Thursday, May 3, 2012

Half crazy?

Well, I'm back from Oklahoma City, guys. And, I can now officially be registered as a Half Fanatic. Yes, in fact, there is a club dedicated to the fanatical running of half marathons. And, I have now met the criteria for entry.

Fanatic: noun. person overenthusiastic about an interest. synonym: crazy

Yup, it's official. I'm crazy. Woohoo!

Ok, let's backtrack a little bit here. Remember I'm participating in the Heartland 39.3 series? A series of three half marathons within six weeks of each other. Apparently this particular series was started for the very purpose of giving people a way to qualify for entry into the Half Fanatics. Well, that's the rumor around town anyway. Originally, I was just going to run the three halfs that make up the series. But, then came a little hiccup in the plan. 

A friend had also signed up for the series. But, after signing up, she realized she couldn't run Rock the Parkway (RTP) because she was going to be out of town. She still wanted to do the series, but substituted a different half marathon in the place of RTP. (Shhhhh ... probably not technically allowed, but another friend ran in her place for RTP, and she's still doing three halfs in six weeks, so it's still the same amount of work.) She's from just outside of Oklahoma City, and the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon happened to be taking place smack dab within the time frame. What luck! She signed up for it. Then, she convinced Kelli to sign up for it. Then, they convinced me to sign up for it. 

Peer pressure. What are you going to do? (I am going to be a horrible example to the girls for standing up to peer pressure. But, really, peer pressure to run versus peer pressure to do drugs? A little different, right?)

Anyway, that is the story of how I got to a third half marathon in three weeks:

  • Rock the Parkway - April 14
  • Kansas Half - April 22
  • Oklahoma City Memorial Half Marathon - April 29
  • Running with the Cows - May 12
  • Hospital Hill - June 2

  • Honestly, the best part of this third half marathon was that it was in Oklahoma City. Not that I particularly love that city (though it was much cooler than I was expecting), but that it was not around here. Which meant we had to road trip it out of town. And, we road trip in style, let me tell you. We rode down in the rockin' mini van with no kids. No kids, I tell ya. Now, you may think that would mean fewer restroom breaks. But, with three women who are trying to hydrate before a race? Well, let's just say we got to visit a variety of rest stops between here and Oklahoma City. Between those and all the cows we saw ... it was just a really exciting drive. It's a good thing we had lots to talk about. (Though the cows did put me in the mood for the next race on the agenda!)

    So, we got into town and realized the entire downtown of OKC was under construction. And, not only that, but our hotel was just a stone's throw away from the arena the Oklahoma City Thunder play in. And, they had an NBA playoff game that night. We decided to just park the car and hoof it around town the rest of the day. We explored the expo (not much to see), then went on a walk around the downtown area. It was actually really cool. They had a river walk area with places to eat, and you could even ride on boats down the river. Kansas City really needs an area like that.

    OKC's Bricktown area.

    While walking around, we saw a giant billboard for the OKC Thunder, which just happen to showcase two former KU basketball players: Nick Collison and Cole Aldrich. So, being a good Jayhawk, I had to take a picture:
    Cole is hiding behind the tree.
    Then, will wonders never cease? I found a Sonic that you can walk into. You order inside and everything. It totally blew my mind, so I, of course, took a picture.
    Drinking a Sonic drink inside a Sonic. Now, you're really talking crazy.
    Finally, we decided because we had no kids, and we didn't really want to drink at a bar before our race, we should take advantage of our free time and see a movie. It was quite luxurious for three moms, I promise you.

    The weather was concerning us all the day before. Weathermen were calling for 50 percent chance of thunderstorms all morning the day of the race. The race started at 6:30am, and we just didn't know what to expect. I can deal with rain while I run, but wasn't particularly looking forward to thunderstorms and hail. Luckily, we got the huge hail and thunderstorms during the night before the race. We woke up at 4:30am to pitch black, but no rain. Things were looking good.

    Our hotel was within walking distance to the start of the race, so we headed over bright and early. And, by bright, I mean complete darkness. We got first use of the porta potties again, though. Because this was the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon, the race is run in memory of the 168 people who died in the Oklahoma City bombing 17 years ago. (Yeah, I can't believe it was 17 years ago, either. Made me feel old.) It actually had quite a poignant moment when the entirety of the 27,000 racers were silent for 168 seconds in honor of the lives lost in the bombing. It was so quiet, you could hear the birds chirping. I even got a little teary-eyed thinking of all the children who were killed. They would've been adults by now. Definitely the most somber start to a race I've ever participated in. But, also the most meaningful.

    Hanging out in the corral before the race.

    The corrals were absolutely packed before the race. We had planned to all stay together and to stay with the 2:00 pacer. But, like all good plans, that one fell by the wayside pretty quickly. We stayed together, but we lost the 2:00 pacer within minutes of the gun going off. There were just too many people, and only the one pacer. Plus, they only had pacers for every 15-minute increment. Our other halfs had pacers for every 5-minute increment. Anyway, so quickly after the start, we were on our own.

    The race course was quite pretty. We got a tour of downtown, saw the capitol building, and went through several adorable neighborhoods. There was a lot of fan support, which is awesome in races. And, Anne's parents and nephew came out to cheer for us on Gorilla Hill. We stopped and walked when necessary, but ran for the majority. Toward the end of the race, I tried to get Anne and Kelli to forget about their pain by doing silly dances for them. I don't think they appreciated me doing the running man or the chicken dance (Anne told me to stop because laughing made her hurt more), but I did hear some laughs from a couple other runners, so maybe it helped others get through that mile.

    Around mile 10 and a half, the rain finally started. But, considering the massive humidity we were dealing with, the rain showers were actually really pleasant. It was like one continuous spritzer. And, then, there was the finish line. Anne's family made it out to see us cross the finish, but quickly left to get out of the rain. We hung around for a while, eating and stretching. Then, made our way back to the hotel.

    Drenched from sweat and rain. But, look at our medals!
    After cleaning up, Anne's mom was nice enough to fix a lunch for us at her house. Oh my goodness, it was delicious! And, just what we needed.
    A better picture of us after we'd all cleaned up. Anne's holding the sign her mom made. Only Debbie Molinaro makes a cricut-cut sign. It was amazing!
    And, before heading back on the road to KC, we made one last stop. Pedicures. I sat there, with the chair massaging my back, the lady massaging my feet and my Sonic drink in my hand. Well, let me just tell you, it was pretty close to my idea of heaven.
    Ahhhhh ...
    So, it was a great trip full of lots of girl time, a movie, eating out, pedicures and, oh yeah, a race. I highly suggest this kind of weekend to any other women runners out there. It's the way to go.

    Hey, I may be crazy, but at least I've got good company.

    PS: This is the sticker that we all think is appropriate for us:

    1 comment:

    1. Sounds like a blast! I am thinking that an out-of-town race is in my near future... Although probably Des Moines or STL.