I am not the biggest fan of road running but view it as a necessary evil. And sometimes, the camaraderie enjoyed in a marathon more than make up for the pounding my dogs get. Sunday was the 3rd running of the Route 66 Marathon right here in my hometown of Tulsa. I run with a group at RunnersWorld-Tulsa, many of whom were training for their first marathon or half marathon. I have made quite a few great friends from this group. In fact, most of my crew for the Mother Road 100 were friends from this group. Bobby who paced me 12 miles at Mother Road was running his first 26.2 this week and I was running the whole distance today with him as a payback. It was also my insurance that I would get to the finish line myself.
It was a little cols at the start, but cold temps mean ya better be running lest ya get the chills. It's all good. Our plan was to just run a comfortable pace, and see how the day went. In our experimentation in our long runs, going out slow usually did not save us enough energy for late in the run. We slowed down in the later miles anyway, so we decided to run medium and bank a little time. This seemed to be a good indication that we were right on pace. Not in a crowd, and the math seemed like we would reach our goal time. The above two pics are actually on the original Route 66. 25 miles of this marathon are on other roads and streets. Last week I had complained that a 5% of the miles of the Mother Road were off Route 66, but in this race, Route 66 made up less than 5% of the race.
I felt I needed to keep Bobby's spirits up, as the nasty monster that lurks around mile 22 might rear it's ugly head, so I made a sign that said CLAP FOR BOBBY and carried it all during the race. I usually try to entice the crowd into cheering. Why do people come out and stand around like bumps on a log anyway? The sign really worked--most of the bystanders applauded and gave Bobby kudos and attaboys. Seven miles of the course are out-and-back with a loop on the end, so all the way out the returning runners called his name out and shouted words of encouragement. Bobby was definitely the celebrity runner.
Later in the race....around mile 20, fatigue began to take it's toll. Bobby had little energy left to run, and he was having occasional muscle spasms in his calf. I also had a calf muscle that was tied in a granny knot. Not painful, but enough to get my attention. Dana met us at 71st Street with some chips and candy bars., and later at 36th Street with some warm potato soup. YUM! Both times, that breathed a little life into our tired bodies. We ran some walked some, and kept making forward motion. This marathon is pancake flat for the first 22 miles, and then has some hills and one short nasty climb at mile 23. I like hills. I really don't mind hills like this late in a marathon since I am far from fast anyway. But I am betting most people must think the course designers are EVIL for putting hills at the end of an otherwise flat marathon course. But we made it through, and enjoyed the nice mile long downhill down Cherry Street towards the finish line. 30-40 of our friends were waiting for us, and ran us in the last 200 yards. Bobby was spent, but well spent. For a guy who 2 years ago never even thought about running, he ran a great first marathon. And I got #53 out of the way.