OKC Memorial Half – Disappointing?

Today my Running Husband, Dear Husband, myself and another good friend of ours ran our second half marathon of the weekend. This makes my RH and my second time running the OKC Memorial Half Marathon, and I am of the opinion that if I never run this race again it will be too soon. Not because it is a bad race. In fact it is quite the opposite. It is extremely well supported both by cheering bystanders as well as aid, and is full of runners at all paces. You will never run alone doing this half/full marathon. But alas I am not a fan of the course as it winds up and down the City with only a few flat areas in the more boring sections of town which are always against the wind. I grew up in Tulsa and for some reason prefer our hills and neighborhoods to theirs. Just a personal thing, no offense to lovers of this race.

In terms of races I would totally recommend OKC, but I just simply don’t like it. The only reason I did it again this year was to earn my qualification into the Half Fanatics organization. So now that I have met the criteria I have no need, that I can presently think of, to run this race again. Things can always change but I have no plans in the foreseeable future to return to this race.

On the heels of yesterday’s disappointment, not PR-ing at the Tulsa Drillers Half,  I was hoping to redeem myself today, but alas it simply wasn’t in the cards. I am not however disappointed today, and I am at peace with knowing that I had it in me to blast my old PR out of the water yesterday. The thing about disappointment is that is can be fleeting with the right distractions or occupations to take your mind off of it or to give you a new perspective.

As for today’s performance, I just didn’t have enough juice to run the needed 10 minute mile average on this very hilly course, and luckily I knew this by about mile 2 so I didn’t burn myself out as it was hard enough to finish in 2:27. I was just too sore, dehydrated, and sleep deprived to run my best.  It was actually a bit of a relief to know quite early that I wasn’t going to PR, it took the pressure off and allowed me to enjoy what I could of the experience, although given how horribly sore I was during the race, it felt more like I was running the back half of the Little Rock marathon as we didn’t stroll leisurely and still finished with a respectable time and a PR for both of us for this particular race. Let’s just say my new time is just a tad better than last year’s when I was closer to 40lbs heavier.

After the race, on our way home, we stopped off in Edmond and enjoyed some rather tasty burgers at the Cow Calf-Hay. I would recommend it if you are looking for a decent burger in a down-home atmosphere. The décor is as you would expect and the service was great. All-in-all I am happy to have this whole back-to-back half marathon thing out of the way and in general I am good with my overall performance, and super proud of my team. A good ending to the weekend, one that I am not disappointed in after all.

Dealing with Disappointment

First let me preface this post that my Running Husband and my Dear Husband both ran amazing races today. Both breaking PR’s. My RH did this again so soon after his back to back race/long run two weeks ago. He pushed himself way harder than I did and I owe my own improvements race over race to his continued efforts to be a #betternonrunner.

That all said I am super disappointed in my finish today. I didn’t think I was going to be, I honestly didn’t think going into this race that I cared about my finish time as much as I now have come to realize I do. That was my a big mistake. Not knowing the importance to me of my own personal goals. As an adult we don’t get too many opportunities to shine. Projects tend to have anticlimactic endings in my line work, and as a parent we shine through the accomplishments of our children but that is indirect. We occasionally need a personal win and today I missed that chance.

Overall I felt really good. The hill up Turkey Mountain was a bitch but I had energy to burn because we were conservative and ran/walked smart. Again I give that credit to my RH. I chewed some nasty tasting Run Gum around mile 9 that gave me just enough juice to feel like I could really pull this off, but alas I didn’t. At a 2:18, I was two minutes slower than my personal best from the inaugural race of the Tulsa Route 66 Half Marathon in 2006. That was 12 years ago, I am that much older but honestly I am that much wiser thanks to my RH and his zeal for self-education which he has shared with me.

Things I learned about myself today. First never underestimate the importance of putting a win on the board for your team. Getting me to this place in my running career has been nothing short of a team effort. I owed this PR to my team as much as myself. I feel as much that I let myself down, as I let my partner down. He has worked hard to help me get to where we both are and I totally had it in me to make us proud but I let myself lose sight of this and as a result didn’t push myself when I should have and didn’t follow my instinct which was another big mistake.

