Tuesday, November 8, 2011

It's the End of the World As We Know It

"For a Weekend, Oklahoma is Earthquake Country" -NYTIMES

"Oklahoma battered by tornadoes, hail" - Los Angeles Times


Notably, there was a 92 mph wind gust reported at Burns flat.  The large tornado was on the ground for nearly 20 minutes, lifted, and then continued northeast on the ground for another 30 minutes.  I started Near Frederick and Tillman, Oklahoma and dissipated somewhere near Anadarko. 
I love storm chasing but unfortunately you have to do your fair share as a part of a weather team, so I helped out at the "base."  Mike put on his big show while I helped forecast, update graphics, upload pictures, update the marquee, and contribute to facebook and twitter.  I will just straight up say, I'd rather be in the field chasing ANY DAY over sitting inside staring at the radar.  But like I said, fair is fair and I have to be a good girl and wait for my turn!

Oklahoma has been all over national news for our notable catastrophes this year.  As a meteorologist, it's been thrilling.  Viewers like to think "weather" also covers earthquakes, astronomy, tsunamis, etc.  IT'S NOT WEATHER! But since we are science nuts, it's still very interesting so we will still talk about it.


I felt my very first earthquake Friday night.  I tried to go to bed early to wake up and run with the OKC Landrunners for the first time.  Since I'm used to going to bed around 1am, I had trouble falling asleep.  Ironically enough I was dreaming about tornadoes (not as usual as you'd think) when I felt a gentle rumble.  I knew immediately what it was!  I jumped out of my bed and ran into the living room where my roommate and I hugged in celebration! It was both of our first times experiencing an earthquake!  How thrilling!  So what do I do? Stand under the door frame? Hide under a table? No, I immediately go on twitter and facebook to confirm my hypothesis.  It was a source of entertainment.  Comments like "The tsunami warnings are going off on Lake Hefner" and "Looks like some large ladies in Prague were doing the Cha-Cha" cracked me up!  

The USGS says Friday night's earthquake was a "fore shock" to the "big one" on Saturday night.  I came home from work Saturday night and around 10:50 pm I heard the familiar rumble again.  It sounds like a large truck driving by the house or an old, loud dryer. We shook for about 10 seconds or so and then a stronger, longer quake rattled on for about a minute!  Our chandelier swayed but that was pretty much it.  I was excited and perplexed at the same time.  

Roof collapses in Sparks, OK
Damage at St. Greg's in Shawnee

In all seriousness, the quake damaged numerous homes and buildings in Prague, Sparks, and Shawnee, located near the epicenter. 

4.7 Magnitude quake on Monday, November 7 - the same day as a large tornado & severe storms
After feeling another earthquake on Monday, November 7 around 8:30pm...it makes me ask many questions.  Why is this happening now? Will it continue? Can the earthquakes be stronger? Will we have to get used to them like California?  I'd really like to speak with a geologist.  Many people have asked me if you can predict an earthquake.  The answer is no.  Geologists can pinpoint an area most likely to experience an earthquake but the timing is unknown.  The USGS says Monday's 4.7 quake is an aftershock from Saturday night's big one.  Or is it a "fore shock"? I guess we will find out soon!

"Oklahoma earthquake: just one of state’s several record-setting natural events in 2011" - Washington Post

2011 has been one heck of a year!  Let's go over the list of records shattered:
* Jan 31-Feb 2: 2nd highest snowstorm snowfall total for Oklahoma City at 12.1" (ties with Feb 5-7, 1988)
* Feb 1: Daily snowfall record, all time February snowfall record for Oklahoma City at 11.8"
* Feb 10: Oklahoma's coldest temperature on record at -31 degrees in Nowata
* Feb 10: Oklahoma's heaviest 24-hour snowfall on record with 27" in Spavinaw

* May 23: Oklahoma's largest hailstone on record at 6" diameter in Gotebo
* May 24: Oklahoma's highest wind speed recorded with 151 mph at Mesonet site in El Reno due to a nearby EF-5 Tornado
* May 24: First EF-5 tornado rating in Oklahoma since 1999

* Hottest summer on record with an average temperature of 87.5 degrees beating the previous record of 85.9 degrees set back in 1980 and 1934
* Hottest July on record
*Highest number of 100 degree days at 63 shattering the old record of 50 100 degree days set back in 1980
*Number of 105 degree days or higher...consecutive and annually
*23 new record highs this summer
* Drought conditions similar to the dustbowl with the entire state classified as a "severe drought" or worse for most of August and September.

