The race starts downtown. By the time we walked/jogged to the start, the crowd had thinned a bit. Enough that I could run (slowly). I really didn’t have a huge “moment” crossing the start, it was more of a determination thought process and focus on where to step to avoid being stepped on or to avoid stepping on someone else.
We ran south towards the ThunderDome. Surprisingly, given the HUGE numbers of people, I didn’t feel constrained. Maybe because I started far enough back? The support crowds were good here and I had my music on pretty high and felt good.
People talk about the first few miles flying by. I always thought “yea, whatever”. Seriously, they FLY by. You are so preoccupied with crowds that you don’t realize how much distance you’re putting in. Before I knew it I was at the Mile 1 Marker. They were giant flags and it was great to see them throughout the course. I think I was around 10:30 which is actually AWESOME for a first mile for me, with crowds.
We turned the corner to go by the minor league ballpark and Hill 1 appeared. I remembered it from the 2 half-marathons. It’s a LONG overpass. Which doesn’t sound bad. Until you are running it. I felt GREAT. I ran that entire hill without any real huffing and puffing. Huge ego boost.
Before I knew it, we were at the first water stop (blue dot). I grabbed PowerAde (yellow/lemon-lime). I don’t like PowerAde or Gatorade as a general rule but I made a decision upfront to drink only that throughout the race. Given the heat (did I mention it was FREAKING HOT?) I knew it was best for me. Luckily it was lemon-lime, I hate the red stuff.
A note on the weather: Before the start it was pleasant. Probably too warm for running but given that we stood there for 30+ minutes it was comfortable. As soon as we started running, it was HOT. There was NO wind. My God, I live in Oklahoma, it’s windy as hell and there is NO wind? How? Why?
After the water stop, we hit Mile 2. That quickly. Wow, this was going GREAT!
The stretch to Mile Marker 3 was longer than I remembered but the Capitol was up ahead. Huge crowds of runners and lots of spectators. The police did an AWESOME job throughout the race of controlling traffic and so did all the volunteers in their bright yellow vest. Thanks to all of them for a safe race!
Once you run past the Capitol you hit another water spot. I can’t remember who sponsored this one, but their signs were great. I read every single one and tried to think about them and take in the messages. They included:
- “Worst Parade Ever”
- “Chafe now…brag forever.”
- “Your feet hurt because you are kicking so much butt!”
- “Pain is temporary, Pride is forever”
- “Chuck Norris never ran a marathon”
Post water stop, you turn back south and are soon to enter “fast food” zone. There was a lot of water on the street from the rain the night before and you had to watch where you were stepping a bit. I passed a “blind runner” w/someone guiding him. I’m not sure if he was doing the half or the full, but “YOU GO random stranger!”. And kudos to his guide person, leading him through the entire race.!
Before I knew it, it was Mile 5. Seriously, it went that fast. I looked for the High Five, It’s Mile 5 people but it was so crowded. I started to get excited because I knew Cindi and Chris were going to be in the next mile. I felt so good. It was crazy.
I started keeping a really close eye out for them and I saw Cindi first. It had to be hell (especially at that point in the race) to look for ONE runner.
She started jogging with me and asked what I wanted. I took the “wet rag” I have packed (it was COLD and WONDERFUL) and wiped my head and threw it back towards her.
Side Notes: 1) why didn’t I keep the rag? It was a RAG! WTH? I could have kept it and gone on (too funny). I had packed others for later in the race. 2) I kept running at this point. I had trained my longer runs w/a lot of run/walking combinations. Mainly 8/1 (minutes). I had planned to walk every water stop on the course (19 or 21?) and anytime towards the end that I needed a breather.
This race was only about finishing. So for some reason I RAN through my first meet-up w/them. Hilarious.
Chris would wait up ahead and watch for Cindi to wave so he could get my picture. The relay people went straight ahead at this point while all the Half and Full runners turned. It really didn’t affect the crowd much (the relay people joined back up a block or two later after their exchange).
So Miles 5 and 6 flew by as well because I had people that met me and I was busy. Tip: take friends, family, random people you know to help if you’re going to run. The excitement of knowing you’ll see them, have supplies for you, and offer encouragement is huge. HUGE.
At Mile 7 I thought back to my first half marathon. I was at basically one hour flat then. OY! (finished with 1:54:27). Knew at that point/time I had been going too fast. I was WAY behind that on this full. But that’s ok, finishing was the goal! I purposely tried to stay around 10:00 miles but walked EVERY water stop and really didn’t care much about the watch. I think I was at 5.8 at the 1 hour mark. My math (which is REALLY hard to do while running, you lose the ability to manage numbers) told me that if I continued that, I’d be at 23.2 at 4 hours. It would be less than a 5K after that. That could be done!
Up next: the Halves break off!