Second pay attention to your actual run time and don’t depend on race time predictors. This was a major mistake on my part. I got, for lack of a better turn of phrase, cocky when I saw my finish time was several minutes ahead of my goal time. This allowed me to mentally feel like I had extra time at my disposal to hang back and finish with my dear RH. I DID NOT. The  predictor was off because my distance calibration on my Stryd is slightly off and as such my projected finish time was 2:13, by the time it adjusted and swapped to marathon finish time it was too late for me to make up the time.

It took me a while today to grapple with my disappointment. I unfortunately let it get to me, since I wasn’t expecting to feel this way immediately following the race, and sort of stomped all over my DH’s accomplishment of 2nd in his age group and 14th overall which is 1:42 finish time. Yah he is much faster than I will ever aspire to be. I did apologize and congratulated him on his victory, but alas the moment was passed. Seems to be the theme of the morning.

So all that said, tomorrow I am going to try again to break my PR here in OKC. It will be harder, on tired legs, and a more hilly unknown course. BUT so was Tulsa the first time I ran it, and so was San Francisco, so no excuses. I will do my best, and this time know that disappointment may be lurking should I not. I followed my self-care routine this evening and used the hotel tub to soak in hot and ice cold baths. I have tried my best to re-hydrate, although I am sure I will be under-hydrated somewhat tomorrow.

My dear RH is going to pace me until he can’t which likely means that for some portion of the last half of this race I will once again be running solo. I guess this OKC run is just going to be like that for us. One of us has to go off and leave the other, this year I guess it could be my turn, but at least I know I can do it alone.

Back to Back Half Marathons

We’ll be doing back to back half marathons this coming weekend.  Technically 2 half marathons within about 26 hours.  The first one will be the Golden Driller Marathon put on by FleetFeet in Tulsa, OK.

Then we’ll head to Oklahoma City to do the OKC Memorial Marathon half.   I’m still very unpleased by their decision to ban hydration vests and this will be the last time I do the OKC run as a result. But it’s their marathon and they get to choose what rules they want to add to the run and I respect that right.  But I also have no desire to change the way I run based on a rule I disagree with.   Especially for a race that has a No Refund policy and race directors that choose to change the rules well after most people have paid to participate in their race.

We’re going to be shooting for a sub 2:15 half result at Golden Driller.   It’s a bit of a push, I _just_ broke a 2:20 half (#250lbnonrunner), and as a result I don’t if I’ll be able to squeeze that out of me. I’ll have to do a little more tapering than normal, this half just happens to fall on the same weekend I’m doing a half for training purposes for my trail marathon in June.   Doing two is pushing that.

I believe my #runningwife is more than capable of breaking her own PR of 2:16:xx that she set at the Nike Half Marathon in San Francisco several years ago.   She’s not hampered by the extra 100 lbs of weight between us and 15 years younger and #better so I’m just going to try not to be a #boatanchor for her and push her to set a new PR for herself.

To do that I’m going to be trying a 6-30 run walk run.   6 minutes of 10:00 pace, 30 seconds of walking whatever that turns out to be.   If my math is right that’s a 2:15 and change.

But it’s going to be a hard sell for my old dinosaur body so we’ll see.

But barring cardiac arrest I’ll finish both and that will move up out of Uranus and into Jupiter as my Half Fanatic status.   Not that I mind Uranus.

Hogeye Half Marathon

This last weekend I ran the Hogeye Half Marathon in Springdale Arkansas.  Sadly I did it without my normal running partner, aka my #runningwife.  I did though have a running buddy, a much better runner than me normally and when he tries he’s #awesome but he dialed it back and ran at my ancient dinosaur pace.

We drove down the morning of, getting there right at 5:00 a.m.  We went to the tent to try and do our pick up they weren’t ready for us, technically no one was there at all, so we went back to the car to change and then headed back where of course there was now a line.

There was a lot of issues with bibs just in the few people in front of me.  Most couldn’t be found, one guy didn’t seem to have ever registered for the race.   One marathon runner was a little pissed that he couldn’t get a shirt in his size showing up late on the day of the race.