*The end of August/early September nearly 600 wildfires burned across Oklahoma, damaging more than 20,000 acres of land
*November 5: Strongest Oklahoma earthquake on record with magnitude of 5.6

And this is NOT a record, but I think having a 4.7 magnitude earthquake, large tornado, 
baseball size hail, and flash flooding in the same day should count for something!

What's next?!


It's crazy but in a way I really love it.  Of course, I never want destruction, but from a scientific standpoint...this is a very  interesting time to be living in the state of Oklahoma!

Thanks for reading, friends!  I am still training for the Tulsa Route 66 Half Marathon.  I will write about that in the future.  It's been too long!  Have a great week!

Friday, October 7, 2011

The Week After

Hello, friends!  Well, as I mentioned last time, I've decided to keep up the blog.  "Why?" you may ask.  It's simple.  Once you've started endurance sports, you're hooked.  My Team in Training friends and I were already talking about future events before finishing the Redman.  So what's next?
A full marathon? Oh, heck no!  But I am doing the half!  
Thanks to runHers!  Runhers is comping the entrance fee for Joleen, a KFOR relay team, and me.  RunHers is a women’s club dedicated to healthy lifestyle through running and walking in Oklahoma.  The club is about living a healthy lifestyle including running for fun, race training, seminars, and social gatherings.  For more information and lots of resources, check out their website by clicking here.  

Bad idea

What did I do the week after? Well, I ate a lot of bad foods, drank a bit too often, and worked out a few times.  In conclusion, I realized training makes me a better person.  I'm focused, driven, and a heck of lot healthier.  I am looking forward to training for the half marathon.  I hope to work with groups like RunHers and The LandRunners to figure out the best way to do that.

On the positive side, I did volunteer for a few events!  First "Puggerfest" last Saturday at Stars and Stripes Park at Lake Hefner and benefits the Homeward Bound Pug Rescue and Adoption of Oklahoma.  I judged the costume contest but there was also the longest tongue and curliest tail contests. Random and fun! The way I like it!  
This little guy won "Best Personality." He kept running up on stage!

This past Tuesday I had the honor of being the keynote speaker for the EPSCoR Women in Science Conference.  The presentation included a 5 minute video where I gave the 600 5th through 12th grade students a behind the scenes glimpse of the station and a clip of little Emily in 5th grade talking about weather.  My powerpoint presentation talked about my background, education, and career path.  I made sure to inspire the young ladies with quotes from Abraham Lincoln, Oprah Winfrey, and Beyonce.  Beyonce went over well!  
Pint Run

So now that I am not training for a huge endurance event, I can have fun while working out!  Last Wednesday evening I went for a Pint Run through Red Coyote.  The premises is you run for 30 minutes, try on their new line of Brooks shoes, and in exchange get a free pint glass filled with free beer.  Now, maybe it's the inner college kid in me but I cannot pass up many free things!  It's a workout, free glass, and free beer...win win win!  And maybe and extra "win!" since I had a chance to try on a bunch of running shoes.  

I desperately need new running shoes.  In my previous entry I wrote how a locally famous doctor, "Dr. Tom," diagnosed me with flat feet and attributes my knee pain to that issue.  In conclusion, I need to get stability shoes.  Running shoe fitting is a whole 'nother word.  Who knew? I always bought my running shoes on sale at DSW.  I think I am going to get new shoes today.  I had to wait because Dr. Tom placed inserts below my big toe and after a short run, I developed a few nasty blisters.  Apparently there are 2 trains of thought on inserts.  One side thinks they are necessary to avoid pain while running, another side say it provides too much support and doesn't allow the foot to naturally strengthen its muscles.  All I know is the current insert gives me blisters, so I am likely in the second camp.  I will write about the shoe experience in the next entry.  Have a great weekend!

P.S.  Looks like my personal fundraising total is $3,745.48 
And the "Team Jo & Em" grand total is $6,436.45

Thanks to everyone who donated!  All the money goes to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

I Did It!

Hello, friends! Well, after a long, hot 5-months of training...the journey is over.  Saturday I crossed the finish line of my first half Ironman triathlon!

I can't believe it's over! I feel kind of lost.  I gave myself 2 days of rest but had to go on a short bike ride today.  So let's talk about the race!

I woke up around 4:30am.  I drank Gatorade and then a cup of coffee.  I ate an egg, an egg white, and Stinger waffle (full of carbs and sugar).  I met up with TNT friends at a parking lot to walk together to the race.

