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Hey, Adventure Foot Readers! I’m happy to be sharing another race report from my running partner and frequent guest blogger for Adventure Foot, Doug Burdic! Doug and I were supposed to run the Route 66 Half Marathon in Tulsa, OK together in November, but thanks to me catching a near-pneumonia-level respiratory infection, Doug had to fly solo for Tulsa.  I’m very proud of him taking on this tough course, for setting a new Personal Record and improving his time from our Illinois Half Marathon.  Doug and I are already looking at the calendar to plan our next half marathon together.  I promise I’ll drink my orange juice and try not to get sick before the next one.    

Oklahoma

Where the (Head)wind Comes Sweepin Down the Plains…

by Doug Burdic

IT’S LABOR DAY – Got a race to run sometime.  When’s November?  That soon, huh?  Best get cracking then.

FRIDAY BEFORE THE RACE AT THE OFFICE – Nervous wreck.

SATURDAY – Awoke at 5:30, jumped in the car and headed for the Route 66 Half Marathon in Tulsa.  Nice day for a drive.  Having never been through southwestern Missouri, I was surprised at the hills and valleys that the Ice Age glaciers were kind enough to provide, and noticed that Jefferson City is the most physically demanding city I’ve ever been through.  I actually had my hands at 10 and 2 for a minute.

Oklahoma looks exactly as you would expect Oklahoma to look:  just like any scene in Twister.  Lots of billboards for casinos.  And oddly, lots of signs begging me not to drive into smoke, which seems like a good idea no matter what state you’re in.

Having successfully not driven into smoke, I came in to Tulsa, the whole of which was under heavy construction.  Having blown my turn for the hotel (thanks for ripping the exit signs down, Tulsa 😦 ), I audibled to the packet pickup and the pretentiously named Health, Fitness and Sustainability Expo in the city’s Convention Center.

Big room.  Quite a few vendors, though I didn’t see any booths for any other marathons as I had elsewhere.  By the time I’d gotten there, most of the places were picked pretty clean and the crowd was thin.  Pickup was a breeze.

Doug snapped this picture with his super-cool half marathon finisher's medal right before he drove home!

Doug snapped this picture with his super-cool half marathon finisher’s medal right before he drove home!

Then to the hotel, conveniently located miles from anywhere, abutting the Tulsa International Airport.  The room was very nice and the place was quiet, save the odd plane taking off.  I grabbed some pasta for dinner at the hotel restaurant and retired early, hoping to sleep.

SUNDAY – I had set the alarm for 5:30 but woke up at 3:30.  Thought some fast thoughts, fired down some breakfast and headed back into the city to find a place to park and the starting line.

The weather was pitch-perfect.  About 45 degrees at the start, and mostly cloudy.  I waited 20 minutes in line for a bathroom, then herded myself into the proper corral to get ready for the start.

The race began pretty smoothly.  I felt strong.  Adrenaline had taken hold, as usual.  The first half-mile or so was downhill, and the next six were NOT.  Nevertheless, I’d kept up a pretty good pace, but that would come with consequences as I’d worn myself down too much.  Around the sixth mile, I was torn asunder.  My quads were actually on fire.  But I needed to continue, and apparently I needed to learn a valuable lesson about pacing oneself.  So onward I went.

One of Doug and my favorite runs from 2012- The Frozen Buns Run in St. Louis, MO

One of Doug and my favorite runs from 2012- The Frozen Buns Run in St. Louis, MO

A few words about the course:  very nice, really.  Ran through some nice neighborhoods with families in their front yards cheering us on.  Best sign:  “Go Random Stranger!”  Water and Gatorade stops were plentiful.  As I noted earlier, the course was uphill to start, but came back down quickly and finished flat, on the banks of the Arkansas River.  The only problem I had with that was the length of the finishing leg.  You know when you run on Bonansinga Drive in Quincy, and you run and run and run and never seem to get any closer to the end?  That was a problem here, as I’d no idea if my legs would continue to function properly.  However, the city had made a nice scenic park and the whole thing was pretty neat.  Nature.

I stumbled across the finish line in 2 hours, 45 minutes and change.  A personal best, with a caveat:  I’ve only done one other half marathon.  They had plenty for us to eat and drink, which was sorely needed.  All the volunteers were helpful, everything was great.  The whole race was a really positive experience, and I felt like I’d accomplished something.

Then I walked a block to the car, changed my socks and shoes and drove 450 miles straight home.  Which was stupid.

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