Monday, June 16, 2014

Kanye West and Kelly Clarkson Were Right - What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Stronger

Please donate HERE to help fight leukemia and lymphoma!

So my last post's title is "Track Hell." Thankfully, going through hell and back paid off.

Oklahoma Strong 5k

I had the honor of singing that National Anthem for the inaugural Oklahoma Strong 5k and Okie was the official mascot! The run helped raise money for the Oklahoma Strong Monument to remember lives lost in the Moore tornado last year. I figured I'd run as well especially since I've been busting my butt in track practice.

Temperatures will cool in the 50s with cloudy skies and a breezy north wind.  I decided to run without a jacket. Typically colder temps help me run and swim faster. I don't think it makes a difference with my cycling except increase my desire for sweatpants and hot chocolate.

Other channel 4 buddies joined the race as well including Lance West and Aaron Brackett. We wore the sparkly ties we were supposed to wear for the Memorial Marathon relay "Mike Morgan & The Bedazzled Ties" but the group disbanded before we ever had the chance to sport these gems!

I ran with my "Rise & Shine" buddy Lacey Lett.  It turns out that we have a similar running pace and we have been running buddies ever since!  I knew the 5k would hurt...and it did.  If you are pushing yourself, it will hurt.

We started out flying with a 7:30 minute/mile pace. I knew I couldn't keep that up the whole time but I tried to stay around 8 minutes. The last half mile was brutal. Lacey dropped back a bit and I knew I had to stay strong. I just mentally repeated "strong, power, strong, power..." and that seemed to help.


I finished with a personal record (PR)! HOORAY!

Route 66 Festivus

"Festivus" is the term used for CRAZIES that sign up for triathlons two days in a row. I am one of them! My goal this year is to get as much racing experience as I can.

Last year the Route 66 triathlon fell on June 1.  As many of you know, the day before was a horrific weather day with the widest tornado on record hitting a few miles from the race site. It wasn't debris as much as flooding that actually washed away part of the course.  Race directors rescheduled the race for July. I was excited because there was no way I was trained for the races at the end of May so I thought I at least had time to prepare.  The first day went well but storms the second day caused the race to cancel after the swim started.  See the post earlier on the blog for more!

Saturday, May 31, 2014 Route 66 Sprint Triathlon

I was surprisingly anxious the night before about racing. My boyfriend Michael helped me put Clark Kent (my tri bike) in my trunk and I discovered I had a flat. I FREAKED OUT.  I worried I would not be able to properly change my tire. Thankfully I remembered how to do it. I hoped this would not be a sign for the weekend ahead.I realize now that I can't use the excuse of being a tri rookie. People now call me a "triathlete" or as my parents still say "runner." Ha.  I also have been working hard with training, especially running, so I wanted to do well and make my teammates and myself proud! Just as a reminder, a sprint triathlon is a 500 meter open water swim, 13 mile bike and 5k run.

I woke up around 5am and with the exception of high humidity, I couldn't have asked for much better race weather.  Once I arrived I set up my transition and found Scott Hines. It was his first triathlon! I was nervous and excited for him.

The start of the race was very casual. A little too casual. I didn't have my head in the game.  I also started in a bad place, the front inside.  I swam next to a few kids - yes kids - and a larger man.
This man took me down within the first two minutes. No matter what I did I  could not swim away from him and his arm dunked me. I came up for air and said "holy $*CK." Yeah, real classy.  That was my wake up call to kick it into full gear and the rest of the swim improved. In all fairness, this was my first open water swim of the season.  Although I am completely comfortable swimming, I usually am not aggressive in this part of a triathlon. I need to work on that.

The bike ride went well. I felt strong and tried to stay around 18-20 mph.



I loved hearing my GMG teammates cheer me on. It was very encouraging for the run! Like I mentioned in the 5k experience above, I knew the 5k would hurt. Thankfully the clouds kept the hot sun from steaming up the atmosphere. I pushed myself and pulled through a strong run.

