Monday, November 25, 2013

Route 66 race recap

Whew!!  That was a busy weekend!!

Hubs and I were working shirt pickup Saturday morning, so  there was no sleeping in for us. We were up bright and early to head to Tulsa for the Route 66 Marathon expo.  We arrived and got our assignments. We worked our shift, which was pretty uneventful. The expo was busy and as usual there were a lot of shopping opportunities for runners.

Earlier in the week, we got an opportunity to stay the night in Tulsa. We only live 45 minutes from T-town, but with the changing forecast and the possibility of inclement weather, we decided to go ahead and stay the night. We went across the street to the Doubletree and got checked into our room. I laid down to take a nap but am not a day sleeper so no nap for me. About 4pm I saw a weather forecaster predicting 10-20 mph north winds with gusts to 30 mph.....eek!!  I felt pretty confident about my clothing for race day until I saw that forecast because I had forgotten my windbreaker at home!! I jumped out of the bed, threw on my shoes and literally ran across the street to the expo to find something that would suffice. I found a lightweight Tulsa Run windbreaker on clearance at the Fleet Feet Sports booth so I bought it. I really liked the weight of that jacket because it wasn't too heavy and I didn't want to sweat too much and get wet.

We went back to the hotel for a few minutes and then we headed to Baxter's Interurban to meet some out of state Half Fanatics for dinner. They were already there when we arrived. We had a group of about 30 of us. Dinner was good and it was nice to meet everyone.

We met Melanie from California. She was staying at the Hyatt instead of the Doubletree. On a good day, it isn't too far to walk but it was cold and very dark so we drove her back to her hotel then went back to ours to get my flat runner ready

The alarm went off Sunday morning, but I was already up. I layered on my gear and we headed out to Fleet Feet Sports for a photo with my training group, which I missed because I was in the bathroom line. Then I hurried down to the start line for a photo with the Half Fanatics and Marathon Maniacs group. It was a huge group as usual!!


After the group photo, I headed to my corral. I was in corral C. Somewhere in all this melee, I managed to lose the girls that I was going to pace. :( I looked for them in the corral but never found them. And it was also at this point that I couldn't feel my fingers or toes and seriously beginning to rethink my decision to run this race. I seriously wanted to DNS and just go home. You might say that I was having a major meltdown. Hubs physically blocked me from leaving the corral and soon we were moving forward to the start line so I had no choice but to dig deep and run it.

The gun went off, we were showered with confetti and we were off. I'm familiar with most parts of the course and we run them often on our training runs. There were changes to the course this year so I wasn't sure of what to expect. We made our way down Main street to 15th street. I was going way to fast but was too afraid to slow down! We turned south into the Maple Ridge neighborhood and I still couldn't feel my finger tips. Someone had discarded a pair of gloves from the expo. I picked them up and covered my fingers with them. I also couldn't feel my feet. They were so cold that it felt like something was wadded up in my shoe. I kept muddling along. We were at about 2.5 when my hands finally started to warm up. I took off the throw away gloves at that point.

We wound through Cascia Hall, which is always a fun water stop with lots of course support. Then we headed through the neighborhoods. I was really surprised by the number of spectators who braved the cold to cheer for us and support us. Some neighborhoods even had aid stations for us. At about mile 5 I found my friend Sharon and told her that I was crumping. I was considering dropping out after I handed off the relay timing chip at mile 10. I took Gu and got some Gatorade/water at the next stop. Then I saw Dave Mari, another Fanatic. I'm not sure if he knew I was struggling, but he ran up to me and took pictures with me. Just that little moment of distraction was what I needed!

I suddenly realized that I was behind the 2:25 pacer. I was concerned because I knew this was way too fast for me but I kept up with her as best I could so that I could "bank" some time. Around mile 7 I took off my jacket and handed it off to a friend at a water stop so that I wouldn't have to carry it around my waist. I had gotten pretty sweaty and was concerned about my body temp dropping too much too fast. I had already seen the ambulance go out a couple of times :(  We finally reached Riverside Drive and turned north. The was the flattest part of the course and I normally despise it but yesterday I was happy to get a little relief from the hills in the neighborhoods. I kept trudging right around the pacer. I eventually lost her at a water stop on Riverside but I didn't care anymore.

We passed mile 9, then mile 10. I was getting close to the relay exchange. Someone handed me a jello shot....thank God and Eminem's "Berzerk" came on right about that time. I was hoping it was the motivation that I needed to get me up the hill that I knew was coming up. I ran through the relay exchange, located my runner and handed off the chip. I made sure to grab my relay medal too!!  We continued on Riverside to Southwest Blvd to the Centennial Plaza/Route 66 bridge. We turned north and headed up "Hospital Hill" I've run this hill many times on training runs and typically it is one of my favorite ones but yesterday my legs were so stiff, sore and heavy that I felt like I was running in peanut butter. I had to walk a little bit on this hill but made it to the top and got a little relief as we ran a little down hill past the Doubletree and on to Denver. I knew we were close to the finish at this point and was amazed beyond all belief at the time on my watch. I had about a mile to go and if the wheels didn't come completely off the bus, I was going to get a pretty good PR. I did the best I could to get through mile 12.

About 3 blocks from the finish line, the official pace car and the male winner of the marathon came through. I joked about running with him briefly (as he passed me!!) I heard someone call my name. I looked up to see my husband and realized that I was at the finish. I crossed the finish line with my hands up and stopped my watch to see that I had gotten a 5 minute PR. I got my medal and a huge hug from one of the runners that I had trained. I made my way through the finish corrals and found my husband who had my warm coat/gloves and dry clothes for me. I was so stiff and sore and cold!!  We went to McNellie's for post race refueling then to Fleet Feet sports briefly where I got mimosas from the girls that I was supposed to run with. They were finished and had done well.

3rd Route 66 half marathon/half # 10 done
Route 66 Half Marathon before and after
My relay team did well also. Collectively, we finished the marathon relay in 4:53 minutes. Not to shabby if I do say so myself. It was a challenging day to say the least, but it was fun too. I am glad that I got it done. I would have disappointed numerous people, especially myself if I had gotten out of that corral. Fall marathon training has come to an end and it was an amazing training session! I'm very happy to be reinspired and I'm extremely excited to see where my running will lead in 2014! Ordinarily I would take a little time off, but there is no rest for the weary when one has decided to run her first marathon in early March. I should technically run a 4-6 mile recovery run at base pace tonight. We'll see because my legs are still very stiff and sore plus I'm working on a sore throat.


  1. Great job on a new PR, especially since you weren't really feeling it to begin with!

  2. Brrr! That looks freezing!

    But way to go on your shiny new PR! That looks like a great race!