Monday, May 2, 2011

Oklahoma City Marathon Race Report!

Time: 3:34:25
Pace: 8:11
Place:  176/2,495
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??

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
Miles 6-13: Ohhhhhh crapppppp
As I was chugging along, thinking that 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, 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.


ShebaJC said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rose @ Eat, Drink, and Be Meiri said...

That is a really cool medal.

You should have just crapped yourself. The rain would have washed it away, right?

Kate said...

Great race report! Bathroom issues were not my friend on Sunday, either. On the plus side, my ass is considerably more toned today thanks to about 2.5 miles of clenching.

You may not have met your goals, but that was a smokin training run. I thought of you on Sunday...all the half marathoners and Adam are done by now.

Julie said...

Great report. Quite thorough, indeed.

Every time I see your baby, I can't help but think how incredibly adorably scrumptious he is.

ShutUpandRun said...

I love that medal.

I don't love shrinkage. Or boners. That's when it sucks to be a guy. You can't hide boners. All those 7th grade dances. I felt bad for the dudes, or maybe that's just me and the affect I had on boys. If only.

Congrats on gritting it out in the rain. Sounds awful. But you did it. One more under your belt!

RunningLaur said...

It's weird that they actually call it the 'celebrity booth.' Maybe that's just me, but seems weird.
Also, I think this is the first pictures of Hayden where he really really looks like Tiff - which is totally awesome.
I soooooo thought 'Violet, you're turning violet, Violet!' during my race this weekend, but i can't remember why now...
and, your report makes me want to run the race - maybe without the rain, but it seems fantastic.

Nicki said...

Maybe not the race you wanted but you did it! Congrats!!

Colin Hayes said...

That shows how far you've come...when your "crap" marathon time is actually pretty fast. Nicely done, all things considered!

And if your son isn't impressed by Beardsley & Rodgers, you need to take away his car keys.

Average A said...

I am actually going to leave you a serious comment, so try not to laugh First off, I love this: "Before I complain too much about the weather, I realize that running is an outside sport. Turns out, it rains outside." I need to think about this more.

Really though, we run races (at least I think we do) because we wonder how we will hold up -- that's the mystery of it. If we knew how we'd do, why would we sign up and keep pushing ourselves? We don't know how the weather will be, what our bodies will do, how our minds will take it. These races can be the suckiest, but also the best learning experiences. Sounds like you had one -- it's just a bummer that it was on at the height of some amazing training for you.

Also, just so you know, there are a lot of other races around that you can do. :)

Great report -- this definitely deserves a congrats. :)

Steph said...

I think you're spectacular. Screw the time goal. You rock.

I HAVE to run this marathon sometime. That medal is great.

track coach and adorable wife said...

Wow, I have really missed reading your reports, and posts in general! So looks like I have missed a lot since you now have a 5 month old baby, for some reason I thought since I wasn't reading about your life it should just have paused all together (that does not make ego-maniac does it?)

So first congrats on having a cute bald son and secondly sorry you had a crappy race. However, Jesse would love to get that time in his first marathon, at ths point he is just shooting for a sub 4!

2 Slow 4 Boston said...

I ran OKC a few years back. Lots of wind at that one. I've never ran a marathon in the rain, and I've done 15, so my number is probably coming up.

Love the celebrity pics.

Sorry about not making your goal time... If you wouldn't have had to hit the Porto-Pooper, you would've made your plan C.

Chad said...

Your baby is like a model baby.

Evolving Through Running said...

Way to push through some lousy conditions. I've read a few race reports, and yours was the kindest in terms of describing the conditions. Gotta think the time was a reflection of the weather.

Pretty sweet medal.

Ironman By Thirty said...

Put your Garmin in a bag of rice to absorb the moisture. Or, and you have to do this carefully, put it in the oven on the absolute lowest. Both of these methods will help remove moisture from the device. I've used both with success on cell phones in the past and I bet it will work with the Garmin as well.

Ironman By Thirty said...

Oh, and great job! That weather sounds awful and it is huge show of mental and physical fortitude to push through.

Sorry for the double post, I just got so carried away with making sure your Garmin was OK, that I forgot about you! :-P haha

Shawn said...

Remember when you were a kid and playing in the rain was the best??? or not....

That which does not kill us, makes us stronger!!!!

Just think, you took on the big guy and lived to tell about da man!!!!!

pajamachef said...

great job! you finished! congrats, not everyone would (or did, i'm sure).

Anne said...

Just getting through that is totally least if was a training run. You ARE turning Violet :) Love the pics of the little future marathoner!

Anne said...

*it* it was a training not if was...changes the whole meaning. Sheesh :)

BabyWeightMyFatAss said...

I'll have to remember this for this weekend, "Before I complain too much about the weather, I realize that running is an outside sport. Turns out, it rains outside." Congrats on getting your race done! Nice medal!

Suza said...

Haha, it also poured for my race! It was a weekend of soggy races, it seems.

Ace said...

Jumping over the fence makes it steeplechase right?

Jen said...

Great report and great race - sorry you were stuck in that crap weather. I told you several months ago you shoulda done the Jersey Shore one - a perfect breezy 55 degrees or so and sunny… HA!

No seriously, you rock and I'm impressed with your time and tackling of the elements + potty break.

Chelsea said...

A) Dude in a jersey is looking up because he's aware he's a DOUCHEBAG for being an OKC fan...(no, not bitter!)

B) Rain like that always blows, last time I ran in rain like that I sang a little song about the puddles in my shoes. It went something like "THARS A PUDDLEZ IN MAH SHOEZZZ'. Yes, I sang that out loud.

C) I think you should back out the poop time and that's your new time. BAM. DONE.

