Thursday, November 1, 2018

Tulsa Run 15k

This season it was my hope to run PRs in the half marathon at Prairie Fire, the 15k at the Tulsa Run, and the marathon at Route 66. Those were my big goal races for the season. Prairie Fire didn't go quite how I hoped because of my glute/hamstring issue flaring back up, but I was hopeful I'd still be able to pull out a PR at the Tulsa Run. Last year after the race they sent an email out congratulating finishers and letting us know that the course the following year would be flatter and faster! I figured just having a flatter course would be what I needed to PR. Then one of my friends ran a course preview and I looked at the elevation gain. It was 400 feet of gain compared to 350 feet last year! Long story short, they weren't able to run on a road they were planning on so the course was not what they had envisioned when they sent out the email last year. Without the advantage of a flatter course I didn't feel nearly as confident that I'd be able to PR since my hamstring was still causing me some issues and my half-marathon time didn't give me a lot of confidence. I told Ty even if I was only able to muster my half-marathon pace for the race, that wouldn't be a bad time.
Carter and Elise had fun with Oma in the kid's zone while we ran the 15k.
One big difference in the course change was that the start was on a narrower road so the start corrals were narrower and harder to get into. I wasn't prepared for that and expected it to be similar to last year's race. I stopped off at the porta potties and when I went to enter the corral it was a mess. I couldn't get up front where I needed to be and ended up having to wait to the side. I qualified for an elite bib with my time from the St. Patrick's Day 5k in the spring but I've always qualified for an elite bib but never actually used it to get into the corral because it wasn't necessary so I didn't do it this year. It definitely would have helped this year because they let the "elites" in the corral but held everyone else back until about a minute before the start when they opened the gate to let us up into the start area. I was a little panicked about the situation, I think mostly because everyone around me was really nervous about it. When they opened the gate we had to run up to get close to the front and I started the race with one of the volunteers who had been holding everyone behind the gate standing in front of me. It was a mess and due to all the adrenaline from feeling like we were all going to miss the start, I took off way too fast. I felt really relaxed and comfortable and my glute and hamstring weren't hurting so it didn't seem that fast. I glanced at my watch a couple times in the first mile and it said I was running 6:30 pace but I figured it was wrong since I felt so relaxed and I heard someone near me talking to their friend, saying they were running 6:45 pace.

When my watch beeped for the first mile in 6:32 I didn't even worry that it was faster than all 3 miles of my 5k the weekend before, I felt that good. I just figured I was going to run a freaking awesome race! Then at about a mile and a half my hamstring tightened up and I started to worry a little bit. Around in here Jeremy passed me. I went through the 2nd mile in 6:55 and was pleased because that was exactly the pace I had been hoping for. I noticed that the course seemed to have about the same amount of hills as previous years but they weren't as steep. I still felt pretty good when I went through mile 3 in 7:09 and then the first 5k in 21:38. I had felt on a perfect day and a flat course I could run 21:30 per 5k in this race. But with the race still being hilly I knew that was likely too fast of a first 5k. During mile 4 my quads really started to tighten up and that's when I could feel that my first mile was too darn fast! I still had a decent split with 6:54. The entire race I was passing people so it was hard to tell I was slowing down. During mile 5 I was still blowing past people and was shocked when my mile split was 7:21. That's when I knew a PR was out the window because I could feel in my legs that I had no fast finish in me. I ate my Gu hoping that it might give me a second wind as I was desperately in need of one!

There were so many turns in the race and that wasn't helping my already tired legs! My split for mile 6 was 7:05 and I was glad to be back down to low 7:00. My 10k split was 43:50. I remembered that I went through the 10k during my PR 15k in 43:20. With how dead my legs already felt I knew I wouldn't be able to pick up 30 seconds in the last 5k. There was a little part of me that wanted to give up and coast the last 5k but that part of me that always wants to fight wins out every time. If it had been up to my mental toughness, I would have gotten those 30 seconds but my legs were just dead. There are just some amounts of body tired that your mind can't force it's way through. I focused on this girl running in just a sports bra ahead of me who I'd been able to see the entire race and had been slowly reeling in. I made it my goal to catch her. Mile 7 was 6:58 and I found myself wondering how in the world I could run 2 more miles, especially with the last mile being all uphill. It was similar to the feeling at mile 25 of a marathon where I wonder how in the world I can run another mile after I finish that one. It was that just dead tired. I got passed by a lady and decided to go with her for as long as I could. She pulled me along to pass some more runners but I wasn't able to stick with her for very long, my quads were burning at this point. There was an out and back portion on the course around mile 7. There used to be a long out and back earlier in the race down Peoria that I loved because I could see who was ahead of me and then cheer for Ty on the way back. This out and back was shorter so I didn't get to see Ty before I turned again and I was too tired to enjoy getting to see who was ahead of me. I did come up beside Jeremy after the turn around and he took off so I focused on maintaining the gap between him and me. Mile 8 was 7:08 and it was shocking how many people I was blowing by like I was speeding up when I was really slowing quite a bit.

