Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Race Day - Tulsa Route 66

Saturday before we turned in for the night Kim, Andrea and I went to the hot tub at the hotel and put our legs in for a while. It felt really good and who knows maybe that helped contribute to such a great beginning to my race.

The girls called me Saturday night wanting to know what time we were getting up, they wanted a wake up call. I told them 5:30 but forgot to tell them I usually hit snooze at least once. And then the hotel clock was about 7 minutes slow. Oh well when I did call them the next morning they were already awake.
Arland and I got up and went down to the lobby for breakfast in our pajamas, Vicki & Brenda were already there and they were dressed and ready for the race. Slowly everyone one else drifted down all of them dressed and ready to go. I felt like a huge slacker so I quickly ate my 1/2 of a bagel and headed to the room to get ready. My main concern before any race or any run at all for that matter is the bathroom. If I don't have a successful bathroom visit I am a nervous wreck.
We had all agreed to meet in the lobby at 6:45 to leave for the race. One thing I learned early on about the Cruisers is when they say meet at a certain time they really mean it!!!
Everyone was on time and we were off caravaning once again into downtown Tulsa with the big red truck in the lead.
The plan was to see the marathoners off and then we would head back to our vehicles to keep warm until time for our race.

I wish I could describe what it felt like for me to watch Arland line up for his first Marathon. It was really cool and I felt as emotional as I did when I was waiting for the gun to go off in Chicago. Arland & Jane lined up together and I think Vicki and Paulette were close by. The rest of us headed to the front of the start line so we could cheer them on. I called Arland on his cell to let him know we were standing on the left side of the road.
Soon enough the gun went off and we all yelled like crazy when we saw Jane and Arland come running towards us. It was almost like watching it on t.v. it seemed so unreal.
Once they were on there way we went back to warm up. I had already had a "successful" trip to the port a pottie just before the marathon but I knew I would need to make one more trip before the race. What had been very short lines just after the marathon started had turned into huge lines!! But we all waited our turn and took care of any last minute business.

We all kind of split up, the fast girls headed towards the front of the pack, and Kelly & Susan headed to the back of the pack. Kim and I positioned ourselves with the 9:00 minute milers. I was glad to have Kim with me although I knew we wouldn't run together. She is pretty speedy, but we usually start together and just before the gun goes off we wish each other well and go at our seperate paces.