And as it turned out the guy I was running with ended up with someone else’s bib.  I hope Joshua isn’t too upset about his time.

The course wasn’t bad, it wasn’t awe inspiring, it was a city run after all in what is basically a small town but it wasn’t bad.  And the last 3 miles wasn’t uphill which was very much appreciated.

I hadn’t planned on running this one fast, I wasn’t really ‘feeling’ it to be honest but I knew I wasn’t doing based on feel.

As usual I started off a little slow (for me, a lot slow for others) but you know what, as usual I ended up passing some of those folks later on who went out too fast and burned out.  It can be hard to set a plan and even harder to stick to it. But I’ve found over and over that setting a plan enables me to finish stronger.   But as always run your race, not others.

Springdale has a nice wooded area near the lake which they share with Fayetteville and it was a nice place to put part of the route.  Although it was a wee bit hilly to be honest.

For the most part the 2018 route had some sharper hills but they were usually quick to deal with and move on, only one long gradual climb.

Around mile 10 or so I knew I’d been going fast enough that I had it in the cards to set a new PR so I stepped it up a bit and the last few miles rolled past as I ‘ate up’ several people that I’d been playing tag with or that had passed me earlier.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t call out a heart felt thank you to an incredibly lovely but nameless girl that I leap frogged a couple of times.  She brightened the cold dreary day by just being visible.  But in the end getting a new PR beat out hanging back with her so I moved on.

The last mile was very ziggy and zaggy but coming around the last corner I could see the clock at the finish line and it was ticking up to 2:20 so I kicked it up as much as I could, breaking into a 7min pace for that block thank you very much, and I crossed the line with 8 seconds to spare, with a 2:19:52 cutting another couple of minutes of my half PR which I’d just set 2 weeks earlier cutting 7 minutes off my PR with that one.

I’m going to try and break 2:15 with my next half which is in a week and change just to let my running wife get a new PR for ‘real’.  She has a 2:16 and change PR from several years ago when she ran the Nike Half in San Francisco.   I think she could easily break 2:16 if she wasn’t stuck with #boatanchor in the form of a old reptile.

But I’ll do what I can to get her there.

Gear for this one included (it was damn cold with 20mph winds):

  • Brooks Running Tights
  • Underarmour Shorts (had to wear this to avoid getting naked in the parking lot)
  • Underarmour Infrared Top
  • Chowder Dish Running club shirt
  • Patagonia Vest
  • Garmin HR monitor
  • Ultimate Direction Endure waist belt
  • Crank Sports eFuel and eGel
  • Altra Paradigm V3.0
  • Stryd Footpod
  • Injini Socks
  • Sweetheart Run stocking cap

Lake McMurtry Trail Run 2018

Last weekend my #runningwife and I drove down to Stillwater Oklahoma in the crazy dark hours of the morning to do the 25K race at Lake McMurtry.   We left early as there was a chance of ice and snow on the trip and during the race but as it turned out we missed all that weather.  At least one person didn’t though as their car was covered with frozen moisture.

The 25K started later than we thought as well so bottom line is we spent a fair amount of time sitting around waiting for the race to start.  But at least we didn’t show up late?   #silverlining

The race went off without a hitch really at the race level.  The course was with only a single exception marked well.  There was one place where if you didn’t remember how you got somewhere, on the way back you could get confused as there was a lady in front of us who did exactly that but we kept her on track.

It was a double ‘lollipop’ race with us going out about 6-7 miles on one route which was pretty flat for the most part then returning to the start point and going out on the other route for the remainder 15 miles the route.  My Stryd measured right at 15.67 miles overall and we took a side trek for a pit stop when we got back after loop 1 which added that little bit extra so overall the course was spot on IMO.  The week before on a Half on a certified street course my Stryd measured 13.1x so I’m fairly confident the McMurtry race folks had their course measured right down to the foot.

The second loop introduced a little more elevation change but nothing life altering.  None of the route was technical to any degree and the trails were almost all single track dirt with a minimum of tripping hazards.   If you’ve run the Snake Run aka Pink Trail at Turkey Mountain reserve in Tulsa then it’s about that like that.   Easy route to set your brain on 50% and coast.

