Friday, May 9, 2014

OKC Marathon Recap

I’m a bit late with recapping the OKC Marathon that I ran a couple of weeks ago.  I didn’t really have the race I was hoping for.  All in all, it was a decent race for having minimal training after being off from my bum knee.  The weather definitely didn’t help, but I’ll get into that in a moment.

20140426_164015I’ve run the OKC Half Marathon a couple of times in the early days of my short running career.  The only thing that I recall from those previous races was the southern wind. I would not be disappointed, the wind was definitely in full effect.

Ursula accompanied me on the trip.  She was super happy after she found a pair of bits at the Shepler’s near the hotel.  Note to self: take Ursula shopping for boots before the race.  :)

Leading up to race morning there was a lot of anticipation about the weather.  This is a norm for most marathons, but more so with this one as there was a storm front developing.

The Wait

20140427_065739 The forecast held true as there was a 2 hour delay for the race. Normally it starts at 6:30am, but we didn’t get going until 8:20.  As you can tell, I wasn’t happy with the delayed start.  When I get up in the 4-o-clock hour, I’m ready to get the party started!  We pretty much had to wait out the storm in a parking garage.  There was lots of angry thunder and lightning happening!  You could definitely feel a cold front come through.  The cooler temps didn’t stick around for long.

1941380_10152147750415892_3124354081147487691_o While waiting in the parking garage I got to make new friends.  I love how all runners have a common bond of their training and their goals.  Once we were signaled that the race was going to start, we were on the way out of the parking garage.  Right before we were about to get out of the parking garage we were stopped.  From where I was standing, I could barely make out the helmets of a procession of firefighters marching to the Start Line.  It was very poignant as all of the runners in the parking garage started to applaud the firefighters.  This was worth the experience of waiting out the storm.  Next was the national anthem.  We could hear it through the PA system.   What was even better was when the women started singing along.  It sounded so awesome in the parking garage that I got chills from it.  I never thought that the national anthem would sound so good in a parking garage… must’ve been the acoustics.  I later learned or figured out that the firefighters walked the Half Marathon route with their full gear.  Crazy cool!

The Race

I had high hopes and expectations that I could hit a Sub-4 hour time in this race.  I think I should have wrote this off from the get go because of the 2 hour delay.  The forecast was calling for temps in the 80s.  I was a bit stubborn and didn’t listen to my head until my body told me too.

SplitsThe early going of the race was very crowded because of the delayed start.  People definitely didn’t line up in the appropriate corrals since we all just headed to the start line instead of the assigned corrals.  This meant a bit more dodging in the beginning couple of miles.  I love when a race thins out so I can get into a comfortable race pace.

The delayed race threw off my pre-race potty routine.  I could’ve used another porta-potty stop before the race started, but decided against it since I really needed to get this race started.  I didn’t need to go that badly, but knew that I wouldn’t stop until after the Half Marathoners split off from the combined course. I finally decided to hit a stop after mile 11.

Back on track after the stop, I could definitely feel the heat of the day.  I was pretty much dripping in sweat by this time.  In a way I looked forward to running into the wind as we were going to be heading south for the majority of the remaining of the race.

Once we started heading south around mile 14, I definitely had different thoughts about the 20+mph winds.  The resistance and the havoc that it was playing on my breathing was something else!

I really wanted Ursula to enjoy coming to OKC for the race weekend so we just planned for her to come to mile 20 and the finish. I think it was about mile 12 that I started counting down to when I would see her… only 8 miles until I get to see her, 6 miles, 2 miles, etc. :)

I took a couple of walk breaks before I got to see her at mile at 19.  Once I saw her, I was pretty well spent.  We talked for a bit and she gave me some great encouragement.  Next stop was the finish line.  There seemed to be a greater number of water stops for this race.  I made sure to keep my hydration up while going through them.

Funny thing that I saw during some neighborhood miles in the 20-something miles… there was a Jack Russell Terrier dog that was following along with the runners for at least a mile or so. It was so funny to see him just running with everyone.  I looked for an owner of the dog, but didn’t really see one that was calling out for him or that he was following.  He was just having a good old time.  The looks from the race spectators were priceless.  I wonder what the story was about that dog.  Did he ever get back home?

I love the ability to see the finish line from a far way off.  It gets me to that darn finish line!  As I was running through the finishing chute, I heard someone yell out, “Go Johnny Marathon!'”  Very cool since I was wearing my black A&M shirt.

Post Race

20140427_130315 20140427_130354

It was great meeting up with Ursula after the race. The heat really affected me as I felt like crap… more than usual after a marathon.  I was so glad that I found a place to sit. :)  I couldn’t believe that someone threw out some perfectly good ice on the ground between a couple of trash cans.  After plopping down in the ice, I got a lot of laughs and a bunch of comments. My favorite comment was “The throne of champions!”  I had to move over to make room for another marathoner.

I didn’t have the race that I wanted, but I had the experiences and memories that I’ll cherish forever.  Thanks so much to Ursula as she drove us back to Frisco.  I normally cannot sleep in a car, but that day was definitely an exception.

DRC10Mile-SplitsThe DRC White Rock n Roll 10 Mile Race

I always like to hit a 10 miler the week after a marathon, just remind my body who’s boss.  However, I usually don’t race those 10 miles.  I knew that I’d be running on heavy legs and wanted to hit a race pace of 8:00 per mile.  I pretty much nailed that pace.  At first, I felt sluggish the first few miles, but everything fell in place.

I love the feeling of being able to run a race that you had planned.  Yes, you cannot predict what’s going to happen on race day, but there’s no better feeling when it comes together.  I really needed this race to make me feel better about the last bunch of weeks of training.  It’s crazy how much running is mental as it is physical.  I love this crazy sport!