Friday, February 20, 2009

A Solid Birthday Week!

If you family is anything like mine you do not have a Birthday...but a Birth-Week! It only comes once a year, and only about 70 times at that-so why not extend it a couple of more days!

My 24th Birth-Week has been nothing short of amazing. Mainly, because of the people who celebrated it with me. I wouldn't trade my friends for anything in the world. I am glad life is not about stuff and things, but about relationships!

My Birth-Week started Friday the 13th with a weekend off of work. Those are few and far between, so when they come I try to make the most out of them. But this weekend off was a little different. Six friends and I were headed down to Myrtle Beach for the Bi-Lo Marathon! My goal was to "not stop" the entire race-and I did it! So pumped; 26.2 mile sticker now shines proudly on the back of The Shark! (my car) The weekend was great. So many laughs, hurt bodies, sleep, and food!

I had a short day of work on Monday. I was in a ton of pain from the race, but totally worth it! I got off and headed straight to the 2nd best eatery in downtown Greenville-Barleys. I met the roomies for a couple of slices of the world's best pizza. From there I headed over to meet the Monday night crew for The City and a little birthday celebration. As soon as I walked in the door I was greeted with one of the best presents I had ever received-2 cases of Jamaica's finest soda-TING! That is right, 48 bottles of TING. Sheila and Cody, you know me so well!(You have to try it, if you have never had it...I'm running out fast, though!) Shortly there after, Meghan came over with another top present of all time-the best brownies you will ever eat along with a Lance Armstrong Calendar. It even has my name on it! It can't get any better than that. To top it off, I fell asleep on Sheila's couch (unbelievable right?) while getting a foot massage. A solid ending to a solid day of birth!

I was off on Tuesday and got the chance to sleep in; I was still trying to recover, but starting to feel pretty good again. About mid-day Mr Matt Geib and I headed out on the open road for a little cycling. Had to get the legs moving again; and it was just what the doctor ordered. Great company, a couple of climbs, great weather, and a few amazing views made for a great Tuesday ride.

Fast forward to Thursday night; the long-awaited Birthday dinner at Island Blend Jerk BBQ downtown Greenville. This place is one of my reasons for living! I got the medium-sized jerk pork plate with a side of Coco bread...amazing! A good crowd of solid friends made the night even more awesome and memorable.

I have to mention a couple of more gifts that I received; these were amazing. Joe and Ashley hooked me up with elastic laces so that during a triathlon I don't have to tie them, but simply pull them tight. A Whole Foods gift card (Thanks Ready's!)-I love that place. And a tube of DZ Nuts chamois cream for those aching long rides! Shawn and Joe know me too well! A couple of great gifts.

So, it's all over but the crying now; can't wait to do it again next year!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

I loved the Bi-Lo Myrtle Beach Marathon!!!!

Probably one of the most awesome weekends I've ever been a part of.  The weekend involved good times, good friends, and a 26.2 mile run.  I gotta say, all three things were great.  Matt, Angela, Joe, Ashley, Bo, Joanna, and myself all headed down to the Beach on Friday night.

I had been carb-loading since Wednesday.  I was grinding down for the high mileage and brutal stress I was going to put the bod through on Saturday morning.  I don't think anyone got much sleep on Friday night.  Your heart is beating, you imagine the course, how you will finish, how your body will feel-it is intense!  You are thinking about all of these things while you are earnestly praying to God!  On the way to the race I said, "I'm pretty sure God is looking down laughing at us right now, saying, 'Hey Gabriel, come here!  Look what these idiots are about to do!'"  All while eating pop-corn and M&Ms.  I laughed at my own joke.  

We got to the start line and basically at that point it is all over but the crying.  I can't lie; it's a little depressing at times when you are at mile 10 or 15 or 20 and know you still have HOURS to run!  But at the same time, I wouldn't trade the experience, the emotions, or any of that for anything in the world.  It's almost like a game.

On my arm, I wrote a famous Lance Armstrong quote to help get me through the run. "Pain is temporary...quitting lasts forever."  My goal was to run the entire race, not to stop for anything except maybe water or to take a natural.  And I am proud to say I reached my goal, and didn't stop one time!!  My time was a little slower than I would've liked, but that is okay.  As mentioned, how do you trade the experience!

