Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon 2014

Sunday, I ran the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon for my third straight year.  In pure OKC fashion, the weather was my biggest challenge. Again.

Friday afternoon, we headed south to drop all the kids with my parents. Nearly five hours later (after fighting to get through Dallas both directions) we made it back home. Exciting life we lead – we were in bed by 10:00. Saturday morning, we headed out of town after a quick stop for disposable ponchos. The forecast was a little iffy on rain.

We didn’t spend a whole lot of time at the expo. We made the rounds and I bought a couple of things I found on sale.

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After a late lunch at Olive Garden, with unlimited breadsticks we headed to the hotel. I have learned to eat my big meal at lunchtime and have a light, early dinner on race eve.

Race day morning we rose early and after the third discussion about why I didn’t get a hotel near the start/finish we made it to our usual parking lot. There are perks to doing repeat races. We have learned our way around.

The race was scheduled to start at 6:30. I downed my applesauce and moved into the corral, then the first 30 minute delay was announced. There were storms blowing up out on the course with lightning, possible hail. It was typical spring weather for the area. Then the race was delayed until 7:15. We found a shelter to hang out under. A third announcement delayed the race until 8, at which point we headed back to the car.

And waited.

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And watched the clouds roll.

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The most frustrating part of the delay was that my iPhone had no connection. I couldn’t get updates on any social media sites, and my husband kept getting kicked off. I began to wonder if we would even have the race. After the last race that wasn’t, I don’t think my mood could’ve survived another cancellation so soon. He told me I would need to go home and run 26 miles around town if they cancelled.

Finally, at 8:00 they announced the race would start in 15 minutes. There was the 168 seconds of silence (one for each victim of the bombing in 1995), the national anthem, and then the wheelchair start. I found the 4:00 pace group, and determined that I would hang with them. The rain had stopped, the temperature was nice and cool, and I was ready.

When we started, the breeze stopped. I hung with the pace group until 15k, but I was sticky and sweaty. It was nice letting someone else guide the pace so I didn’t keep checking my watch, but after several miles I found out that they were banking time to walk the water stops. I carry a handheld so I don’t have to stop at each one. By the 10k mark, we were a minute under. It felt fast to me, and I probably should’ve dropped back after the first few miles. I lost them uphill around 15k, then the sun came out. But it wasn’t just the sun. You can tell from my splits when we turned into the wind. Not just a slight breeze, but a hang on to your hat wind speed. I hit halfway just under 2 hours, so I had a chance to make my four hour goal, but the wind was kicking my tail. Around mile 14, I tossed the time goal and stuck to mostly a 4 min. run/1 min. walk routine. When I hit shady areas or with the wind at my back, I ran longer before walking.

I first saw my husband (on his bike) around mile 5. Then around mile 21-22, when I started feeling defeated from the wind and heat, I saw him again. The way the course was set up, he was able to ride in the next lane almost all the way to the finish.  These miles were mostly into the wind, and he told me not to worry about time. Just finish. I continued my run/walk, but every time I walked, it hurt to start running again. My calves were sore, my hips were sore, and I was hot. I went through the 3 Nuun tablets in my 20 oz. handheld before mile 20. I was gulping Powerade and water at every aid station, dumping water over my head and running through the sprinklers. I don’t know the temperature, but there was salt residue on my skin. A wind gust blew a table over at a water stop. Thank goodness, the marathon has frequent aid stations in those last few miles, because I needed every stop. I was so happy to see the finish line stretch.

Straight into the wind

Straight into the wind

Crossing the line without the nausea I’ve experienced the past two years was worth the slower time. Such obstacles to overcome – storm delay, humidity, heat, wind – made it that much more of an accomplishment.

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I posted 3 goals to my Facebook status that morning:

1. Enjoy the run.
2. Not run the same exact time I ran the last two years. 4:32
3. Actually get one of the Carl’s Jr. hamburgers at the finish.

