I can best summarize 2016 as the year of transition. When you finally cut the proverbial apron strings of employment (even the part-time variety) and go into full blown entrepreneurship, it is quite the season of growth.
It has been interesting taking the passion of running and wellness finding through trial and error what is working for business. One thing that has remained a constant is my love for running. Though my number of races were down this year, there were still MANY this year. Here is recap of my runs and business decisions. Enjoy. 🙂
Friday, January 1, 2016
OKC NYD Blast Off
WHEELER PARK, Okla. - Though I worked the night....or technically earlier that morning, I made it a point to start off the year doing something I wanted to do. It was quite cold, the trail was by the river, giving the experience a little more "chill factor". I would not trade it for the world. I consumed probably the best bowl of black eyed peas I have ever had in my life after the run. It was worth getting out to this solely for that. 🙂 Great start to the year.
Saturday, February 27, 2016
Adrenaline Run 10k
University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center (OUHSC), Okla. - How could I forget the first race I was disqualified in?. :-/ Really not much to say here. It was one of those situations where lack of sleep multiple times caught up with me. I had enough for a 5k. The race organizers rules were clear. I was disqualified for stopping at the 5k mark. They did not allow an on the spot change. I get it. The registration programming is a pain to change on the spot. In retrospect, not a big deal. This was to be warm-up for the first half of the year. It did serve as a wake call for the need for proper training...which includes rest in the equation. Seems to be even more important the older I get.
Sunday, March 20, 2016
Rock 'n' Roll Dallas Half Marathon
DALLAS, Texas - Amazing what rest can do. This factor almost had me ready for 9th half. It isn't that I could not do the 13.1 (which I did). It had to do with timing. This is where the realization of balance comes into play. I had been planning to break off completely as an entrepreneur for some time. I was a few weeks away from doing so. That being said, I had 10.5 miles worth of good conditioning for this event. Once I hit that hill in the historic Oak Cliff area of the trail, my conditioning stuck a fork 🙂
I'm really not into the timing, also known as personal records (PRs) now...especially when I know I didn't condition like I should. This turned out to be a theme all year. When you're transitioning as an entrepreneur, there is balance of multiple tasks that takes place. As a result, it can affect your training time. That being said, the time didn't diminish my love for this activity and this time, I really learned to absorb the entire experience of the event.
Speaking of which, the day before at the RnR Dallas Expo, I attended my first ever, We Run Social Meet Up. Awesome, positive people are in this group. If you like to be positive and love the running culture, you need to become a part of this community. They are awesome.
Saturday, March 26, 2016
LuDown Legacy 5k
NORMAN, Okla. - This was my third year doing this run. The old course is the home of my fastest 5k time. However, the course was moved across town and into a residential area. This honestly was a last minute decision. There was a project I decided to put together and I needed more "material" to complete it. By "material", I mean bibs. 🙂
Saturday, April 2, 2016
OUHSC Health Dash 5k
OU Health Sciences Center - This was literally the next week after the LuDown. Again, another last minute decision. Part of the motivation for this race was to "redeem" myself from the earlier run in the same location (Adrenaline Run). The other was to collect more "material". By far, it was a much better running experience and my time was much better. Amazing what sleep and rest can do for your performance. I also finally got to experience the Oklahoma City Midtown treat known as, "Waffle Champion".
Oklahoma City, Okla. - After several years of running, my bibs had been starting to pile up. I saw a post on Instagram that grabbed my attention. It was some wooden letters that stated, "RUN". On them, the bibs from various runs were placed on them.
That is what gave me the motivation and idea to create my own version of that named, "ACTION". I use the display now as both a reminder and motivator for both business and training.
Saturday, May 28, 2016
Mud Factor OKC 5k
NORMAN, Okla. - This ended up being what I consider my final mud run. In words of the late BB King, "The thrill is gone". For the first time, I found myself in the middle of the course asking myself, "Why am I here?" That is when I knew I was done. I had already proven I could "overcome obstacles" both figuratively and literally. Perhaps it is due in part I have grown tired of doing these types of challenges alone. There is also an small economic component; you lose shoes when you do these. Suddenly, after doing so many, I'm running out of "old" shoes. 🙂
I finished up the abbreviated run (this particular is a 5k), washed up, and considered it the end of this chapter of my life when I returned to the car. I achieved everything I wanted to achieve with these types of mud challenges. I have learned never to say never. That said, there are no plans for any kind of mud run for the foreseeable future. Don't get me wrong the course was great, safe, well monitored. You can assign burnout on my end for the reason I'm done with mud runs.