Each route had a very short section, 2 to 4 hundred yards of road surface, one gravel and one asphalt.

The weather was brisk for this year’s run “coldest we’ve ever had” as one of the race folks put it.  But thanks to all the trees the wind wasn’t an issue and I can run in pretty cold weather as long as it’s not super windy.

The scenery wasn’t awe inspiring if you grew up in Oklahoma, the usual mixed trees and shrubs with some open grass fields.  The route didn’t get to the lake as close as I would have thought, only a couple of places were we near the water and only a few could you see the lake.

Being it was so cold it seems like most of the folks who braved the weather were the more experience (i.e. good) runners which honestly has been my experience with Trail Running so far.  At least in a street race I end up usually in the top 50%, occasionally in the top 25% in terms of finishing times.  For trail runs I’m a back of the packer for sure of the crowds and races I’ve run finishing in the bottom 10% for all but the 3 Hour Snake run where I came in 3rd in my age group.

I believe trail running draws in dedicated runners, street running draws in a more casual crowd and as a result my #notarunner status shows up far more in trail running.

Overall we had a good time I believe on this run, I did anyway and I think if you’re a newer trail runner like myself and my #runningwife then this is certainly a good fit for you.

 

 

T-Town Half Race

The T-Town Half race has come and gone and I actually cut my PR by 7 minutes from my last half.  18 minutes off my first half.  It was a typical Fleet Feet race in that it was well done with decent aid stops on the usual course.

My #RunningWife didn’t race it with me but she did join me for part of it as her weekend run.  She caught up with me on the public running trail and ran that section with me and then peeled off once we got back to the closed off streets.  Some people might call that banditing but she only ran on the publicly open running trail, she didn’t use any of the aid stations and she didn’t cross any start, finish or timing mats and she certainly didn’t steal a medal at the end.

So I’ll argue most strenuously with anyone that says that is banditing a race.

The route was the same as last year and most of it is the same as the Golden Driller race coming up in that it uses the Riverparks West trail for the majority of the race.   Most flat course although the last mile or two does have some climb back up to the start in it.

This was also the debut race for our Chowder Dish Running Club shirts.

TREX Near the Finish

Snakes on a Run

Yesterday we ran the TATUR Snake Run 3 Hour run.  The race was held on Turkey Mountain in Tulsa and was a 3.75(ish) lapped run.   There was another course, a 1/2 mile, loop runners could use to rack up more distance if they hit the point where they didn’t have the time to finish the big loop.  Not finished = not counted.

The course was a gently sloped up and down, shaped like a W based on my Fenix’s tracking.   The course was well marked with streamers, chalk and hazard tape to keep people on course.   It was a mix of double/triple wide track and single track and primarily hard packed dirt with some sand and rocks thrown in for good measure (typical Turkey Mountain Pink Trail).

It was mostly an out and back with a slight alternate loop on the way back to get the distance up to 3.75 I assume.

The weather turned out to be gorgeous for the race in spite of the possibility of heavy rains but they held off till later that afternoon.

Support was good with an aid station at the turn around which was offset a little in distance at the turn around that you passed going and coming.  There was always the usual trail fare, pretzels, cookies, nutter butters, bananas, pb&j’s, trail mix, gummies spread out along with water and some energy drink, gatorade maybe, waiting for anyone that needed.  I only used the water since I prefer eFuel after trying everything under the sun.

There was also the adult beverage aid station where if you needed something a little stronger to get you through the lap it was available.

We went out a little fast as usual but we had 3 laps done with 47 minutes and change left over.  I made the possibly dumb decision based on how I was feeling to see if we could get the 4th lap in and honestly a half mile in I felt like it was the wrong decision.  Energy levels were low, no sleep, lack of training in the two weeks prior trying to recover from the Little Rock Marathon and injury had me telling my partner to go on. Which she didn’t do but which she could have.

I used to hold an edge in endurance while she was the fast one but the student has become the master.  Anymore it seems like we keep each other moving, one of us will be struggling and the other picks up the slack.  Although the last couple of races I’ve been the one doing the leaning.  Not sure what I’m going to do on solo runs, have to find myself a temporary running wife I guess. (Just kidding!)   [Or am I?]

