Tuesday, May 03, 2011

2011 Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon Race Report (Cold and Wet)

This past weekend, I ran the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon with my friend Dave. You may remember Dave from a past Xterra race. This was his first marathon. I was coming off the Cowtown Marathon and was also suffering some knee pain, so this race was going to be a challenge for both of us. Little did we know, the weather decided to make it even harder.

Backing up a bit, our weekend started Friday night when Dave and Ayesha came into town. We grabbed a meal at a local pizza place. It was good to catch up and hang with friends. The next day we picked up our packets and drove the course. Dave and I relaxed watching hockey and English soccer while Ayesha and Paula did some errands. That night we had a nice pasta dinner and got our gear ready for the next day.

Sunday: Up at 4:15 or so, I downed some coffee and ate some peanut butter toast, yogurt, and a banana. We left around 5:30 and were a little concerned about the cool temperature. It was about 40 degrees or so, and raining. On the way downtown, we saw some lightening. Uh-oh. Getting a little worried. We learned the organizers delayed the start, so we were able to take our time parking and warming up in my office before we trekked down to the start. Here's us just before the race:

Getting into the corrals was a big time hassle. There were hundreds of people trying to enter through a very small opening. It probably wasn't where we were supposed to enter from, but I didn't see any other option. We finally got in, and started our march to the start line.

The first few miles were uneventful. There was a wind from the Northeast that cut through my jacket pretty good. It was cold. But, I was going to warm up, right?

I guess I drank too much water, because I had to use the bathroom from the start. The crowd was pretty full still, so I didn't know how I could hit up a porto-potty, and still find Dave afterwards. Soon, I had no choice. I stopped at a bathroom and did my business. I then proceeded to hold a 6:10 min/mi pace to catch up with my friend. Sure it was a neat feeling to fly by some people, but it hurt a little. Around mile 7, I had to go again. This time I took it easy catching back up to Dave.

As with any marathon, the first part of the race felt easy. We chatted some, drifted apart at times, and generally took it easy. It was raining a little and my hands were cold, but things felt good.
Around mile 9 or 10, I began to ache. Dave was running strong, and I was concerned I wouldn't be able to hang with him if he kept it up. The rain stopped for a bit once we hit the lake. But once we hit mile 17 or so, it came back with a vengeance. Big fat drops of water with sporadic rumblings of thunder. If there's one thing I'm scared of, its lightening. I want none of it.

My watch shut off around mile 20 (totally my fault - charging issue).
Around mile 21 or 22, Dave started cramping up. We stopped here and there and he stretched. Running down Classen was long and slow. We made the turn into a residential neighborhood, joining with others who, like us, were digging deep to reach the finish. Eventually, we made it to the final stretch on Broadway. About here, I lost feeling in one of my fingers. So cold. We finished up, stopping the clock at 4:20:15.

Both of us were cold. We huddled in the medical tent for warmth, until we were kicked out:
After the race, I met up with Paula at a local church. She, with me, went back to the finish to find her friends and so I could grab my finishing shirt (and a free Carl's Jr. burger!). I went back to the church to warm up. I was sopping wet and cold. The church took pity on me and gave me some dry socks and coffee to warm up with. Eventually, Paula, Dave, and Ayesha joined me:

Afterwards, we enjoyed some steaks. Mmm, cow.
All in all, it was a fun race and a good time with friends. The weather sucked, no doubt - but at least it wasn't real hot and humid. I finished feeling strong. I'm feeling good today (Tuesday) so I think I'm recovering well. I went for a modest swim today and I'm planning on an easy run tomorrow. Because I ran at a slightly slower pace, I'm feeling better a few days out.

Now, only a few more months until I have to do a marathon after warming up with a 2.4 mile swim and 112 mile bike. No problem.

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