|Walking to the race start.|
They did the countdown and then shot off the confetti which is always such an awesome way to start the race! Jeremy took out pretty fast and we immediately had quite a few runners between us. The pace felt a bit fast and I looked down to see we were running 7:30 pace. I slowed down right away and figured once Jeremy's excitement died down, I'd catch up to him and we could run together. I went through the first mile in 8:02 and I still had an eye on Jeremy. I was freaking out a little bit about how fast I ran the first mile. I started to worry that the rest of the race was going to be so painful! I spent most of the second mile in a panic over how fast I'd run the first mile and about how far ahead of me Jeremy was. During the 2nd mile I started to lose sight of Jeremy and I was really worried about him. I was afraid he'd gone out way too fast and was going to have a really rough race. I had slowed down quite a bit during the 2nd mile in an attempt to get more on pace. I went through the 2nd mile in 8:43. I was shocked to already see mom, dad, Ty and the kids. I told them Jeremy had gone through the first mile under 8:00 and they didn't seem as panicked over that as I felt. I threw my gloves to mom and felt a bit more at ease. I finally decided it wasn't that big of a deal that I had run the first mile so fast because there is a lot of downhill during that mile. Mile 3 was 8:38 and mile 4 was 8:37.
|Dad and Elise watching for us to come by.|
|Trying to get over to my family, I'd been on the inside of the turn when I saw them.|
|This is my favorite picture from the race. Days later Elise is still telling me, "I cheer for Uncie J!"|
|High fives for my loves!|
I went through mile 13 in 8:25 and then I went through the half a little under 1:52. I realized if I could run a 1:48 second half I could run a PR. My PR going into the race was a 3:40:05 from 9 years ago in my first marathon when I was 22 years old. I didn't know what pace a 1:48 half would be but I knew it was over 8:00 so I went with it. I knew 1:44 was 8:00 pace but anything over that I wasn't so sure about. I looked it up after I got home and realized it was 8:14 pace which is funny because I was shooting for 8:10 pace without even knowing. Had I known for sure that I needed to run 8:14 pace for the rest of the race, I would've been a bit hesitant to believe I could do it. Sometimes ignorance really is bliss. Without knowing for sure what I was asking of myself, it was much easier to believe it was possible. I think the fact that I believed I could average 8:10 pace or under for the rest of the race shows how good I was feeling at that point. I told myself I might as well go for it. If I crashed and burned I'd still break 4 hours and at least I'd tried for a PR. There were a couple of flatter miles and I felt great so I picked up the pace maybe a little too much at that point. Miles 14-16 were 7:49, 7:52, and 7:52. I was really reeling in the 3:40 pacer and kept telling myself, "One mile at a time, hit them at 8:10." I ate another Gu at mile 13. We ran through a neighborhood where kids were handing out leis to the runners. A little girl was standing in the middle of the road passing them out. She tried to hand one to the guy running in front of me and he didn't take one. She looked disappointed so I took one when I went through. I threw it over my neck and ran with it for the next few miles until I saw Carter and Elise and passed it off to them. When the wind was at our sides it would blow the lei to my side and it rubbed my shoulders but other than that it just bounced along behind me on my back. I kept my eyes forward and trained on the yellow balloons of the 3:40 pacer.
|I was laughing that mom got a picture of me taking my long sleeved off which was under my tank top before I put my tank top back on because it reminded me of a picture from the half marathon I ran 32 weeks pregnant with Carter.|
|Half marathon and marathon, five years apart.|
A little after mile 16 I caught up to the 3:40 pacer and ran with him for a little bit. Miles 17-20 were 8:10, 7:55, 8:01, and 8:01. I was pretty pumped about how good I was feeling. I kept wanting to pick up the pace but told myself to wait until the last 10k and see how I felt then. I saw my family again at mile 18 and that was wonderful! They were at perfect places for passing off clothes and I was so excited I got to see them so much during the race. Each time I saw them it was a huge morale boost! I noticed my mile splits were about a tenth of a mile over what the race mile splits were so I added an extra minute when figuring what I needed to average for the last few miles to still run under 3:40. I was passing a lot of runners but wasn't even paying attention to the people around me, I was focusing on staying ahead of 3:40 pace and the pacer. I'd hear people cheering for the pacer after I went past and didn't like how close behind me he was. At mile 20 I was pretty pumped and was thinking about how I could actually train for a marathon, doing speed work and tempos, and run the marathon again next year so I could really have a great race. Miles 20-22 were 8:01, 8:01, and 8:04. I saw my family again at mile 22 and was so excited! In my head, they saw I was ahead of the 3:40 pacer and would know I was running a PR! Right around that time I felt a gush and noticed I was bleeding through my tampon and all over my shorts. I wasn't supposed to start my period until Monday but, unfortunately, started a day early on Saturday which meant marathon day was my heaviest day! I also started feeling a little rough and my mindset switched to, "I'm never running another marathon again!"
