Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon: Race Recap

5.01.2013



In thinking about how I wanted to structure my first marathon recap, I realized that the race itself can be divided into six parts. Next to each part I've put a one-line summary of how I felt during those miles. This was pretty much my thought process as I moved through the course. (This would be the Spark Notes version for those of you who don't want to read it all.) I've also put my pace next to each mile.

In short, this race was everything I could have hoped for.

Part 1--Miles 1-10
This Is So Much Fun!

1- 10:57
2- 10:27
3- 10:15
4- 10:02 [Saw my family]
5- 10:10
6- 9:57
7- 10:09 [Saw my family]
8- 9:24 [Half marathoners split off]
9- 9:02
10- 9:08 [Split from my 4:30 pace group]


The one thing I absolutely did not want to happen was to go out too fast and kill myself before the race had even started. That would have completely destroyed any hope of my #2 goal: enjoying the race

I've heard from many sources that you're not supposed to have any time goal for your first marathon, but me being the crazy, competitive person I am couldn't help it. I had been training at a pace of 9:30-9:45 min/miles, but for the marathon I decided to set a goal time of 4:30, which is 10:20 min/miles. I felt complete confidence in my ability to hold at least that pace throughout the race.

My plan was to start out with the 4:30 pace group to ensure that I did not go out too fast. I wanted to stay with them for at least the first 10 miles, and the depending on how I felt, either stay with them until the end or start running faster.

I am SO glad I did this, because it really helped keep my pace down. I would recommend this strategy for anyone running your first marathon: find a pace group that's slower than your training time and stick with them for the first few miles. A few times when I wasn't paying attention, I ran on ahead and then kind of jogged in place until they caught back up with me. I could have just kept going faster, but I was dedicated to starting those first ten miles slow.

Just as we hit the 10-mile marker, the pacer said he was going to slow it down a bit. That's when I let him know that I was going to split off. I ran ahead of them for 2 miles until I stopped at a Port-o-Potty for a bathroom break.

I'm pretty sure the people in there were writing a novel, because they didn't come out for at least a full minute. All the while I was watching people run by, and then who comes running past but the 4:30 pace group! Bradley (the pacer) shouted my name and waved, and I was like, "What the heck?"

There were still two people in line in front of me, so I just said forget this and sprinted after the pace group. I was not happy the pace group had caught up to me and I still had to pee. (Meanwhile the people were still in the bathroom. I don't know if they fell in or what.)

Part 2--Miles 11-15

I Am a Rockstar / I Never Want This Feeling to End

11- 9:08

12- 9:07 [Saw my family]
13- 8:51 [Went to the bathroom]
14- 8:44 [Saw my family]
15- 8:48


After I abandoned my bathroom stop, I passed the 4:30 pace group and kept moving. The next five miles were awesome. I was feeling really good, especially after going out slow. I still had fresh legs and was enjoying the atmosphere. Spectators were lining the streets, and I had some fun music playing on my ipod.

At this point, I started thinking about how soon the race was going to be over and how long I'd spent training. I started to feel sad that is was all going to be over soon, and I just never wanted the feeling to end.

*I did end up stopping to pee at mile 13. I saw someone come out of the Port-o-Potty, and there was no line, so I sprinted up and jumped in. I was in and out in 30 seconds, if that.

Part 3--Miles 16-20
Oh Crap

16- 9:02
17- 9:11 [Saw my family]
18- 9:15
19- 9:16
20- 9:15

The euphoria of Part 2 began to crumble at mile 16. That's the moment where I first started to feel legitimately tired, and my feet started to hurt. It was the weirdest thing: throughout the whole race, I didn't have knee, hip, ankle, or any other injury, but both feet hurt. The whole foot, not just a certain part. It was like I was pounding on bricks.

The theme of these miles was Oh Crap because I knew I was getting tired, but I also knew I still had so far to go. Everything I've read says the race doesn't even start until mile 20 anyway, and I knew I had the Wall to contend with at some point. (Although I was really hoping it wouldn't make an appearance.) I was still making good time, but I was hurting.

