It officially begin on Tuesday, May 31st. It’s pretty crazy that May 31st is 18 weeks out from October 9th. This is training schedule that I have followed for the past 2 marathons.

I look back at this schedule and I remember every single long training run that I went on as I was training for my first marathon, the 2010 OKC Memorial Marathon. As you see, the first long run that you’re put through is a 6 miler on the first week. That run was the absolute best/worst run that I endured during that first training plan. I ran 2 laps around Boomer Lake in Stillwater, OK. Each lap is supposedly 5K. I gave myself an hour time limit to make it around twice. I struggled so much on that run, walking probably every single mile beginning with mile number two and didn’t make my time. It was insane. I remember waking up that Sunday morning and could not get out of bed. My calves were sooooo sore. I ran that “recovery run” and I was definitely on the strug. After the recovery run, I couldn’t walk normal until that Wednesday.

I somehow decided to stick it out and keep going with my training and now, 2 full marathons later and a continued training program for a full year, I am looking at this training plan for a first time marathoner and I think I have decided that at least for the first month, I will not follow this plan very well. My runs now, without actually “training,” have been longer than those runs on the schedule so I feel I can step it up a bit there for the first month. I’m kind of excited to start being focused on a goal (26.2 miles in Chicago) rather than to just keep in shape.

Now onto the “Final Push Before The Push”. I’ve come a long way and I definitely want to keep pushing myself to improve. Memorial Weekend is just over 2 months and is the official kick off of summer and lake season. Because of this, I’ve decided on April 1st, I am kicking it into high gear before having to take my fitness in different direction for training. You, of course, need a different kind of focus/training/nutrient intake for running than you do for weight loss/muscle gain. I would still like to drop a few more pounds (in a healthy way) while still hitting the gym hard so it may not possibly work out the way I want it to, but I am going to try hard.

278:09:38:54

I am trying out something new with this blog. My life is not thaaaat interesting and taking the time to write about all the things that I do and find interesting to me is most likely not going to be interesting to anyone else. I wanted to begin writing about something I’m really passionate about and something that I really enjoy doing….. running/fitness. I’ve mentioned all my running activities in the past on here, but I kind of just want to focus on this part of my life from here on out. And I guess it is part of my life now… weird.

We’re approaching April 1st which means the first quarter of the year is almost complete. One of my resolutions/goals at the beginning of the year was to run 1000 miles in 2011. I’ve had a few set backs but I have managed to log 151.53 miles through March 27th (yesterday). I’m a little bit behind schedule but I figured with me ruining my left ankle for the 19th time in January and then with my recent insane travel schedule (Colorado, St. Louis, London), 151.53 miles isn’t too terrible. That leaves me with 23 mile weeks from here on out. I am honestly not that worried about not accomplishing my goal because I still have 2, possibly 3, marathons to train for still. Chicago is coming up on October 9th, with training beginning at the end of April. I also find out in April whether or not I got drawn into the NYC Marathon again. I really hope that I do because it’s just a fun place to run. Whoa, April is apparently a busy month for me because I am doing the Warrior Dash in North Texas for the second year in a row. Anywho… the NYC Marathon is in November and then follow that with the Las Vegas Marathon in December. The LV one will be awesome because we’ll finish at night on the Strip. With all those to train for and to actually run, I’m not sweating reaching 1000 miles. It will be a very cool accomplishment if I do achieve it though.

I’ve been running with quite a bit of pace lately and it’s probably been a full month that I haven’t had a run longer than 8 miles that I didn’t finish below 8 minute miles (if that sentence makes sense at all). I ran 7 miles on Friday out to a friend’s house, and it felt like I was going terribly slow… finished with a 7:38 pace so I’m not sure what was/is going on actually. It makes me begin wondering on what I can actually do for the marathon. I’m going to go ahead and assume that Chicago will be my best bet to PR since it will be the first one. I need to read how it actually runs and if there are hills or if it is relatively fast. My recent jump in pace has got me thinking that maybe I could try for a 3:45 marathon or maybe if I want to make my heart explode, a 3:30 marathon. My OKC time was 4:11, and NYC was exactly 4:00. Since NYC, I’ve lost 15 pounds and would most likely attribute my gain in speed to that loss. I have some time, but I think I am going to shoot for 3:45 and anything below(??) that time is gravy.

I mentioned that I have lost a few lbs since the New Year and that, of course, was part of my resolution/goal list as well. My friends Scott and Britnee are getting married in Turks and Caicos and that has been the main reason behind this healthy lifestyle change. It began in January 2010, but it took a real distinct change for the better this past December. I’ve been running for that entire time and started working out hardcore beginning in December. Now, I am looking into something new to add to my routine. I’ve began inquiring about CrossFit. I know a few folks that are into it and they have said nothing but good things about it. I hope to check it out very soon and will update accordingly, letting you know how it goes.

So there you go… an update on my quest for 1000 miles and a quick update on my thoughts for this blog. Keep up with me with RunKeeper. Let me know what you think about it all!