July 4, 2016
Stars & Stripes Forever 5k
Stars and Stripes Park, Okla. - Starting off with a jolt to the system on 4th of July! This experience was tough. Even though it was early in the morning, it was very hot and humid. This race revealed how much I deconditioned. This was a turning point in balancing my work, training ratio. Full time entrepreneurship is no joke. My time was the worst I have ever recorded officially. However, this is a theme for me now, I don't get caught up in the time. I need to reflect on how much I trained. When I played sports I was told, "you play like you practice". You also perform as you train. If you always keep in mind your preparation, you should not be surprised with your recorded time.
USA TODAY Sports Active Alliance
NEW YORK CITY - Your net worth can be directly connected to your network. Through networking, I was given an opportunity to be introduced to the commissioner of the newly formed Alliance, Bruce Revman. This happened shortly after the OKC Memorial Marathon in April. I did not run any of the events there this year but I did attend the expo. I found out later, literally the day of the run (after it was over), that the alliance debuted there and the OKC Memorial was part of it.
To fast forward everything, I clicked with Bruce. I was able to demonstrate some of skillsets and making a long story short, by the time the end of August was approaching, I found myself as one of the premier ambassadors for the Alliance. This means I represent the Alliance as well as do administration work on their behalf. This could be on-site or in office with the various members of the Alliance. There are 16. For details see my full blog entry on it. . This is truly an honor to be part of this group.
Saturday, September 3, 2016
NORMAN, Okla. - Lucky number 7. If you have followed me for a while, you know this is the race that started it all for me. I make it a point to be available for this one. I volunteered this year for pre-race announcements. That was an unforgettable experience due to the earthquake that occurred. I also was introduced to Mark Bravo, a seasoned runner and personality. He took over the announcement duties. He also gave me a copy of his book after hearing my back story. So grateful. To top off the experience, I improved my time greatly from the 4th of July. Good times. Looking forward to #8.
Saturday, September 24, 2016
OU Wellness Fun Run 5k
UNIVERSITY OF OKLAHOMA - A return to my alma matre. I had now been running regularly again and I wanted another primer for the upcoming half in California. I did indeed improve from my last 5k and the post race festivities were awesome! It was fun to be back in school for a moment. 🙂
Sunday, October 9, 2016
Long Beach Half Marathon
LONG BEACH, Calif. - I'd be lying if I told you I hadn't been wanting to do this one for a while. Priorities changed. I always used the Oklahoma-Texas football game as a reason for not doing this race. Then I finally asked myself, "How many times have you actually attended the game in person post college?" That answer is ZERO.
I made my mind up on this race in November of 2015. Now that I was a few weeks away, I got my first experience being a part of the USATS Active Alliance. I was a part of the Orange County Marathon's exhibit booth at the LB expo which was held 2 days before the run.
The run itself was a challenge. I had trained for the second half of the Summer primarily inside on a treadmill. With my training I felt as though I had 11-12 miles in me (without fatiguing too much). Well, the day of the run, it happens to be in the 90's quickly. It was a morning run but by the time I got started it was roughly 8am. In October, usually not a big deal. LB thought it was still Summer that day though.
The first 10k had the hills. The "wall" hit me for the first time in a half marathon on the 3 mile beach stretch (roughly miles 7-9). You are heading east and at 9am the Sun is looking right at you. 90 degree heat, humidity....yeah, it got me good at the 9th mile. I walked from 9 to 12.5 from that point. I finished with a jog from 12.5 to 13.1. My longest half marathon time ever...but then again...I don't get into the times much. I would like to go back and prepare properly for this one. I had a BLAST being able to come back to the city where I got my professional start. I loved EVERYTHING about the LB Marathon. No complaints at all. 🙂
October 28, 2016
Return to Muscle Activation Techniques (MAT)
PLANO, Texas - In the middle of the Summer, I had been inspired and encouraged, mainly from Isophit inventor, Brad Thorpe, to return to something I left around 13 years ago. I put some skin in the game (made a down payment) and re-entered the Muscle Activation Techniques (MAT) program once again.
Briefly speaking, MAT is a checks and balances manual therapy system that identifies and treats muscular imbalances. More specific, a muscular imbalance is indicated by restricted range of motion, especially if one side has more range vs another (and not caused by a bone spur). The tightness is considered a weakness in muscular contraction ability. This technique was developed by Greg Roskopf, a muscular specialist who is also a consultant to the Denver Broncos and Nuggets.
The factor that motivated me was the satellite option they offered in the Dallas area. This is much easier on the budget vs attending in Denver, Colorado. I did this option, as it was the ONLY option in 2003.
So, what's the story with me being gone from this so long? When I finished the program, it was a "hard sell" to the consumer in Oklahoma City. No one really knew what to make of it. I didn't take insurance...so making a long story short, I couldn't get any clients and bills needed to get paid. That is how I slowly I drifted into fitness entertainment. I remained between entertainment and business administration work for the next 13 years.
