Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Scorcher Half Marathon...

It is a testament to the craziness of my friends when one of them suggests we sign up for a half marathon called the Scorcher, in June, in Oklahoma, and three of us take her up on it.

Back at the beginning of May, right after the horribleness of the OKC Memorial Marathon, my first thought was redemption. My chance to finish out my time in the 35-39 age group with a speedy race based on the previous strong running that had been going on earlier this year.
Best laid plans and all...
After getting about four hours of sleeps, thanks to a wonderful surprise birthday party the night before, Rochelle picked me up and we headed for Stillwater at 4 am. I should say that we left Norman and traveled in thunderstorms the entire trip. After OKC, I was not looking forward to a rain delay. We found the start of the race with little effort, and got to wait out the rain under the Stillwater High School football stadium. Bonus points to the race director for this, and the real and abundant restrooms in the stadium.
We had about a 20 minute delay, so as always we got a picture or two.
Even with the rain, it was a beautiful morning.

Me, Sarah, Ro and Anne
We got lined up and set out in the rain. It took about four miles for me to give up on trying to avoid the puddles on the route. After about the first mile my friends went off on their paces and I settled in with my plan to run and walk when I needed to.
My hopes for a speedy race had pretty much been thrown out the window during May when I struggled with what my doctor called Overtraining Syndrome. After weeks of insomnia, fatigue, and upper respiratory problems it was nice to know I wasn't crazy, but it also meant that I needed to step back and rest. So, with very few miles in the weeks leading up to this race I knew that I would just have to listen to my body, and I am happy to say that I did.
It turned out to be a very fun day. I talked to quite a few people out on the route, and was happy to finish even if my time was horribly slow (for me). I did get to see Scotty, who won the race at about mile 8 and we took a selfie by the port-o-potties.
Me, Scotty and the port-o-potty
Did I mention that it rained the entire race? Thankfully it was not cold, but I regret my decision to wear a race skirt, shorts would have been a much better option.
Me and Gus at the finish line.
I got a picture with the owner of my favorite local running store, OK Runner. Yes, I know I look like I just crawled out of a very large puddle.
And then there was a post race, change into dry clothes picture with the girls.
There was one scary moment in the restroom when I was putting on said dry clothes, when I had some trouble with the dry sports bra. I thought I was going to have to ask a stranger for help but I managed to get dressed all by myself.

Not so much a Scorcher, we renamed it the Super Soaker Half Marathon. Who would have thought?

Monday, June 23, 2014

Another Memorial Marathon...

***I originally wrote this post on 5/5, guess I have done a pretty horrible job of keeping up with this. I am not going to edit this, but I do plan to post later why I think this day was so hard for me.***

Marathon #3 didn’t go exactly as I planned.
I think the OKC Memorial Marathon and I are officially breaking up. I know that I had said before that I would never run the full here again, and I don’t know what I was thinking that changed my mind. You just hate to have one of your running buddies go it alone; and I have been running strong all year.

My alarm went off at 4 am, and Josh was wonderful enough to get up to head out the door with me at 4:45am. We picked up Sarah, Rochelle and Cliff, swing by and meet up with some other friends to caravan downtown. The beauty of the Memorial, and I know I have said this before is that my office is right in the middle of the starting line and the finishing line. With a little sneaking around I can get into our parking lot for free parking, real bathrooms and we have now waited out two rain delays in our break room.

Of course there were pre race pictures.

 It all started to go to hell when they announced the first rain delay, then another, and another. In all the race started at 8:15 which, if you are keeping track, was almost two hours after the initial 6:30 start. So by the time we crossed the starting line, we should have been very close to being at the half way point. I ate breakfast at 4:30, so I was almost 4 hours past my banana and bonk breaker breakfast.

We started out well, maybe a little fast, but Sarah and I tried to settle into a pace that was sustainable over the long haul. We made it up the Walnut Street Bridge, through the bottleneck onto Lincoln, and made sure to hit up all the water stops on the course. Josh and Jen were at mile six cheering us on and before we knew it we were at the split and headed towards Chesapeake.

At mile 9, I had to take a walk break. Not long before then the clouds that had brought the earlier rain, decided to clear off completely and all that was left was the blazing sun and heat. My new plan to deal with the heat was to run a mile and walk a minute and get as much water/PowerAde at the water stops as I could. I saw Josh and Jen again at the half way point and they had ice for me that I ended up putting down the front of my sports bra.

After that it just got ugly. There was very little shade and the course heads out to Lake Hefner and the wind going south was brutal. I was not the only runner out there having a miserable time. I was near tears when I saw Josh again at mile 17, in a spot that I had not expected to see them, and I tried to keep running as much as I could by then. The water stop around mile 19 was handing out cold sponges and I kept pouring water down my back to try to keep cool.

At mile 20, Josh ran a little and walked a lot with me for the next mile or so. The highlight of the whole day was the beer that one of the local running stores was handing out at mile 21. Best. Beer. Ever.

If I had known how horrible the day was going to be I would have started drinking earlier. The next couple of miles were more walking than running. Everything hurt; my knees and hips, along with the pain of blisters on my toes made every step impossible and running into the strong south winds made standing up straight even when I was walking a struggle.

Rochelle showed up around mile 23 and grabbed my arm and forced me to start running again. I can honestly say that I would not have been able to finish if she hadn’t been there. She made me keep running and when I was ready to walk so would only let me slow down. She talked me all the way to the finish line, and Josh and Jen were waiting there to cheer me on once more.

I knew that it was going to be a warm day, and I had adjusted my goals for the day before we even began, but I never imagined how horrible it would be. I crossed the finish line in under 5 hours, about 30 minutes slower than Cowtown last year.

No finish line photos with friends this time around, but I did get one selfie with Cliff before we headed home to a much needed ice bath.
I didn’t feel like a quitter this time around, but it’s so hard to train for a marathon and then have your performance on race day not reflect how strong I felt throughout my training. You can’t control everything on race day, and we were just dealt a pretty crappy hand. I am thankful that I had family and friends out on the route that were supporting me, I could not have done it on my own.

No more Memorial Marathons for me. I think I will stick to the half marathon, or maybe I will convince my super speedy friends that we could do well as a relay next year.