I really wanted to be smart and start the race off slow. Coach Dennis had suggested a 10:45 first mile, well I tried I really did. I honestly felt very comfortable at the pace I was running I looked down once to see I was running a 9:?? pace, I told myself to slow down but I ended up with 9:36 for the first mile. Damn, I was mad at myself and tried to slow down for the second mile but again a 9:30ish pace. I kept telling myself Annette you are going to pay for this later. The whole first 7.5 miles I honestly felt like I had wings on my feet, I know that sounds cliche, but I barely felt my feet hit the ground. I always say thank you too all the volunteers and policemen and women who are blocking traffic and protecting us. Sometimes they just nod back but most of them answered back your welcome... or looking good etc. It always gives me a little burst of energy whenever that happens.
I didnt' stop at the first water stop, I had my hydration belt which I LOVE!! It is way better than the old one I trained with all summer!! So I skipped all the water stops until about mile 7.5. I was drinking while running and I had my Luna Moons which I love!! The only problem was I didn't start eating them soon enough. I was thinking of how many I normally would have during a 12 or 13 mile training run and wasn't taking into consideration how much faster I was running than I would have been on a training run.
I was wearing my Elijah bracelet and I would occasionally touch it and hope and pray that Elijah was feeling well.
We were couple of miles into the run, almost to the 10K when the front of the pack runners were heading towards us on the opposite side of the road. The leader was just flying down the road and we were all yelling and clapping for him. A little bit later I realized this was a really long straight stretch and I was probably going to get to see everyone. I kept my eyes peeled and it wasn't too long until I saw Raquel and Lisa F. they were really flying by, I yelled out to them but the didn't see me. A little while later I saw Brenda.. woohoo she looked so good, I yelled out to her and she did see me. Just a few seconds or so after that I heard my name and saw Cindy C. woosh by me. I was on the lookout for Andrea, Rick and Kim. It was a little bit later when I saw Andrea and Rick. I thought they looked good, but I found out later Andrea was not feeling so good. Kim was just a little bit behind them. She looked really good and looked really happy. Looking out for all of them really helped that mile pass by quickly and before you know it I had reached the turn around. Now my eyes were peeled again on the lookout for Susan and Kelly. When I did see them they looked really good. I was happy for them but also jealous, they really looked like they were having a good time and they were together. I suddenly felt a little bit lonely. I pushed that to the back of my mind and just kept going. I had a fantastic 10K I actually PR'd the distance. How crazy is that, I ran 10K faster in a half marathon than I ever had in a 10K race. My 10k split was 1:01:44.
But sadly as they say all good things must come to an end and sadly the ease of the first 7.5 miles turned into pure misery for the next almost 5 miles. I think it was a combination of not enough nutrition and the hills from HELL!!! I mean seriously what the hell. These were not the rolling hills the race director had described to us at the expo on Saturday... no these were devil hills!!! The worst part was that we didn't always get rewarded with a downhill, no that would have been too kind. We would climb a steep hill have a little bit of flat turn a corner just to be faced with another hill. I admit it, I walked most of those hills especially the really steep ones. But I power walked them I used my arms and just dug in.
I had been dreaming of a finishing time of 2:12 to 2:15 and I had been well ahead of the 2:15 pacers until mile 8. It was one of those damn hills when they passed me by. I thought that's ok I'll catch up when we get done with this hill... except I didn't because we were never done with the BIG STUPID HILLS!!! Oh the things that were going through my brain. I kept thinking what an Asshole whoever designed this course was. Somewhere along one of the hills I finally yelled out what is up with all these damn hills!!! It was somewhere in the land of the hills that I spotted the first Starbucks I had seen since hitting Oklahoma. I usually never really look at street signs but i made sure to see exactly where I was.. 36th and Peoria. I guess I thought we would go back after the race was over, but I couldn't have told you how to get there to save my life.
There were several bands along the route which was nice but it's not like you are spending much time with them.
Finally the end was near and the only nice thing I can say about that asshole race course designer was that he did make the last 3/4 of a mile mostly down hill but it was too little too late as far as I was concerned. I had really struggled those last few miles, but as soon as I rounded the last corner and could hear the crowd I was able to find a little bit of speed and ran as fast as I could into the finish.
As soon as i finished there was somone there to give you a mylar blanket, I was too hot at the time but I took it anyway, next stop chip removal and then my medal. No one really directed me where to go so I just headed to our designated meeting spot. I wandered around a bit and then there was Kim, Brenda and Cindy. Kim helped me with my blanket, I had suddenly gotten cold and then she helped me find the food tent. OH MY GOODNESS wow great food!!! Panera Bread had bagels, I had one of those, a chocolate chip cookie and a "naked burrito". We then headed back outside and found a place to sit down and eat. We were close to our meeting spot so I was keeping an eye out for Kelly and Susan. Plopping down on the ground was so much easier than trying to get up about 15 minutes later!! I know better, I had barely stretched after the race and the stiffness was really starting to set in. Kelly and Susan showed up a bit later and I was so excited to see 2:28 on Kelly's Garmin!! They did an excellent job and were in very good spirits. Several of the others had gone back to the hotel to shower and change. Brenda, Kim, Kelly,Susan and I stayed, we didn't want to risk missing the Marathoner's.
After everyone had gotten something to eat we headed back to the vehicles to put on warm clothes. It was pretty chilly out, very cloudy and breezy, although when you were running it felt pretty warm!!! Arland had set me up to receive e-mail updates on everyone so we would know when to expect them in. As were walking to the truck I saw a lady with a Starbucks cup and asked her where she got it. The Doubletree Hotel... this was the second or third person to give me that same answer. We decided we try to find it and set out towards downtown. In the meantime Arland called and said he and Jane were at mile 22 and that his leg had been hurting him since mile 8. I was so bummed to hear he was in pain. We had to give up our mission of find Starbucks once we realized it was just too far away and we were walking way too slow to find it and get back to the start line before Vicki came in. Susan had gone back to the hotel so she missed our futile Starbucks search. It was a good thing we turned back when we did, just as we got back to the finish line we saw Paulette go through the Chutes. She had been sick before the race but she looked good and finished in 4:45.
Shortly after that Cindy found us and let us know the rest of the group was back and they had found the perfect vantage spot to watch for Vicki, Jane & Arland and to cheer on all the runners.
The first one was Vicki... Cindy and Brenda had left a bit earlier to find her and run her in. Vicki looked really good, she had also been sick leading up to the marathon so it was good to see her looking so great at the finish.

A few minutes later I decided to go find Arland and run him in, Kim and Kelly came with me. We saw Jane first and she was running strong and looked great, we cheered for her and told her she just had to make it around two more corners and she would be done. I got to do a lot of training runs with Jane this summer and I was so happy to be able to see her finishing her first marathon. After she was gone I could see Arland in the distance. So we headed for him whooping and hollering. I think it helped get him through that last little bit. Although his leg was hurting he otherwise looked good!!! We ran him to just before the finishing chutes... I headed towards the outside of the finishing line, so I could see him finish and then be there when he got done.
The rest of the story is his to tell... but I am so PROUD of you baby!!! You trained so hard for this race and you didnt' let anything stop you!!! Now if you could just walk everything would be perfect!!

Tulsa might have tried to break my spirit with it's lack of Starbuck's and it's Monster Hills but it did not succeed. I had a great weekend, full of friends and good times and so many good stories that I can't remember them all and if I tried to blog about all of them I would never get to bed!!

I almost forgot my race results.....
13.1 miles
avg pace 10:36

1 - 9:32
2 - 9:39
3- -9:55
4 - 10:02
5 - 10:05
6 - 10:10
7 - 10:05
8 - 10:24
9 - 10:19
10 - 12:14 stupid big ass hill
11 - 11:33 ditto
12 - 11:56 ditto
13 - 10:29

Although I didn't meet my goal this was still a big PR for me so I am very happy!!!


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Susan said...

Excellent, Annette!

cheryl said...

Great race report!! And excellent times, you are getting faster all the time.

Kirsten said...

Way to conquer the HILLS and set a PR! Super job, it was obviously an incredible experience for you with good friend and people you care about. I LOVED all your hill ranting!!! Sounds unforgettable! Congratulations!

hydrateme said...

Great run! Have you tried the 'AquaJoe' with your running belt. It's the best hydration accessory to come out in years.