Race Recap

2017 Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon

I ran in 2016. I didn’t recap it. I regretted not doing a recap as I began to share my other Memorial Marathon recaps this past week. So without delay, I wanted to get my 2017 Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon race day recap up and going before I would forget about it.

I signed up for the marathon in December before the price jump and I was eager to begin training. I wanted to still hold my training runs in Nichols Hills. Those kicked off in December and I was excited. In January, I hurt my heel playing basketball one morning at the YMCA. This is the same thing that happened to me in 2015: self-diagnosed plantar fasciitis. I couldn’t do much for 6 weeks and I didn’t run at all. This was tough and delayed my training. I was able to get going again in March, but didn’t really have a training plan other than run. I squeezed in a 10 mile run in the beginning of April just to see if I was able to get in double digit miles and that run went surprisingly well. I decided to stick with it and planned to run the full marathon still. I had a goal, which has always been anything under 4 I was fine with, but I wanted to shoot for 3:45.

Saturday was spent hydrating and fueling. I woke up early as I always do and watched the rain and coverage from the overnight storms. We had a few branches down in the back yard but nothing noteworthy really. I drove down to CrossFit 405 to chat it up with Joey, only to find out that the gym was without power and there was so much damage along the marathon course. Trees everywhere were down and across the road, waterlines were broken, power poles were split. It was impressive. The rest of the day, I drank a lot of water and we watched an Oklahoma City documentary that I hadn’t seen before. It was on Netflix and titled, “Oklahoma City.” Pretty relevant still today and especially with today’s political environment. We met my friend Dayton at Flips for dinner where I had a spaghetti and meatballs and a drink and then we all headed back to the house. I was able to get in bed around 9:15.

After I really solid night of sleep and with my alarm going off at 4 (didn’t hear it) and me finally getting up in a panic at 4:15, I popped up and the hopeful coffee induced countdown was on…. I went ahead and drove down to open the gym, to stretch and roll out and to use the bathroom as I have in the past. I’ve found it helpful just to be not at home prior to marathons, not sure why. The power was still out from the previous day’s storm so no hanging out, just a bunch of sitting in a car. Me, Katie from work, Dayton and Megan all hung out in the car with Bowers, Keaster and their friend arriving a little later. We then heading down to our normal parking spot off Broadway and sat some more before making our way to the start.

Weather was breezy, but nothing terribly cold I didn’t think. I had on a sweatshirt and sweatpants(there is a story here….) that I planned to strip off before the start so I was comfortable. I left Dayton and Megan and went to my corral. I was able to make it in time to take my Clif Shot, the 168 seconds of silence, National Anthem and with plenty of time to watch many begin to freak out. And with that, we were off for the 17th Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon, my 6th OKC run and 9th marathon total (10th of the marathon distance).