Anyway with her there to keep me moving we finished lap 4 with 42 seconds to spare by my clock, I stopped the timer at 2:59:18, even though up until the last 90 seconds I thought it was a done deal, as in we weren’t going to make it.

As of right this minute we only got credit for 3 laps as I believe they’d moved everything over to the half lap at that time and weren’t really expecting a last second finish on the big loop.   No worries though, Garmin and us know what when we finished. 🙂  I did ping the race director to see if we could get our 4th one made official as that would officially have both of us placing 3rd in our age group which would be a pretty cool result.

The laser cut and painted wooden finisher medal was a nice touch, better than the Greenleaf 30K medal for sure.

All in all while I’m not a huge fan of lap races personally the Snake Run is definitely worth running especially if you live in the area.  Most of the runners were super nice, with many offering encouragement each time you passed them by.

Gearwise I ran with the following which is my expected ultra gear so I wear it for any run longer than an hour or two so I can make sure we’re happy together –

  • Shoes:  Altra Lone Peak 3.5
  • Socks: Injini
  • Footpod: Stryd
  • Shorts: Champion
  • Underlayer: Underarmor compression shorts
  • Shirt: REI quarter zip base layer
  • HR: Garmin HR chest monitor
  • Watch/Timer: Fenix 5X
  • Vest: Salomon Adv Skin 12 with Ultimate Direction soft flask with straw.
  • Hydration:  Crank Sports eFuel
  • Fuel: Crank Sports eGel
  • Run Plan:  10 minute run, 1 minute walk (didn’t stick to it as well as I could have)

031818 – The Wall and Teeter Totters

Today we ran our first race since the Little Rock Marathon, the Snake Run, a three hour 3.75 mile trail loop through our local urban wilderness area, Turkey Mountain. It was no easy run. Despite injury and pain, and perhaps some unseen bruising, my running partner once again set out and met his goal, completing 4 laps,  (15 miles), while I ran mostly behind (mostly). We did this in just a hair under 3 hours. Mission accomplished with only one fall. I am not saying who fell, that really isn’t important. Overall it was a great race. It wasn’t without it’s challenges, or falls, or walls, but I’ll put this one in the ‘Had Fun’ column for sure.

After having been by my running partners side (or behind) as he’s pushed through his personal ‘walls’ on several occasions now, including our marathon, I wanted to take this opportunity to say how amazing it is to witness and be a part of. Inspirational comes to mind. (I know that is a tad sappy, deal with it, it gets worse)

We have all been there–had a bad day, where we just can’t get our head in the game, or when it’s just simply hard-as-hell and painful. But it is different when it’s not you, but instead it’s the other person that’s struggling.  During our longest runs so far, Greenleaf 30K, our 20 mile training run, and the Little Rock Marathon, we both encountered moments where it was extremely difficult to push through the pain (The Wall), and find strength to put one foot in front of the other, but having the other person there, I think, is one of the things that kept us going.  Sometimes to climb over a wall it’s just easier with another person to give you a boost. (Sappier still. You were warned.)

I think, we seem to find our own strength when the other person is struggling to find theirs. We dig deep because we know the other person is doing the same to overcome their own battles. We ignore our own pains because we see the other person moving forward in spite of theirs. Bearing witness to someone fight extreme pain can make you feel helpless, and is almost painful by itself; it’s in that place where we find strength of our own to support the other person, in whatever way we can (or they will allow), and that helps us push through, and almost forget our own pain (almost).  Our partnership is like riding a teeter totter. When one is down the other is up. (Okay down right saccharine I know. Sorry, not sorry.)

Today, similar to Little Rock and countless other runs, when the teeter totter shifted, it took us both working hard to restore balance. More often than not, we are right in the middle… let’s just hope one of us doesn’t decide to jump off suddenly. (ouch!)

Little Rock Marathon 2018 – Done

Let me preface this that my running partner was a rock on this race.  She held up with smiles and support for me the entire course in spite of me getting more than a little snappish.  I was so inwardly focused dealing with the race in the mid part and the pain in the latter part that any intrusions into my focus were the sand in the oyster problem, i.e. irritations. And no pearls resulted.