I finished the race in 1:16. Okay, I just looked at past blog posts and realized this is a PR! WOO HOO! This year I jump to a new age group...and it's harder to win. USA Triathlon uses your age on December 31st of the year...so that would make me 30...even though I am still very much so 29!!!!!! Any hoo, I was surprised that I won first in my age group! BOOM!

A big shout out to my homeboy Scott Hines. He did a fantastic job on his first triathlon! I didn't see him on the bike so I was nervous that he didn't survive the swim but then I saw his smiling face on the run course!

DAY 2 - Sunday, June 1, 2014 Route 66 Olympic Triathlon

So if doing two triathlons in a row wasn't enough, I worked in between as well! What?! We are down a meteorologist right now so I had to work the evening shift. Therefore, I did not get a full night's rest before the Sunday tri.

Once again, I was a little anxious about doing the triathlon.  This time it was for a different reason.... I wasn't fully confident in my training this early in the season for an olympic distance. Just a reminder, an olympic distance triathlon is a 1 mile swim, 26 mile bike and 6.2 mile run.

This time my boyfriend was there for moral support at the start! I also had several teammates to race with.  After the previous day's dunking during the swim I knew I had to have my game face on before hitting the water.  This time I went on the left/outer side of the swimmers. The wind was a bit higher so we had to deal with waves for part of the course.  I definitely got into a groove on the second lap. I just remember thinking, MAN - this is long. What did I get myself in to?

As soon as I hit the bike course I could tell my legs were fatigued from the day before. The bike involves two loops around El Reno.  This allows me to see who is in front of me and who is behind me.  My training buddy Jolynn caught up with me on the second loop of the bike.  For some reason this shifted my attitude from negative to positive.  I just thought how blessed I am to even be able to do this and how many people physically cannot swim bike and/or run. Knowing this was more of a training session than a race, I kept a steady pace around 16 mph. I The wind picked up by the end of the race and that final hill to the transition was definitely at a snail's pace.

I did not look forward to the run.  Running is my least favorite part of a triathlon any way and I wasn't sure if my endurance was high enough to run 6.2 miles well after the swim and bike.  However, I felt blessed. I kept my pace a little bit back from the day before and tried to just enjoy the journey.  That's all I could do. All of a sudden I just felt completely blessed. I felt blessed to be physically able to run or do a triathlon. I thought of my aunt with leukemia. She can no longer run. Mitchell Whitaker loved to run, but he passed away from leukemia. I will run for the people who can't.  I smiled and cheered on other runners. I can't tell you how many times fellow athletes have encouraged me in the past.  One guy even said I was smiling too much. Who would have ever thought I would be SMILING while running?  I ended up passing a few teammates and felt strong until the end. Once again, I guess my track training is working! WOO!

I finished in a little over 3 hours...and that includes a port-a-potty stop! OH YEAH
When you gotta go...you gotta go.
Scott cheering me on...hahah.

So the moral of the story is DO WORK and GET RESULTS. BOOM.

Thanks for reading friends and I will talk to you soon!  My next event is the Tour de Cure this Saturday! It's not too late to join. Just register here. I will likely be doing the 62 mile ride.

If you'd like to help...
Please donate HERE to help fight leukemia and lymphoma!
And please spread the word! Have a fantastic week!


Thursday, April 24, 2014

Track is Hell

Please donate HERE to help fight leukemia and lymphoma!

Hello friends!

I hope everyone is doing well! Training for the IMAZ officially began 3 weeks ago and as I'm getting back into the routine of training I need to do the same for blogging. Sorry it's been awhile!

Catch Up


Dad, me &
Me & Aunt Liz!



The last week of March I visited Phoenix to join my parents for a visit with Aunt Liz.  Every day was sunny, warm and wonderful.  I went hiking or running, layed out by the pool and ate delicious food everyday! Rough life!  Just as a reminder, I am doing the Full Ironman in honor of my Aunt Liz who was diagnosed a few years ago with Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia.  I found out that it is the most common type of leukemia in adults and there is no cure. My goal, with the help of my TEAM OKLAHOMA teammates, is to raise $200,000 and write a grant in my Aunt's name to the MIT David H. Koch Center for Integrative Cancer Research through The Go Mitch Go Foundation.