When I saw that MAT started getting more national notoriety, it sparked my interest and passion for it once again. You won't believe what it can do for the athletic (especially runners!) A great maintenance tool to keep yourself improving. I will finish the program in June of 2017 and will take my competency (aka Certification Exam) test later in the year.
November 3-5, 2016
Indianapolis Monumental Marathon
INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana. - This was my first on-site assignment with USA TODAY Sports Active Alliance. I did not run this event. Instead, this was my first administration role at a sold out endurance event (15k) . This also marked my first trip to the Midwest and the city of Indianapolis. The expo was 2 days and the event started first thing in the morning in downtown (like most events).
Takeaway - administration of events can be equally as exhausting as running the race itself. I met a lot of great people (participants, administrators, and exhibitors), got a feel for managing a big event (Did I mention it was a record, sold out event?), and travel a part of the country I had never been to. This was an exhausting trip but gratifying. Oh...and with the small downtime I had, I did get to see my first NFL stadium, Lucas Oil 🙂
Saturday, November 12, 2016
South Padre Half Marathon
SOUTH PADRE ISLAND, Texas - If you haven't figured it out yet, I did a lot of traveling this fall. A few days from returning from the Midwest, I'm in South Texas for the very first time. On Veteran's Day Weekend, I find myself in the Rio Grande Valley to represent the Alliance at the South Padre Island Marathon.
This time I pulled dual duty. I was in charge of Alliance issues at the expo but was also given the green light to run the half marathon. YEA!!!! The SPI expo was one day. The biggest hit at the expo was what I named the writing wall. A simple banner that asked, "Why do you run?" The answers were hilarious, educational, and for some, brought tears to your eyes.
The run itself was a perfect setting for runners. A little chilly before sunrise, a light wind, overcast with sprinkles throughout the race. It had rained the entire time I was at SPI until race time. With administration duties, didn't have my "A game" in running. However, I did make sure to have a good time. Staying at the Schlitterbaun Water Park & Beach Resort didn't hurt. Kudos to the race directors having the finish line located at the beach. Loved it. Between Long Beach and South Padre, I labeled it my Beach 2 Beach Challenge. I wouldn't mind doing it again. 🙂
Note: If you're preparing for Beach runs, I advise training for heat and humidity.
November 19-20, 2016
USATF Level 1 Coaching
ALLEN, Texas - I guess it was a matter of time before one gets here. I've been enjoying myself with this appreciation for running, I wouldn't mind learning more in how to pass on techniques to help others. So much so, I registered for a Level 1 Coaching clinic for USA Track & Field (one week after Padre)....I did travel a lot.
I arrived at Allen High School (which could pass for a Junior College in most states) and received quite the comprehensive clinic in a 2-day period. For my interest, I'm not sure if I'll be utilizing anything from throws or jumps but most definitely with long distance and sprints. I'll know soon enough if I am a Level 1 Coach. My biggest takeaway from the entire weekend is below,
"A coach is part scientist and part artist."
Thursday, October 24, 2016
OKC Turkey Tracks 5k
OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. - So, it had been approximately a 2-week gap between runs....I had the itch to do a Thanksgiving run. I signed up when I returned from Texas and ran my second best 5k time of the year. I may have been inspired by the OKC Memorial. The start/finish line was next to it.
So there you have it. The recap of 2016....my work and running stories all in one narrative. Thank you for reading if you have made it this far. The only left to do in my opinion, is to rank my best experiences of the year. See you next year. 🙂
My Top 5 Running Experiences for 2016
5. OU Wellness Fun Run
It was fun to return to my alma matre. Improved my time from the Brookhaven Run.
4. Brookhaven Run 5k
The one that started it all. This was #7 for me. From a short-term perspective, it also marked a steep improvement from my July 4th run. First time I ever experienced an earthquake before a run to boot. (Sep 3)
3. Rock 'n' Roll Dallas Half Marathon
First time I got to "tour" downtown Dallas and the location for my first ever meet up with We Run Social. Saw some great sites, had some great In n Out Burger at the end of the run. This was my first of 2 Texas based runs this year. (Mar 20)
2. South Padre Island Half Marathon
My first run being part of the USA TODAY Sports Active Alliance. Prior to this year, I had never done a half marathon at the beach. This was my second of this year. I absolutely LOVED being in a part of the USA I had never seen before. South Padre is the jewel of Texas and you need to put this race on your "MUST DO" list. (Nov 12)
1. Long Beach Half Marathon
HOMECOMING, that is why it is number 1. I got to return home for an extensive amount of time this year. I FINALLY got to do this run. 🙂 (Oct 9)