|Passing off my lei as I ran with the 3:40 pacer.|
Miles 23 and 24 were 8:08 and 8:11. I calculated that I could run the last 2 miles in 8:30 and still break 3:40. At that point I started to get another wind and started thinking, "I might run another marathon but I think I'll need awhile." I think I can thank that extra perk to the Gu I ate at mile 22. I don't remember which mile it was, but one mile when I went past the course clock I saw I was at 2:23 and told myself Shalane Flanagan would be finishing around then if she were running. I got excited to be in the last 5k of the race and started to try to push the pace a little but my legs were getting tired. I also knew there was a decent hill in the last mile. During the race I got a kick out of how much easier the hills felt running 8:30 for the marathon rather than 7:00 pace for the half. The hills really hadn't bothered me at all during the race. I kept telling myself, "You can slow down but then you'll just be in pain for longer."
|Thomas getting some post-race snuggles from the kids.|
|When I saw this picture I was so glad I went out of my way to high five all the kids on the course!|
|These may have been the only race photos I've ever had where I was smiling as I finished.|
At first I was disappointed that I didn't run the race with Jeremy as I had hoped. But the more I thought about it, I think it worked out best that way. I was glad Jeremy felt free to run his own race and do what was best for his body. I think if I had been running with him he would have felt pressure to keep running rather than walking when he needed to. No matter what pace he runs, his hip gets sore where he has pins holding his bones in place. I think even if he'd started the race at 9-9:30 pace he would've gotten sore at the end and had to walk some anyway. Long runs are harder for him with the injuries he's recovered from. Jeremy was definitely pleased with how things went. He was excited for me that I had run a PR and was really happy to have finished the race. It was a huge feat for him! He has such a wonderful mindset going into races, making goals based on his workouts and then adjusting throughout the race as needed. He said he originally hoped to be just over 4 hours. Then as the race progressed and he needed to walk some, he decided it would be neat if he finished in 4:20 and was tickled when he thought he'd finished in 4:20:20. He actually finished one second faster than that. If it hadn't been for Jeremy going out faster than expected, there's no way I would have run a PR. Had I taken off and followed my own race plan, I would have started out at 9:00 pace. Those first few miles around 8:30 pace is what helped propel me toward believing I could sustain that pace for the rest of the race. Although, ideally, I wanted to run the whole race with Jeremy, the way the race panned out ended up being pretty perfect. There's nothing like giving up on a season thinking you have no shot to come back and run any PRs or decent races after battling minor injuries, only to unexpectedly come out of the season with a new PR! I can thank Jeremy for that! I never would have been brave enough to chase that PR if he hadn't taken me out too fast for the first mile and then left me chasing him down!
The minute I crossed the finish line I felt terrible. My legs were so done and every muscle from my hips down started twitching. I decided I might run another marathon, but it would need to be in another 8 years. I hobbled over to the fencing on the outside of the chute and grabbed on for support. I stood there holding on and catching my breath until a volunteer came over to check on me. Then I started walking so I could avoid being dragged off to the med tent like my most recent marathon. That was a horrible experience! I fought the urge to cry partially from excitement at my new PR, partly due to fatigue, and partly due to being in the most pain I've ever been in my life. It took me a long time to make it through the chute and I was in so much pain! I think that may have been in part because I ran such a huge negative split which meant I ran a 1:47:07 second half! I also believe I wasn't quite in as good of shape as I was when I ran my PR 9 years ago but I just ran a smarter race (although not tactically planned) and had absolutely perfect weather with 35-55 degree temps and virtually no wind which is unheard of for Oklahoma! I definitely ran much faster than I'd trained for which probably made it hurt more as well. I trained more for a sub-4 hour marathon with no tempo runs and my last speed workout being 5 weeks out from race day! After the Tulsa Run I was a bit in shock over how much under my 1:10 goal I had run and I rode that runner's high for, I'm not kidding, at least a week! I think going into a race just hoping to run under 4 hours and then running a freaking PR tops that for sure! I'm definitely feeling really good about it!
