Thursday, April 30, 2009

OKC Memorial Marathon

The alarm went off at 3 am. I hurried to get ready and left within 20 minutes for the drive south to Oklahoma City. I drove through some nasty thunderstorms around the Kansas-Oklahoma border. I stopped just north of Oklahoma City and hobbled into a gas station to fill my camelback with water and ice. Inside someone said, looking at my shirt, "Free State?". I said, "Yeah, you were there?" Then we realized that we did recognize each other and had talked before. This guy (can't remember his name either) and 4 others all were doing a back to back Free State 40 miler and then the OKC marathon. That was very encouraging to me - I was not the only crazy one - in fact there 6 of us if I understood correctly!

Shortly before 6 am, I pulled into downtown OKC looking for a parking spot. I ended up parking like 8 blocks from the start line so I hobbled over to the start line finding the right spot to place my drop bag and then jumping the fence into the jam-packed corral. Oh yeah, Manny was with me and had picked up my packet the day before. He was pumped to run his first marathon. I was sore and thinking 26.2 more? Uh! Before the gun even went off to start the race with 19,000 at the start line, I was already sweating because it was so warm and muggy! The first two miles were awful as I ran to loosen up the legs (it probably looked a lot more like most people run the last 2 miles of a marathon or longer race). Then I finally fell into a groove and Manny and I ran the first 9 miles together, running 9 minute miles. Then there was a hill and I looked up and Manny was gone. He went on to finish in 3:51 something which is awesome. I had forgotten about my blisters, the only thing I really suffered from was just a deep fatigue in my legs - nothing out of the ordinairy for having run 40 miles the day before.

It was pretty hot and humid the whole way. At each aid station I grabbed 4 cups - poured two on my head and drank 2. I also carried my camelback and drained it twice drinking it in addition! Around mile 20 I asked a fire-fighter to spray me down and completely drench me with cold water from a hose. That really helped!

Well, there's nothing more to say than it was tough. But I must admit, for some reason, it was still really, really, really fun! The second half was much slower than the first but in the last 5 miles I really speed up and never looked back. I ran with the 4:30 pace team for the last 4 miles until the last mile when I sprinted the last 1.2 in sub 8 to finish in 4:27:44.
Race Results: (My bib number is 580)

Race photos: (My bib number is 580)