AG Place: 25/210 (Male 25-29)
Average Heart Rate: 173 bpm
Time Lost in the Port o Pot: 4:05 min
What a race! For my first 11 marathons, I've never had to run in the rain. For the 12th, the Oklahoma City marathon, I made up for that and then some. I started, and indeed finished, feeling like a mixture between a bag of wet hair and a used dishtowel.
I honestly had planned on writing a race preview post that would list off a detailed analysis of how I was going to run the race I did today. It would have had no fewer than 3 Lindsey Lohan references and would have said that I was going to run this one as a training run at approximately 7:45 pace (3:25ish marathon). My three levels of goals would have been:
A Goal: Sub 3:20
B Goal: Sub 3:23 (7:45 pace)
C Goal: Sub 3:30
The day started with a 5 hour drive to the marathon expo. My family and I were visiting friends in Kansas City and decided for various reasons (read: money) to drive down to Oklahoma City instead of fly. Lesson #1 of new fatherhood: do NOT take a 5 month old baby on a 5 hour car drive. Trust me on this.
Adam: YES!!! A marathon SUV!!
My Son: If you are thinking about putting me in another car, I will barf all over you
Once I got done picking up my bib and making a fool not only of myself, but also my son (the REAL reason I became a dad), we headed over to the expo. With 25,000 runners, I expected a huge expo on par with a Rock and Roll race. Unfortunately, while the expo was standard (read average) it seems that all 25,000 showed up at 3:00pm on Saturday. As soon as I turned the corner I was greeted with this:
I think the dude in the blue jersey realizes that he is on candid camera!
And when I turned to go down the other isle, I saw this:
Again, another random dude staring at me.....looking like he is touching himself.
Isn't this race supposed to be 70% girls??
Isn't this race supposed to be 70% girls??
So, as much as I love getting fondled and groped as I grab free stuff (totally kidding - LOVE IT!), I decided to buzz through the expo as fast as possible. It was only on my way out that I spotted the "Celebrity Booth". What the Oklahoma City Marathon lacked in expo space, they made up for in running gods. Dick Beardsley and Bill Rodgers. For those of you who won't click those links (like me), Dick Beardsley has won the London Marathon and is a great motivational speaker and Bill Rodgers has one the Boston marathon FOUR times and the New York City marathon FOUR times. He's fast.
Dick. He's tall. My son? Unimpressed.
Bill Rodgers - super cool guy. Everything that I thought a late 70s runner would be.
My son? Wearing a "Future Marathoner" shirt, but staring off at mom (still unimpressed)
Race morning was just like any other, with one exception. No poop. No poop is not ALWAYS a problem, but I was concerned that it would be for this race. But, I had a hotel shuttle to catch and no time to sit around waiting (get it?? Sit?? On the toilet?! I'm hilarious). So, at 5:00, I headed out and started the nervous ride to the starting line - and it started to sprinkle.
It is interesting how a "nice" forecast for running is worlds apart from a "nice" forecast for, say....drinking wine on the front porch (out of a paper bag). For one, nice is 50 degrees and cloudy, for the other - really any weather will do. Any weather except for 40 degrees with rain with 25 mph winds. That is the weather that it was for the race.
Before I complain too much about the weather, I realize that running is an outside sport. Turns out, it rains outside. Put two and two together, and you're apt to have a race in the rain now and again. Unfortunately for me, "now and again" was on Sunday. The rain alternated between a steady sprinkle to a sideways downpour. In fact, because of the weather, the race was delayed 30 minutes. With the extra time, I decided to do a bit of exploring - and see if I couldn't goto the bathroom.
When I to find a bathroom, I first saw a huge line in front of real live (heated) bathrooms. It was only closer that I found that the line was to the.....WOMEN'S bathroom. The mens literally had NO line. As I double checked with one of the ladies in line, I apologized continuously as I went to the front of the line, shut the door behind me and did a fist pump "Yessssss". It is good to be a guy.