The Swim

Buoys created drama with the swim.  I guess the water levels rose enough the night before to impact the course.  As a result, the old, bright orange buoys were left in the water and we had to swim around big white buoys.  This was very challenging to spot in a sea of neon orange buoys. 

We walked down a long red carpet to the lake with our wave.  I kind of felt like I was on a death march with bag pipes playing.  

I got kicked a few times in the arm and had a few people touch my feet (drafting) but after 10 minutes, I got into the groove.  Featured songs in my head included "Rolling in the Deep" by Adele, "SuperWoman" by Alecia Keys, "You and I" by Lady Gaga, and shamefully, "Ho" by Ludacris.  I think I laughed in the water when that song popped in my head.

When I ran out of the water the announcer thanked the "weather lady" for the beautiful weather.  The weather was gorgeous all race day.  The morning was not too cool and the winds were light.  It did get a bit hot in the afternoon...

I was a bit out of it during transition but used my sprint tri experience to help me quickly take MJ out of the transition zone.  I hopped on the bike and started round 2!

The Bike

I didn't want to push it but decided to go on the faster side after all.  I think I averaged around 17 to 19 mph on the bike.  I paid special attention to my nutrition and hydration.  I made sure to eat 2 Stinger organic energy chews every half hour and a few swigs of water or Gatorade every 10 minutes.  I think this helped me get through the run.  

It was fun riding on Waterloo road where we first road west to Cimarron and then looped back.  I got to cheer on TNT teammates and makes sure my "Team Jo & Em" partner, Joleen, made it through the swim okay.  She did and rocked it on the bike!

The ride was long but I did not expect to have to go to the bathroom but sometimes you gotta go!  So I stopped at mile 50 in anticipation of a line at the transition port-a-potties.  I also hit up some Chamois Butt'r because my tri shorts were chaffing! Youch!  I came into transition at a quick clip, quickly took off the helmet, and cycle shoes and exchanged for running shoes, headsweats visor, and race belt!

The Run

The first part of the run felt great. And by first part I mean the first three miles or so.  After that, I began to realize the challenge ahead.  Thankfully, there was a stop every mile that provided everything! I'm talking about pretzels, salted potatoes, pickles, pb&j, salt pills, water, Gatorade, and my favorite, gummy bears!  On the second loop (each loop was about 6.5 miles) I made sure to treat myself to 2 red gummy bears.  It was kind of a motivation.  I also thoroughly took advantage of the cold wet sponges since it started getting hot around 1pm.
In pain! Still smiling!

I've heard former Ironman triathletes tell me about how you ride a roller coaster of emotion in your mind during the run.  They were right!  For the most part, I stayed positive.  I thought of "One Moment in Time" by Whitney Houston to inspire me.  I also got a lot of energy out of seeing my TNT friends and random spectators clapping as I ran by.  But there were moments when I wanted to stop and walk like several people were doing around me.  My TNT friend, Taylor, was about a loop ahead of me and was so elated on the run that I asked him, "did you smoke crack at a water stop?"  This was obviously a down moment on my run. Haha.

The best water stop was one mile from the finish line.  The Oklahoma City LandRunners hosted the stop and is notorious for fun themes, drinks, etc.  This year they had a Hawaiian theme.  On my second loop they informed me I was only a mile or so from the finish.  I wanted to speed up to beat another girl in my age group but unlike a sprint distance tri, my body just couldn't do it.  I felt a bit defeated.  

Icing knees. Learned I have
flat feet & need new shoes!
I am happy that I managed to muster a sprint through the finish line as my friends, boyfriend, and boyfriend's family cheered from the sidelines.  What happened next took me by surprise.  I drank some water and suddenly felt flooded with emotion.  I started crying.  I guess the "emotional roller coaster" took its toll.  5 months of hard training and sacrifice all amounted to this one moment.  My "One Moment in Time"...crossing the finish line.  Crossing the finish line for the race against all blood cancers.  Oh, what joy!  I want to do something like this all over again just to get that feeling again.  What an accomplishment!

Place (Females): 72 
Age Group: 25-29 
From: OKC OK 
Swim: 40:22 
Transition 1: 3:22 
Bike: 3:15:02 
Transition 2: 1:32 
Run: 2:24:32 
Total Time: 6:24:47 

A Word of Gratitude

With that being said, I couldn't have done this without support.  Thank you to Team in Training for providing this opportunity and helping me make the world a better place and taking me to a mental and physical state I never know I could reach.  Thank you to my new Team in Training friends for giving me the encouragement to train in 110° heat and get up at 6am on a Saturday.
Thanks for the "baby" wines, Marika! MIZ!
Joleen, Janna, and me

Thank you to Joleen Chaney for helping create KFOR's very own "Team Jo&Em" where we successfully passed our fundraising goal of $5,000.  Thank you to all of my friends, family, and viewers for the generous donations both big and small.  They all added up to support a great cause. 
2 out of 3 TNT coaches (the other was doing the full!)

