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.
This morning a friend and I headed out to the Oklahoma River trails, and I achieved a big goal.
I ran at race pace for 3 miles.
OK, so that doesn’t sound like a big deal? I basically have never been able to run at race pace for more than, like, 30 yards. I’m so proud! I have a ridiculously slow pace, and I’m not being modest. My husband photographed me cheerfully running while being passed by a walker during the 2011 Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon. Yeah, you read that right. A walker. In fact, it was a walker wearing hiking boots. I’m so glad we memorialized that moment in time.
So I’ve had this goal in my head of what pace I’d like to run a half marathon at. It’s faster than I’ve done in the past, but maybe I could do it.
I’m registered for the Williams Route 66 Marathon half marathon run in Tulsa in November. I still have 65 days to go, but I realize I probably won’t be able to run at race pace the whole way. But maybe I could set a personal record. Could I? Could that even happen? I mean, I’ve only run two half marathons, so I’ve only got two races to beat. This is as good a time as any, I guess. And 3 miles at pace leaves me only 10.1 miles to go.
OK, I have a confession to make: I don’t do any weight-training.
Well, let me correct myself. I guess I do some weight training. If I happen to be running in the gym and I need to walk across the room to change the TV, I might do some random reps as I pass through the jungle of equipment. Then I proudly check off weight training. “Check! Good job, Carrie!”
But as I prepare for the half marathon in Tulsa this November, I’ve decided to actually do some lifting on purpuse.
So I turned to my favorite personal trainer, Google, and put together a little list of some basic hand weights moves and a pair of ab exercises, or, as I like to call them, ab things. My husband and I gave it a go last night for the first time, and it was so fun! We did it in our bedroom after our daughter had gone to sleep. And then his dog came and stood right next to him. I couldn’t stop laughing because she was so awkward. I love it.
Anyway, here’s our list:
Do two sets of 15 reps. Use dumbbells: 5 pounds at first, 10 pounds later. Go through the list until you hit 30 minutes.
- Dumbbell chest press (chest) — Lie on a bench, elbows bent 90 degrees out to sides; straighten arms up and return.
- One-arm dumbbell row (upper back) — Stand with legs hip-width apart and place one hand on bench, opposite arm holding weight; draw elbow up toward ribs and lower.
- Biceps curl (biceps) — Stand with arms extended, palms up, and curl weights toward shoulders.
- Triceps extension (triceps) — Stand with legs hip-width apart. Lean forward from waist, elbows bent 90 degrees at your sides; straighten arms behind you.
- Lateral raise (shoulders) — Stand with arms down by your sides, palms in; raise straight arms to shoulder height.
- Basic squat (legs/butt)
- Front lunge (legs/butt)
- Bicycle (abs) — Lie face-up on floor, bend opposite elbow to knee, then switch sides.
- Superman (lower back) — Lie facedown on floor and lift opposite arm/leg; switch sides.
So I know I want to run a race in December-ish. This is all I know.
Choosing a race is so difficult.
For me, the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon is a built-in goal. Everybody around town who runs is usually running at it. A bunch of non-runners are volunteering for it. It’s for an important cause. It’s an easy pick to say the least.
But now that I’d like to do a mid-year half-marathon, I’m feeling a little intimidated. The Williams Route 66 Marathon in Tulsa would be a great fit, but I don’t know for sure yet if I’ll be ready that weekend (Nov. 17-18). So I either amp up my training or I start with a blank slate. Darn it. I guess I’ll spend more time looking than actually training this week.
Why is this so hard?
We’ve got 12 weeks, people!
And we have until the end of this month to register before prices go up again for the Route 66 Marathon in Tulsa. Is it wrong that my registration is more dependent on price than training? If I lay my money on the table, you better believe I’m going to start training. Maybe next pay day I’ll step up. Here are the price jumps:
Through Sept. 30
- Marathon: $85
- Half: $60
- Relay: $150
Through Nov. 13
- Marathon: $95
- Half: $70
- Relay: $160
- High school marathon relay: $100
- 5K: $20
- 1M: $10
At the expo (if available)
- Marathon: $105
- Half: $80
- Relay: $180
- High school marathon relay: $150
- 5K: $25
- 1M: $15