I had always planned to run this marathon as a training run. I had also always planned it to be a reality check on how I was doing against my 3:15 goal for Dallas White Rock in December. I was disappointed with both outcomes.
I actually registered for this marathon ahead of time which lately is a BIG step for me in terms of planning. My buddy Maurice had emailed me and asked about carpooling down together a few weeks ago so I had to comite to it early. Go me!
Somewhere along the line we began talking to other Landrunners and ended up meeting 4 others for the drive down to southwestern OK. Dave, one of the 4, was also using this as a training run for Dallas so I was excited to have someone to push me through. Dave has always been faster than me and I love having someone to hang onto for a good run.
Sidebar: Dave was one of the first people I met in the running club (Maurice was the 1st) while we were both training for the OKC Memorial marathon in 2007. We were training hard to hit a 9:00/mile pace for that marathon! Wow we've come a long way! He more than I it turns out, but that's OK, it's still cool to think about
So Maurice, Dave, and I all hop in the car to head south at about 5:00 AM Sunday morning. Oklahoma has these wonderful things called "Toll Roads" all over the state and the road down to Medicine Park is ALL toll road! I have had trouble with these roads in the past where I threw the required money in the bin but the stupid coin counter missed one of them. I drove on knowing I had given the proper amount only to have bright lights light up and sirens go off as I drove away from the toll gate. I thoroughly expected to get a ticket in the mail and was ready to fight it but, alas, it never showed up. Anyway, Maurice brought his PikePass device which is a nice way to drive through the toll gates and have the state take your money right out of an account automagically! How nice of them! Well, we hit the first toll gate and I drove through while Dave held the Pikepass up and...... nothing happened. No little green light telling us we had been sufficiently taxed by the state. What the F??? Did it work? Did it not work? Am I a felon again? Oh well, we continued on to the next toll gate and got the same reaction, nothing! Now I'm a repeat offender and on the lamb so I don't care anymore! Might as well knock over a liquor store now, since I'm already going to jail!
We eventually made it to the parking lot of the race without police intervention. We weren't allowed to drive into the National Forest so they had school buses pick us up and take us into the starting area. Big yellow school buses! It was my first time on a full sized bus, I always rode the shorter ones...
The race started at 8 AM so the sun was good and up by then. The race director once again informed as about the Bison on the course and said she'd see many of them during her drive on the course that morning. She must have had better eyes than me.
Dave and I had decided to run 3 miles easy then hit 20 miles hard and finish with another 3 easy miles. Great plan! Didn't happen that way for me though as you can see from the chart below (exhibit A). I made the 3 easy part OK. The scenery was beautiful and I didn't even notice the hills much. There were water stops every 10 feet it seemed so I drank as much water as I could knowing it was going to get hot.
At the 3 miles mark, Dave and I picked it up to 8 min/mile pace. I actually felt good and was chatting for most of this time. My quads were taking a pounding on the hills though. By mile 10 I was beginning to feel them tighten. By the turnaround they were screaming. I felt like I had plenty of energy just my quads were screaming. I slowed a bit and tried to work them out. By mile 15 I knew I was in trouble of making it to mile 23 at this pace. Dave, however, was running strong and decided he would try for 7:30's from mile 17-21. I told him to go on, I just couldn't make it with him. Once he left I lost my pace and had to walk at mile 16.5. I decided that my training run was over because I didn't want to risk injury. I walked and jogged from that point on. It gave me time to take pictures and talk with the water stop volunteers which was great! They were so nice and encouraging. I did see a buffalo herd at mile 19 or so and stopped to take some pictures. The wind was really kicking out of the South and it made for a beautiful scene of prairie grass blowing and Bison eating. Eventually I caught up to Dave who had stopped his run and was walking it in at mile 22. He showed me his times and I was really impressed. He had managed run under 7:30's for miles 17-21! He has a real shot at a 3:20 BQ in Dallas and I hope he makes it. He's awesome. We jogged on in and crossed the finish line together which was cool. We didn't get to do that in OKC 2007 because of my IT Band issue so this was our first time finishing together. Very cool. We finished in 3:55 which doesn't say much since we walked many of the last miles but it was nice to break 4 again.
So I couldn't hold 8 min/mile pace for 20 miles as I had hoped I could. As soon as I stopped at mile 16.5 I knew my Boston goal of 3:15 in Dallas was gone. There's just no way I can improve that much in 2 months. I need to hold 7:30's for 26 miles in order to run that time. Not going to happen. I wasn't dejected or depressed, I actually felt pretty good about the distance I had made. 8 min/mile pace is a 3:30 and I think that may be a more realistic goal for 2008. Boston will always be there.
After the race we headed over Meers Famous hamburgers to try this world famous hamburger. It has been showcased on The Food Network as one of the top burger joints in the country. I actually like the hamburger but I was also starving by the time we ate so it could have been dog for all I know and I would have still devoured it.
Oh and did I mention that IT WAS MAURICE'S BIRTHDAY! He actually ran a marathon on his birthday! What I great (or sick) way to celebrate! Only runners can understand! Now if he will agree to pay my toll-road tickets! I'm sure he'll say that can be my birthday present to him!
Thanks for listening
Posted from traininglog.roadrunnersports.com