  • The start is always great. It was breezy and was spitting rain a little bit. Perfect temperature for running, just the wind and rain made it almost terrible.
  • The first mile is always congested. You don’t get to look up at any of the buildings as you’re looking in front of you and at your feet. I saw one person slip on the white paint of a crosswalk, so I figured I’d take it easy. Hey, look. Kyle, a former coworker!
  • We ran up the bridge in Bricktown connecting Deep Deuce and I needed to go to the restroom as I always do there. I held off.
  • Lincoln was noticeably different this year. The crowds were very thin with the weather the way it was.
  • Saw Karlis at the turn past the capitol. It was here that I began to take a Powerade and a water I every stop. Something I’ve discovered that helps me a great deal if I start at mile 4.
  • The damage from the previous day’s storms were crazy. Fences were down or just gone like a tornado had taken them.
  • Turning north on Robinson is always one of the prettier parts of the route. It was memorable again but only because the amount of trees that had to be removed from street.
  • Edgemere was great again. The martini man was dressed up in a Cubs suit still celebrating.
  • Running up Gorilla Hill (the street I ran the most during my training), I saw Ian, ARobb and Jason Parks. The bananas formed a tunnel to run through, which I liked quite a bit.
  • The turn. This is where the half and the full marathoners split. The route gets lonely and reality begins as you still have 18 more miles to run.
  • I stop for my one and only bathroom break at the CHK campus. It’s less crowded than any of the ones before and I knew that, so I was in and out.
  • Classen, heading north, seems to be pretty easy this year. Not sure why. I see Will come out of the relay exchange but he was too far ahead of me to say hello.
  • Running through The Village, my hands begin to get really cold. I pull my sleeves over them to try to keep them warm. It doesn’t seem to work as well as I want it to.
  • Heading west on Britton, I tuck in behind a guy who is pushing his son as part of the marathon. I’m not above drafting and so I do that for a bit.
  • HALFWAY! I’m feeling fine. Nothing too crazy just yet. The wind out of the west was chilly and we were about to turn south. Luckily the wind wasn’t directly out of the southwest at this time………..
  • Hefner Lake is my second least favorite spot on the course. It’s ALWAYS windy and today there were puddles everywhere, one of which we had to run through in the grass to get to the other side of the pathway.
  • My miles are still not terrible, but I’m slowly fading. No cramps yet, I was just ready to be out of the wind. We head back east on Grand Blvd. so I was looking forward to that break.
  • Andrew catches up to me and we chat about our goals for the day.
  • I see Ben, another former coworker.
  • Running down Grand is great because I know this portion of the route very well. It was with the wind at our back right now so it was smooth sailing.
  • Mile 19 passes and as I reach for the Powerade during this mile, my right hamstring cramps. I have almost 7 more miles to go. I’m ok with this mentally because it’s happened before. I stop. Stretch. Take a few painful steps and then it goes away. It’s those first 5 steps that are the absolute worst.
  • I pass the relay exchange point and see several folks I know. That spot is always fun because the relays are a little more spread out and you’re able to search to see if you know anyone there.
  • Hey, Classen. Idiot. This is where you get to countdown the blocks beginning at NW Expressway, 50th St. You turn off Classen at 18th St. The math is with you for a good 45 minutes. The 3:45 pace group passes me close to 40th St.
  • I see Cole, Amanda, Chloe and Kylo at 38th St. as my miles are really slowing at this point. The wind is directly in your face and it’s beginning to spit again making Classen just as miserable as it always is.
  • Finally turn off Classen after passing the Oklahoma Standard Stretch which was something new this year and it did not live up to the hype that the marathon organizers announced and announced that it would be.
  • I’m slow right now. Running through Mesta Park, folks were finally making their way out onto the course. I’m hurting but I know I can make it. I see Doug from the gym and and heading back north one last time before turning on 19th St.
  • There is Emily and Trent and their kids. I see them every year and every year I cramp here. I pass them and nothing. Then 100m down the road, CRAMP. My right quad and my right hamstring. Can’t stretch my quad out without my hamstring cramping more and can’t stretch my hamstring without my quad cramping more. I stand there for what seems to be like 2 minutes. I have one more mile to go and I see the 3:50 pacer pass me.
  • I finally get going and I begin to pick it up. I can tell I’m moving much faster and I’m keeping up with that 3:50 pace group. I change the screens of my watch for the first time to see elapsed time. It’s close. Maybe 3:50 is doable. I continue at that pace.
  • The turn on Broadway is surreal always. People begin cheering loudly as you approach them. I see Ron and Liv from the gym. Broadway seems like it’s forever long and you have no choice but to keep going because you can see the finish. I see it… I’m also cramping. My right quad and now my left quad is on fire. I continue on however.
  • I cross the finish line and I stop immediately unable to take any more steps because of the knot in my left quad. I stand for a few minutes before making it over to the finisher shirt pick up where I didn’t get mine last year. I made sure to get it this year but while doing so, I didn’t get a finisher’s photo. I’ll get both the next time, I suppose.

I have learned from past experiences that though the marathon is physically challenging, it’s almost, if not more, mentally challenging than physical. I didn’t train as well as I wanted to and probably should have but I knew I could do it. I know what happens when you cramp and how to push through that. I know what happens when you have 6 more miles of a stupid race. I know what happens when things don’t go as you want them to. It’s through all that that your race is won. Pushing through those mishaps or mistakes knowing that you’ll be able to cross the finish line as long as you keep going. I was happy to have finished this race. I was happy to meet up with Dayton and Megan back at the house to celebrate. They ran the half marathon doing all the fun stops along the way: donuts, shots, beers more donuts. I think I’ll do that next year.

2015 OKC Memorial Marathon Recap

I ran 26.2 miles for the 8th time on Sunday, April 27, 2015. This was my 7th full marathon race, 8th of the marathon distance and 4th Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon. I’d say I will remember this one more than any of the others, but I think that’s a lie because I remember them all apart from my Chicago Marathon, two-thirds of which I can’t recall. This year’s OKC Marathon was completely different for me in many ways.

