Williams Route 66 Half Marathon

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

I did it! I can’t believe it! I survived!

The morning started off cold as it was 36 degrees and breezy. I wore my capri pants, a tank, a long sleeve shirt and a throw away hoodie. I know the day was going to get warmer so I planned ahead. After roasting in my long sleeve in Chicago, I made sure to have a tank on just in case. I was so glad I did! I had my typically pre-race breakfast of toast and Nutella. I made sure to keep drinking water to hydrate and grabbed a banana for the road. Phil, Eric and I made the short trek to downtown Tulsa for the start of the race. We parked near the finish so we had a bit of a walk to the start. We made a bee line to the bag check and said good bye to Phil at Corral B and got into our Corral…D. Afterwards Eric and I realized we should have been in Corral C but oh well.

The Start
Since we were in Corral D we were stuck with a lot of walkers. No big deal. I’m happy they are getting out there and doing the race. But it was a pain in the butt to weave around them. This race caters to walkers with their generous time limit so it was expected.  Amazingly I kept my sweatshirt on for the first mile. I was still a little chilled so I kept it on. Mile 1 was mostly downhill so I didn’t start the walk breaks until after mile 1. I had a lot of adrenaline which helped.  The first mile felt great at 12:17.

The beginning of mile 2 had a hill…one of many on this hilly course. Who knew Tulsa was so hilly? During mile 2 was the first water stop. I ate some beans and took some water. The first water stop was a pain in the butt because there were so many people. And we were being funneled down a narrow street. I had no choice but to walk as there was nowhere for me to run! My toe pain started early on this race and I was in a lot of pain after that water stop. It took a while for my toes to stop hurting. Mile 2 finished with a nice downhill which helped my time but I’m still disappointed that it was over 13 minutes!

Mile 3 surprises me. During mile 3 we had a long steep climb to the highest point on the course.  But once we got to the top it was nice downhill so I guess that is where the speed came from.  We also ran in some very nice neighborhoods with amazing houses and finished on the campus of Cascia Hall School a Catholic Augustinian, college preparatory school.  There were 7 speed bumps we had to run over and the cheerleaders/dance team made sure that we knew where each one was located. It was interesting and their drum line was out there playing too. That was nice. After we left the school was the second water stop. This one wasn’t as crazy as the first one…thank GOD! Mile 3 came in at a surprising 12:29. I was a bit off the pace I was hoping for at this point but that was ok.

During Mile 4 a family had oranges and banana pieces for us. I was so excited to see a banana. It was really only 2 bites but it was heaven. I thanked them as I continued on my way. Mile 4 was also a gradual uphill almost the whole way but it was so slight that you really didn’t notice it other than it sucked the wind out of you.  This area we ran by some nice houses again. Actually we ran by nice houses for the majority of the first 6 miles.  Mile 4 came in a bit slower than mile 3 at 12:51. My overall pace was almost 51 minutes which was a minute behind my desired time at mile 4 but again that was ok.
The Middle
The middle section was very flat as I will describe below. Mile 5 ran through a park and there were huge lines of people waiting to use a “real” bathroom. Surprisingly I didn’t need that during the race. Again thank GOD! Somewhere during mile 5 a house on the route was handing out shots. Not something I’d necessarily want but a lot of people were grabbing them. Mile 5 pace was close to my mile 1 time at 12:20. Nothing really stands out as to why I got faster. Maybe it was the beans…or the banana?  My overall pace after mile 5 was 1:03.19. That was only 35 seconds behind where I thought I’d be.  Yay!

I really don’t remember much about mile 6. It was flat and somehow was my fastest mile at 12:09. Woo Hoo! The faster pace put me at 1:15:28 for an overall pace which was 17 seconds faster than I thought it would be. That made me happy to get some time in the bank!

Mile 7 was long, straight and flat. Again nothing really stands about that mile besides I stripped down to the tank top. I got hot! My pace for the mile was 12:41 and my overall was 1:28.09, over a minute faster than I predicted. I really didn’t know what to expect after mile 6 so I was very conservative in my estimate.

During mile 8 we reached the southernmost part of the route along a busy street with lots of businesses. There was another water stop half way between mile 7 and 8, right before we turned onto this busy street. There was another beer stop by one of the running stores on this street. No thanks! It was also fairly flat. And about half way through we turned to Riverside Drive which was a welcome diversion from the busy street. As expected, this where I started to tank. I had predicted that I would run mile 8 in 13:45 and I wasn’t far off with 13:40.  My overall pace was 1:41:49 which was still almost a minute faster than predicted.

The End
I did surprisingly well on mile 9. Eric pushed me to beat my Chicago 15K time. I was about minute behind that but I had to run 4 more miles so I had to leave something in the bank! At the 9 mile marker was the “Mile 9 Block Party.” All the neighbors got together and made 5,000 Jell-O shots and all sorts of other things for runners. They had a large balloon banner over the road. It was really cool. It definitely stood out as a fun time. There was a water stop around here and that is when I cracked open my M&Ms. I promised myself I could eat them sometime after mile 8. They were the best things ever. I only ate half the pack and stuck the other half in my pocket for the mile 11 water stop. My pace got a little faster during this mile and I finished with a 13:20. My overall time was 1:55:09 which was a minute and a half faster than my predicted time. Awesome!

