The 2014 Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon was my third OKC Memorial Marathon and was just as long as I remembered. In terms of time dedicated to the race on Race Day, it was longer.
I did my normal routine on Saturday which is find good food to eat throughout the day and have my last meal around 6:00pm. I had a bachelor party to go to that night. It consisted of staying out for an hour and drinking water. The others had more fun than I did, I bet. After I got back to the house, I prepped my clothes and headed to bed.
I slept beautifully. I got up once to use the bathroom and went right back to bed before my alarm went off at 4am. I got up. Showered (I shower before I work out. No matter event, workout, time, it has to happen.) and put on my race day garb, which this year consisted of my Koda CrossFit Endurance shirt. I had my coffee and headed to the gym to open it up at 5am for the other members who were participating. There, we stretched, rolled out, talked, took care of a few things and we were out the door at 5:35am, right when the rain started.
I coach at SandRidge Energy a few times a week and was able to use my badge to park in their parking garage. It was there that we waited for an hour getting updates on the weather and delays. After a little bit, I was getting restless so I suggested we head to their fitness center across the street. They had a awesome set up: water, toast, granola bars, coffee and most importantly bathrooms. We hung out there until 5 minutes before kick-off which at this point was 8am. After we got in line, where it was still raining, it was announced that we would not start until 8:15. This quickly turned into 8:20 but what was 5 more minutes. Jared Muse, Ryan Cunningham, Michael Bowers and myself were all huddled in a group in our trash bags ready to get this thing underway. 8:20 approached and we were (FINALLY) off.
- Start – 168 seconds of silence. Rain. National Anthem. More Rain. Gun goes off. No rain.
- Mile 1 – Was a little nervous about the weather still. My shirt was still wet. Got worried about those nipples. Thank you quick drying Koda tech t-shirt.
- Mile 2.2 – What the hell, Ryan!? Bathroom break already? I’ll hold it.
- Mile 2.5 – There is Danielle. Looking strong at this point of her first marathon. “Man, it’s humid. Could use some of that rain to cool me off.”
- Mile 3-4 – This part of the race is heading towards The Capitol is usually way prettier than it was this morning. With no sun rising due to cloud cover it was just a dreary run down Lincoln.
- Mile 5.5-7 – Running through Edgemere Park and Gorilla Hill. Saw Joseph Arguello and Co., David Little, Gary Wood, Katie Johnson, Matt Blose and Staci Jo Welch. This part of the race was very fun as always but what made it better was all the Kodites. Wanted to grab a donut where they were handing out donuts, a glass of champagne where they were handing out champagne and vodka where they were handing out vodka but instead, I just got a water and high fives.
- Mile 7-8 – This is where the half marathon splits and the full keeps going. It is so loud and exciting at the turn for the half marathon…. and then gets so quiet as soon as the full marathon keeps going. This is really a mental battle here. You have to keep going because you have 18 more miles to go, but with the crowds becoming few and far betweeen, you just have your thoughts to keep you entertained. A lot of those thoughts are of you stopping, so you have to fight yourself for the majority of the remaining miles.
- Mile 10 – 3rd Relay Exchange point. Got to see Anthony Robb a few other folks at that point. It was encouraging since Classen is an incline the entire way to Wilshire it felt like. I remember thinking, I’m halfway. Halfway to Mile 20 where I’d be only 6 miles out.” That’s what you kind of have to do during such a long event.
- Mile 11-12 – I kept looking at my watch. My pace was set for 8:00 which would have me finish the marathon in 3 hours and 30 minutes, a lofty goal considering that I weigh a little more than I did last year. I also didn’t get to do my programming like I wanted to. I did all the weekend runs, but was rarely able to do my class during the week because of the increase in popularity. A good problem to have by all means. But I was roughly 40 seconds ahead of my pace after 12 miles and I kept feeling good. I made small goals from here on out to stay the same pace until 14. Until 15. Until 17. Until 18. Until 20.
- Mile 13.1 – For real halfway. Saw Mrs. Bowers and family as well as Family Solis and Liz Le. It was good to see them and hear their cheers.
- Mile 14 – With the weather the way it was and the way it was being predicted leading up to Race Day, I knew it would be windy as anything getting out towards Lake Hefner. To my surprise, it was windy, but nothing like I had expected and nothing like the day that we ran our “long run” of 13 miles a few weeks earlier. I was excited about this and was still able to hold my 7:55-8:05 miles. My aunt is always volunteering at the Southwest water stop and luckily, she yelled at me before I passed completely and was able to see her.
- Mile 17 – Just over the bridge on Grand Blvd over Hefner Parkway. I felt strong on the hills. That’s where I kept passing people. I really like this part of the course, mainly because it’s where we do our weekend runs and I know exactly what is ahead of me. I was able to see Cole, Sharp, Bo and Amanda and her sign, “Free Puppies at the Finish. Hurry!” Cole handed me my ClifBloks which were huge because it gave me a different texture than the ClifShots I had been taken. Plus they’re delicious.
- Mile 18-20 – Was still feeling great. Holding my pace steady, surprisingly. I was hurting quite a bit last year around this area and was very excited to feel fine. Saw Natasha Bennett and kept running down Grand where we were offered a little bit a shade. It was hot by this point. We weren’t in the wind and the humidity had decreased but the sun was in full effect.
- Mile 20 – Up the hill on Classen Curve. It’s huge. I cramped last year at this exact point. I didn’t this time. Victory.
- Mile 21 – Now I’m heading directly south on Classen. Directly south means directly into the wind which had picked up a little it felt like. I was hitting the wall. I convinced myself I’d walk a little. So I did. Felt defeated kind of for doing so. I walked 100m and started running again. I was nervous because I knew it got easier to walk as soon as you felt what walking was like (btw, it feels soooooo good!). After that 100m walk, felt like a got a second wind and was comfortable running again, just at a slower pace.
- Mile 22-24 – Saw Katie, Matt and Gary again. Grabbed an ice cold water from them which was clutch and kept going. I was really hungry at this point. Grabbed food at every stop that was around. However, I never did get pretzels. That has always seemed like the worst idea to me. Those dry your mouth out like crazy. I always went for the apples and orange and bananas which seemed like there weren’t many food stops this year. Maybe I was just hungrier.
- Mile 25 – Saw Emily Pomeroy and Trent and their kids. Smiled big and waved. Then 18 steps later, my right hamstring cramped up big time and had to stop right in the middle of an intersection. The guy there asked if I wanted to go to the curb and pointed to the one behind me. Told him, “Can’t go back.” He gave me the Gatorade he had in his pocket. I was thankful and after about 30 seconds, I was off running again.
- Mile 26.1 – The 2 or 3 miles leading up to this point seem to take forever. You want it to be over so bad and you can’t seem to make it any faster. Here, I had already made my last turn and the crowd was getting bigger and bigger as I made my way down broadway. I see Kip and then my left hamstring cramps. I don’t stop because I don’t want to stop with thousands right there watching me so I fight through it and finally make it across the finish line in 3 hours 38 minutes and 12 seconds.
I was finished. I had completed my 6th marathon. I was very proud of my time and how I did throughout the race. Learned a few things and am excited to hear other people’s stories of their day. Congratulations to all the participants and everyone who had a part in the race from Koda CrossFit. Might I add that those shirts looked good out there.