I realized a few weeks before the Williams Route 66 Marathon that there was a time limit on your water stops. If you ran slower than a 15-minute pace, you were out of luck. Too slow? Better carry your own water. I’ll be honest: it made me so mad.
I’m a slow runner. This isn’t modesty talking. I’m so slow, I sometimes get passed by walkers. Really. Once, my husband took a picture of me running, and we later discovered there was a man walking in hiking boots – hiking boots! – who was passing me. I don’t like to talk about my pace because honestly, I’m embarrassed. It’s slower than a 15-minute mile.
So when I realized that there was a limit for the water stops, I was scared. What if I couldn’t make it that quickly? What if ran out of water?
Also, setting a time limit can weed out the walkers and slow people like me. It’s pretty disheartening. Doesn’t my training count? Don’t my miles count? I do all the same miles. I do all the same runs. It just takes me twice as long as some people, even three times as long as the fastest folks. Does that mean it doesn’t count? The more I thought about it, the angrier I got.
I bought a water bottle belt the night before the race and my running buddy, Megan Rolland, gave me some Gu to put in the pocket. (She told me to eat it at Mile 6. I was pretty sure if I didn’t eat it right then, I would collapse on the course.) I wrote the mileage for the water stops at the time limits for a 15-minute pace. If I could make it to the first water stop at Mile 2, then I wouldn’t have to use my water until after then.
I headed out onto the hilly first half of the course with the determination to make it to the first water stop. I checked my watch over and over and over. I squeaked in and drank both water and Gatorade. I kept moving and made it to the next water stop. And then next. And on and on. Finally, I hit the last one – Mile 12 – just as they were packing up. I was there right at the 15-minute pace. Me. I was running a 15-minute pace. It was only 1.1 miles to go and I was spent.
It took me 20 minutes to finish that last bit. I ran a few steps, walked, ran a few steps, walked some more. It took so long.
I crossed the finish line and still didn’t really believe my watch or the time on the clock above. I shuffled through the food tent, my legs dragging. I met up with Megan, who had finished more than an hour an a half earlier, and then found my family. I sat down for a long, long time.
When I finally stood up, my husband took me to the timing tent, where a sweet woman in a cozy sweatshirt printed out a ticket for me. I beat my best time by 20 minutes.
Twenty minutes? Was that even real?
So, thanks, Tulsa. I was running as fast as I could so I wouldn’t dehydrate and die, and I set a personal best. So I guess I’m not that mad at you now.
Turns out, working out while ill is a horrible plan.
My pal encouraged me to join her for some butt-kicking cross training. Our soccer team has been taking a break, so I’ve been looking for something entertaining. I was excited to try this mysterious, gut-busting ordeal. It was intense – donkey kicks, burpees and lots of other jumping-around-things that I don’t know the names of.
Until about halfway through the first set when I took a break. As I caught my breath and cooled off, I realized my face was flushing hot. Like, super hot. I had to sit down. That’s when it hit me.
“Please don’t throw up in this gym. Please don’t throw up in this gym.”
Megan walked me into the bathroom.
“Please don’t pass out in this gym. Please don’t pass out in this gym.”
The good news: I didn’t pass out. The bad news: I did get sick.
I’ve surmised that I had a stomach bug that my daughter broguht home from school. Awesome. But getting up early, I didn’t give myself a chance to figure out if I felt good or not. Lesson learned.
As I was sitting on the bathroom floor, begging myself not to faint in front of my running buddy, she told me that probably the gym bathrooms were probably the cleanest of all the bathrooms in our office.
That’s what friends are for, people.
I have a confession: until Tuesday, I hadn’t run a lick since completing the half-marathon at the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon race May 1.
I’ve gotten exercise. I’ve played softball and soccer. But I hadn’t used my running shoes at all.
Not one mile.
I let a disparaging comment about my slow speed get the best of me after the race, and my running came to a grinding halt. After two months and some encouragement from friends, I decided that maybe I just needed to choose another race. If I could set a goal and choose a date, I’d have a reason to hit the pavement (or the treadmill) again. I dreaded it and put it off as long as humanly possible, but Tuesday I grumpily headed for the gym.
As I laced up my shoes, I felt a wave rush through my body. What was overcoming me?
I put on my shoes as fast as I could and smashed all my stuff in a locker. I skipped stretching. There was no time to waste. I hopped on the treadmill and ran. Fast. Hard.
Ok, so it was probably too fast. I had to slow down after just a mile. But I didn’t care. I lip-synced like no one was around, though if I was alone I probably would have sung as loudly as I could have between breaths. I was practically dancing. Honestly, there were a few moments when I was doing some actual dance moves. Then I decided this was probably dangerous, so I narrowed it to just arm movements.
I’m looking forward to running this weekend. My family and I are going out of town, and I’m taking my running shoes with me. It feels good to run again.
I know this isn’t really about running, but it’s a really neat story. Ron Cooper, who lives in Lawton, has covered 835 miles along the Trail of Tears. He’ll finish up today in Tahlequah. Cooper said this:
I’ve been an overweight couch potato all my life.
His story is so interesting to me because it’s a reminder that we really can do anything. (That sounds cheesy, doesn’t it? But it’s true.) He went from sedentary to hiking 835 miles across the country. It makes me feel like running the half marathon is even more possible for me. I’ve been preparing and I can do it. It’s just a matter of trying – of getting out on the trail.
Welcome to Memorial Mile Markers!
This is a new blog written by a group of Oklahoman writers who are taking on the half marathon during the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon this May 1. We’re a mix of new and experienced runners, and we’ll track our journey to the half marathon during the next few weeks. Here’s a little introduction of us, but you can read more on the About Us page.
Megan Rolland is an sporadic runner who has completed a marathon. She’s an education reporter. Christy Watson has a solid year of consistant running with two half marathons under her belt. She is an editorial writer. Darla Slipke ran track and cross country in high school and Carrie Coppernoll is a novice runner extraordinaire. Darla is an education reporter, and Carrie is a columnist.
Thanks for joining us! We hope you’ll run along with us until May 1!