I signed up for this run in December. I was smart about it, getting in before the price jump… so I thought. I ran with my group at Koda CrossFit the month of January. Then on February 4th, I was playing against a group of college kids at the Colvin Center at Oklahoma State in a 5-on-5 pick-up basketball game. Unbeknownst to me, it was game 7 of the NBA Championship and I was fouled into the wall during a layup and somehow hurt my heel pretty bad. I wasn’t able to put pressure on it for a few days and running was out of the question for a good month. I began to wonder if I was going to run it at all. I started to pick my runs up a little in the middle of March and made a few of the April runs, none of which were greater than the 10k distance. I decided in April that I’d at least try the run. If all else failed, I had multiple turn off points throughout the course where a mimosa would be waiting for me if I needed to call it quits.

The morning of, I woke up after a great night’s sleep at 3:45. Had my bagel, my cup of coffee and headed to Koda to gather some folks before heading down to the start. It’s always easier to wake up and be excited for a race when there is a group around feeding off that excitement… and bathrooms that aren’t port-a-potties. At 5:35, we headed downtown to make the start. With Koda having a good relationship with SandRidge Energy and me having coached there for over a year, I made my way to the fitness center with Andi and her husband. We got to enjoy one last little bathroom trip and talk with a few more friends before needing to be at the start. The start was way crazier than I remember because last year, the race had been delayed for two hours so the barricades weren’t up or something because this time around, I had to climb through a fence in order to just be on the course. I missed the 168 seconds of silence trying to make my way through the crowd as well as the National Anthem and all of sudden, boom, we’re off.

  • Start – It’s always a great feeling to blast off at the beginning. The crowd pumps you up and we’re running through the streets of a usually busy downtown area. It’s a great time and I always have a smile on my face. It’s tough to weave through the crowd but you have to as there are usually walkers or firefighters or folks in the wrong corral ahead of you. Heck, I may have been in the wrong corral this year.
  • Mile 1 – My pace is actually right where it needs to be. 8:40 or so. I knew this year that I’d go out slower and finish even slower than normal (read: previous pace) because of my lack of preparation. I took that into account. Plus, I didn’t have my GPS watch because it was stolen a few weeks prior. That also helped me not pay attention to my clock and just run.
  • Need to find a bathroom. It always happens at mile 2 for some reason. Always. I hold off.
  • It was warming up quick. I was feeling fine. We’re heading towards the Capitol and I see Karl from Koda. He was more sore than I’d be from a competition the day before. This part of the race is weird to me. Heading towards the Capitol building is fun, but the area and crowd support isn’t super great just because of the large distance that’s covered right here and it’s all in a straight line. I see Katie Walker and wave as I continue on.
  • Turning back into the “city” areas is great. We head north from 23rd into a fun area that I’ve come to love in the recent years. Gorgeous yards, pretty houses and for marathon weekend, great crowd support for the next 4 miles. I see Cameron, whose mother used to babysit me back in my kindergarten days. As we approach Edgemere Park, I miss seeing the Arguello’s on the bridge as their kids were participating in the kids marathon at that same time downtown.
  • When we turn on 37th heading towards the Gorilla Hill area, there is a house that always has vodka shots. I’m running the half-marathon sometime and stopping at every fun stop there is. Some have vodka, others mimosa, others donuts and bacon. But when running a full marathon, never a good idea at mile 5.
  • Gorilla Hill! I see Jerad Abbott, Reid Reagan, Jared Muse, Gary Wood and others passing what is probably the best known area of the marathon. Love drunk people at 7:30am. Always great.
  • This year’s course was a bit different with construction happening on Western so instead of getting to run right by Megan’s house, we had to run all the way to 50th on Shartel. Once we got to 50th and Western, Megan and her weenie dog, Bailey, were there waiting for me. I stopped for a quick second to talk to them and that’s when I realized my foot was hurting. Not the foot that was hurt earlier in the season, but the other one. I must have been favoring it a bit. Mile 8. That’s not good. Also, this is the part that kind of stinks. The half marathoners keep going west to Classen and the full marathoners turn north heading towards the Chesapeake campus. The crowd lightens and you begin to settle in knowing you have almost a shit-ton of miles left. Mental battle, commence.
  • From here, things are not necessarily boring, just not a whole lot to remember. Classen to Britton seems almost entirely uphill. I get to see a few Kodites at the 3rd relay exchange. And then, we start heading west towards Lake Hefner. It was in this section of the race that I saw a high school classmate, Krystal, and then the best sign of the day. A lot of folks go with the classics, “Harder, Faster, Stronger… That’s what she said” or the ever popular, “Don’t trust a fart,” but this one got me the most: “Free Wifi.” I laughed and kept at it.
  • Running around the lake is a good thing, mainly because it’s the point where you turn around and start heading back. I was hanging in there with the 3:50 pace group. Right where I wanted to be. I stayed with them for 4 miles or so and then started to drop back around Mile 18 but I knew I had 10 minutes to play with until that 4:00 marathon mark. It was at mile 18 where Cole, Bo and Megan were supposed to meet me with some nutrition. As I approached our usual meeting spot (it’s awful that I have a usual meeting spot on a marathon course…) I didn’t see them and then I look towards the south and from afar I can spot Chloe. I yell and keep running. About a minute later, Cole and Chloe are sprinting up towards my side and Megan is not far behind. I get my nutrition thankfully(!!).
  • Now begins the hard part. I’m lucky enough to run with a group that runs Nichols Hills every Sunday so I know this part of the course well. There are a few gradual climbs and then a solid downhill with a straight-away before getting to the hardest climb of the course just before Classen Curve. After Classen Curve, it’s just one big boring stretch heading south. During that stretch this time, I was able to see Megan once more and she was also able to get caught taking a selfie by Katie Walker, so that was fun.
  • Up to this point at Mile 24-25, I was feeling good. Not great, but good. I was able to have continued to run without walking and as I turn and see the mile 25 flag and also Jared and Emily Pomeroy and crew. Jared rode his bike with me for a bit and as soon as he turned away, HAMSTRING CRAMP. Same spot as last year and same people that I last saw before it happened last year too. I know how to handle these (un)fortunately. They hurt. It feels like you won’t be able to get going again, but as soon as you fight through that first step, in my previous experiences including this one, I’ve been fine until the end. As I was stretching out my hamstring, the 4:00 pace group passed me. That was my goal I had in my head. That upset me that they were passing me. Once I began running again, I picked it up. I was close. I fought for this one and I passed that 4:00 group again. As I was running down Broadway, it seemed like it would never end. Finally, the crowd thickened and the yells were getting stronger. I kept running at my faster pace and crossed the finish line completing my 7th marathon, what felt like my hardest yet.