Launch Party

We moved the Mardis Gras Launch Party to Sunday, March 30.  A big thanks to everyone who showed up to support the cause. Thank you to Tapwerks, Coop Ale, Prairie Wolf Vodka, Garbanzo Mediterranean Grill, The Band Drive and all of our auction item donors! BOOM!

Training
Here's what my Training Peaks App looks like.


Here is what a (brick) workout looks like.
Let the training begin!  My triathlon coach, Coach Ryan, is also the coach for GMG Team Oklahoma. Convenient!  So we are using a program called "Training Peaks." We train 6 days a week with 1 rest day.
Here's a picture of TEAM OKLAHOMA's first official practice!

Although I am in shape, I am definitely out of endurance shape. I know my teammates will challenge me.

Track

Okay, I have a confession to make. I have been doing triathlons since 2011 and successfully avoided track workouts...until now.  A track workout usually involves a series of sprints to improve running speed and form.

If you've read previous posts, you are aware that running is my least favorite out of the 3.  So obviously track isn't a highlight of training.  However, I know to achieve a new, bigger goal I have to try new, challenging things!

I learned that 200m on a track is a half loop, or as I see it, a "candy cane."
Ladies represent! We ran while it was hailing! #legit

Track make me sore in places I wouldn't think would get sore. My stomach muscles hurt the next day and my legs are sore all the way to my butt! However, I know track will make me stronger in the long run. PUN INTENDED! Get it, long run?  Also, it tests my mental strength which is a big part of the Ironman.

That's all for now! I will try to keep up with the blog posts.  Please spread the word about The Go Mitch Go Foundation and if you haven't already, please donate HERE to help fight leukemia and lymphoma!



Wednesday, February 26, 2014

The Challenge of a Lifetime

Hello friends!
Here I am signing up for the Arizona Ironman 2014!

You may have heard of my crazy endeavor for 2014.  I am going to do my first full Ironman to help raise hundreds of thousands of dollars in the fight against all blood and bone cancers. 

Short story: Nearly a dozen Oklahomans will train and cross the finish line of the Arizona Ironman 2014 in an effort to raise $200,000 for the GO MITCH GO Foundation, an Oklahoma-based non profit to fight against Leukemia and Lymphoma. 
The "Go Mitch Go Foundation" was created in honor of Mitchell Whitaker, a Bethany, Oklahoma native that died of Leukemia at age 10. His last words were "keep fighting." 
After my first half Ironman in 2011


Long (personal) story: In spring of 2011 I decided to challenge myself for a great cause by doing my first half Ironman triathlon at the Oklahoma Redman through Team in Training, benefiting the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.  Up until that point I had only done a 10k but wanted to increase my work outs and loved the idea of a triathlon since I am swimmer. Not only was it the hottest summer on record, but 2011 proved to be a summer of milestones and breakthroughs. I crossed the finish line and ended up with new friends and higher confidence. 

Although I did not have a direct connection to Leukemia and Lymphoma, I thought it was a good cause and with a co-worker, raised $6,000.  A few months later I found out that my Aunt Liz (maternal Aunt) was diagnosed with Leukemia.  I instantly knew that my journey couldn't have been a coincidence and that God had a plan.
Me & my Aunt Liz

I continued to do triathlons, hooked on the community and the sense of accomplishment.  Throughout training I felt a tugging on my heart to do more.  Something was telling me to do a full Ironman. I have never done a full marathon and I frequently get knee issues so this seemed unrealistic.  I asked around for some of the "easier" Ironman courses (oxymoron?) and Arizona came up.  Then it all clicked...my Aunt is from Phoenix and I wanted to do the race in her honor!  Why wait until it's too late? Time isn't slowing down and I need to do something now.  However, I couldn't find anyone to do this adventure with me until Scott Hines went in my corner!