When I saw my family during mile 17, I said, "I'm really tired." They told me I had sped up a lot and was doing great. It's hard to describe how inspiring it is to get encouragement and support along the course. Let's remember they stood around FOR FOUR HOURS.
My sister's water bottle was NOT intuitive, and in my tired state I wasn't able to properly use the mouthpiece, so sadly I didn't get any water at this point even though I wanted some. (Thanks for trying, Mom!)

Part 4--Miles 21-23.5
If You Stop Running, You Won't Ever Start Again / Just Keep Moving Forward / My Legs Feel Like Lead

Dad's killing it!
21- 9:09 [Saw my family.]
22- 9:49
23- 9:44

As you can see, I slowed down rather dramatically for miles 22 and 23 (and then continuing into Part 5). I can't say there was a specific mile that felt harder than another; it mostly just felt like miles 21, 22, and 23 were one long Wall. I had come so far, and yet I still had 5, 4, and 3 miles to go. I was struggling at this point.

My only thought was that if I stopped to walk, I wouldn't start running again. I focused on the fact that as long as I was moving forward, I was fine. I also thought about how it felt like I was lifting blocks of lead that were my feet.

Part 5--Miles 23.5-26.2

Yay! I Found My Second Wind

24- 10:11
25- 9:48
26- 9:44

It's odd that I didn't speed up my pace, because I certainly felt better for the last few miles, thank goodness. I found a second wind somewhere, and the miles seemed to move faster. Obviously they weren't literally moving faster because my pace hadn't changed, but mentally they felt faster. I remember being excited that continuing to pick up my feet didn't feel quite as hard as it had a few miles ago. I guess that's the Wall for you.

Part 6--Mile .2- 8:57

The Faster You Sprint, the Sooner You Can Stop

I don't remember exactly when I started sprinting. (Note: at the end of a marathon, you think you're sprinting, but really you're just running at a normal pace.) All I remember was turning the corner and seeing the green FINISH banner ahead. I didn't know how far away it was, but I knew I wanted to be there.


I kept telling myself that the faster I ran, the sooner I could stop. So I ran and ran and ran, and it didn't feel like the finish line was getting any closer! I saw Jordan's sisters cheering for me, and I ran as fast as I could.

Then, the green banner was right over my head, and I was so excited and so happy, and I knew I'd gotten a really good time. I raised my arms and crossed the tape....

...and then I almost fell over, and my throat started to close up.

A medical person ran over and asked me if I was okay. I told her I was having trouble breathing, so they brought over a wheelchair and made me sit down. I could tell they were going to wheel me over to the medical station, so I said I really thought I was fine and that I just needed a moment. They brought me a bottle of water, and I sat in the wheelchair for maybe 2 minutes before I assured them I was okay and they let me go. For some reason I remember being very concerned that they were going to make me lie down, and I would miss all the post-race festivities.

I hobbled a few feet and then heard someone shouting my name. It was my family! They'd gotten a text alert on my official time....


4:14:38!!!!

I couldn't believe it. When I split off from the 4:30 pace group, I was hoping for a 4:25-4:20 marathon time at that point. Occasionally I would think, Maybe I can get close to 4:15... But I didn't want to start psyching myself out, so I just focused on doing my best. I would have been very happy with anything above 4:30. I ended up pacing at 9:43 min/mile. That's INCLUDING the extra .28 miles I ran with all the weaving. 

Overall marathon placement: 817 / 2745
Female marathon placement: 193 / 1137

After I recovered from that shock, I got some food, water, and my finisher's shirt, and we went back to the finish to wait for my dad.

Not many people get to say they've run a marathon with their dad, so this was pretty special for me. My dad finished in 5:04, which is amazing!

All in all it was a better day than I could have even hoped for. The weather was excellent, and it was special to have my whole family there (minus my brother Austin, who got text alerts on both of us all morning long). I couldn't have done it without the course support of my mom, brother, sister, and Jordan. My friend Hannah also came and met me at the finish, and I saw a few friends along the course too! I have awesome people in my life.

When I got home, I found a surprise bouquet of flowers! My best friends had gotten together and schemed with Jordan to get them inside our apartment so they were waiting when I got home! Who doesn't love special flower deliveries?