But that’s one of the good things about our duo is so far when one or other of us gets mentally out of shape the other not only manages to put up with it without smacking the person they manage to pull them out of it.  What’s going to happen when we both get into a bad headspace remains to be seen but I think it’ll be fine.

The Little Rock Marathon 2018 has come and gone and we survived although to be honestly I was seriously starting to question what injury I might have been doing to my body starting around the time we were coming down that ridiculously long hill between miles 13 and 17.   I’ve already suffered one case of Rhabdomyolysis so far in my running career and that 4 miles(ish) of grinding uphill had me feeling the same muscle damage and pain in the kidney region on this run.

So on top of what was turning into pretty excruciating pain with every step, especially when I ‘changed gears’ i.e. shifted from run to walk and walk to run, I had the concern of actually dying from potential kidney failure, or of at least inflicting additional kidney damage onto myself and that stuff doesn’t heal well or at all.  The damage tends to be cumulative.

But… I’ve not always done what’s right and I pushed through each bolt of pain as I moved each leg forward and back.  After we came down from the hills and hit the river walk flats I knew from driving the course that I had a few miles of flat to recover and the next two hills were steep but short and the grade into the finish line was a shallow climb.  And between you and me there wasn’t a chance I wasn’t going to finish that race if I had to crawl to the finish line peeing blood the whole way.

In the end we were on pace or ahead of pace all the way to the top of those hills, another mistake; I should have slowed down knowing I had miles of hills to go up but I was focused on breaking 5 hours for our first marathon.  And pushing hard uphill cost us big time in time as we finished in 5:30 and a few seconds.

Based on my energy levels and general physical state I believe we could have broken 5:00, perhaps not easily but doable, but the long climb did me in.  At no point was I feel fatigued or out of energy

The Marathon as a race was well done, well supported although the back half wasn’t quite as well supported as the front half but it was good enough.   Support was good and *gasp* they didn’t do something stupid like prevent us from wearing hydration vests like the OKC Memorial Marathon has recently announced, now that most people have already paid their non-refundable entry fees.  Yes that pisses me off and no I won’t be running the OKC Memorial Marathon races again.

We ran the 5K the day before which though was more of a pain.  They didn’t enforce corrals and we were in our corral and the first several minutes of the race was literally weaving and waiting our way through walkers and strollers.  It cost us too much time just breaking free to have a chance at a PR which was disappointing.   One thing I’ve always done is put myself in the queues about where I think I’m going to finish.   I’m not asking others to do it, just be aware if you’re planning on walking a race then perhaps in the front of the race queues may cause other runners inconvenience.

As with every time we push ourselves and go for a new record race we try to learn something from it and we find out if we’ve reached our limits. I’m happy to say yes I’ve learned it may be best to give up some time on a really hard section of the race to avoid losing more time later on due to damage/injury.    And I’ve learned I can push through a whole lot of pain for a long time frame and keep moving forward.  I already knew that but it helps to have it reaffirmed.

So no, a marathon is not my limit.  Not even close.

As usual I’d like to give a shout out for all the volunteers who man the registration, aid stations, recovery tents, whatever.   Without you people these races wouldn’t be possible in a safe manner and quite literally you potentially save lives with each race through the support you give.

I recorded some footage of the race with my GoPro but not as much as I might like.  The route was for the most part boring in terms of scenery and there just wasn’t much to talk about.  And latter on it was all I could to do to keep moving forward at more than a shuffle.  But if it’s not too horrible I’ll post it.

Taper week

I guess we must be tapering right since per experience runners “If it feels like you need to go run then you’re tapering right.”

This is 2 days straight we haven’t run which hasn’t happened in… a year plus?   And tomorrow is only a 5K and then more days off, then a 5K race and then we finally get to run our first marathon.

So t-minus 5 and counting.   Technically as of right this minute it’s 4 days, 11 hours and 51 minutes before we see if our training worked or not.

It’s been a long row to hoe as my grandmother would say.  Due to health issues and basically not wishing to drop dead from over exertion it’s taken me 18 months to go from can’t run 2 minutes to trying to run 26.2 miles.   And hopefully it doesn’t kill me when I try.