This is the big weekend for me … it’s the Route 66 race weekend.
I got into Tulsa yesterday morning after an uneventful drive from Da Lou. It was nice weather, sunny and 50ish… if only that were to last!
The Holiday Inn was awaiting me, and was able to do an early check-in for me. This was great, letting me get unloaded and parked for the weekend. I walked to the Cox Business Center, which is where packet pickup was. Things were about to get… interesting.
I walked in the exhibit hall to pick up my packet, and stood in one of the longest lines in which I’ve ever stood. And while I stood there, the line continued to grow and grow. After 35 minutes or so, I had my bibs in hand, and went to sign in at the volunteer table.
I’d signed up to help out at the t-shirt tables, and still had an hour until my shift was to start. When the volunteer director saw me, he asked if I could help now, and sent me to registration. By this time, the line was truly amazing, and from what some folks said, it was at least an hour from the end to the tables. Yikes!
So for the next two hours, I ran back and forth, grabbing bibs for folks checking in. At the end of two hours, the line was down to almost nothing, and I’d earned my first medal through my running around. The funny thing is that my Garmin said I’d gone just about 5km… on a course that was about 75 feet long! 🙂
Medal #1 in hand!
Later in the afternoon, I was part of a running bloggers panel at the expo. This is the first time I’d done anything like this, and sharing the stage with three other much bigger names than me, we talked about blogging, running, and what made us tick. It was a great time, and hopefully we inspired someone in the audience to blog their travels.
I got back to the hotel, and laid out my stuff for this morning’s runs. It’s really amazing just how much gear it takes to put me on the road at one of these races! This morning, it was about 37°, with 20-30mph winds, so it was multiple layers and all the winter gear… and it still wasn’t quite enough.
The hotel shuttle took me up to Guthrie Green, and like many others, I began looking for shelter from the biting wind. The gear check tent worked great as a shelter, and kept most of the wind off. Race time started to get close, so a bunch of us worked our way up to the start corral.
Eight o’clock came, and our throng — two thousand strong — flooded the streets of Tulsa. With the confidence stemming from so many 5k’s this year, I set out confidently, and ran most of the course. I was trying to stay in a steady rhythm, and that really worked for me, keeping all my kilometer splits within thirty seconds of each other.
Last year, I really struggled with this race, although I fought hard and brought back on of my best finishing times of the year. This year, I shaved 4½ minutes off last year’s time. Wonderful!
Medal #2 in hand!
I was also signed up to run in the Fun Run. Originally, Darla was gonna walk this with me, but she had a knee injury that kept here in Da Lou, so I decided to just continue my nice pace from the 5K, which seemed to work for me. Again. In fact, my mile averages for each race were identical.
Medal #3 in hand!
I called the hotel shuttle to have them pick me up at Guthrie Green. The driver came by — a guy a little older than me — and we started to chit chat about the race. He commented how impressed he was with people that ran, and that the challenge really seemed to be with getting started. I told him my story, explaining about my colon cancer, and that being the catalyst for my beginning this journey. We talked about my cancer, and my early diagnosis. And then he said he’d been putting off having a scoping, and that he was rethinking that after hearing my story. Man, that was cool!
So now, I sit in the hotel, pondering my first half marathon tomorrow morning. I’m both confident and terrified, which I suppose is normal. I really feel confident that I can finish. I’m not going for any kind of speed, just a finish.
And I think I can do that.