Official time 3:13:55. This included a 14 minute stop at the port-a-potty and 5 2-minute stops. Runner friend was having trouble with her feet cramping so she had to adjust her shoes and stretch a bunch. We promised to not leave one another during our first half-marathon, so I would run on, then run back and get her. I only actually stopped when she had to take the potty break, as I knew it would get me too far ahead if I went on. Minus those delays, I would have finished around 2:49, averaging 12:50/mile. I am very happy with that thought.
Let's review the experience.
OKC Run to Remember is rated in the top 12 "must run" marathons by Runner's World. I would agree. There were so many great points that I don't think I'll be able to list them all. Here is a good overview though!
General organization: The set up, signage, and announcements were top notch. At 5am when you're half awake and cold, it's nice to not feel lost. There was ample parking, downtown OKC was very well lit, and the signs for gear check and start corrals were HUGE. I was upset that the parking was cheaper nearer the start line as I assumed it would be higher, so I parked further away than I had to. Boo. Also, they could have put more port-a-potties near the start corrals so that we didn't have to trek 6 blocks to wait in line so close to the start of the race. ...1st world problems.
Course: We ran through some of the most amazing neighborhoods in the city. We also ran past OU Medical Center, the state capitol, and numerous parks. Oh, did you know you also get to run through Bricktown right out of the gate? It's fantastic. The course is a bit hilly, but not unbearable. My thought process says more uphill equals more downhill. The pavement was decent over the entire course with just a few rough patches. I didn't run the full marathon so I can't say that for all of it, but the half was good, solid road.
Course support: This paragraph could not encompass all of the amazing things I saw along the way. The race organizers had a massive amount of water/gatorade stations, as well as medical aid. Added to that were at least 100 extra groups of neighbors, spectators, and local clubs volunteering to help out. Water, gatorade, powerade, orange juice, beer, various shots (I know I saw vodka/oj and mimosa shots), pretzels, cookies, mini candy bars, oranges, bananas, and (my favorite) pineapple chunks. I lost count of the number of drum lines, costumes, and free high-five stations. The guy in the pink blazer and zebra pants with chilled champagne was fabulous. Just waiting on a lady to take a seat with him. And the signs! Thank you everyone for the signs! I wish I could have gotten a picture of all of them. If you run, you know what I mean. If you don't here is a short list:
~Your sport is punishment in other sports.
~You run better than the government.
~You aren't running slow, you're enjoying the course.
~Even Chuck Norris can't run marathons.
~I trained for 6 months to hold up this sign.
~Never trust a fart.
~Run random stranger.
~You think your feet are tired, imagine how your sports bra feels.
~(at almost the 4 mile mark) You only have one 5k and one 10k left to go!!!
~It sounded like a good idea 4 months ago.
The list goes on and on. You really get a sense of support out of those. Laughing along the way helps take your mind off of the task. Thank you to everyone along the way that cheered, screamed, waved, and encouraged.
Finish line: Coming over that last hill and seeing the big, green banner was breathtaking. After crossing the finish line you are ushered through the gates and into the resting area. The Ice House was so awesome. Plenty of chairs, coolers of bagged, crushed ice. Tons of staff on hand to saran wrap ice to you anywhere you needed it. You get the usual foil wrap, water, cookies, Kind bars, fruit, etc. Finisher medals were handed out as you passed through. Finisher photos taken. More tshirts. Just a ton of attention, and a little too much stimulation. It was a madhouse, but it was great.
Afterwards we made our way back to the gear check. I passed on the post-race massage as the line was forever long. There were numerous free food and drink tents, but I was fine with my water and Oreos. After retrieving my personal items I made my way back to my truck, and on to my friend's apartment for a shower. I was surprised at how great I felt; very little soreness or stiffness. I was mostly sad that it was over.
I tried to keep my Instagram and Facebook updated as the race went on. Checking in to see the support online put a big smile on my face. I had some great friends there at the finish line, and he followed me on his bike all along the course. I may have almost disqualified myself to get a quick kiss for good luck...(shhh xoxo) Support really is key for runners. We can train like crazy, but if no one supports us, we really can get worn down quickly. Thank you all for believing in my weird love for running.
We are only 362 days from the 2016 Run to Remember. If I want to run the full marathon, I have to get on my training NOW! No, I kid. I'm taking a few days off. I do plan to do the full next year. I'll be doing a few 1/2s this year in preparation, so keep a close eye on me to see how I do!
That right there is called braggin' rights yo. -->