Thus ends my riveting mile-by-mile marathon race recap. I have included a few other notes below for those interested. (For me, there is no end to the fascination of running information and race recaps, but I realize not everyone shares my enthusiasm.)


*Fuel*

For my first marathon and almost no knowledge of how to properly fuel during a race, I think I did pretty well. I read a marathon recap once where the runner talked about eating too much during a race and feeling full halfway through. I didn't want that to happen, but I did feel rather full at the end. I actually didn't want any post-race food because I didn't feel hungry.


Here's what I remember eating during the race: At least 2 banana halves (there might have been 1 more), 1 jolly rancher, 3 gummie bears, 8 pretzels, 2 orange slices, and half a peanut butter GU packet. 

Concerning liquid: as the temperature rose, one concern I had was getting dehydrated. 

I did skip a few water stops because I legitimately wasn't thirsty, but I took water or Powerade from most of them. Usually I drank Powerade and then a cup of water; sometimes I took the water and poured it directly over my head.

Two water stations offered sponges drenched in water, which was AMAZING. Seriously, the best. Huge props to whoever came up with that idea. On top of that, most of the water that was on me wasn't even sweat, because I kept running through hoses and misters and pouring cups of water on myself.

So, overall I kept myself pretty well fueled up and hydrated. My pee stop at mile 13 was straight up water.

*Chaffing/Blisters*

I didn't get any blisters on my feet, for which I thank these anti-blister Nike socks (#1, not #2). They are marketed as "anti-blister," and anti-blister they are! Never have I gotten one single blister from running in these socks. Never. Maybe I just have really good form, or maybe these socks are fantastic. I don't know.


After finding the love of my life, my Moving Comfort sports bra, I had a few minor chaffing issues. But I am happy to report that during this marathon I suffered NO chaffing. The tightness of my black Under Armor shirt probably helped a bit with that, but the bra worked like a charm. Highly recommend.

*Overall thoughts about the course*

I might be biased because I'm from OKC, but this is a fun course to run. I was surprised by how many spectators there were throughout the whole thing! Even into the later miles, there were people everywhere. A girl was dressed up as Super Mario giving out hugs at mile 18. People were out in their yards with hoses and squirt guns, passing out jolly ranchers and pretzels and water bottles. I saw a girl who rode around all day on her bike. I saw her in at least five places, and she was holding a different sign every time!

The race itself is a fantastic tribute. We run to remember the 168 people who were killed in the 1995 OKC bombing. One hundred and sixty-eight banners are hung along the course with names on them, and there are 168 seconds of silence at the start. This year they added three seconds for the three Boston bombing victims. OKC firefighters walk the entire half marathon in full gear, and people run with American flags and bibs printed with the names of the OKC bombing victims. It's quite special.

My only minor annoyance was that the marathon relay and marathon followed mostly the same course, so when there were relay exchanges, I would be trucking along at mile 19, and some dude would blow past me! The relay participants had fresh legs and were running faster, and it wasn't fun to keep getting passed so late in the course. Still, it was nice to see more people on the course, and I enjoyed running through the relay exchanges because there were always a bunch of people, so it wasn't a huge deal.

If you ever want to run the OKC race, you can stay at my house! Unless you're a serial killer. Then, sorry not invited.

So.... okay.
How does one end the longest and most detailed race recap post ever?

Maybe by telling you that for the time being, my days posting marathon training recaps are over. I don't know if or when I will sign up for another marathon. I would like to run another, but I think I'd like to run with someone else next time. Solo marathons are a long road. I will say that I have already signed up for my sixth half marathon this October, and I might sign up for another this year as well. That will depend on whether or not I can convince Jordan to contribute to my race entry fee with his blow money. (HINT.) I am currently all out of mine.

It would appear I have chosen an expensive hobby that's tough on my knees. Now excuse me while I go get another ice pack. Also, watch this video. I'm finding it quite hilarious this week.


Leave me some love, people. I just ran a dang marathon.

--follow me--
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24 comments:

  1. You are so awesome. So, so many kudos to you. I teared up reading this because I'm so happy for you!

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  2. I'm impressed. And oddly enough, I sort of got teary-eyed. I totally don't know you from Adam, but I'm still proud of you. Way to go! And way to represent Oklahoma!!

