So, when I left you last, I was heading out for the race, correct?
Good. Let’s get caught up.
My family and I headed down towards the memorial, and, after narrowly missing the start of the race because I thought some random mass of people was the corral, I made my way through the (real) massive corral and found my friend Wesley at the 9:30 pace marker! While I knew I couldn’t keep this pace for the whole race, I didn’t want to be alone so I hung by him while we listened to the prayer, the seconds of silence, and the horn that signaled the beginning of the race (!!!!!).
It took me 7 minutes to cross the start line, and I began running to the tune of Sweet Caroline. Mile 1 was nothing short of magical. I ran by my hotel, by the firefighters completing the race in full gear, by the arena, and over the first hill of the race on the Bricktown bridge. I went out too fast (shocker) and had a 9:45 first mile. I continued at a pretty good pace until, unfortunately, my right foot started going numb at mile 2. While I thought my shoes were loose enough, they weren’t. (I still haven’t found a solution to this problem.) Luckily, I had trained through this, and knew that if I took off my shoe for about 15 seconds, the numbness would go away. So that’s how I ran miles 2-4, stopping about every half mile to un-numb my feet and then pushing forward again.
I didn’t tell anyone I was having foot problems because I didn’t want them to worry (sorry, family), and when I met K at mile 4, I didn’t stop to un-numb myself until after I saw her leave. (Let’s talk about how awesome K is, she walked a 10k’s worth chasing my butt all over Oklahoma City.)
Mile 5-6 started our journey through some really pretty neighborhoods, and it brought the epicness of Gorilla Hill!
Unfortunately, it was also at this point that I realized I was developing a blister on my left foot, right where the upper and the sole of my Mizunos met. I messed with my shoe for a bit, but then resolved to just keep going and try to ignore it. I was too scared to take my sock off and see how big it was because I didn’t want to give myself a reason to slow down or give up. I knew there were medical tents coming up later, and I resolved to stop for a band-aid if it got super unbearable.
At this point in the race, I had a moment of discouragement. I saw the race clock at mile 7 and thought I was moving way below my goal time. My left foot hurt. My right foot was numb. It was getting hotter. It took all the strength I had to power through. I resolved to quit walking so much, make up the time I had lost and ignore all the pain. “Only Way I Know” by Jason Aldean came on my iPod, and all of a sudden, I had my second wind. I remember literally singing the song through gritted teeth as I made my way toward the half/full split.
The half marathon course then took a turn down Classen Boulevard, and, since I had creeped on the course so hard, I knew that the end was coming. It was a straight shot down Classen for 20+ blocks until it wound through Mesta Park and then across to Broadway. I was so thankful for my “second wind” because, quite frankly, this stretch of the race was boring. I was going straight for so long, it felt so hot outside, I had started getting awful stomach cramps, and I just wanted it to be over. Luckily, there were some great water stops with yummy snacks and drinks that kept me going. I did not, however, indulge in the free local beer being passed out.
K was meeting me on this stretch of the course, but I was having trouble remembering what she had said in her text (blame it on race brain). I expected her at 33rd Street, but she wasn’t there. So I thought, “maybe it was 30th Street!”. Nope. It was actually 23rd Street. Oops. That was a little frustrating.
When I finally saw K, I remember grabbing her arm like it was a life raft. I said (I think), “I’m so tired. I have a huge blister on my foot.” She responded “There’s only a 5k left!”. And she was right. It was mile 10. I had reached my personal distance record.
It was also right around this time that I realized I AM SO BAD AT MATH. I wasn’t running slower than a 3:00 pace, I was running way faster! At this point, I was ahead of the 2:30 pace group.
Yeah. I suck at math.
I was so happy after that. Everything was awesome. I was running through a gorgeous area with historic homes, everyone on the course was so supportive, and I had adopted an attitude of “it’s not going to hurt anymore than it already does, so keep running”.
That attitude got me all of the way to Broadway.
The finish line was rocking. I ran my hardest down Broadway. I knew my mom and family were waiting for me. I blasted Florence and the Machine’s “Shake It Out” and heard the crowd roaring even over that music. (That song got me through that race, hands down).
I can’t describe the feeling that crossing that finish line gave me. I know it’s a moment I’ll never forget.
I heard my mom’s iconic horse whistle and saw her and my other family members in the finish corral. I stumbled over and we hugged. I remember saying, “I’m so tired. I’m so glad it’s over. I’m so tired.” I started crying tears of joy and my parents were super concerned that I was injured. I left them to go get my medal and take my picture and then they met me outside the medical tent, where my huge blister was patched up.
It was over.