From there, it’s a disaster trying to get to my car. Not because of the race, or the organization or the crowds but because walking has now all of a sudden become dangerously hard. Wobbling to my car, I was happy, but that quarter-mile trek was the hardest part of the marathon. I celebrated with friends at our usual post-marathon spot, Republic, where day drinking at 10:30am can begin because after 26 miles, that 7pm bedtime cannot come soon enough.

Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon v3

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.

OKC Marathon 5×26.2

As I do with all my races, I like to recap each one going into detail about what I was thinking at certain points during the day. Here is the 2013 version of the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon. Here is the 2010 version if you want the first go-’round.

April 28th, 2013 marked the 5th time I would take on the 26.2 mile distance. I took a different approach to training for this marathon, a minimalist one. I only trained with CrossFit the majority of the time and threw in some CrossFit Endurance workouts in occasionally. I found that it was difficult to coach a CFE class and do the workout (alone, mind you) in the same day so most of the time, I only coached. I felt I was in shape enough to go out and finish the distance and mentally, I knew what was ahead of me throughout the run so I was good in that arena as well. Time was the only thing I was unsure of going into this marathon. I kind of set a goal to be sub 3:30 but time wasn’t the most important part of this race. This race, I wanted to enjoy the entire thing and not black out anywhere along the route like I have in several of my marathons.

The morning of, I opened Koda at 5:00am to give people the opportunity to walk through a warm up and prepare for what was to take place soon. I thought we’d have maybe 5 people, 10 at most, show up. Nearly 30 people were in the gym warming up. I led a little group mobility and warm up and gave a few tips and pointers and answered a few questions from those that were just a little nervous before their first half/full marathon. At 5:35, we all made our way downtown to get in line for the start. And so it began.

