Monday, July 2, 2012

Weekend Wrap Up

Seriously does it get any better.  I am so very blessed.  I am blessed to be in an area that affords me so many different fitness avenue.  Blessed with friends that are encouraging and supportive.  

This weekend I participated with The Second Wind in the Raleigh's Finest 5k.  It was a run to raise money for fallen firefighters in the Raleigh Area.  This is an awesome cause helping some of our bravest in their families times of need.  

The Second Wind is a Christian group that met twice a week for the 12 weeks leading up to the race.  There were runners from all categories participating.  From the couch potato to the seasoned 5k runner.   We were all there to support and encourage each other. We also had younger children running in the 1 mile fun run.  That was also inspirational.  

This weekend was a very warm weekend to say the least.  With temps expected to break the century mark, we all were concerned with hydration and keeping cool.  Fortunately we were blessed with a little cooler temps.  It was only in the mid 90's during the run.  

The run began at one fire station was an out and back to the next fire station.  The start was a little uphill, but very gradual.  It was also shaded.  Actually the first half to three quarters of a mile had plenty of shade. That also assisted with the heat.  

We all arrived at the Fire Station around 7:30.  We were all in our The Second Wind t-shirts and I was very encouraged to be included in the group.  The many first timers so we were there helping to remind them of what to expect.  

At 8:00 the 1 mile fun run began.  We had a couple of kids participate.  They are cute as they are finishing races.  Seeing their faces light up.  Seeing how proud the parents are to witness their kids achieve this goal. 

Before this race, I actually warmed up.  I went for a quick mile run, well not quick but a mile run.  Just loosening up my legs.  The race began at 8:30.  We lined up and took off.  I was expecting this to be a smaller race, with few really fast runners.  Well I was very wrong.  I was about 30th for the first mile and my first mile was about a 6:15.  I was like WOW.  The course/road was very wide so there wasn't any jousting for position.  It was really spread out.  I found a rhythm and decided to ignore the watch and just run.  My goal was to continue trying to pass some of those rabbits who ran out in front.  

At the turnaround, I felt like I had made up some of the ground I lost but I knew that I needed to continue pushing it.  At mile 2, I still felt like I had plenty left in the tank so I tried to speed up a little.  It felt great.  Then seeing The Second Wind participants.  Their smiles and encouragement helped me to continue going.  It was great.  At about the half mile to go mark I saw that I was on pace to break 20 minutes.  I was excited.  That was on my list.  With that in mind I couldn't slow down.  Then I saw this guy just a little in front of me and I decided if I could past him then I would make my goal.

Finally at the finish I was able to past him and my time was 19:42.  A PR in the 5k.  I was so very excited.  It was awesome.  Then I went into cheerleader mode and wanted to encourage the other runners.  It was more exciting to see each person finish.  Everyone would finish and then start cheering. It was very nice.  Coach Jon Parks finished in a PR as well.  He did outstanding.  Coach Chick stopped along the course to run with his daughter.  He was well on his way to a PR as well if he hadn't stopped.  We had three Rubies run the entire course pretty much on their own.  They all did great.  

On Sunday afternoon, I meet up with some friends for my first Open Water Swim.  If you have followed my blog, you know that swimming is my weakest area.  I have been petrified of swimming for so long.  I get anxious just thinking about swimming.  I have been swimming in the pool for about 3 years now.  So I have to step it up.  I want to get to the next level in my triathlon experiences.  I am ready to step up not only in competition but in difficulty of events.  

My goal is to be ready for a half iron this season.  I have committed to doing the Half Full Tri in Columbia Maryland.  But in order to do it, I have to be able to swim in open water.  

I arrived at Beaverdam and was totally SCARED TO DEATH.  My hands were shaking so bad but I put on a brave face.  I am supposed to be a leader.  After the introductions to the group, it was time to actually swim.  We decided to do a shorter distance than the main group.  We were going to swim about 250 across and back.  

I was going to swim with Keith with Missy in the kayak.  Keith is a better swimmer but is also a beginner when it comes to open water swimming.  Ok, time to man up.  I wade out with my security blank (pull buoy) and start swimming.  The goal was to sight every 10 - 15 feet.  Well I am use to pool swimming so I wasn't very good with that.  Also I was supposed to breathe every third stroke, but my practice is every other stroke.  

Well needless to say the first 50 was tough.  I was basically hyperventilating from taking too many breathes.  That caused my heart rate to peg out.  I was exhausted by 100 and totally panicked by 125.  I had to take a break.  Fortunately Missy was right there with me and grabbed on for dear life.  Phew.  I sat there for a few minutes and then started again.  Made it probably about  75 before I was dead again.  Grabbed the kayak and cause my breathe.   This time Keith also held on so I didn't feel like a total moron (j/k). After another couple of seconds I was able to finish the distance.   

I decided that I had done good to swim across and I decided that I would hold on to the kayak as Missy followed Keith back.  A little over halfway back I was able to start swimming again and made it to the end.  

Back on shore was a couple of other waiting along with Sereion from Tri-Unify.  She was just as afraid as I was so we decided just go along the our barrier of the public swimming area.  It was shallow enough to stand and where I couldn't stand I could grab the protective rope.  We made it about a quarter of the way around and decided to turn around.  It was a great start for her. I applaud her trying.  I do not think I would have been able to start at that point in my swimming progression.  She is going to be really ahead if she is able to continue swimming.  

Once Missy returned with the group she was leading, We decided to  go about half way across again and back.  I convinced Keith to only go about a quarter and back, just to be on the safe side.  This time I made it much more easily.  I was more in control of my breathing.  I got into the 3 stroke rhythm and was able to easily make the distance.  No panic, smaller fear and anxiety.  Ready for the next time.  

All in all it was a great experience.  It was a huge boost to my confidence.  Next week I am going to do better.  I am going to practice breathing and sighting at the pool.  

Sorry for the long post I just got a little long winded this time.  



  1. Wow, to go from the thrill of a PR to death by drowning in one post! That's why I don't even venture into open water. My girl is having the same issues with the swim portion, good luck with it.

  2. Ken, you are an inspiration! Thank you for your leadership with The Second Wind. It has been a blessing to serve along with you. In the 5K I was pacing Jon for the first 1.6 miles. Then I peeled off to walk with my wife and then my 8-year old. Ended up going 1/2 mile further in the race. It did not matter as supporting them was more important. Awesome job getting in the water. Maybe at some point I can join you. Chick

  3. Ken,
    Great post and recap from the weekend! It has been great having you as such an integral part of TSW! As Chick said, you are indeed a great inspiration and encouragement to others, myself included!
    Have a great week!