Sunday, November 20, 2011

Half the distance, twice the fun! Route 66 Half-Marathon

Today, I got to do something I haven’t done since March… run in a distance race. It was only a half-marathon but I LOVED being out there. The anticipation of the race, laying out my clothes the night before, getting ready early in the morning, checking the weather, freezing before the start, seeing all my friends, huddling together in the corral, I’ve missed all that sooo much!

I’ve been working hard in my physical therapy and I was so relieved when my physical therapist told me I could do the half, as long as I didn’t push it hard. To be totally honest, I was disappointed that he frowned on me running the full marathon, but now that I have finished the half, I see that he was right, and I see how I usually bite off more than I can chew.

So, on this very chilly Sunday morning I headed to downtown Tulsa, thankful that I was wearing my capris instead of shorts. As I met up with my friends, we all lamented about the weather and groaned as we heard that it was drizzling outside. But the moisture went away quickly and we headed out to our corral to await the starting gun. This year the start line was moved to 7th and Main and there were 4 corrals so it took us awhile to get across the start line. Meanwhile, I still had my gear bag with me and I didn’t know where the gear check was. I found out it was just before the start line, just a block from it so when it was time for our corral to move forward, I sprinted to the gear check and got back just in time to go out with my group.

I was excited to go out the first mile because we would pass right underneath a pedestrian walkway where my church was located and I knew some people would be there to cheer me on. Sure enough, I could see them through the windows and one of them, their husband was running his first marathon. After this first mile, we came to our first major hill on 15th Street, a long one and I really wanted to run all of it. I managed to run most of it but did take a brief walk just before the crest. Next we went through Swan Lake, an area I love because the homeowners really support the race and cheer the runners. From there we headed through Monte Casino, another area I love, the students are great cheerleaders and I love their drums. Next we went through Woodward Park, this is another difficult area, with more hills but very pretty. Soon we were out on Riverside for a couple of blocks before we turned back into Peoria and headed south through Brookside. I was surprised that more people weren’t out to cheer but it was pretty chilly. We went back out to Riverside and I really enjoyed this part of the race because I could see who was heading back out to the north and I could tell people hello and cheer them on. I loved seeing all the other Maniacs too and was so glad that I am part of this crazy group.
From the very start of the race, I had another friend, Teresa, running with me and I so enjoyed having company. I fully expected to run the half by myself because I knew I needed to take it easy and having a running partner was an unexpected treat. Finally, we came close to where we would split and we hugged and I headed for the finish line. I ran strong through the finish and loved slapping Jack Wing’s hand. Throughout the race I kept thinking, “I can’t wait for coffee at Doubleshot when I’m finished.” First I went to the Maniac tent and had some great food from Genghis Grill, yummy chicken teriyaki and rice. I was trying a different fueling strategy at this race and I started with an empty stomach, so I was really hungry at the end. I headed back to my car and my hands were so cold, even with gloves on, that I could barely get my keys out. I got some warm clothes on and headed over to Doubleshot. Ummm, that coffee was soooo good and HOT! I went over close to the finish to watch for some other friends to finish and almost shook myself to death, it was getting so cold! I’m so glad I waited for them to finish because I saw lots of other friends finish too and again was so glad to be out there, enjoying another race.

In retrospect: here’s what I did right this morning:

I checked the weather and made a wardrobe change from shorts to capris, my rule of thumb is 50° and over-shorts, 35-49°- capris, and under 35°-long pants. Note: although I do long training runs in long pants, I have never run a distance race in temps under 35° and I would hate running 26.2 miles in long pants!
I made slits at neck and bottom in my throw away shirt so it would tear off easily because Dorothy Beal said so:
I put lots of cream on my face to protect it from the cold
I did not throw away my shirt when I took it off because I figured the wind would chill me later on...and I was right!
I wore heavy knitted gloves instead of my usual thin ones
I paid attention to my breathing, didn’t push myself, after all, I’d have to face my physical therapist on Tuesday
I downloaded new music thanks to this blog:

What I wish I had done differently:
Worn thicker socks
Packed a hoodie instead of a wind jacket
Read the map better about gear check

All in all, I had a great time, a perfect re-entry into racing again Route 66 is a well put-together marathon, Chris Lieberman and his team do an excellent job at putting this event on. Now I’m getting ready for Little Rock on March 4.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone and maybe I’ll see you at VonFranken Family Run on Thursday.