Monday, April 26, 2010

Our “Endurance Weekend” --- and I am now convinced Muenster is German for Monster…

This past weekend starts to wrap up the training season as the Shiner GASP approaches this weekend. On Saturday, I rode the Muenster Germanfest Bike Rally, then jumped right in the car to meet Dianna in Oklahoma City for the 10th annual OKC Memorial Marathon and Half-Marathon.

A little about the Muenster Rally – it is 62 miles, very hilly, some rough road, crowded, and when windy a very challenging ride. All those conditions were very present including wind, wind, and more wind. 30 mph gusts at times and we only had about 15 miles where the wind was truly at our back. I started the ride worried that I would not make it in time to OKC to meet up with Dianna (and our friends) for dinner because the wind was howling with no sign of letting up….have I mentioned before that wind is not your friend when riding a bike?? I decided it was the last training ride before Shiner so I might as well go for it and leave all I had on the course. I did just that while perfecting some skills that needed a little work – like opening granola bars, eating cookies, and washing down electrolyte chomps all while riding. I stopped twice to refill bottles, load my jersey up with snacks, and text Dianna with progress reports. The wind was ridiculous and at times I caught myself thinking (and saying) some things that aren’t fit to print. Dianna sent back some texts with the words of encouragement I needed, took the stress off a little, and ultimately I finished in 4 hours 15 minutes - 4 hours and 4 minutes of actual pedal time. Not bad considering the wind but I had nothing left when I got to the car. That said, I felt fairly proud that I finished the way I did because at the Shiner event I will not really have a time constraint – I really just need to finish and while I did not ride much with my team in Muenster, I plan to ride with them a little more on the route to Shiner. Besides, the training rides are sometimes nice to ride alone as it provides some nice thinking time to keep things in perspective.

Now that Muenster was behind me, it was on to OKC to meet up with Dianna. I made it just in time to grab a quick shower and head to dinner. This was Dianna’s second half-marathon of the year and one of the steps on her quest to run the 35th annual Marine Corps Marathon in Washington DC in October. We had a relaxing dinner with friends on Saturday evening and as tempting as it was to really let our hair down and have some cocktails, we all knew 4:30am was going to come awfully early…..did I mention the run started at 6:30am?? Wake up call at 4:30 - although I don’t think either of us slept that well anticipating the event. It was a wonderful and memorable event with 168 seconds of silence at the start to honor the 168 victims that died in the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building bombing. Dianna did great, beating her actual run time from the Austin half-marathon in February….but of course, being the perfectionist that she is, wasn’t happy with the time and vows to do some speed work to keep improving her time….amazing and inspiring are the only 2 words that can describe how I felt as I remember us spending a few private moments together when she was done.

Back to my thoughts on the “thinking time” and Dianna’s texts I mentioned above. When I was riding Muenster, she sent me a few texts, one that simply read – “remember you don’t HAVE to do this – you GET to do this”. That statement alone kept me pushing hard toward the finish – not so much because I was trying to hurry, now I was remembering why I am doing the Shiner and Tahoe events. There are so many folks that do not “get” to do this because they are in treatment, are too weak to even walk at times, can’t get out of the house much because their immune systems are suppressed, and the list goes on. I remembered that I am doing this for Georgia, for all people diagnosed with blood cancers, and for all the people who continue to support us with their generous donations to the Leukemia Society. A few simple words in a text message (from the only person that it could mean something from) that brought me back to where I needed to be – not worried about dinner, or making good time to OKC, but back on the course with Georgia on my mind and thinking that it was all our supporters that were the wind for 15 miles on my back!


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