Monday, April 30, 2012

Oklahoma City Marathon - The Marathon That Wasn't On My Calendar

Oklahoma City Marathon - the race that wasn't on my race calendar. My sister-in-law was due to have her first baby right about then, so I needed to leave the spot open so we could visit them in Houston when the time came. And then the baby came 9 days early.

So I ran Garmin Marathon in the Land of Oz in Kansas on Saturday, April 21 (Race Report Here). Dear friend Elaine was there to be a little buzzing flying gnat in my ear about all the fun we could have in Oklahoma City the following weekend now that the baby came early. Swat, swat,
Me: "No, I shouldn't, 3 weekends in a row of traveling? 3 weekends in a row of marathons?!?"
Elaine: "You said that OKC would probably be the race you would want to use at some point for checking Oklahoma off your 50 states list for marathons."
Swat, swat.
Me: "Let's see how I feel after I run 10 trail miles the day after Oz Marathon PR, mkay? I know coach would assign long miles for OKC weekend anyway..."

By Tuesday, I was feeling recovered. Now that doesn't mean I was feeling good. I beat myself up in this training, that's what fatigue training is about. I was exhausted, fatigued, and sore, but I was as recovered as I was going to get from Oz Marathon.

Wednesday night I committed that I was in. Then the freakout because Kristi was going to get in earlier on Saturday and try to register me. What if they fill early? What if they won't let her register me? (By the way, huge shoutout to Kristi who ran her first marathon and rocked it!!!)

My goal was to keep the trip as short as possible. Quick in, quick out. Steve's super supportive, but that doesn't mean you should take advantage of someone who does that for you.

Luckily, Kristi was able to get me registered. I left Saturday at 4 pm, got to Oklahoma City about 7:30, went to Kristi's hotel to get my packet, then to my hotel to room with Elaine, Cassie, and Claudine by 8:45. Some chatting and laughing, and fell asleep about 10:30 to the loudest air conditioning unit ever.

Race Day Morning

Elaine and Cassie were doing the early start at 4:30, so they had gotten up at 3 am. I was up at 4 before they left the hotel, dolled up in costume to have a little fun. This so sums up who these girls are - they take on 26.2 miles with a smile and a laugh, and a mustache and a sombrero. It's easy to be somber about 26.2 miles. It takes a true warrior to laugh in its face while being prepared for the war ahead.
Work it, ladies!
Claudine and I took our time getting ready. I took my luggage to my car in the parking garage because I would finish and literally jump in the car to drive 3 1/2 hours home. Again, quick in and out.

We worked our way through the crowds and lined up in Corral B. Note that corrals were A, B, and C, but they aren't enforced. Kristi said they didn't even ask my finish time, but assigned me B. Shrug.
Claudine and I at the race start

How We Gonna Play This?

It had rained overnight, and it looked like it was going to rain again. Overcast, low clouds, and high humidity. And warm. 66 degrees at the start, and would be lingering there and rising to about 71 degrees over the course of the race. All week, as they updated the weather forecast, I kept backing down the pace. 15 seconds per mile at a time. You take what the race day gives you, and make your plan accordingly.

My goal was consistent and strong for about 20 miles based on the pace I set for myself. I decide 12:45 min/mi for the first 20, and then see what shook out. Around a 5:40 to 6:00 finish and I would be a happy camper.

This race has not been getting a reputation for good weather. 2008 I ran the half marathon with freezing rain before the race start and numb fingers the first 6 miles. 2009 was super hot and humid. And I know friends who dealt with the thunderstorms and hypothermia of 2011.
My OKC Medals - 2008, 2009, and 2012.

A Great Well-Supported Race

Waiting for the start
It was a fun time. Aid stations were done pretty well. The first aid station had probably not set up the way their diagram showed them too because it was a chaotic mess (water on one side of a 4 lane road, powerade on the other side with very little warning), so people almost ran each other over. I'll email the race to let them know. It's easy when you direct a race to not know what the reality was out there on the race course. The best you can do is tell the volunteers what you would like to see and hope they execute it to plan. :-)

I kept solid pacing around 12:30 min/mi, couldn't seem to slow myself to 12:45 min/mi. About mile 9, all that soreness from a week of speedwork and strength training and high midweek miles, started to escalate rapidly. I struggled to fight through the pain and just keep the pace.