I finished the race with an official time of 3:38:58 and a new marathon PR after 9 years! I was pleasantly surprised when I got home and saw I had placed 3rd in my age group out of 77 runners. I looked at the half splits and I was running 11th in my age group at that point, moving up to 3rd by the finish! I was 124th out of 1,566 total finishers and 23rd out of 737 females. Since I set my phone up to track me, Jeremy, Thomas, and one of my friends running the marathon it showed all my splits and what pace I ran for that segment of the race. I went through the 10k in 53:45 which was 8:39 pace, then the 10 mile in 1:26:07 which was 8:33 pace, then the half in 1:51:51 which was 8:19 pace for that section, 2:47:19 for the 20 mile which was 8:03 pace for that section, and ran the last 6 miles at 8 minute pace. My Garmin showed I ran 8:17 pace but the official results show 8:22 pace. My Garmin also showed I ran 26.42 miles so either I did a terrible job running the tangets (which I know I did since I ran out of the way to high five, get to my family, and get water at the stops, but not sure I did that bad of a job) or my Garmin is way off with distance. After seeing my mom's pictures I realized how much distance I added running over to high five the kids and see my family as well as on other sections of the course when I went out of the way to high five kids on the course, so it is likely that I did add around 2/10ths of a mile to the distance. Since my goal was to finish and have fun I put more emphasis on enjoying the spectators than on running the tangents and I don't regret that at all. I also know I was checking my Garmin mile splits compared to the course mile splits and they were pretty close for the first few miles but I kept being more and more over the longer the race was and probably the more I ran longer around turns.
The course is decently challenging with about 700 feet of elevation gain, but not too bad. Jeremy finished in 4:20:19 which put him 417th out of 1,566 overall! It's amazing to think he finished faster than over 1,000 people while running with a rod in his femur and pins in his hip! That evening Jeremy was walking much better than I was and I said, "Jeremy's walking better than me because he has the advantage of having a rod in his leg." Everyone got a kick out of it and I think it also reminded Jeremy of how amazing it was that he was able to do what he did. He and dad went up to the NTSICU that afternoon to pass out survivor shirts for the nurses who asked for one and they got to see Jeremy and hear about how he had run a marathon that morning, it was pretty cool! I'm still in awe that Jeremy was able to finish the race, especially considering how much under his projected pace he ran the first half of the race. He really gutted it out in the second half and showed tremendous strength. He continues to inspire me each time he races. Thomas had a really good race in the half as well, finishing in 1:43:32, 202nd out of 4,728 finishers. He'd like to shoot for a sub-1:40 now that he's close to it. I think he could easily do that in the spring at the Aquarium Run since it's such a flat, fast course!
We ended up having quite the trek back to the car after the race and all the walking definitely helped my legs. By the time we made it home I was thinking I may run the marathon again next year but don't quote me on that! Outside of the first half hour after the race my recovery has been pretty spot on to what I remembered from my 3 marathons back in 2008 and 2009. It has been hard to get up and down stairs but other than that I'm back to walking pretty close to normally today. I'm not sure why I was in so much pain right after the finish, but holy moly it was rough! I had a hard time walking and couldn't sit or stand still. I had to keep moving. I sat to watch Jeremy finish and was near a family with 2 small kids. The boy kept asking me questions which I was fine with answering but his grandma kept telling him, "Leave her alone, she just wants to rest after her race!" I told her I have a 4 year old and 2 year old at home so I'm used to getting done with a long run and immediately being inundated with questions! After sitting for a while and not being able to stand it anymore I decided to walk back over to the grassy area of Guthrie Green and that's where dad found me. He had my sweats and made sure I put them on which helped. Then he rubbed my calves for me which were still twitching and that made a huge difference for me. We walked back over to the finishing area when I was ready and waited for Jeremy with mom. I saw one of my running buddies and found out she had broken 4 hours after telling me her goal was to run around 4:30! She looked great. Then we saw Jeremy and he looked so happy. I was worried he'd be limping or looking run-down but he looked fabulous! We all enjoyed chatting as we made the long trek back to our cars and Jeremy saved us by remembering exactly where the parking lot was! Overall the race was a wonderful experience. I enjoyed almost every moment of the race and the "marathon legs" these past few days have been so worth it. Now I'm looking forward to getting my age group award mailed to me because if they are similar to last year's awards, it will have my new marathon PR printed on it! Read about last year's Route 66 Half-Marathon here, 2015's race here, and the run-down of all our races at Route 66 up to 2016 here.
|Walking back to the car.|