Mile 10 was new territory for me. I had never run more than 9.4 miles so this was strange for me. I knew that when I reached the end of mile 10 it was only a 5K to go. I knew that I could walk a 5K if I had too. But I kept going. I don’t remember much of this mile. It was residential but not the big fancy houses that we had earlier in the run. It had some hills but for the most part it was flat.  My pace fell off a lot from mile 9 but I expected that. I still did something that resembled a run. Haha! I told Eric that I had to start running only a quarter mile instead of the usual half. But he pushed me enough that I still managed to get in half miles splits. I extended my walking a bit to a minute and a half. My toe pain flared up again but I was not going to give up! Mile 10 was almost a minute slower than mile 9 at 14:10. My overall time was still doing well at 2:09:19 which was a minute and a half faster than my predicted time. Amazing!!

I love the Tulsa Police Department…at the beginning of mile 11 they had their own water stop for us. Even though we got water at Mile 9 I really need more as the M&Ms left my mouth a bit dry. Don’t get me wrong…I will make M&Ms my mile 9 treat in the future! I just have to make sure that I grab more water to wash them down. The police officers had oranges too. I’m not crazy about oranges so I passed but it was nice to have this unexpected water stop.  Right after that we had a nice long downhill to the Arkansas River. I also think the M&Ms helped as my mile 11 pace was 30 seconds faster than mile 10. Rock on!  I was back in the 13s at 13:40. My overall time was just under 1:23. Two minutes faster than I predicted!  I expected to totally tank by this point so a mile that was under 14 minutes really helped me get ahead of schedule. I knew at this point that I would definitely finish before 3 hours. It was a relief.

Mile 12 sucked. It was horrible. I hated the organizers for most of the mile.  We started running up to the bridge. We had to run across the bridge for a bit and turn around. When we got about half way there was the final water stop. I finished off my M&Ms and took a couple waters for the road. As I could see ahead of me was a big long uphill. During mile 12?!?! I had looked at the course and elevation map beforehand so I knew it was coming. But it didn’t prepare me. It was a 200 foot climb and most of that was during the quarter of a mile after the water stop. Even Eric said, “We are walking to the top.” He said later he could have run up it but he didn’t want to leave me yet and he didn’t want to burn out his legs for the last mile. If you haven’t noticed…we didn’t fight at all during this run. There were no pace arguments…it is weird. Anyways we walked up the damn hill and my time for mile 12 was 15:29. A minute slower than I expected but thanks to an awesome mile 11 I had more than enough time to sacrifice. Overall pace was 2:38:28. I still had a minute in the bank and more importantly, I had over 21 minutes to finish the last 1.1 miles. Even though the hill took a lot out of me, I was thrilled that my goal of 2 hour, 59 minutes and 59 seconds was going to be crushed!

The Last 1.1 & Finish
We got the end of mile 12 and Eric left me. I was surprised he stuck with me that long. I told him back at mile 10 that he could leave me but he said no. The last mile was mostly flat except for a long dip down and up. I told him I was fine and that I had over 21 minutes to play with. The last thing he said as he sprinted away was “beat 3 hours!” At about the half mile mark we crested they long climb from the bottom of the hill. We didn’t actually walk up to the top of the hill as I said during mile 11, we really just walked to end of mile 12 which was a short flat section.  As soon as Eric left me, we had more hills to climb.

My last mile was a mess. I had a lot of emotions going on and right around this time the half marathoners and the marathoners were split into two separate lanes. Near the end of mile 13, we continued straight to the finish while the marathoners took a right and did 13 more miles. Yikes!

During this mile, I ran into a new friend. I have no idea what her name was but we talked about how we were grateful to be almost finished and how we pitied the marathoners and things like that. A marathoner yelled at us from the other lane and said that we were “incredible” and “finish strong” and “you got this” and a whole lot of other encouraging words. It made me feel pretty amazing. We, of course, wished her luck on the next 13 mile loop.

We came to the dip and I “sprinted” down, slapping the hands of volunteers who had the hands out wanting to be slapped. Everybody in front of me avoided them so I did a quick cut over and slapped them. I got to the bottom of the dip and walked up the other side. It was at this point we saw the 26 mile sign so I knew it was less than a quarter mile to go. We turned the corner and I saw the amazing finish line. I was surprised that most of the people I was around were not running. I thought to myself this is the finish line, you always run towards the finish line. So I left them in my dust as I “sprinted” to the finish line. Just before the finish line they had the mat and photographers taking our pictures. I haven’t seen the picture but I had the biggest grin and gave thumbs up. I looked at my watch and saw that I was very close to 2:55. I wanted to be faster than that so I gave what little I had left and hit the finish line…2:54:53. I did it! I was over 5 minutes faster than I hoped. I was so excited.

They put the medal on me and wrapped me in that aluminum thing and I made my way through the finisher chute. I was so happy, it was an incredible experience. I thought to myself the entire time I was in the finisher chute I can’t wait to do this again.

I found Eric and we filled up on water and bananas and granola bars and whatever else I could find.  We got our race time printed off and for the first time ever I had my medal engraved. I just had to!

I have done so many races of varying distances but I have never felt like this before. I now understand why people say this is addictive. It is! I’m still in shock that my legs carried my fat ass for over 13 miles. (I didn’t ride bike more than 13 miles at one time this summer!)  I can’t wait for the next one in San Diego in 32 days.



No comments:

Post a Comment