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.