Wednesday, November 23, 2011

State #20 Route 66 Marathon Tulsa, OK 11/20/11

Headed out on the road at 8:30pm Friday night with 3 other marathoners (2 Marathon Maniacs and 
1 that we hopefully corrupted) to make the 12 hour drive to Tulsa, OK. We were in a 1-2 year old 
hybrid car with already over 100,000 miles on it, with most of the miles from the owner driving 
to marathons (he is on state #40). The only strange thing we saw on the drive down was in Kansas 
City (not sure if it was KS or MO) within a few miles of each other was a car randomly stopped in the 
middle of the 3 lane interstate with a cop behind it with flashing lights and the cop out of his car!!! 
And, a car that had plowed into a concrete support of an overpass with 6 firetrucks and a few police 
cars parked around it working on extrication, with no ambulance on scene.

We got to Tulsa around 8am (expo started at 10am) and stopped by the hotel to see if they would 
let us check in early, and they did! They even still had their continental breakfast out and offered it 
to us, in which 2 out of the 4 people in the group broke down to eat it after trying to fast for the last 
8 hours for the free health screening and cholesterol testing at the expo (they both still had pretty 
descent cholesterol panels). After a 3 hour nap we headed to the expo at noon at the convention 
center. There was a Marathon Maniac booth right next to the 50 States Marathon booth where we 
stopped to get our wrist bands to get entry to the Marathon Maniacs tent after the race.

This race included a 0.3 mile detour at about mile 17 to the "Center of the Universe" and we stopped 
by this spot after we finished at the expo to take pictures and to try out the echo chamber. This was 
a large circular area where if you stood exactly in the middle you could hear an echo, but someone 
standing 1/2 a foot away from you could not hear the echo (also does not work if you can only hear 
out of one ear). This is a very similar echo thing that is in Portland, Oregon at Council Crest Park. Back 
to the hotel for a quick nap before the pasta dinner at Cain's Ballroom, a historic Tulsa landmark.

Up early the next morning to a 30 degree drop in temperature from the day before (almost 70 
degrees when we went to the expo) and low clouds. Got to the start line in plenty of time before the
Maniac picture. The start was in waves, I was in corral B, but did not know how much time had 
elapsed between waves as I had forgot my Garmin watch.

The race started and I noticed that I was feeling pretty good and decided to push the pace as much 
as I could by feel. Chatted with some people along the way but it was either too cold, windy or 
people running at the 4 hour marathon pace are less talkative, but it was generally a quiet crowd. 
Probably another reason why I held a brisk for me pace. Aid stations were well organized, people 
announcing what drink type was first, and they even had people with signs marking speed bumps 
when we ran through campus.

On the out/back section along the river (photo by the famous Dave Mari)
Center of the Universe is in Tulsa, OK. Between mile 17 and 18 of the marathon.
I briefly pondered skipping the detour to the center of the universe but decided to go for it, thinking 
when would I be back to Tulsa? They gave you a commemorative detour coin and had an aid station 
with Michelob Ultra, but I declined the beverage after going for it but being told what it was. More 
hills in the second half than the first half but it is always motivating to know that you are close to the 
finish. Passed by Eric and Rich, two people I carpooled with in the last mile of the race and they 
cheered me in. Once finishing, a volunteer placed a "first marathon" finisher's medal around my neck, 
but I did notice until I was in the line to get my finish time and a lady asked me how I got a gold medal. 
I was able to swap this in the Marathon Maniac tent. This tent was awesome though! It has tables and 
chairs, catered and potluck food, along with the presidents of the club hanging out and talking with 
everyone. But, we cooled down fast and made our way to the car to sit with the heat on and wait for 
the last person in our carpool. 

Once on the road we stopped at truck stop for showers, but they were taking too long to clean the 
showers (as in they weren't cleaning the 2 open stalls during the 20 minutes we were waiting, then 
once we mentioned something, magically they started calling people for showers). So we all got 
refunds and hit the road again. Stopping at a Microtel to talk our way into renting the room for $40, 
the same price for all 4 of us to take a shower at the truck stop, and we were successful. An hour later 
we were on our way. Home by 5am Monday morning, but exhausted and sore.

Checked the results the next day and saw I broke 4 hours when you delete the detour.
3:59:11 with a 9:13 minute/mile average pace.

Next up: Tecumseh Trail Marathon near Bloomington, IN and State #21 (if completed).

Monday, November 14, 2011

Race Medal Holder and Surprise!!

Got my finisher's medal holder (2 wood coat hanger racks from Amazon) re-installed this weekend after moving 3 months ago. Also registered for Vermont 100 miler! It was time to register for my first (attempt) at 100 miles and this will help me get through my first REAL winter. Excited and scared at the same time. Now I have to concentrate on working on a few end-of-term papers for grad school for the rest of the day. 

Let the countdown to July (and VT 100) begin!!!!!!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

State #19 11/6/11 City of Oaks, Raleigh, NC

19th State! Gorgeous fall day in Raleigh, NC, part of the Research Triangle of Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill. Ran with Steve Hughes the first 18 miles and alone the rest of the way. He was running his 100th marathon that he had completed between age 60 and 63, his birthday was the next day, the RD gave him the race #100. Well organized race, plenty of aid stations, hilly, nice finisher's medal, non-crowded after race food area, plenty of parking. (Photos credit Steve Hughes)

Next up - Route 66 Marathon Tulsa, OK November 20, 2011, state #20!