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Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon - RunHalf Marathon

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Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
United States
Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon
44F / 7C
Total Time = 3h 29m 26s
Overall Rank = 130/2213
Age Group = 35-39M
Age Group Rank = 17/187
Pre-race routine:

Up around 4am at the hotel to get some food into my stomach. I wasn't too interested in eating anything solid, but I forced myself to eat a Cliff Bar followed by some Cliff Blocks and GU Chews (from which I snagged at the Expo the day before). All this doesn't sound like a whole lot of food but it added up to over 600 easily digestible calories, so I was satisfied. My wife and I met our friends (a husband/wife duo from Kansas City who we planned this trip with) down in the lobby of our hotel and before we took off for the race I decided my nervous GI system needed one more last pit stop before leaving, figuring it was better to take care of business at the hotel than a port-a-potty.

The weather for the day had perfect temperatures for a marathon, low to mid 40s, and we lucked out with the weather given what it had been (non-stop rain), but the wind was pretty tough - about 15-20mph from the west and south. We made the short trek from our hotel to the race start. We gave our goodbyes and good lucks to our wives, then me and Jason walked off to our corral.
Event warmup:

Jason did his running, jumpy, stretchy routine. I stood still in the same spot looking focused but actually feeling like a nervous ball of energy.
  • 3h 29m 26s
  • 26.2 miles
  • 07m 59s  min/mile

When I first started racing, beginning with 5ks, it was the thrill of finishing that kept fueling me to sign up for more and more races. I got such a high and sense of exhilaration from being apart of an event and finishing that I ended up signing up for a race every other week. Eventually that highest of highs became harder to duplicate, and while I have always gotten a giant feeling of satisfaction after I finished every single race I've done it is no longer the reason I race.

Throughout training I'd be asked about what kind of goal time or pace I was planning on. I wasn't quite sure what my answer should be because I felt they all wanted something concrete and specific and I only had a vague idea of what I was after - something perhaps between 7 and 8 min/mile pace sounded good. I liked to say that Boston qualifying was a possibility, but if I'm honest with myself that wasn't realistic. I think I just wanted to have a race that I felt satisfied with when all was said and done. A marathon is a long race and, for all I knew, I could cramp up at mile 16 and be walking the rest of the race. The point being, to hone in on a specific time seemed like a good way to become disappointed with a result you might not have complete control over.

Jason and I started the race together. He had originally planned to run the marathon with me, but injuries knocked him back to just the half distance. During our long training runs together he was normally a chatter box but he didn't seem too talkative during the first few miles of the race. I was keeping my pace initially at a conversation pace, because (and this is the only time I can say this with 100% accuracy) it's not a sprint, it's a marathon - and I still have a long ways to go. He's kinda speedy so he eventually took off somewhere around Gorilla Hill. Gorilla Hill, by the way, was a pretty fun section of the course. Tons of people packed on both sides of the road yelling their hearts out, lots of people in banana and ape suits running around, plus some good, high energy music. One of my favorite parts of the run.

At the 8 mile mark we split off from the half-marathon course and the early Sunday morning streets of OKC got a little quieter. My pace felt comfortable and the heart rate was right where I wanted it to be for being 1/3 rd of the way done. But around mile 10 I was either going up some little hill or into the wind for ~3 miles. At the halfway point I didn't very feel strong - physically. My pace/splits didn't indicate that to me; however, there was a deep down knowing feeling of how the rest of the race would go. After crossing the halfway marker there is a monster overpass with some brutal, cold wind blowing off of the lake just beyond it. The lake path was flat, smooth, and beautiful if not for the 20mph head wind and grey skies. As I watched waves smash up against the rocks near the shore I wondered if I was going to regain feeling in my hands since they had become so numb. There was a group cheering from a rocking boat that seemed to be having fun and the volunteers nearby were taking it in stride (bless them, I can't imagine being out in that wind for an entire race).

I emerged from Lake Hefner cold and a bit defeated, but I was still maintaining my pace and I now had a good tailwind to help me along for the next three miles. But mile 21 came and what I knew I didn't have back at the 13.1 checkpoint finally caught up with me. There was no muscle cramping, nor dehydration, just an inability to pick my feet off the ground fast and efficiently. It was in these last few miles of the race that I revisited the earlier question: what is/was my reason for doing this race? I didn't want to answer it because I was going to finish 10 minutes off of my "ideal" finishing time. I didn't want to answer because I was convinced that marathoning isn't for me nor am I built for it. I didn't want to answer because I was in pain and I couldn't believe eating a single orange slice at mile 23 was giving me a side cramp.

But I hit the mile to go mark and I made up my mind that I was going to grit my teeth through the pain and run every last step. And I glad I did because I was able to squeak in under the 3:30 mark. Not the time I wanted but still a 6 minute PR.
What would you do differently?:

Nothing. I trained as much and as smart as I possibly could. I have no excuses. I did everything I could before and during the race. In that regard I have absolutely no reason to feel disappointed about today.
Post race
Warm down:

I was immediately met by my wife and two friends, who had been patiently waiting in the cold wind for 90 minutes for me to finish.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

So, the reason I race is because I enjoy the process and the journey to get ready for an event like this. And even though this whole race and on the drive home I said I'm not doing one of these again, I'm already thinking about the next potential marathon.

Event comments:

Holy cow, this race does a fantastic job. So much attention to detail. So much local enthusiasm for this race. There are so many areas of the race I could give good reviews on but I'll just give it all two big thumbs up. I'd definitely do this race again.

Last updated: 2017-01-03 12:00 AM
03:29:26 | 26.2 miles | 07m 59s  min/mile
Age Group: 17/187
Overall: 187/2213
Strava activity data:
Course: See file link.
Keeping cool Good Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Mental exertion [1-5]
Physical exertion [1-5]
Good race?
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Good
Race evaluation [1-5] 5

2017-05-04 3:41 PM

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Olathe, KS
Subject: Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon
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