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  3. Amazing!! It made me feel like I was there in the action. Loved the mile by mile recap. That's so cool your dad ran it, too! Quite impressive. Congratulations on your awesome time and for accomplishing your goal!! :)

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  4. Yay! I'm SO excited for you. What a huge accomplishment - and you were so successful! Way to go. :)

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  5. YOU ARE AWESOME! What an amazing accomplishment...and I love that you did this with your dad. So sweet! Congrats!

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  6. This is super impressive! I'm hoping we can go spectate next year. My mom's cousin was a police officer (possibly a fire fighter, I'm not sure) in OKC in the 90's and worked on the bombing.
    I'm so excited for you, especially with that time!

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  7. So so so so excited for you! YOU DID SO GREAT!

    One of my blog friends recently threw out the idea of doing the OKC half or full next year (she's in Texas, I'm in Kansas, we figure it's the halfway point). It sounds like a really great race!

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  8. CONGRATULATIONS! What an awesome accomplishment! And I read every word of your recap. I'm hoping to quench my curiosity so I don't have to run it myself. (As if...)

    Way to go, girl!

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  9. You're a rock star girl! So proud of you!

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  10. you are so amazing! that time is ridulously impressive!! and I love your comments/sayings for the different sections - i would agree with all of them!! congratulations - I hope you are feeling SOOO good about yourself!:)

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  11. wow wow wow! you did amazing. i can't even believe how well you ran!! and i love how you talk about how you felt throughout. mine would just be: dying. the entire time. CONGRATS!

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  12. This is awesome---your time was amazing! I am so glad you commented on my blog. I'll be following you now and maybe one day I'll see you at a race!

    ~Tiffany
    http://tiffanyd22.blogspot.com

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  13. All I can say is, I am VERY impressed. Great job.

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  14. Uh-mazing! I don't know you and know nothing about running, but I read every word! I hope you are so proud of yourself:)
    I would love to become a runner someday.
    So inspiring!

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  15. Seth and I enjoyed reading this post out loud and we have a few comments to add...

    1st) You have inspired him to write his Boston recap
    2nd) You ate gummie bears and pretzels on during the race? Had you tried gu before the run? During my training I have been taking a gu at 4, 8, 12, 16 (basically every 4).
    3rd) Moving comfort is the best bra ever and I am sure the nike socks were awesome b/c they are synthetic. You should ALWAYS wear synthetic! Also, have you ever heard of body glide? It will be your savior for chaffing.
    4) Oh and... you did so FABULOUS! congrats! Reading this makes me very excited to run. Although when I got to some of your segments it also freaked me out!
    5)Let's pick a race to run together!

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  16. Well done on your first marathon. Great time! I'm running my second this weekend and your little 'Part' headers summed it up perfectly for me! Especially Part 4 (If you stop running, you won't ever start again!) Hope I can get through that stage!

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  17. FANTASTIC job!! That's amazing! What a killer time for your first marathon!!
    Loved reading your recap!

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  18. You did such an amazing job!!! And I loved your recap - it reminded me of a lot of things I was thinking during my first marathon. Congratulations!!

    PS - I LOVE your blog design; it's gorgeous.

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  19. You are so amazing!! I am so, so so proud of you. So glad to read that you got a 2nd wind...that never happened for me :( hahaha, oh well. Maybe next time :)

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  20. HOLYCRAP!!! You ran for more than 4 hours straight!!!!! I can barely run for more than 4 minutes! You are AMAZING!

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  21. Go on with your bad self! Congrats! I can't imagine that feeling of accomplishment!

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  22. UNDER 4:15?!?! THAT IS AMAZING! I mean this post almost *almost* inspired me to run a marathon. But if we're being honest I think I'll stick to halfs... But really I am SO HAPPY for you! You are a rock star!

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  23. Wow that is such An amazing storey! Your time was incredible! I hope I can do that one too! Ps. Your Dad's shorts are awesome!

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  24. Were the hills difficult on this course???? Im thinking about running it this year to Boston Qualify!! I just ran the Cowtown in Fort Worth this past weakend and the hills were awful! Missed my Boston Qualifying time by 10 min!! Thanks!

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