  • Start – 168 seconds of silence. The first time I ran it, I was so rushed and nervous to get to the start that I was running late and had to jump the fence even after the gun went off so I didn’t get a chance to be a part of this. It was very powerful especially with the events that took place in Boston just two weeks prior.
  • Mile 1 – In 2010, the Devon Tower wasn’t there. We were heading right for it and running right below it this time around. It was very cool to be running under tall buildings.
  • Mile 2 – I got rid of one of my fat long sleeve t-shirts. I knew I hung on to those for some reason and this was a perfect occasion for me to throw it away.
  • Mile 2.2 – Bathroom break. What the hell, Ryan!?
  • Mile 2-5 – I ran into so many people that I knew from the gym, from school and from different running events. It was fun talking to everyone as we ran by the capital and headed back west approaching Gorilla Hill.
  • Mile 6 – QUADS. Just 20 more miles. Shit.
  • Mile 7 – Running through Edgemere Park and Gorilla Hill was very fun this time around. Saw some more friends and took in all the parties going on with the music blaring. We approached the split where the half marathon split off and the full marathon kept going. Things got less crowded and less exciting but we still had a ways to go. Can’t get bored now.
  • Mile 8 – 10 – Did not remember this part of the race last time at all. Found out that I didn’t remember alot of the race the first time around. There are so many parks in this part of the city. So many places to play offense/defense. Kind of cool.
  • Mile 10 or 11 – This is where the 3rd relay exchange was. I saw a buddy from the gym and he cheered me on. I was still at a good pace right now and was ahead of schedule. It was either going to be a great, great day or one that I’d end up regretting with the current pace I was holding.
  • Mile 12-16 – I ran with two guys this stretch of the race, west on Britton and around the lake to Stars and Stripes park. I let one guy be in the lead the entire time and completely drafted off of him. Kind of a douche move on my part having never been first to take on the wind but that’s ok. I wasn’t planning on having a beer with this guy afterwards. At this point in the race, I was starving. I was so hungry. I took my gels but those don’t fill you up. I needed food so I began grabbing bananas and oranges at each stop they offered them. Pretzels don’t do it for me and I knew that going in so I never reached for those.
  • Mile 16-20 – These miles were really close to my house. I saw my roommate, Cole and Chloe (aka Tick Face). He handed me a water bottle with a much needed Nuun. These miles were the ones that Koda Endurance did all winter long. We ran Grand Blvd. every Sunday for 5 months nearly. They were primarily downhill but I began to unravel at this point in the race. My feet were beginning to hurt and my miles were slowing.
  • Mile 20 – I had one 10k left. It was going to take forever. I saw a few Koda folks right at 63rd and Grand and got a quick boost. That lasted all of 150m. My hamstring cramped as I went up the hill right before Classen Curve. I was in trouble. I stopped. Bent over and stretched out my right hamstring. I was nervous to get going but this has happened in several of my other marathons as well. That first step is questionable but afterwards, things get back to normal. I was thankful that it was the case this time around.
  • Mile 20-23 – This stretch of the race is kind of boring. This is where I almost broke down completely the first time I ran OKC. I was on the verge of tears having to walk every quarter of a mile or so. Having to walk by all the spectators cheering for you was miserable. I wasn’t walking this time, but I was slowing. I saw a few more people from Koda that lifted my spirits a bit. Taylor, a guy in my Endurance class, ran with me for a little bit. I was glad to have someone to talk to. I was 2 hours and 45 minutes into the day. I was ready for it to be over. At mile 23, a little girl was handing out candy. I had candy during my marathon for my Ironman and it helped a ton. I grabbed what I thought was going to be Skittles but instead it was two Starbursts. I’m not turning around for Skittles. I opened up the candy (which took what seemed like half a mile because the wrappers on wrappers on wrappers) and as always… a yellow and an orange. Never had I enjoyed a lemon Starburst more. For the next 3 miles of the race, that’s all I wanted. I needed that yellow Starburst.
  • Mile 24 – 5k LEFT!
  • Mile 25 – I ran up one last gigantic hill that was the last struggle before the homestretch. Right as I turned towards the finish line, there was a large Koda group cheering/drinking. It was exactly what I needed. They said I looked good at the turn for it being 25 miles into a marathon but I felt like garbage. Only 1 mile left.
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  • Mile 26 – Running down Broadway is the best. I was pushing 3:30 but was needing to sprint in order to make it. I was content with not making 3:30. I kept running. Smiling the entire way down Broadway and to the finish line. I didn’t hear my name but was very excited to cross the finish line, get my medal and grab as much food as possible… except the Carl’s Jr. burgers. I knew what those would do to me.

I had to walk back to my car from the finish line… about another half mile. It took me longer to walk that than I imagined it would have when I parked there. I didn’t necessarily train for a marathon but wanted to prove to myself that I could get up and run one if I wanted to and that’s exactly what I did.

I remembered more from this race than any of my other races. It was a different experience and one that I’d welcome any day of the week when it came down to running marathons. Running to run is fun sometimes, but running to remember was way more exciting. We had over 40 people run some part of the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon and seeing all those people finish their legs of the relay, finish their half marathons and finish their full marathons made me so proud to have been some part of their journey.