 

This was my update:

1. Every finish is a win.

2. I ran a 4:40 instead of 4:32. Respect the sun.

3. I got my burger. (It was great!)

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Marathon #8 is done. It wasn’t my slowest, but it sure drained me physically. I’ll be back again next year, no matter the weather. It has such a great purpose and meaning. Here is a recap video from the marathon’s site:

I’m going to take a break from high mileage for a few months. I have some pretty big goals to gear up for the fall/winter. More on that next week!

 

Toughest race conditions you’ve endured?

Do you choose a race for location, time of year, or meaning? Or all of the above?

 

 

 

 

 

 

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My Taper Don’ts

Ah, race week. It’s finally here – the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon is on Sunday.

Actually, I can’t believe time has moved so fast. Spring weather came and went here in North Texas, and now it feels like early summer. Oh yeah. I also remember why I enjoy fall marathon training so much better. When you start training in the summer and move into cooler temps, it’s a joy to find race pace efforts are easier. In the spring, for me anyway, it’s tough moving from cooler temperatures to 80 degree sweaty runs. I’m not going to let that get me down though.

I moved into taper mode last week, but it was one of those times that life bumped against training. I did my last hard workout last Tuesday with mile repeats at the park. While I was there, I saw two of the runners from our group being interviewed by the local news. They were headed to Boston. I waved as I went by and when I circled again the news station had gone. One of them asked me what I was running, and I told him I was probably running his easy pace. He jumped in and paced me through the next two. I was dying at 7:25-7:30 pace, and he didn’t even break a sweat. I noticed that running with someone faster helped me shift focus and I ran the repeats a little faster than I would have on my own. Oh, and this guy ran a 3:11 yesterday and is the same age as me. So fast!

By Sunday, I was not feeling “tapered” so I took an extra rest day and watched a movie with the kids. I realized why I felt wiped out, so I created my list of taper don’ts to reference for future marathons.

1. Do not volunteer to chaperone a [2nd grade] field trip which involves four floors of walking at a museum. But I did earn mom points for it.

The Perot Museum in Dallas

The Perot Museum in Dallas

2. Do not sign your kids up for their first color run a week before a marathon – to run after completing your long run. Do the long run a different day. Extra mom points for this one.

First 5k for these two!

First 5k for these two!

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Messy!

 

They had a blast, and the way the course circled around, I could run with the youngest – who took off like a flash – and still check on the other two to make sure they were having fun. I’ve come a long way from the mom who wouldn’t let her kids fingerpaint or play with play-doh because of the mess. The oldest daughter asked if we could do it again next year.

3. Do not do yard work the week before or on race week. Thank goodness it rained Sunday afternoon, so I put my feet up and watched a movie guilt-free. I may have been last on the planet to see “Frozen,” but the kids were happy to watch it again. Mom points.

After continuous training for marathons since August, I suppose it’s okay to earn some mom points. This week, though my family has been warned. My feet are going up and I’m going to rest.

I haven’t given up on my four hour goal for Sunday. The weather looks warmer than I’d like, but after my fast (for me) 20 miler three weeks ago in the rain, I know I can do it. Mind over matter. It’s a brain thing I need to conquer.

Congratulations to all the Boston Marathoners! My motivation is high after yesterday and I can’t wait to work my tail off to get there.

 

 

 

 

Highs and Lows

Wow, my last couple of weeks have been a whirlwind of activity! The day after I posted my big news about being a finalist for Team Chocolate Milk, (don’t forget you can still vote once a day until Friday the 18th) I got an email notifying me of this news.

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I cannot even begin to explain how elated I was to find out I was one of the 10 chosen to be a race ambassador for the 2015 Houston Marathon. I am honored, humbled, and overwhelmed with joy. As I told my husband, “I am not fast, I don’t look like a runner, and I’m not popular. I am humbled that I’ve been given this opportunity.” His response was “I think you’re all the above.” Yes, he’s a keeper.

You’ll be hearing more about the Houston Marathon in upcoming posts. I highly recommend checking out the registration information which will open up soon.