It started raining on us, which was so nice compared to the humidity. Spectators in the early miles were great, and separating from the half marathoners gave us a chance to breathe. Even overcast, Lake Hefner was a very pretty area.

Mile 15 I am sinking quick into "the vortex of pain" as I've termed it. I am able to hold on to a 12:45 total average pace for a few more miles. I tweet about the level of soreness I am in. But this is what fatigue training is about. And I knew I would learn more trying to fight through soreness than if I had an easy race. I had tweeted with Michelle about that the day before the race. I gave her back the good luck she gave me so she'd have extra for her half marathon PR attempt, and I told her I'd probably learn more from painful miles, LOL.

By mile 21 everything has seized up and I'm struggling. I stretch my calves and the tendon on the top of the foot seizes up. My shoulders and abs have been on fire so that every step hurts so much. Trainer Donnie had worked a lot of shoulders and abs on Friday, just 48 hours before the race.

I feel like the last 5 miles are at a crawl, but I keep my powerwalk form strong when I can't hobble a slow run, and I still do pass people who are also struggling. I cross the finish line, relieved and happy, in 5:54. I finished state #7 (CA, HI, IL, TX, OR, KS, OK) and marathon #6 (marathon/ultra #9).

My Hardest Training Ever

The numbers say it all. Before two weeks ago, my highest weekly mileage was 42 miles. In the last two weeks (and actually 12 days only because of the emergency trip to see the new nephew in Houston!), I ran 96 miles which included also 5 hours of strength training and included 2 marathons, one of which was an 11 minute PR. I finish the month with 35 miles more than my highest ever monthly mileage - I hit 168 miles for April.

Next Up

New Jersey Marathon on Sunday. Coach Jeremy just gave me my workouts, and I have a recovery week after 2 hard weeks. So Monday's strength training, Tuesday's easy 4 miles, Wednesday's strength training plus easy 5 miles, Thursday's easy 4 miles, then completely off Friday and Saturday to rest. I'm hoping Sunday's race will be less painful.

And I want to give it another day before I commit, but I might add another race, a 50K, to my calendar for May. Stay tuned.


Mile 1 - 12:22
Mile 2 - 12:27
Mile 3 - 12:28
Mile 4 - 12:14
Mile 5 - 12:22
Mile 6 - 12:23
Mile 7 - 12:37
Mile 8 - 12:22
Mile 9 - 12:43
Mile 10 - 12:45
Mile 11 - 12:47
Mile 12 - 12:48
Mile 13 - 12:34
Mile 14 - 12:32
Mile 15 - 12:57
Mile 16 - 13:38
Mile 17 - 13:08
Mile 18 - 13:54
Mile 19 - 13:27
Mile 20 - 13:41
Mile 21 - 16:22
Mile 22 - 14:57
Mile 23 - 16:03
Mile 24 - 16:12
Mile 25 - 16:11
Mile 26 - 14:56
Last 0.2 - 13:14


  1. You are a warrior for sure! Enjoy your week of "semi-easy" (bwahahahahaha) and then go get it again this weekend. Excited for you. What a feat!

  2. You have been buuuuuusy! DANG! Didn't realize the New Jersey Marathon was already upon us! Soak up those rest days and we are hoping for a less painful mary for you too!

  3. Yikes you are a marathon MACHINE!

  4. You know, they didn't ask for a predicted finish time, but they did ask if you were a first timer. I guess I got C vs B because it was my first time. Thanks for the shout out. :)

  5. Rock and roll my friend!!!! Buzzzzz buzz!! U are amazing!!!

  6. Good job Libby! You are on fire lately! :)

  7. Woot woot! I got tired just reading that!!! You go girl!

  8. I wonder if this is the same underpublicized double secret 50K I'm doing...