Thank you to my friends and co-workers in Oklahoma City for coming to our fundraisers and putting up for my lack of social life due to early trainings.  Thank you to my boyfriend and parents for putting up with me complaining about training, the cost of my bike, getting up early, lack of social life, etc.  Thank you to Astronaut John at Pro Bike and Steve Schlegel for helping me out with my many bike problems, namely flat tires.  And finally, thank you, reader, for staying with me on this journey.

Thanks to my best friend, Shauna, back home in Chicago!
Now what?
Sun + temporary tattoo = sweet sunburn

I don't really know, but I plan on continuing this blog and the random musings of Emily Rose Sutton.  I hope to an Olympic distance triathlon next!

Friday, September 23, 2011

True Inspiration

Thank you for all of your donations so far!  Please donate to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society...every dollar counts! Just click here!

Hello, everyone!  So this whole time I've written in the blog, I've never truly talked about my true inspiration for this journey.
I never had the pleasure of meeting her in person but little Emily Holum's story continues to inspire me.  Emily is the daughter of a friend's family from my hometown suburb of Arlington Heights, Illinois.  From what I've heard, she was a happy, active girl who loved her mom, dad, and 2 sisters.  At the age of 4, she was diagnosed with hemophagocytic blood disorder, which quickly progressed into acute myeloid leukemia.  One of her sisters gave a bone marrow transplant.  Emily endured two rounds of chemotherapy before undergoing a bone marrow transplant from her younger sister, Caroline, in February 2006.  After a short remission, the cancer returned and Emily passed at the age of only 6.  

Since I started training for this race in May, several similar stories have jumped out of the wood work from friends and complete strangers.  I found out that one of our KFOR photographer's mother died of Leukemia when he was only 12 years old.  One of my close high school friend's little brother was diagnosed with a blood cancer a little over a year ago.  Thankfully, treatment worked and currently there is no trace of the cancer.

These stories keep me motivated and will ultimately help me cross the finish line tomorrow afternoon.  All the money raised from my training will go towards families impacted by Leukemia & Lymphoma and towards research.  I'd like to think that all of this work may one day allow for a little girl like Emily to survive and live a long, healthy life.  Click here for another survivor's inspiring story.  She is training for the Walt Disney half marathon through Team in Training!

Redman Eve

The race is only one day away! I can't believe it! I am so excited, anxious, and bit nervous all at the same time.  I will tell you I've enjoyed tapering and carb loading.

Joleen and I went to Trattoria El Centro yesterday in downtown OKC.  I had a groupon to use and thought this would be a perfect place to carb load! I told our waitress but I think she thought we were crazy.  Maybe because we ordered an eggplant parm appetizer, alfredo pasta, and pizza.  Yes, we ate all but 3 slices of the pizza.  Oh, and don't forget the 2 pieces of focaccia bread at the start!  It was delish but FILLING...and I loved it! Boom!
Last night I went to the Matt Nathanson/Train/Maroon 5 concert for a friend's birthday. I was good! I did not drink and stuck with water!  Hydrating is key! What a great concert! It was also a great way to get my mind off things for a bit.
This morning we tested out the swim course...sort of.  The buoys aren't up yet but it was my first time swimming in Lake Hefner.  First of all, due to recent rain, the walk to the lake is very muddy.  I mean cover-your-whole-foot kind of muddy.  I will have to keep an extra water bottle handy to clean my feet for transition tomorrow.
It's going to be a chilly start tomorrow morning!  But with the wetsuit on, the water felt good.  It was a bit choppy...I hope the winds actually stay down.  Always seems like Lake Hefner has a breeze even when the winds are "calm."  Notice how I'm rocking the Mizzou sweatpants?  The Mizzou v. OU game is tomorrow! I will have to watch while recovering and cheering on my friends doing the FULL Ironman!  I can't imagine doing that!

Thanks to my parents, brother, and family dog for sending "good luck" flowers! What a great surprise!  If you are free, please come and cheer on all the triathletes at Lake Hefner on Saturday! We've worked really really hard for this! Let's show the out of staters why Oklahomans are such great people!

Thank you for all of your donations so far!  Please donate to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society...every dollar counts! Just click here!