Saturday, May 15, 2010

Spring Marathons - OKC and Ft Collins CO

I have been enjoying my training runs this Spring but I've been having more fun and not running hard and that showed up in my marathon results. The fun has been a refreshing respite from the craziness in the rest of my life but I am very frustrated with my finish times.
I was a little concerned about OKC because I felt really tired going into marathon week. I hadn't been sleeping well, a combination of worries at work and hormone dificiency. So when I felt really tired after Lake Hefner, I didn't have much mental stamina to push through it. It was really good weather, all the winds were crosswinds, nothing like last year. Our group had a lot of fun, we did walk more than we probably should have on Sat., walked from the Sheraton to the Memorial Museum and back and the museum tour was difficult to bounce back from but if you haven't seen it, you should go through. It made all the banners much more significant when I came to that part of the course. My finish was 5:19, my slowest up to that point but we did enjoy ourselves. We ate dinner at RedPin, a bowling/pub place by Starbucks in Bricktown, the food was really good. Then after the race, we went to the stockyards area and ate at Cattlemen's Steakhouse The waiter gave an elaborate description of their succulent steaks and much to his disappointment, I didn't order a steak. All I wanted was a club sandwich, I wasn't that hungry. I noticed that the others at my table that ran the marathon didn't eat all their steaks, although they were really good, it was just a lot to eat.
Two weeks later we headed out to Fort Collins, CO to run with Marv Winters for one of his 50 states. We had a good size group going and Fort Collins is a quaint college town, home of Colorado State Univ. We needed to get some Gu and were excited to see an REI store. Some of us, me included, had never been inside an actual REI, had only shopped there online. We headed back to our rooms early and we were all dreading standing around the cold in the a.m. and the early start, 6:00 a.m. Buses would shuttle us to the start, it was a point to point race. We got up at 3 and left the hotel at 3:45 to meet the shuttles. The buses were comfy and warm, it was about 1/2 hour to the drop off point. No one wanted to get out of the bus but it wasn't too bad. We were down in the canyon and it felt warmer than the parking lot where the buses picked us up. There were lots of porta-potties and we huddled and stayed warm. Soon it was time to start. There were only 975 of us and it was nice to have a casual start instead of being packed in like sardines. This was the smallest marathon I had run in and once it was time to go, the race director pulled the trigger and we were off. The surroundings were beautiful, the temperature was in the low 40's, no wind, it was perfect. We were in the canyon for the first 18 miles and ran along the Poudre River. I had rafted this river with my family in the summer of 2007, that was part of the reason I wanted to run this marathon. When you're in the canyon, you descend about 1000 ft in those 18 miles. The road slopes really bad and my ankles got very sore. Then you are on a highway for about 3 miles, then you run through a city park and when you come out of there, you can see the finish line on down the street. I alternated between walking and running for the last six miles, the altitude had really gotten to me. I wasn't sure if some of my group had passed me while I took a potty break. I finished in 5:25, my slowest finish, this was my 7th marathon. I cried when I got back with my group, I was so mad but I had given it everything I had. I wasn't the last one to finish from the group but I was surprised how difficult it was to run in the altitude. I went back with some others to run Marv in to the finish. I am really glad we went up to support him as he gets close to completing his 50 states. He was even interviewed by a local station.
Some of the group stayed over another day and it snowed that night! I went back to Tulsa that night because my daughter was going on a mission trip to India the next day. Riding the shuttle back to the Denver airport, I had some good conversations with others who had run the marathon and everyone who was not from Colorado agreed that the altitude had affected them. Altitude aside, this was a great marathon to run and I recommend it to anyone who needs Colorado as one of their states. It does fill up early, it was full by Feb. 8. Next marathons will be Outer Banks, NC on November 14, which will be Marv's final state and St. Jude's in Memphis on Dec. 4. I'm going to do the R66 Quarter on Aug. 7 and the R66 Half on Nov. 21.