Marathon Prep

Marathon Eve

On the eve of the 13th Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon, I have quite a bit going through my mind. However this time around, none of it is about me.

Typically, I am thinking about my race, my plan, my goal. This is new to me. For the first time in my endurance life, I am so excited for others. For the past 5 months, I have been coaching and training an incredible group of people from Koda CrossFit. We have over 40 people running some part of the race tomorrow. 5Ks, 10Ks, 12Ks, Half Marathons and the Full Marathon. We even have two people in California right now running the Big Sur Marathon (jealous!). For those that don’t know, I had always wanted to pay it forward in the endurance community. I did most all of my training for my marathons by myself and even my Ironman. For that one, I did have a coach from afar. I wanted to be that person for others. I wanted to share my knowledge, my pointers, my failures so other people could learn from me and I’d be able to be a part of their journey. I finally got the chance to do that this year.

I am running the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon for the 2nd time and this will be my fifth marathon overall. I have enjoyed it more this time around I can honestly say. The first time I ran it, it was my first marathon. I was overweight, new to the running scene and was clueless as to what would come next. I focused on the running aspect. This time around, I focused more on the why aspect of this marathon. Today, my roommate Cole and I went downtown and walked around the Oklahoma City National Memorial. We saw the chairs, saw the Survivor Tree, saw the notes and letters and stuffed animals on the fence outside the Memorial. It was very overwhelming to see everything on the eve before the race that was put in place to remember the victims and the coming together of a city.

I want people to remember this race as a huge accomplishment in their life but also to take everything in. I want them to listen to people. I want them to listen to the cheers. I want them to talk to people. I want them to read the signs. Read the bibs and see who people are running for. I want everyone to feel the 168 seconds of silence. These are things that I missed my first time around and things that I will not miss tomorrow.

Seeing the Memorial today and having a flood of emotions run through me as I remembered where I was and what I was doing when the bomb went off on April 19th, 1995 was incredible. It made me proud to be a part of this city and to be a part of a city that built itself up from that horrific day. It also made me proud that I was able to share my running experience with others and will be able to see them cross that finish line tomorrow and receive their Finisher’s Medal.

My first OKC Memorial Marathon, I didn’t think of it as a Run to Remember but more as a run for me. This time around, it will be for others.

Race Week

You’re trained. You’re ready. Don’t mess this up.

There are alot of questions going through your mind right now as race day is quickly approaching. If it’s your first race, there are even more. First thing you have to do is know that you’re ready. The work has been put in. If you happened to go at it with a little more lax attitude and you’re a little more worried this week, be happy with the work you did put in and don’t overdue it this week. That goes for you all that were able to stick to your training plans and are fully prepared for race day come Sunday. Don’t go nuts this week.

Be sure to stick to your normal schedule through Wednesday. Work out normal. Eat normal. Drink normal. Don’t repeat Open Workout 13.3. Everything you have done since December in preparation for the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon, keep doing it. Thursday, if you’ve worked out pretty hard through Wednesday, think about taking a rest day from everything. Come in for some mobility. It will be a light day at the gym for this reason. Friday go out for a run… 2-3 (slow) miles. Saturday – keep it easy: mobility, maybe a short run. After Thursday for sure, I would take a break from everything legs at the gym. Substitute if you have to during workouts. No heavy cleans or 4×7 back squats. Take Saturday to get your things in order and get your mind right. Know your race plan and how you’re going to tackle your 13.1 miles or 26.2. Go to bed early on
Saturday night.

Race Day: Try your best to have a good night of sleep. Let your mind be at ease and take Saturday to make that happen. Wake up early, early. This won’t be hard if it is your first race. Eat your (good) breakfast. If you’ve practiced your breakfast on any of your training runs, stick with that. Don’t change it up. If you’re regular, that’s going to be good on race day. You don’t want to have any surprises while running…. we’re talking BMs here. Get down to the race area with plenty of time. Be prepared to do some walking beforehand because parking is limited. Have a plan on where you’re going to meet your group afterwards too because you aren’t going to want to walk too far after you cross that finish line. If it is cold in the morning, bring/wear clothes that you don’t mind throwing away. They’ll be picked up afterwards and donated. It is crowded at the start. Don’t be scared to spread out a bit and get your (dynamic) stretches in.

Once the gun goes off, you’ll want to take off fast. DON’T. It’s very, very hard to slow yourself down that first mile or two. Know that it is tough and do everything you can to stick with your plan. Everything is there for the same reason. People are excited. The atmosphere is incredible. Going out fast once you’re able to is easy to do. Try to not let that happen. It usually is jammed up at the beginning. You’re going to feel like you’re going really slow if you’re in the middle or towards the end of the start. Don’t panic. You’ll have plenty of time to make up that time if you got caught up in the crowd. You don’t have to pick up your pace at the first because of that. Have small goals throughout the race. If you have friends and family coming out to cheer you on, have them plan where they are going to be to let you know. Seeing people you know is so huge during a race of this duration.

Wear your name on your shirt. Take your nutrition. Drink your water. Rock out to your tunes. Enjoy the race. Remember why you are there running. Take in the experience. I ran the Chicago Marathon and I don’t remember any of it except for maybe 3 parts of the race. It lasted 3 hour and 30 minutes and I remember 10 minutes of it… maybe. Take in everything you can while running. Think back on your training and how much you worked for this moment. Remember the people cheering for you as you run by. Read the signs people make. Remember Gorilla Hill. Look at the houses when running through Nichols Hills. See parts of OKC that you may have never seen. Thank the volunteers handing you water and bananas. Smile as you run down Broadway towards the finish line. Wear your medal ALL day.