One of the reasons my friends and I love marathons is because of the stories that you come away with when you are done.  Stories about yourself, sure...but stories you learn or see from other people.  You meet and see all kinds of awesome people!  During this Marathon one man had an American flag strapped to his back and had run over 50 marathons.  I had a convo with a lady who had like 7 kids and was running the half-marathon.  At about mile 20 I met a girl who graduated from Clemson University.  We kept passing each other, back and forth.  She called me "Hibbett" and I called her "Clemson".  Great encouragement for that last little leg!

Another thing I loved about the Myrtle Beach Marathon was the sincerity of the fans.  Now, there wasn't as many fans as I thought there were going to be but those that were out there were great.  There was a guy on a bike who I passed 3 or 4 times who kept encouraging me a long the way.  There was a lady in a Wheel-chair who was yelling her head off with encouraging words-THAT'LL GET YOU FIRED UP!  There was a Red-head who had a Northern Accent yelling with more passion than I had seen in a long time: "You Go, YOUR ALMOST THERE, YOU'RE DOING GREAT"  Ahhhh, these words are so needed along the way!!

I love the marathon:  The emotion, the tears, the focus you must have, the determination to not quit, pushing your body to the limit and then just a little further, losing your mind, knowing that you cannot do it on your own, peeing in your pants so you don't have to stop (okay, I did not do this, but some people along the way did!).  

You have to experience a marathon.  Anyone can do it, proper training, focus, and the Lord will get you there!

The rest of the weekend was amazing as well.  Hilarity insued after the race because all were walking a little funny!  Joe and Ashley got engaged DURING the marathon.  The symbolism to what there life will be was unbelievable-well done, Joe.  Our post-race meal at Lee's Inland Kitchen was great, and the drive back and lunch at Matt's house was amazing.

It was a great weekend and I cannot wait to do it again!!

Tour of California!

It's cycling season once again; and I, along with my great cycling friends are pumped.  I can't lie, it is great to be able to exchange the "did you sees..." with fellow cycling lovers.  The Tour of California is about a week long and has been really wet and rainy so far.

And guess what...Lance is Back!  He's back and is currently in the top 5 overall standing (General Classification) for the ToC.  Livestrong, Sir!  I've actually been following him on Twitter-pretty funny life.  

So, tune in to your local "Versus" station and watch the ToC.  It's good, clean fun for the whole family.

BTW; the weather in Greenville is great right now.  Went on a ride today with good buddy Matt Geib-amazing, taxing, and awesome all-in-one 31.7 mile ride!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

It's a Runner's World

You have to be a little crazy in the head to be classified as a 'runner'.  Now, anyone can do it; doesn't matter if you run a 3 hour marathon or are just training for your first 5-k...  It is a way of life, a way of mind, and a great way to stay healthy.  

If you are new to the running community you may have heard a few words or phrases that have baffled you.  Or perhaps you have been looked at funny when you say things in reference to running 'the wrong way.'

Here's a little Running 101 for ya; things you may here when you are strapped up and on the open road:

 ie.  "How is your fueling"; This is one of my favorites because I don't hear a lot of people saying it.  But basically it refers to what you had to eat to keep you energized before your run.  It is cool to find out what gives different people energy on their runs.

-The difference between a Half and Full Marathon:
A half-marathon is 13.1 miles; a full marathon is 26.2 miles.  It is a sin to confuse the two.  If you tell a true runner that you are running a marathon, make sure you are signed up for the entire 26.2 miles.

-Exact Distances are Good:
ie.  " I ran 7.9 today."  Runners never round.  We try to be as honest as possible with the amount of mileage we put in.  In the case cited above, rounding up would be lying.  Runners are full of character!

-"How's the body"
Runner's are very concerned with other runner's bodies.  I know that sounded weird!  We want to know how you're feeling, what's hurting, how that pain in your shin is doing this time out.  Runner's care about the well-being of their running buddies!

ie.  "Did you hydrate today." Ahhh, in reference to the all-powerful life-giving WATER and/or sports drink.  Make sure you get enough before you go out on that spring run!

That's just a few tips for you; the weather is turning, it's getting nice!  Get outside and go for a run!