I got on the road for Tulsa at about 11 AM on Saturday. I only got lost once! As I arrived at the hotel, Annette and the rest of the Cabot Cruisers were waiting for me. It was time to go Carbo load at The Spaghetti Warehouse! So that is exactly what we did.
There I am on the right in Elijah-yellow.
We had an early night. I was rooming with Kelly, Kim and Andrea. Lights-off was at 9:30 PM. We were up at 5:15 AM, met downstairs for breakfast, and departed for the race at 6:45. The full marathon started at 8 AM and the half started at 9 AM.
Here we all are un-posed. I'm in all black at the front right.
After seeing the four marathoners off, the rest of us went back to our warm vehicles. It was quite cold at that point! But overall, i.e. during the half marathon, the weather was PERFECT. Only towards the end did I feel like I was getting overheated, FYI.
Kelly, the ANGEL that helped me out with my 22-mile longrun a few weeks ago, was the Cruiser that was perfectly matched to run with me. We both intended to stick with the 2:30 pace group as long as our legs and wills would allow. We lined up about 5' in front of the pace leader. And we're off!
This was supposed to be a pretty flat course until the very end. Well, 300 yards into the race we had to go up an overpass! I told Kelly before we even started that we were going to take every hill. She said it would definitely be up to me to get us up them!
I must say that FAST KELLY had us starting out too quickly. But I tried to keep up, then I'd back off and she'd slow down. We were doing very, very well. Then at about mile 4 or so the arch of my left foot started to hurt. That has never happened before. I wondered if I had something in my shoe. I finally sat on a road barricade and removed my shoe. Nothing! Kelly massaged my foot and it got better. Very strange! But a huge thank you to Kelly for curing me!
They served water and red Accelerade at the stops. RED. Thank goodness I wasn't wearing white because I, of course, spilled. Near the half girls from Hooters were giving out gels. Only one was in the official uniform. The others were in conservative orange sweatsuits.
We were going along very well. I quickly discovered that this was not a training run. It was a practice run for Memphis! That is much more accurate. We were not walking at all (except for while navigating red Accelerade).
After the halfway point we were still clicking right along. WOW! I knew Chasen would be getting the e-mail runner tracking updates and I knew his eyes would bug out when he saw my split. Ha! It was, I must say, pretty flat to this point, except for the few overpasses at the start.
By mile 8 or so it started to get tough. OH THE HILLS. Even though we were running through some gorgeous areas whose scenery was pleasing to our eyes, the streets were NOT pleasing to our legs. But I promised Kelly we would take the hills, and that is exactly what we did. I ran up EVERY HILL. Without walking. Not even once. No kidding.
Fortunately miles 8 -13 were not monotonous. We seemed to turn every block or two. Up another hill. Ugh. It was getting worse! But the crowd support was great. Everyone was out in their driveway cheering us on.
By mile 11 I was thinking to myself "just 8 laps around the track - piece of cake" for a visual reference. It worked. I was determined not to stop. Then I had "just 6 laps around the track - so short." By the time I got to the thought of "just four quick laps around the track," a saint on the sideline yelled "You just finished the last hill!" I could have hugged that person! A mile to go and I was feeling fatigued but knew THIS was the day that I was NOT going to bonk just before the final push.
With a half mile to go we started down a downhill stretch. We could hear noise from the finish area. We made another turn and I was certain it would be the end. Nope! But at least it was slightly downhill, also. Kelly was flying and I was trying hard to keep up with her. Kelly, by the way, had not run a half-marathon since she was in college "20 years ago," she said. She was primed and ready!
By the time we reached the bottom of that slight downhill we could indeed see the finish. At that point we really turned up the heat! I was about to cross the finish line after not walking one time. NOT EVEN ONCE! (Red Accelerade stops do not count.) Kelly said we'd cross the finish line with our hands held high. And that is exactly what we did! It was FANTASTIC.
As soon as we crossed we turned off our Garmins and Kelly gave me a huge hug. It was priceless! I wished Chasen could have been there to see our amazing race and especially to capture our elated hug on film.
By the way -- we didn't exactly end up staying with the 2:30 pacer. WE BEAT HER! Check it out.
Mile 1: 10:44
Mile 2: 10:59
Mile 3: 10:56
Mile 4: 10:58
Mile 5: 11:38
Mile 6: 11:22
Mile 7: 11:00
Mile 8: 11:07
Mile 9: 11:46
Mile 10: 11:11
Mile 11: 12:17
Mile 12: 13:08 (the worst mile of hills - I looked like I was running in slow motion!)
Mile 13: 10:41
Mile 13.1: 0:40
Average: 11:22 per mile
Can you believe that? Holy cow. This gives me great confidence for Memphis.
I called Chasen and that little devil already knew my results, thanks to the internet. He was so happy for me. So proud of me!
After visiting the food tent we plopped down on the ground to eat our bagels, pizza, cookies, etc. We then found the other Cruisers and I soon departed for a shower back at the hotel.
I got back in time to see 3 of the 4 marathoners come in. That was a really neat experience in itself. It's nice to be on the watching end of it all! After that I said my goodbyes and headed to Prairie Grove, AR to visit with an old friend and her family, since I was somewhat in that neck of the woods. I got home around 9 PM and was greeted by my proud spouse.
Cool medal and technical shirt
This Saturday I'll be doing the Great Duck Race 10K, plus 3.8 more miles for a total of 10 for my last pre-marathon longrun.