While the area immediately around the start of the race was very festive,
it was very somber around the memorial
Hanging out with about a thousand of my closest buddies in a parking garage
Miles 1-6: Rain + wind = shrinkage.....something fierce
Eventually, I think the race director just decided to say "f-it" and just start the race after the original 30 minute delay. The rain hadn't let up, and the lightning that they said they were delaying the start for was just as frequent as ever. So, with a rather frantic jog to bag check, jumping over a 6' fence because the sidewalk was JAMMED with people trying to get to the one opening in the starting coral, I was off!
Really the only thing to note during this point of the race was that I accidentally hit the stop button on my watch and was half a mile off on my overall time / distance. Overall, I kept pace (7:37) in spite of the direct headwind and rain.
|Taken about an hour before the race|
My wife said it was mostly yellow while
I was running
As I was chugging along, thinking that Marathonguide.com was right when someone called the course's hills "delightfully challenging" (sort of like trying to lick your own back), around mile 7 I stepped in a pot hole that was filled with water and masked as being level ground. I twisted my ankle a bit, but fortunately it was only slightly sore for a quarter mile or so. I think the rain and wind numbed it up.
Around mile 11 however, I felt a SHARP pain in my stomach that I knew that I needed to find a port o pot - NOW. As I stopped, doubled over in pain, and started back up again, I thought how it is funny how a race could have potties every 100 feet, but if you had to go NOW inbetween them, it wouldn't seem like there were enough. All told, I had to gimp along for about a mile until I found a place to goto the bathroom. Which I did, for over 4 minutes. My overall pace was now somewhere around 8:20.
Miles 13-20: There she was, just a walking down the street, singing.....do wha ditty....
Random? Yes. I had that song stuck in my head for a lot of these miles. That might have been the highlight actually. Not much happened here, except the rain let up for a good section and I finally turned so that the wind was at my back. However, I think that I forgot to compensate for the headwind during the first half and effectively went out too fast even though my pace was right on target. I was still able to hold 8:00 pace, but couldn't force myself any faster.
Miles 20-Finish: Really? More rain? And harder now? Super.
My training plan would have had a 20 mile run this weekend. So, after 20 miles, I said that unless I was on PR pace, I was going to let myself take a few breathers to try to protect a bit of my body. Think of it as a condom for my legs - little walk breaks of protection. So, I took breathers when I ate a gel at mile 21 and about once every 10 minutes or so when I drank some water.
As I made my way running towards the finish line downtown, I noticed the clouds getting darker and darker and thunder becoming audible over my music. Never a good sign. Before I knew it, around mile 22 the ass end fell out of the clouds and it started pouring. It didn't stop until I finished.
As I finished, I stumbled around, got my medal and headed straight towards the spot where the bus would take me back to my hotel. Because of the cold / rain, my wife and son were not able to watch me along the route so there was nothing at the finish for me but more rain, the frustration of a race slower than I thought it should be, and around 90,000 moist bagels.
Violet, you're turning violet! Taken when I got back to the hotel an hour after I finished
(This picture has not been edited for color)
A few final thoughts about the race that I wasn't able to get in above
- Volunteers during races where it is cold and rainy are AMAZING. I don't know what kind of happy-ending massages or unlimited gatorade they were promised, but whatever it was it wasn't enough. If you've ever volunteered at a race where it rained, thank you.
- There was a moment of silence for the victims of the memorial. It was very cool, however lost a bit of it's pizazz because I was in a parking garage when it happened.
- While I keep trying to tell myself that I have at least 4 excuses on why I ran a bit slower than I thought I should (training run, wind, rain, 4 min of poop) I can admit that I am more than a bit frustrated at my time. My "C goal" above was supposed to be the "you better have a broken leg to not hit this" time and I didn't make it.
- I really hope my Garmin isn't dead. Some water got under the display while I was running and messed with a few of the numbers. It still downloaded the data to my computer - so I am hopeful.
- As I continued to hear thunder over my music, I couldn't help but thinking how pissed I would be if they canceled the race after I ran three hours in the rain. Immediately after, I wondered if I were struck by lightning would my shoes fly off or would the double knots hold?
Finally, since I always catch hell for not posting a good picture of it, here is the race medal. It was a very cool double sided medal that depicted the Survivor Tree.