My co-worker Scott Hines is an investigative reporter at KFOR-TV.  He is very athletic but never tried a triathlon.  He ran up to me one day and said he wanted to do a full Ironman.  That's when I knew I had God's stamp of approval and we hit the ground running.


Scott and I feel blessed to live in such a philanthropic state and have a platform to get other involved in the fight against cancer.  In November 2014, Oklahoma will be represented in Arizona to cross the finish line in one of the most grueling endurance events. Join us. Join Team Oklahoma. Donate and spread the word!


Come to our launch party this Sunday to find out more! Click HERE to buy your tickets ahead of time for $20. Tickets are $25 at the door. All the $ will go to The GoMitchGo Foundation. 

Or click HERE anytime to donate! 


OKLAHOMA STRONG. IRONMAN STRONG.
KEEP FIGHTING.

Please stay tuned to this blog for the latest on our journey to the Arizona Ironman! 


Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Peace Out 2013

2013: A year of ups and downs, joy and tragedy.
Photo from www.fema.gov

Naturally, I did not have high hopes for 2013 as the number 13 is iffy. Did you know that Apollo 13 flew on Friday the 13th of April at 13:13? Obviously it proved unlucky...but they survived! I digress.  Anyway, 2013 turned out to be one of my most blessed years to date professionally and personally.

But let's start out with the nerd facts, recapping the crazy weather events in 2013.  Big moments include:
* Drought-busting rain for OKC as we closed out the year the 2nd wettest on record.
* On the flip side, the highest level of drought (exceptional) continues for Southwestern Oklahoma.
* MAY. 

I looked up last year's tornado count (NWS) and we didn't have any violent (EF-4, EF-5) tornadoes and 63 tornadoes total. This year, we had 3 violent tornadoes and 72 tornadoes total.  Did you know that in 2005 we had ZERO tornadoes in the month of May? It's true and remains a record.
Here's my handy dandy graphic overview. Thanks to the National Weather Service for compiling this data.  Since this is weather, I did not include earthquakes. Apparently, Oklahoma comes in second, behind California, for number of quakes. WHAT?!  

Personally: 
* Accomplished my first Century ride and my longest workout ever, a FULL aquabike.
* Bought a house! Big girl step!
* Fell in love with a firefighter. :)
* Rescued my sweet baby boy, Okie.
* Spent both Thanksgiving and Christmas at home with family. In the TV business, this is a true blessing.

Professionally:
Way to go, Kent!

* Promoted to weekday mornings.
* Tracked the largest tornadoes of my life including storm chasing the May 19 Lake
Photography by Bill McCullough for The New York Times
Thunderbird/Shawnee EF-4 tornado, May 20 Newcastle/Moore Tornado and May 31 El Reno Tornado (widest on record).  In 2 weeks I witnessed more than most meteorologists see in a lifetime.
Photography by Bill McCullough for The New York Times

* Featured in The New York Times Magazine as well as profiled for The 6th Floor, a blog for the New York Times. Shout out to Sam Anderson, you are an amazing writer!

Downside:
* Witnessed and experienced my first big tragedy in the aftermath of the May tornadoes. My heart still aches for the Oklahomans impacted.

* We lost a pioneer in the science community, storm chaser Tim Samaras. 

Hello, 2014!

This year I hope we learn from the tragedies and continue to take initiatives to make sure every school has a storm shelter or safe room. In an ideal world, I would make sure every Oklahoman has a storm shelter.

What's Next?
TEAM OKLAHOMA for Go Mitch Go

On a personal note, I am taking on a HUGE endeavor this year...my first full Ironman. If training and crossing the finish line isn't challenging enough, my co-worker Scott Hines and I plan on raising $200,000 for The Go Mitch Go Foundation in the fight against all blood and bone cancers.  I will explain the inspiration for this adventure in the next blog entry.

If you'd like to donate in the fight against Leukemia and Lymphoma, please click here! Any dollar amount helps! HAPPY NEW YEAR!