Last Halloween I ran a race that I will tell you about today! Since moving to Tulsa in August of 2014, I’d heard rave reviews of a strange-to-me distance race – the Tulsa Run. It’s a 15k or 9.3 mile run through downtown and close by neighborhoods of my current hometown. It’s Tulsa’s longest running foot race and fits well into the training cycle for the more popular distances of half and full marathons in November.
I made sure this year (now, last year!) to fit it into the race schedule. All fall I’d been focusing on a tough training regime to help me PR in the half marathon distance in late November. The 15k distance would be an excellent indicator for how ready I was for the half distance just a few weeks later.
I don’t really get nervous for runs like these because it’s just a fun opportunity to have a bunch of people with me on my long run. Normally I would have sported a costume but I was in this run to actually race it. So, no tutus or capes that would add wind resistance BUT I did wear a bright orange top.
My game plan was to just run how I felt. It wasn’t an intimidating distance since I was prepping for 4 additional miles. I was a little concerned about the hills I’d been hearing about but I figured I was familiar enough with the streets of Tulsa to know where the big hills would be – Utica area and coming back into town from the river.
It’s been long enough that I don’t really remember the weather that morning. I think it was chilly to start, especially as we transitioned out of a steamy summer. But I also remember it was humid. I use the Nike+ app to track my runs now – no more worrying with a watch (I do miss it, just not in the budget currently).
The run was amazing. I ran strong and felt like I was moving at a decent pace. I saw a few familiar faces from YMCA and boot camps around town and it was fun to say hello and cheer on some friends. We started downtown, in a similar way to how the Route 66 race starts, so I tried to visualize that race too.
The first hill came leading up towards Cherry Street so I didn’t try to push the pace. Just stay steady. Especially that early in the run. And then as each mile passed it was still – just stay steady. Soon I was on the Peoria out and back and really loved watching the crowd pass as I looked for familiar faces. Didn’t see many but lots of costumes kept the miles entertaining. There was an entire troop of Star Wars characters, a Forrest Gump (of course) with a fish on a line! (another runner dressed as a fish).
I periodically checked my pace and was pleased to see that for not much apparent effort I was keeping a fast (for me) pace. All those treadmill track days paying off!
The last part of the race on the West side of the river was tough. Not sure if it was because it was the tail end of the race OR knowing that there was a big hilly effort to get back into town. OR that some humidity had set in and by now it was after 10 am and fairly warm. My Foolish Things family all came out to cheer me on as I ran by and that gave me a surprising burst of energy. Enough to push hard to the finish line (also slightly up hill). I finished strong and had my first ever puke at the finish line. Thankfully not on anyone, and I’m not sure anyone actually saw me. I feel like a real racer now ;).
Overall this race totally lived up to its hype. I can’t wait to do it again and again as long as I live in Tulsa. It is beautifully organized, a challenging course, well supported and the medal glows in the dark! If you live in Tulsa, you should definitely add this to your calendar. And if you don’t, you should consider a special trip, even though it’s not one of the “big” distances.
According to Nike+ app I ran 9.46 miles in 1:16:50 for an average of 8:07. This set me up for a great half marathon effort in just a few weeks. I only need to add 4 strong miles to the end of this and I think with the right weather I totally could.
A few weeks later I got a surprise package in the mail for an award. I wasn’t fast enough to be in an age group for this race (although I hope for one in 2016) but I was fast enough in my weight category for a pretty little trophy. I’m not sure how I feel about weight group prizes….not sure yet if I think it encourages or categorizes people in an unnecessary way. What do you think?