Monday, November 21, 2011

Oklahoma, Where the Wind Blows Squarely in My Face

Just got back from Tulsa, OK where I ran the 2011 Route 66 Marathon. It was marathon #21 of my 51 state goal (DC included). The downtown area was smaller than I imagined. The weather on Saturday was about 76 degrees and sunny. Little did I know that the high on Sunday was going to be 38 (weather forecasts were calling for 70's as late as Thursday. Still, highs in the upper 50's were expected).

The morning of the race, it was 34 degrees and overcast. The first 9 miles were really nice looping through various parts of downtown and then out to the tier 1 suburbs. Just before mile 10 was a turn around point. We had been running down the river parkway (right next to the Arkansas river) and the conditions were perfect. When I made the turn to go back, I realized for the first time that I had been running with a significant back wind. Now the wind was squarely in my face. For the next 9 miles, we would run squarely into the wind. This actually took a lot out of me. Finally around mile 18 we made a turn back into the downtown area.

There was an option to take a detour and experience the 'center of the universe'. Since this area was next to my hotel, I decided to just do it the day before and see what it was all about. Apparently if you are within the circle of bricks, you can hear yourself echo (and the people around you are unable to hear the echo). Interestingly, there really is an echo (and the woman who took my picture confirmed she did not hear it). This is a picture of me in one of my usual modest poses.

Anyway, was very happy with how I finished the last 8 miles. A lot of people who were ahead of me over-committed and were dropping like flies. I probably passed 15 people in the last 8 miles (including 1 runner who looked exceedingly strong for several miles and had fought me off repeatedly. In the end, i passed him just after mile 25). My splits were strong and I gutted out a 6:53 for the last mile. I finished with a PR (by about 9 seconds). Not bad considering the headwind. All in all, a good adventure. Next up for me now is a turkey trot and the Mistletoe half in December. I have decided against having a trail season this winter. It's too important that I remain healthy given my trip to Spain in July. So I think starting in January, I will focus strong on swimming and in February I still plan on doing the Austin marathon. Then in March will begin the big push for Team USA. Can't wait!