I could hardly believe that the OKC 1/2 marathon weekend was finally upon us. So many months of training...and the "big day" was finally fast approaching. I arranged for some of my graduate students to take care of my dog. Boca was very excited as I explained the hidden curriculum rules about having a dog sitter. You know things like beg for treats, stay up later, play with all the toys without putting them away first, etc. So as I headed out the door to meet up with some friends for breakfast on Saturday morning I took a picture to show how sad Boca was I was leaving.
So it was off to Ollie's in West Tulsa, which has the absolutely most delicious breakfast buffet anywhere. I figured I better eat up, because I didn't know what my dinner plans were for the evening and wanted to make sure I wasn't feeling hungry. It was so nice to meet up with Bobby, Susan, Christin and Russell. We were all so excited to finally be heading to Oklahoma City.
Terrie and I had decided to save gas and the environment by car pooling down there. So we met at Ollie's and then drove to Bobby and Susan's to drop off Terrie's truck while Christin went to go pick up Cara. You can tell by my silly grin, I really belong in the "eating club" that has been eluded to maybe more so than the running group.
We arrived in Oklahoma City around 1:30 or so and made our way through the Expo. I was so excited to find a headband made of wick-it fabric that says "I run so I can eat". So appropriate..see picture above. We decided to eat at the Pasta Dinner at the Memorial. Even though there wasn't a lot of food left and it wasn't so great, I was so glad we did this because it was my only real chance to explore the memorial. I do have to say that I really think Oklahoma City did it right. If you haven't been there, you should go. It is very touching. We got back to the hotel around 8:30 or so and had decided to meet in the hotel lobby at 4:45 to catch a shuttle to the race start. The Runners World group was scheduled to meet at 5:45 for a group photo. We had heard some stories about people really struggling to get to the start line last year, and we had also heard that our hotel was full primarily with people doing one of the running events. Thank goodness Bobby thinks like me, and doesn't like to run late (at least not in this case). So it was off to bed and try to unwind...which was quite difficult, but I think I finally got to sleep around 10:30. Race morning the herd of us from"The Bricktown Hotel and Convention Center" made it to 4th and Robinson, where there happened to be a church providing free pancakes, and had real restrooms. We hung outside, woke up, chatted about the upcoming event, and tried to find our mental happy places. You can see Cara, Susan and Cheryl were all smiles.
Tom arrived shortly after us, grateful that his first marathon day was finally upon him. He was hoping that his leg injuries would hold out and it would be a great day. You can see Russell was also in great spirits (he ran a PR 1/2 at 2:32...AWESOME) and his wife Christin got her shoes on just the right way....this seems so hard on race day. I must have retied my shoes 3-4 times.
As time ticked on, 5:45 came and so did a bunch of the Runners World crew. We all milled around and eventually did get ourselves enough to take a group picture. TATUR Dave has a good one posted on his facebook. It was at this point that the size of the crowd was starting to play with my head. I have big anxiety around large groups of people. I tried to just be by someone I knew so I could try to block out everyone else. However, when there are 19,000 people running, kinda hard to do.
My buddies Janna and Ronit were all smiles in the morning, despite the fact they really hated the "Bricktown Hotel", sorry guys. They did awesome from what I hear. I never saw them again after the group picture.
The national anthem was sung, there were 168 minutes of silence in honor of the victims of the bombing, and then there was the starting gun. I had heard that it took quite a while for some to get to the starting line, this was true this year. I think it took me about 10 minutes to finally "start" the run after the gun went off. I was so thankful to have the crowd finally thinning out. So I attempted to take a picture of the starting banner, hoping that it would be a run to be a great PR for my 1/2 marathon distance.
I have no idea where in Oklahoma City this is, but I know I ran or maybe walked by it. As you can see we aren't curb to curb people so I was glad about that. My first couple of miles weren't too bad. It was so humid and so windy. After I hit the 1 mile marker I really could have used a water stop, but there wasn't one until 1.8 miles or so. At the end of the route there were a ton of water stops, but I really felt that there should have been 1 more between mile 1 and 5 to help adapt and adjust to how much I was sweating because of the humidity. Overall though, I am really impressed with how organized and put together this run was (except for not having enough medals) and for how many people were participating.
I was really starting to not be in a good place around mile 4, but was still on pace to match my average 5 mile time of 1:02. I made it to mile 5 in 1:04, but then just faded from there. At mile 9, I seriously thought about quitting. I didn't have the mental strength, I didn't have the physical strength, and was having a hard time being okay with myself and how hard the whole event was for me. Then this is going to sound a little corny, but this is a true story. The Miley Cyrus song "The Climb" came on my "illegal" ipod. Now I am going to share the lyrics from how it begins.."I could almost see it...that dream I'm dreaming...but there's a voice inside my head sayin' you'll never reach it..every step I'm takin' every move I'm makin' feels lost with no direction...my faith is shaken, but I.....I gotta keep tryin' gotta keep my head held high....'cus there's always gonna be another mountain...I'm always gonna wanna make it move....always gonna be an uphill battle....sometimes i'm gonna have to lose...it ain't about how fast I get there...ain't about how fast I get there...ain't about what's waiting on the other side....it's the climb" These lyrics alone allowed me to be content with the fact that hey I was at mile 9 and even if I walk, it will build character. I will complete the 1/2 marathon, my 3rd, my 2nd in just 2 weeks. That says something about a person. Screw looking at my watch...start cheering on everyone and having fun. I danced through some of the locations where there was music, just to stay positive. I felt frustrated that my body couldn't do more, but really just had to keep it all in perspective. Finally....I could see the finish line. I ran the last .1 miles to get there, my time really stunk (3:10), but I did indeed finish. The weather was awful, winds between 25-40 mph, it was very humid, temp was in the low 70's, and just not a good run day for me. I remember Meg's daughter Hailey making the comment "not everyday can be a great run day" so true...but at least I did run...
I felt completely spent at the end, but had done well at keeping myself hydrated and was just physically tired and nothing else. Again if you go to TATUR Dave's facebook there has to be the worst most unflattering picture of me ever, but it really looks like I felt on the inside. After Susan and Cara and Cheryl finished we hung out on the curb for a bit waiting for our fellow Runners World group who were doing the marathon to finish.
I really wanted to wait for Terrie to finish. She took the early start meaning that she began running at 4:30 in the morning. Can you imagine, someone so dedicated to running her first marathon she was willing to get up and start running at 4:30. She did indeed finish. I am in awe of her and inspired by her accomplishment.
After everyone finished the marathon, we were trying to coordinate where to go eat. I of course had a shower as my top priority. Fortunatley the people at the "Bricktown Hotel" allowed us to use our rooms to shower without charging us, even though they said the were going to charge $20. I decided to take one last pic of our group gathering at the finish line. Roman felt the need to add his personal touch.Overall, the experience was not my best. But it takes these runs that are "eh" to make those runs that are "wow" that much more appreciated. I do think I may attempt the Acquarium 1/2 on May 16th so that I have a better half. I really want to get to the point that I can run the whole 1/2 marathon without feeling the need to walk. Any suggestions to accomplish that? I am feeling nervous about signing up for the full marathon in Greece, but hey it's in November. That's what 6 months away....why not....
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