With this whirlwind of activity, I still needed to focus on my training for Oklahoma City – less than two weeks to go. I want to be ready to break four hours if the weather is right. Spring has officially arrived in North Texas, and for a few days last week I trained in heat and mad south winds.  The first few runs in the heat are the toughest, and even nailing marathon pace was a struggle. Some of that struggle may have been recovering from the stomach bug though. Saturday’s long run was tough. My stomach was out of sorts, and it was humid. I ran with a couple of Texoma Runners (our running group), and it was nice to chat and have the distraction from pushing my pace. My time wasn’t great, but I know that marathon training has its highs and lows. Neither will be a predictor of finish time on race day. A lot can happen in 26.2 miles (or 26.45 by my Garmin).

I spent the rest of the afternoon and evening working in my yard planting shrubs and flowers. My daughter made dinner and my husband bought me a treat because I was working so hard.

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I told you he was a keeper.

This week, we’re having a little blast of winter with a freeze warning in effect for tomorrow morning.

Texas weather.

Who knows what race day will be like for Oklahoma City.

To everyone running the Boston Marathon next week, have a great race and enjoy the experience! It’s so exciting seeing all the activity on social media. I hope to be running it in 2016 – so I should probably lay off the Blue Bell some.

 

 

A Busy Weekend

After my big news on Friday, I got up Saturday morning to head to the Fairview Half and 5k to work on one of my 2014 goals –  volunteering for races.

I was originally assigned to the finish line, but a last minute cancellation required a course monitor for the 5k. So I parked my car on the shoulder of the road just past the second mile marker.

This was my view:

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The hardest part  was trying to find the right words to call out to the runners. “Great job!” “You’re looking great!” “Less than a mile to go!”

After the sweeper bike came through and told me I could go, I drove to the finish area.

Seeing the winners of the half marathon come across, I realized I’ve never watched the finish of a race, because I’m always running in it. I was taken aback by how effortlessly they seemed to finish. They looked so smooth and poised – no posture issues there. It was so motivating, I was almost jealous and ready to take off running. I knew several from my running group who were running the race, and I enjoyed seeing PRs, age group wins, and finish line accomplishments. As I continued watching runners finish, I saw several with tears, lots of hugs, and smiles all around.

I point back to the name of this blog. I truly believe that anyone can run, whether that means running or walking the race, volunteering, or cheering. Anyone can be a part.

Then there are the other perks of volunteering:

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Yum.

On Sunday, I cranked out my longest long run for Oklahoma City. It was cool and rainy, but this was my only shot to get it done. I’ve said it before: You don’t get to choose your weather for race day. I pushed my pace more because of the rain, spending the middle 10 miles near race pace. The last five started to slow down, and I was afraid I was getting a blister on my foot. Anyway, this was my fastest 20 miler to date – in spite of the rain.

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There’s a sub 4 marathon in me somewhere.

Recovery:

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(Don’t forget to vote. You can do it once a day every day until April 18th)

 

I spent what was left of my day with achy legs and most of the night and the next day dealing with a stomach virus my children were kind enough to share. That’s one way to lose a few pounds, but not recommended.

 

Have you ever volunteered for a race?

What about being a spectator?

 

 

Team Chocolate Milk Finalist!

I wanted to send out a quick note to let you guys know something I’m so excited about!

I found out today that I am a finalist for Team CHOCOLATE MILK and I need your help.

Please Vote For Me! (Did that sound desperate enough?)

I stepped outside of my introverted comfort zone to submit a video showing how I use low fat chocolate milk for recovery after a work out. Since I was chosen as a finalist I have a chance to get sponsored by Team CHOCOLATE MILK with gear and race entries. My frugal brain is spinning with the opportunity.  🙂

Here is the link for voting: http://gotchocolatemilk.com/team-chocolate-milk/vote

You can vote once a day, every day until April 18th, and for every vote a dollar is donated to the Challenged Athletes Foundation.