XLMIC said...

I loved reading this! So many things ran through my mind... one of which is that I am old enough to be your MOTHER! lol Another was "he's been reading my blog" because I had a whole post about that "running is an outdoor sport" thing. And then I kept thinking that your baby is super, super cute and how much fun you and he are going to have in life. And then I was remembering how much is sucks to run a marathon in the rain... my 2nd was in the rain and I wore a hefty bag the whole way AND had a 4+ minute potty stop too :) All the pictures made me laugh! And Bill Rodgers! I spent the day with him about 20 years ago because my boss was hosting him at the Philly Distance Run and she didn't have a car. I was the chauffeur and go-fer for the day. He was such a genial guy :) Sheesh... so my comment is a freakin' marathon... you did what you could with what you had on that particular day, Adam. It was an effort to be proud of and a fantastic learning experience. Just super report! Just LOVED reading it :)

Alma said...

Love the re-cap, love the medal!

Jeff - DangleTheCarrot said...

Had some friends at this race and they said it was just brutal weather! Way to stick it out - I would have stayed in bed at the hotel!

Once again the pre-race poop (or lack thereof) screws things up. IMO, this is as important as your running shoes!

C2Iowa said...

Brutal conditions and you beat them. Well done. Great RR. I also have thought if the double knots would hold.....most likely not.

Johann said...

Well done! Nothing to feel bad about with that time in those conditions and with the 4 min poop. You still rocked it! What percentage of the earth's population finished a marathon like that in 3:34:25 or better...? You are good man!

Christi said...

My brother and his girlfriend did the 1/2 marathon. I was the spectator. The weather sucked. You did great in horrible conditions!

Morgan said...

Yikes! I def wouldn't want to run a marathon in the pouring rain like that! Glad you made it home in one piece and I love that you took pictures with running greats with the kid... especially the one where he's strapped to you. He's going to love that picture someday. LOL!

Nobel4Lit said...

You forgot to mention "weight lost in port-o-pot." Great race!

Mike said...

Haha! You are very funny. A great race report.

BrianFlash said...

When I ran the Flying Pig in Cincinnati last year, the start was delayed a bit due to rain and lightening. They then announced (and I'm not making this up) "The lightening strikes are random so we are going to go ahead and start the race."

What?! When are lightening strikes not random?

Great preserverance on your part. I'm definitely including this race on my to-do list!

JessiePants said...

Great job, tearing it up in the rain! I'd say with the weather and a pit stop, you did stellar.
The medal is a really pretty one.
I also am constantly amazed and thankful for volunteers at races.

Al's CL Reviews said...

Congrats for running in it. I know 2 people who went back to their hotels. Said it wasn't worth it. I hope your ankle and Garmin are ok.

Claudia said...

Nice report and awesome effort! You will have better marathons again, with less rain and much better conditions.
The pics are great! I love the idea of the "future marathoner" onesie.

If your garmin didn't dry by itself, you can try to put it in a container with rice to draw out the moisture. It works for cellphones and PDA's.
Oh, UNCOOKED rice, that is!!!

Chanda M. DeFoor said...

Congrats on another marathon! You're amazing!

Yes, the volunteers are to be thanked--especially for standing in the rain. Very selfless!

Whitney said...

Lightning. The ultimate test of the double-knot.

Emily said...

i missed my a b AND c goals in boston. it happens, you rebound, you run a kick ass marathon next time around because you're more determined. and i'm with you on the rainy day volunteers (or where i live, snowy/sleeting/slushing volunteers)(where do they find these people?!)

funderson said...

Well done! And again, thank GOODNESS that gorgeous baby looks like his mum.

kilax said...

What a rough race! You really rocked it, despite the rain, poopy issues and landing in the hidden pothole. :) Awesome job and congrats!

I read another race report from the race that you might like - another KC runner (

kilax said...

P.S. LOVE Hayden's shirt!!! (or onesie or whatever the hell they're called - the thing that is covering him)

Pam said...


LOL Sorry, I just had to be different...

The Banter said...

My guess is that you missed your rime goal because you were carrying around that fuel belt thingy. Too much additional weight. If you got thirsty, all you had to do was look up and open your mouth. Would have saved you at least 4 minutes (thus making your C goal).

mediumtriguy said...

Great race report. That rain certainly made it challenging. Way to tough it out.

5 Miles 2 Empty said...

Argh!!! Yep, great post! I was very impressed by the volunteers and spectators too. OKC loves this marathon. I couldn't believe all the people who thanked me for running. Really? Thank YOU for standing out here in the freezing rain and cheering for me!

I felt bad for being so miserable when I was only out for 13.1. You, my friend, should be very proud despite your botched goal finish. Survival was the name of my game.

I am so glad you got to experience OKC but sorry bout the weather. It was gorgeous last year.

Ok, so let me know if you chose an NC marathon!! Maybe we can connect next time! Oh and BTW, there was a very nice, real life bathroom in the building where I was waiting. =)

runyourashoff said...

Great post! I ran the half in OKC on Sunday. I was so excited because I'm from Oklahoma and lived near OKC at the time of the bombing. If it weren't for the disappointing and tiny expo it would be an A+ in my book. the volunteers were amazing!

Julie said...

Yay! Go Adam! Congrats on a wonderful finish!

Jamoosh said...

Sadly, your sone will qualify for Boston on his first try!

Way to tough out the conditions. You can pick the marathon, but not the weather.

Amanda - RunToTheFinish said...

OKC was my first marathon ever and i loved the course, but holy balls in rain and cold any marathon is a crazy ass long day. i'm glad you were able to get yourself to just relax and kinda enjoy..ok to not worry about your time and enjoy it :)