OKC Memorial Marathon 2014

Today marked my third opportunity to participate in the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon. The first year, I ran a 5k on a marathon relay team (5 people cover the distance of the marathon 5k, 10k, 12k, 5k, 10k), the next year I did a 10k on a relay team, and this year I did a half marathon. The day was really crazy, which made it even more fun. The crazy was the two-hour start delay due to weather. Thunderstorms don't care if over 26,000 runners got up before the crack of dawn to go run a race. So, if you were in OKC this morning, you were likely huddled in parking garages, under pavilions, in your car if you didn't park forever away, or anywhere else you could find for shelter from the storm. I like being huddled with random strangers. Truly.

Like the half marathon I ran in February, I had no idea how this one would turn out. I injured my knee in October, and in order to avoid injuring it further (a lesson I learned after injuring it further by refusing to quit training until two months after the initial injury), I stopped running just about altogether. BUT I wasn't going to miss out on my first half-marathon (the one in February), so I went to my hometown, Apache Junction, Arizona, and took on the 13.1. And I was glad I did, even though I ended up hurting my knee even more. I FINALLY went to a chiropractor after I ran, and through a series of adjustments and treatments, my knee stopped hurting around Spring Break. Oh, and then I got shingles on my thigh over spring break. Shingles hate anything touching them. I moved very little.

All of this is to say that I have run two half-marathons this year with absolutely no preparation. I'm sure I'm not alone with my grand visions of rock star running times when I register for these races because between the time I register and race day, I'm certain I'll be able to pour in the hours of training I need. (Did I mention that today's race was supposed to be my first marathon, but after running my first half and realizing I was still very injured, I changed my registration from a full marathon to a half?) These two races have been amazing, despite a humbling time attached to my name - I won't say "despite" the time  - part of the amazing is because of the time. Because even though I didn't know what the time would actually be, I knew it wouldn't be the seven minute miles of my youth, I managed to convince really competitive BrieAnn that it didn't matter. And it doesn't. Would I love to show up to a half-marathon and actually feel like I'm racing? Absolutely! But I'm really glad I didn't let that desire get in the way of the experiences I was able to have.

So, what does a half marathon look like for me with no preparation? Both were in the 2:40's. I'm ecstatic that my injured knee didn't hurt at all today. Not one bit, but wary that my other knee (and hip) feel exactly the same way the other side did at the beginning of my injury. NOOO! This time I know what to do, so hopefully it won't progress the same way.

Highlights of the day:

-Getting to watch the storm roll by.
-The course: the Memorial Marathon course is AWESOME! There's always something interesting to see, and SO MANY people line the course. It's wonderfully supportive and encouraging, and it makes me so proud of the city I live in.
- Annie. She's been on the relay team with me for the last two years, but we both signed up for the half this year. We got to start the race and run with one another a few times (until I ran out of steam!). I loved getting to run with her because she's just part of the event to me.
- The strangers who encouraged me by name (written on my bib). No matter what, when you're feeling bad, it feels good for someone to shout out a kind word connected to your name.
- Knowing how to properly fuel my body. After my first half, I asked my friend, Jennifer for advice on eating before and during a long race (I so didn't do it right the first time). When I went through the water stops, I always grabbed at least three cups of fluid. Usually 2-3 Powerades, and 1 water. And I drank them all. I'd also cut up cliff bars into bite-sized pieces to grab as I went through water stops. After mile seven in my first half, I started feeling really sick to my stomach. I'd run until I felt like I was going to throw up, then walk until I felt better - over and over again. When I was done running, I still felt sick, and it wasn't until I ate lunch after the race that I started feeling better. It was night and day. This time, I didn't ever feel sick from being so depleted. That was nice. [And a little shout out to Jennifer who finished her seventh marathon today. I was happy to run into her on the course.]
- This isn't really a highlight, just a random observation - Anyone who's ever run knows that it's a fact that gas slips when running. I don't know if it's because there were SO many runners (which was fantastic), but there were several occasions where the smell in the air made it very apparent that I was running through the gas cloud of someone in front of me. No judgement. And yes, it's a little gross, but even more than being gross, it made me want to giggle in a really silly 8-10 year-old humor kind of way, like you can't help but fall a part and laugh as you point out the very obvious, "Someone just farted." #allinthistogether
- All of the familiar faces on my way.
- This happened last night, but because the marathon course completely surrounds Dot (our house) as it winds through our neighborhood, we had to leave a car in front of our friends' house so Jake could get to his work-church this morning. We went to the first act of South Pacific at OCU, and then to the Paramount for a bit before parking our car sometime around 10:30. It was so fun to walk home at night from one side of our 'hood to the other. It felt something like running at night (one of my favorite things to do), but with some fun company.

And lastly, because of how we can't get cars in or out of our part of the neighborhood because of the course, I couldn't really think of a good way to get home (Annie and her husband, Kyle picked me up), so I walked. Yep. I walked 1.8 miles home. With ice strapped to my knees. I practically went 15 miles. I'm going to go ahead and say I did a 6/10 marathon. Lucky for me, Jake was walking home from parking the car in front of our friends' home after work-church, and our paths crossed four blocks from Dot.

Me after the half standing in front of the OKC Memorial before my epic walk home.

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