It really should have been a bad idea to run a road marathon the week after running a road 100-especially one that beat my feet up so bad I could hardly walk around enough to pass for working. But strangely enough, by Thursday, I ran 3 miles on roads and felt greatly encouraged in the prospects of not wasting my 90 dollar entry fee and running the Rt 66 Marathon for the 5th straight year. Each year this race has gotten better. Every year, the course changes a little here and there. Some people might think that is a bad thing, and the cause of the changes may be bad. Some church somewhere has trouble getting into their parking lots, some business in Brookside thought all the added exposure was not worth being inconvenienced for a few hours early Sunday morning. Blah blah blah. But each year, the route has taken in more of the older parts of downtown
, and ran through more old historic neighborhoods, and has incorporated a few more hills. (TZ does not like flat races!) The medals have been average to brilliant--last years could have been a lethal weapon if flung across a crowd, and this years medal had the characteristics of a spinner hubcap. Cool stuff. Plus, this year, the race had an option to take a detour--an extra .3 of a mile to the Center of the Universe. This excursion, a short out-and-back, would be rewarded by a bonus "coin", and gave runners the distinction of running 26.5 miles. Some people might think this is "bad for the marathon". I say poo poo. I think it gives this race something again unique. Someone hell bent on running in as few minutes and seconds could skip this detour guilt free. Mileage ho's like myself, got a little bonus-mile action, and bling to go with it. The Center of he Universe is just north of the Williams Center--Williams Co was the major sponsor of this race. A bridge just north of the Williams skyscraper has a yin and yang sort of design in the brick work, and when standing in the circle, your voice has an echo. People outside the circle cannot hear the echo. It is strange, but things ARE strange in the Center of the Universe.
Well, back to the race. RunnersWorld-Tulsa's group, with whom I frequently run, as always had a city of runners trained and primed for the races. Many of these folks are my best friends, and had helped out immensely in my race last weekend. My plan was to run with Derek and Bobby--Derek because it was his first marathon, and he and Bobby were hanging out together. Derek and I had secretly talked about what pace Bobby would have to run to get a PR, considering the extra .3 detour. I was to keep an eye on the garmin and passively dictate the pace to keep that possibility in play. Turns out, we ran whatever was comfortable and always has a few seconds per mile cushion over that magic pace. The half, full, and relays all started at 7:30 am. There was a 5K that started later. The start was in 3 waves, and usually it seems the faster runners get to go first, with the decent runners next, and then folks like me. I was in the third wave, but some other slow peeps were in corral 2, and there were some speedsters back with me. Maybe this needs some refining, but it really caused no problems. It was reported on the news that 9,000 and I even heard 10,000 runners ran in this event. Looking at the preliminary results, there were 6,460 finishers total between the full, half, relays, and 5k. I guess there were over 2,500 DNFs?? Hmmm.... Maybe that will be cleared up in the next few days. Around 7:45, we got to amble down the chute to begin our run. I gave my Olympus to Dana, who was doing crew/cheerleader duties this November day. I had my phone and the camera on it, which does a so-so job. We did a loop down Cherry Street, down Utica (shades of the Tulsa Run), and then a loop west of Utica, a loop around Swan Lake, then we skirted around Utica Square, through Monte Casino's parking lot, back down Utica to Terwilligger and north to Woodward Park. Lots of great houses--mansions no less. A few more hills, down Woodward Boulevard to 31st Street, and then to Cincinnati and north to 21st Street and back by Veteran's Park. Eight miles down, and then we headed across the mighty Arkansas River and actually onto Rt 66 for a while. We made our way downtown and ran through the Brady District and on to the Blue dome district, a couple of very old areas in downtown Tulsa that is being revitalized with restaurants and loft apartments and such. Cool stuff. Dana met us around mile 10 with PBJs and Turkey Sammies, and a water bottle change for me. Then, my entourage--Derek, Bobby, Jason, and Kathy wound around and made our way to the .3 detour. Special coins awaited the first 400 who accepted the challenge of an additional .3 miles, and we were concerned that the coins would be gone--but to our surprise, there were plenty of coins left. So either there were a lot more than 400 coins, or there were few who dared to "man up" and go for the extra swag. I thought it was awesome that we got some extra booty!
After the downtown route, we were spilled onto Riverside Drive for six miles out, and five miles back. This is actually a beautiful part of Tulsa, but for those who do a lot of running there, it is kind of a downer. Out-of-town folks probably love it, but to me, it's 11 miles of concrete and it goes on and on and on. Add 30-40 mph gusts of headwind, and the next six miles were quite the struggle. A lot of my friends felt like their race took a sour turn at this point. Paces definitely slowed down, and even when the turn was made and the gusts were at our backs, the payoff was lacking. A tailwind does very little to keep you cool, and the temps were rising into the mid 70s by the time my posse made it to mile 21. But I don't mean to seem like I'm griping or making excuses--actually the weather could have been much worse. Bitter cold, warmer 80 degree weather--in November, you could have either.
At mile 22, Kathy asked us all how we felt. She asked Bobby if he thought he could PR. I don't think Bobby had even thought about it, but when he realized a PR was in reach, he reluctantly decided to go for it. I was a few steps behind when he took off, and when I caught up with Kathy and Derek, they told me Bobby was on a mission, and I decided to catch him and run him in. This was a good tactic for me, as my walking speed was slower than my friends, and my shuffle was slightly faster than what they were doing--I was not staying right in the group without either slowing or pushing. Derek was happy to jog it in with Kathy, and I shifted into the zombie-shuffle and caught Bobby in a few blocks. Bobby was running very well, considering he had signed up for this marathon on a whim. He is always trained, and runs several a year. Last month, he PRd inthe Mother Road marathon in Joplin, and he was on his way to another PR--this one, a 26.5 mile race. We ran 90% of the way in, only walking the water stops and a hundred feet or so 4 blocks before the finish line. We're almost there!!
Finish line pics are sorely lacking. Dana had taken a lot of pics while out and the battery was dead in the Olympus. (There was a charged battery in the case. :-P ) I was pretty tuckered out, and ambled over to a food tent and took a load off my feet. We finished in 5:48, a 3 minute PR for Bobby, and a good 30+ minutes faster than I thought I could do this a week after running 100 miles. After a rest, I felt fine, and we went to eat with the gang. Life is good--very good! The haul for the race--a nifty metal and a bonus coin! My bib number--109--is my number for as long as I want to run this race. I was the 9th person to sign up the first year, and I'm guaranteed that number forever. I like that!! I like the medal, although I rarely get giddy over medals--but I love the coin!!!
Finally, at the Mother Road 100 in the goody bag, we got several temporary tattoos. Since the tats worked for this race, I had Dana stick them on for me. Pretty sexy, huh? Then, so as not to waste the extra tattoos, she proceeded to put one on my lower back--my very own tramp stamp!! She didn't shave the area on my back good enough, and I wasn't crazy about having my back shaved anyway, so it is peeling off in this picture. I jokingly made mention of a 4th tattoo, and you can see a bit of it in the above pic. Here is a better shot of it. You can thank me--I carefully cropped it to keep this blog rated PG!!