The last mile was rough on tired legs. Even though we didn't have to go up the terrible hill from the past it was still a steady climb all the way to the finish. I knew my pace was torpedoing but there was nothing I could do. I was starting to feel like I had no control over my legs. At one point I looked at my watch and it showed I was running 8:00 pace. I actually didn't even register it much because I was so tired my mind was starting to go fuzzy. Mile 9 was 7:28 which was a huge slow down but only 5 seconds slower than my last mile of this race when I set my PR so I can't be too disappointed with that. When we turned the corner and I could see an American flag hanging over the street I knew the finish line was close and Jeremy took off sprinting. I looked down at my watch and saw we still had about a half mile to go and I was dying. The girl in the sports bra was close enough I could catch her if I sprinted so I focused on her and gave it everything I had. I was so tired as I crossed the finish line that I couldn't remember later if I had caught the girl, it wasn't until I saw finish line pictures that I realized I had! My last portion of the race was 7:16 pace and you wouldn't believe how many people I outkicked at the finish running that pace! I finished in 1:06:20, almost exactly a minute over my PR. I would have been really disappointed in how uneven I ran because had I run smarter I definitely would've run faster, but I felt like even had I run smarter I wouldn't have run a PR anyway. It would have been nice to run smarter so the race wouldn't have been so painful though!

After I finished Jeremy and I watched Thomas finish. Then I walked back to the finish area to watch Ty finish the race. I was expecting him around 1:20 based on his 10k time and what I felt he was capable of. I decided to leave the finish area and walk further out onto the course to look for him right when I heard the announcer say his name so I ducked back into the finishing chute and cheered him into the finish. He finished right behind one of my friends I run with sometimes which was neat. He looked great and ran a huge PR. I was disappointed I wasn't able to pull off a PR because it would have been the first time we ever both ran in PR in the same race on the same day.

My 5k's were 21:38, 22:02, and 22:30. So even though I ran really inconsistently and slowed down, at least I slowed down less than 30 seconds each 5k. I know I ran similarly in 2016 when I ran a PR. Last year was the only year I've run progressively faster each 5k. But last year was also the only year I've tapered for this race, so there's that! At first I was a bit disappointed I didn't break 1:06 but then I thought about it and I had run a half marathon, then a 20 miler 3 days later, a 5k 3 days after that, speed work 4 days later, and then this race 3 days after speed work. So my legs wouldn't have been fresh. Looking back on how my legs felt during the race, it's consistent with how my legs felt last fall when running a race the weekend after a 20 mile long run. So although I think a huge part of my problem was going out too fast, I think going into it with tired legs definitely exacerbated this issue. Maybe if I'd tapered a little for this race I could've run a PR but the marathon is my main goal and I had already tapered a little for the half so I didn't want to lose out on too much training for the marathon. I'll get that 15k PR one of these years! I'd like to make this race my goal race one year and run a really good time.

Jeremy finished the race in 1:06:16 which put him 133rd out of 3,211 overall and 21st out of 171 in his age group. My time of 1:06:20 put me 135th overall, 21st out of 1764 females, and 3rd out of 257 in my age group. Thomas finished in 1:07:15 which put him 163rd overall and 25th out of 171 in his age group. Ty ran a huge PR, finishing in 1:21:56. He placed 702nd overall and 77th out of 172 in his age group. Since I ran under 70 minutes I got a mug again this year. Mom ran the 5k earlier in the morning, finishing in 35:02. She placed 917th out of 1,996 overall and 13th out of 61 in her age group. I enjoyed the race and the course was okay. I don't know what exactly it was about the old course, but I absolutely loved it. Even though it had a decent amount of elevation gain, it was a lot of fun. The race this year ended up showing 310 feet of elevation gain on my Garmin so it was a little less hilly than the previous course. All those hills seemed to be more gradual than before, none of the hills were super steep like the old course. What I didn't like about this years course was all the turning, there were just too many turns for my liking! I'd take the extra 40 feet of elevation gain over all the turning! I also felt like the previous course was more scenic and enjoyable. But I'm sure there are plenty of people out there who preferred this year's course. I wouldn't be against returning to the old course, if it were up to me!
My new mug.


  1. I think you're right about the residual fatigue on your legs. It's hard to come back from starting too fast when you're tired, but when you're tapered you may be able to get away with it. Sometimes you have to take the chance when you feel good, and sometimes it pays off with a faster time than expected, while others you fly and die. I know you have a huge marathon PR coming as long as the weather is decent, and that will make all of it worth it.

    1. Thanks, Sara! I hope so! Coming off this tummy bug makes me a little nervous I'll get sick again before the marathon. I just hope to make it to the marathon healthy now that my glute and hamstring seem to be healed!

    2. Making it there healthy is always top priority and possibly the hardest part! One thing really in your favor is that your immune system gets stronger during your taper with the reduction in volume. I'll be thinking about you these next couple of weeks!

    3. Thanks! Working with little kids just doesn't equate to a very healthy November typically! I'll be crossing everything that this is the only thing I get until after the marathon.

    4. Oooh, I bet it's like your first year of teaching all over again since you'd been away for a bit. Soon you'll have all-star immunity again!