On November 18, I completed my 3rd full at the Route 66 Marathon, state #9 in my Race All 50 quest. It's taken several weeks to return to normality. The high is gone. The soreness is gone. But the pride and confidence linger. The course ate me up in the backhalf, but now it has left me with a feeling of anything is possible.
I road-tripped the historic Route 66 highway with my friends Patty and Laura from Peoria, IL to Tulsa, OK for this marathon. Being a "girls road trip" will surely be the lasting memory of this race. We had such a fun time on the road, as well as the race expo (see previous post).
|The Sole Sisters from Peoria!|
|The confetti start was super cool!|
The beginning of a full marathon always feels mundane to me. There are so many miles to go and I have so much energy in the beginning. It's so difficult to pull back on the reins and conserve...
Mile 1 - 9:36
Mile 2 - 10:12
Mile 3 - 9:50
Mile 4 - 9:57
Mile 5 - 10:01
The first five miles had some hills according to the race elevation chart, but honestly I didn't feel much of them. My legs felt good and I focused on finding a comfortable pace that I could maintain. I knew this wasn't going to be a PR race for me, so I tried to look around and take in the sights as we passed through some pretty neighborhoods. It was like a seasonal rewind for me... leaves on the trees again!
|Photo by Eric Bloemers Photography|
Look - there I am coming up the right side...
|I was ridiculously smiley during the race. |
The photographers took nearly 50 pictures of me!
That has to be some kind of record...
Mile 7 - 9:41
Mile 8 - 10:02
Mile 9 - 10:10
When we reached mile 6, the course entered a nice flat out/back section along the Arkansas River. There were great views and a lot of fun through this stretch as runners were cheering back and forth. The atmosphere was very jovial and light. The Route 66 Marathon caters to several run groups (Marathon Maniacs, Half Fanatics and the 50 State Club) with special medals and bibs for them. There were a TON of those members in the race, sporting their singlets and really making the race a reunion event. It added a unique vibe to the run. It made me happy to see all the comaraderie in an individual sport. Physically, I was feeling really good and took my first energy gel at mile 6.
|I told you... ridiculously full of smiles!|
Mile 11 - 10:07
Mile 12 - 10:07
Mile 13 - 10:30
Mile 14 - 10:25
Shortly before mile 10, I hit the turnaround and got to see my girls Patty and Laura on the way back along the river. I had hardly looked at my watch during the race so far. Somewhere along the river stretch, I looked down and with quick math, realized I could PR on the pace I was running. Aw-man, my mind started reeling... should I or shouldn't I push myself? Internally, I argued with myself and in a split second (during mile 13), I veered off the course and down by the river to take a picture... Decision made. Enjoy the run; just finish. I don't have to run every race for a new personal record. Sometimes I have to force myself to not be so competitive (even if it is just against myself).
|By now, you're wondering where did I get that cute skirt?!?! SparkleSkirts.com!|
Mile 15 -10:46
Mile 16 - 10:34
Mile 17 - 10:24
Mile 18 - 10:27
I was really glad I didn't try to push for the PR because I would have been disappointed quickly. Shortly after the mile 14 marker, we turned away from the river and the hills of Tulsa began once again. However, my legs were no longer fresh and I could feel every elevation change. At mile 16.5, I took the Center of the Universe detour... adding an extra 0.3 onto the marathon, making it the shortest ultra in the world. The detour was a short L-shaped leg uphill to earn bonus bling (a large coin) and then back downhill with a glass of beer at the bottom. Since I was out to enjoy this one, I stopped and drank a beer and took a few photos...
At the time, it was a good theory... Thanks for the beer ladies!
Mile 20 - 11:06
Mile 21 - 11:11
Mile 22 - 10:27
Mile 23 - 11:20
These miles are the hardest of any marathon for me... this one especially. The hills seemed to... just. keep. coming. I think I may have sworn at them a couple times. The sun was peeking out now, making me warm... on top of tired, I became grumpy. Water stops became more frequent. I had been sipping normally throughout the race, but suddenly I was so darn thirsty. I began to worry about drinking too much. The race had awesome self-serve water/gatorade stations throughout the race and I took full advantage of the "green" convenience.
Everyone around me seemed to be walking the uphills now. It was so hard to keep running. Slowly, hill by hill, my determination dwindled. I began to pick an object halfway up the hill, run to it and then walk the rest of the uphill. Talk about a morale killer...
Mile 24 - 11:29
Mile 25 - 10:41
Mile 26 - 12:27
Mile 0.68 - 7:34
The course elevation chart showed a good drop in the last two miles, and yet I didn't feel it. Just the opposite... it felt like we were still climbing. I was so confused and frustrated. It was a long struggle to finish. I was thankful I slipped my ipod inside my shirt earlier. I turned on the tunes and tried to zone out with one step in front of another. I wasn't so smiley coming down the finishing stretch...
I finished a challenging race... There was immense relief and great satisfaction in that. As painful as the backhalf was, I was instantly proud of the course that I just tackled.
State #9 - Okalahoma!
Official Chip Time: 4:40:31
(26.68 miles for a 10:30 avg pace)
Overall #903 out of 1891
Women #308 out of 822
Div F35-39 #52 out of 133
I absolutely LOVE the bling from this race!