Where do I start? I am not good at giving race recaps but I will do my best to give you all a good one. First of all, I suggest everyone run this race! While it was my first full marathon, I have shared a course with many fulls while completing halves. This was THE best supported race I have ever been a part of.
My sister and I headed to the start line with about 15 minutes to GO! time. We fought our way through the crowd and it was seeming like we might have to walk about a mile to get to the end of the fence so that we could get into position. Thankfully there was a small break in the barricade and we squeezed into the crowd with maybe 5 min to start. We shoved our way to the center of the street and settled in to wait for the race to start. Our plan was to start out together and see how goes from there. Finally, the crowd began to count down from 10 and we were off…walking until there was room to do more than shuffle our feet. It took about 5 min to cross the start, not too bad considering it took some upwards of 16 minutes. Once we stomped the pad to start our time we were running.
I had a water bottle in my hand and quickly realized i needed to dump it. About half a mile in I chunked it off to the side near a trash can only to hear someone yell out, “Keep Oklahoma beautiful!” Eh, whatchagonna do? I don’t like to litter any more than the next guy but really this is what happens in a race. I passed the comment off because it must have been a noob and she was in for a shock at the fist water station with cups flying here and there and then to GU stop with tiny tops torn and discarded with the entire GU packs too.
About a mile in I peeled off my sweatshirt and tossed it to the side too, my sister followed suit. We were running strong and felt really good. We came up to our first hill, an overpass. Insert HUGE grin here….overpass hills are awesome compared to the hills of T-town. I noticed quickly that I was passing people on the ascent, this was going to be a good day.
I enjoyed seeing the city of my college years. I saw the old apartment I lived in downtown, the first YMCA I worked at, the tattoo parlor that many of my friends visited, and many many more sights that brought back lots of memories. I was keeping an eye on my pace and feeling really good. I had planned on holding a 10 min/mile pace, something I really had never been able to do on training runs (I always ran faster) but I felt in order to finish I would have to be around that pace. At one point I looked ahead on the course and saw the crowd in front disappear behind buildings, off to the left, across a big grassing field I saw them emerge. I thought out loud to my sister, “I see a short cut. If I were a super hero or one of the Fab 4 I would go invisible and run across that field.” My sister, the smart one of the family, replied “If you were a super hero you wouldn't need to take a short cut.” True. It was great to run with my sister and our fist 6 miles were:
Mile 1 9:21
Mile 2 9:41
Mile 3 9:28
Mile 4 9:14
Mile 5 9:22
Mile 6 8:52
It was somewhere in mile 6 where my sister told me to go on and I didn’t really want to leave her but I knew I was feeling good and kinda wanted to go a bit faster. So I surged ahead, expecting her to pass me at some point later. My next 7 miles were:
Mile 7 8:54
Mile 8 8:50
Mile 9 9:07
Mile 10 9:03
Mile 11 9:03
Mile 12 9:09
Mile 13 8:40
i had to use the porta potty and put it off as long as possible. I saw one at mile 13 that had no line, jumped in and out as soon as possible. When I looked and saw the clock it said 2:03 something. I knew that was gun time and I had a good chance of hitting a sub two half…so I ran to the sign that said, “You are absolutely, positively HALF WAY THERE!” i knew it would be close and sure enough, my half marathon time was 2:00.09. My second best time for the half! What!? That is pretty cool. I was wondering if this was a bad thing and if i was going to die soon, but I held my pace up the next
hill overpass leading to The Lake. It was tough due to the crazy cross wind on that bridge. I turned to run along the lake into the wind for about half a mile before we curved around to run with the wind for another 2 miles maybe.
There were water stops so often. They were supposed to be every mile but it really seemed to be more often than that. it was great. People lined to streets and paths to yell for us and cheer us on.
The best thing I heard was, “Today you are going to finish a marathon!” That was awesome! There were so many people wearing shirts that had inspirational quotes on the back and I really enjoyed reading them. It was along the lake that I passed the 4:15 pace group. I thought to myself that was strange, since I was shooting for 4:30 (although I passed the 4:30 group around mile 2) and I considered sticking with them for a while but still felt good and slowly passed them by. I plugged along.
Around mile 15 is where miles and times get a little fuzzy. I had a Grace Band found HERE and let me tell you, it was AWESOME! The Grace Band had a name or idea that I chose for each mile and I tried to focus on that person or group of people for the entire mile. Mile 5 was for all my 5 Miles Past Empty readers!
The next 7 miles were:
Mile 14 8:57
Mile 15 9:14
Mile 16 9:14
Mile 17 9:25
mile 18 9:40
Mile 19 9:51
Mile 20 9:30
I knew that at mile 20 was the mark of my longest run. I had never run past that…I thought this might be my toughest mile so I dedicated this mile to my friends who have been killed in action. It truly helped because when I thought about being tired or my feet hurting I thought how lucky I was to be there, to be alive and to be running. So mile 20 was for them, I am alive so I ran. Also around mile 20 is where my family was waiting, my Dad, brother in law, nieces, friend Jessica (who traveled from WA) and my Little Buddy! I kept focusing on them and waiting to see them! They were chilling in the shade when I ran up! They quickly got up and I gave high fives all around! They asked about my sister and I told them she was 5 or 10 minutes behind, I actually had no idea! My pace certainly slowed around this point but I kept going. Seeing them gave me the extra oomph I needed to push along. I was waiting for The Wall. Where would it be?
Around the mile 22 water stop someone was holding out a weird white thing. I heard them say “sponge” but i had no idea what the heck they were talking about. I was confused. Do I eat it? Suck on it? Hm. I grabbed it, ran a bit further grabbed some water, ran further and smelled the sponge. It smelled like water….so I wiped my face. Ahhh…..nice! I wiped my neck. i wiped my arms. I ran. At the next water stop (around mile 23) I grabbed more water and rewet the sponge. This sponge would keep me going for the rest of the race. If you ever get offered a strange sponge TAKE IT. It saved me.
My last six and a half miles (yes, the final distance was 26.5 EXACTLY):
Mile 21 9:37
Mile 22 9:37
Mile 23 10:28
Mile 24 10:27
Mile 25 10:09
Mile 26 9:34
last half mile 4:22
total time 4:09.46 (Official time 4:09.50).
So as you can see I got kinda tired for miles 23, 24, and 25. I think with a bit more training I could shave off a few minutes here and there!
In all it was an awesome experience and I know I am leaving out a lot of exciting details. I may have to do a second recap later to talk about the things I saw like Uncle Sam, Gorilla Hill, two firemen wearing full gear throughout the whole marathon, the weather, the wind, and the finish.
I certainly see another marathon in my future!!
Oh and I am still looking for that WALL. I never did hit it!!!!
***some of you have asked how my sister did...she finished strong, blisters and all! She came in at 5:00 flat after stopping at 3 med tents to get her blisters doctored up. She has some MEAN blisters on her second to last toe and the side of the ball of her foot. Not fun. Despite that she did a great job! Here we are after the marathon: