My Summer Long Run Uniform

I made a pledge at the start of the year to not purchase any items of clothing for all of 2017 (with a few exceptions).  At this point in the game, I hadn’t signed up to run a marathon yet, so I made a few more exceptions once I was enlisted in this endeavor and had miles of training in front of me.  I wore two particular articles of clothing for every long run and during the race.  They were perfect and I have no complaints about either item of clothing.  Since I loved them so much, I want to tell you about each piece.  I will definitely be buying a second pair of each once my purchasing ban is lifted and I start summer training again next year.

The Perfect Running Bra

It does exist and it is made by Lululemon.  I have squeezed myself into sports bra after sports bra but this is the one y’all: The Enlite Bra.

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Summer long run uniform

I’m lucky in that I don’t have to contend too much with my girls and their bounce or weight when I run.  And I’d honestly never really thought twice about a good sports bra, until I wore this one.   It made the days I wore other sports bras seem restrictive and uncomfortable.

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Full coverage on the front and no bouncing!

I love the Enlite because it has individual cups for each gal.  Turns out I don’t really love having them smooshed into a uni-boob.  I also love that it hooks in the back in addition to the usual elasticity of sports clothing because that helped eliminate some of the bounce that happens when running (again, I don’t have much to contend with here, but I did notice).  The criss-crossed straps in the back also helped me feel tucked in and tight.  The best part though was probably the fabric.  It is SO soft.  And there’s something magical about it that doesn’t collect sweat (and man were there some sweaty days in July gearing up for that race).  I remember wearing a different bra on a humid night run of way less than half the distance of some of those morning long runs and I had to wring it out it got so soaked in sweat.  I never had to wring out the Enlite, because of the magic fabric.

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Enlite Bra + mid thigh tights = perfect running combo

The Perfect Running Bottoms

When I first started running, I wasn’t too picky about the kind of clothing I had on.  I didn’t know any better.  It only took one run over 5 miles to learn that shorts are not a good option for my legs for that many miles.  No thigh gap there.  So for years, I’ve run in mid-length tights all through the summer months for runs over 5 miles.  When the temps started to climb in Oklahoma on this marathon training cycle, I knew I needed a different plan.

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I spy a phone tucked into a side pocket

I bought my favorite pair of running bottoms to date.  They are the mid-thigh tight shorts that remind me of biker shorts.  They’re amazing for a few reasons:

  1. They are way cooler (as in temps) than tights just a few inches longer.
  2. They are way more comfortable than traditional shorts and I can wear them for miles and miles without a concern of chafing.
  3. THEY HAVE SIDE POCKETS

I’ve written about my love for side pockets before but I’ll reiterate again.  As a digital runner who uses her phone for music, run tracking and instagramming on the run, side pockets changed the game for me.  There is less sweat there than at the normal small-of-the-back pocket and the bounce from the large device is minimal when it’s snug against your leg.  There’s also plenty of room for hours of snacks and mid-run essentials like salt tablets and Aleve.  I’ll never buy pants or shorts intended for running without side pockets again.  Ever.

Unfortunately this version of the shorts is no longer in production but I’ll let you know when something similar is available for purchase.   I’ll definitely be buying another pair when they come back around!

 

 

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The Greatest Adventure

I wrote this post for our StudiOne blog right after the race but I never shared it here.  I’m not sure how much crossover there is between my two worlds but I wanted to re-share it here because I think there’s an important message about believing in yourself in my story.   Mine is specifically running, but yours could be anything else.  Job, school, relationships.  Put in the work and see what happens before you sell yourself short.  You just might believe you can do it (I’ll be trying again next year!).

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Whose idea was this anyway?

Last weekend, StudiOne instructor Michelle and I traveled to the west coast to run in our Jack and Jill Marathon.  We’d been training for 16 weeks in hopes of qualifying for the Boston Marathon.  I, Sprenkel, was originally planning to accompany Michelle on her BQ attempt and check off the half marathon distance of my 21st state.  But, on the day we registered back in February, the half was already sold out.  So I committed to the full, but only reluctantly.  I, Sprenkel, who after my last marathon in 2013 called my dad to make him promise to never let me sign up for another one, was game to run 26.2 miles again (never say never, eh?) but was not interested in the work or idea of qualifying for Boston.  Well, ok the idea of it because what runner isn’t?  But I am a half marathoner, a recent 5k racer and never in my 10 years of running would I have considered myself strong enough to qualify for Boston.  Never.  (This is important, are you getting it?)

Somewhere between the time of signing up and starting our official training, I’d been convinced by two women that I could at least train like I wanted to qualify.  One of them was Michelle, who was begging for a training partner, and also believed in me before I did.  The other was Kathrine Switzer, the first woman to register and run in the infamous 1967 Boston Marathon.  I listened to her speak in April and this line brought me to tears, “We are very good at underestimating what we’re capable of.”  That settled it.  I flew home to Michelle and we started training the very next week.  Who am I to stand in my own way?

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Lots of miles on Brookside

The first half of training went really, exceptionally well.  Our schedules matched so we were able to run most of our training days together.  The weather was great, we were hitting our paces and the grudge of weeks and miles of training hadn’t set in yet.  Then more than halfway through, our schedules changed, the weather turned nasty and the long miles dragged on.  I was making bets left and right to help me eat right and get the last of my miles in.  But we dug in and got the training done.

Going into the race, we were both unsure of what to actually expect.  Michelle scoped out the course that was most likely to get us a fast time, which is why we hauled ass across the US to run.  The 40 degree temperature difference would certainly work in our favor and so would the downhill.  But still, that doubt lingered that we could hit the low 8:00 paces because we hadn’t been in the Tulsa heat and humidity.  I almost tossed in the BQ towel before the race even started.

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Shakeout run on the sound

We had a beautiful first full day in Seattle that we spent carefully eating and touring around.  We went for a shakeout run on the river at noon time and barely broke a sweat.  It was heaven.  There was a lot of chatter about our race strategy to keep us from going out too fast.  I definitely couldn’t pull one of my 5k race starts where I bolt out of the gate – too many miles for that.  We made sure to stock up on fuel for during the race (my Aunt Annie’s fruit snacks) and a blanket for the start line since we would be waiting around for an hour.  We tried to go to bed early but our nerves kept us up later than we would have liked.  Luckily we were running on more than 12 hours of sleep from the previous night.

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Marathon morning

Race day came at 3am on Sunday.  We got dressed in our layers and put our glide on all the proper seams.  There are so many sequential things important in this time period.  We had to leave by 3:45 am to make it to our 4:30 bus on time.  After we were dressed and made sure we had all the watches, headphones, playlists, snacks and pills (salt and Aleve) we would need, we made our breakfast of steel cut oats and ran out the door.

I stayed surprisingly calm throughout the whole morning.  I get more nervous for 5ks than I did for this.  I was calm on the bus, although I did get a little annoyed at all the race chatter going on on the bus.  At that point, you’ve done everything you can to get ready for the race and I didn’t want to hear any more what if this happens or what if that happens?  I stayed calm as we huddled under our blanket waiting for the start.  Even stayed calm on the walk to the start line and the quick hop into the bushes for one last bathroom break (hey it happens, and you don’t want to have to stop on the course if you’re going for time).  Before I knew it, we were off, and I was still calm.

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Headlamps for the tunnel

It felt so good to be running.  The mountains were incredible, the temperature was perfect and I had my best running pal by my side.  Without a definite plan still, I just wanted to run by feel and keep a mindful approach to my breath and effort levels.  About half a mile in we hit the famous Snoqualmie tunnel.  For about 2.5 miles of disorienting darkness, we paced behind the 3:35 pace man.  It was quiet except for the steps of runners, and occasional drip drip of water in puddles and the steady breathing of a dozen people around me.  I didn’t have any signal in the tunnel so had no music in my ears.

At mile 3 we popped out the other side and I was so happy to be able to see the whole ground beneath me.  I shed my top long sleeve layer and tossed the headlamps into the bucket.  Soon after, a flood of my Motigo messages for miles 1-3 came all at once.  Michelle and I laughed out loud in excitement of the familiar voices.

For a good amount of miles after the tunnel, we ran together, comfortably and steadily.  The scenery was indescribable and I wished often that I wasn’t racing so I could have stopped to take pictures.  We were surrounded by beautiful green trees, an expansive blue sky above us and the green landscape was dotted with bright, colorful flowers beside the trail.  Somewhere in those middle miles, I looked at Michelle and said, “I think we can make it.”

When we got to the mile 15 water stop, I knew some of the toughest miles were ahead of us.  I was still feeling strong so I kept a pretty good pace.  I have to walk through the water stops or I’ll swallow too much air, but I tried to move as quickly as I could.  Working for the next mile marker and Motigo message with every step.  The water tables were about two miles apart and by 17 I didn’t have Michelle in my sights anymore when I looked back over my shoulder.  We’d made an agreement that we would stay together as long as we could, but then if one of us needed to push on, to leave the other.

There’s a famous quote in the running world: “The first half of the marathon is 20 miles, the second half is the last 6.2”.  And y’all is there truth to that.  When I hit mile 20, I was still moving along at goal pace but then it’s like all at once all your systems start to shut down.  Knees, feet and ankles were aching.  Soon the shoulders joined in the party.  I felt like I was going as fast as I could but I also knew I had slowed down.  But I kept moving.  Keep moving for the cheers!  I was always excited to see who would be there to greet me at the next mile.   And I even got a little miffed on a few miles when I knew there were certain people aware of the difficulty of those miles (18 and 20).

Those final six miles passed so slowly and at this point, after the 3:35 pacer passed me, I had no expectation of hitting a qualifying time.  But I was still so so amazed at my own run.  The last mile was the hardest: Motigo had no option for cheers at mile 26 (something I plan to speak to them about), a man on the sidelines cheering shouted out, “Just under 500 yards to go” and I spent at least 500 yards trying to figure out how far that is in meters, and still had no finish line in sight, and my shoulders were aching so much.  I’d developed a calf cramp that had modified my gait a little bit and was pretty much shuffling along the trail.  Then I saw it.  And perked up a bit.  Despite all the pain, I still felt surprisingly strong so I put on my best sprint and crossed the finish line.

I took my medal and two bottles of water before trotting back to find Michelle.  She finished strong, not far behind me.  We both hobbled around gathering up snacks and our start line bags.  We called or texted our biggest fans with our times and limped over to the shuttle bus.  Michelle couldn’t feel her legs and I had such a bad cramp in my shoulder that I couldn’t move my left arm.

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We did it!

Looking back, a week later, I don’t remember any sadness or disappointment from either of us.  During the race I was reminded so powerfully of the magic of running, and especially the magic of a well-trained for marathon.  They’re not always enjoyable, and not every step of Jack and Jill was bliss.  But, for most of those 26.2 miles, I felt fearless, strong and capable.  I thought back on training struggles, days I wanted to give up, and doubts I had in myself.  I remembered years ago when running used to be a punishment to myself for overeating or indulging in delicious food.  And I celebrated that now running is a tool I use to feel strong and able.  I listened with so much love in my heart to my messages from friends and family, near and far.  I was overwhelmed with gratitude and humility that so many people would take time out of their days to cheer for me (Motigo founder reached out to me to tell me I set the record for cheers in a single race <3).

Before the race, I thought of one of my favorite quotes, “Maybe it won’t work out, but maybe seeing if it will is the greatest adventure ever.”  I was at peace at that starting line that even if we missed it, I grew as a runner in that training cycle.  My perception of myself and my capabilities completely shifted.  I never missed a track workout. I completed long runs in the 80+ degrees of the Tulsa summer, while friends were in town and before vacations.  I ran on treadmills on cruise ships.  I said no to brunch and dinner plans, donuts and ice cream for 16 weeks.  And oh man, did Michelle and I adventure through the city streets and weather of Oklahoma.  But I grew.  I stretched.  I pushed.  Michelle gave me the nudge I needed to at least think about it, and then the support I needed to get through it.  Kathrine gave me the push to commit to trying.  And I gave myself permission to fly.  I can’t wait to go back and get that BQ!

Don’t stand in your own way y’all.  We are our biggest critics, doubters and obstacles.  If you need a nudge, or a support team like I had, myself, Teresa and the students and teachers at StudiOne can help you.  It’s fall racing season in Tulsa – pick an October or November race and see what you can do!

 

Jack + Jill 26.2: Halfway Point Thoughts

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This past week marked halfway to the big shot at trying to get a BQ.  8 weeks under my feet, 8 more to go.  As I’ve been running this week, I’ve been reflecting on how I think it’s going and will continue to go until we get to Washington.   Generally, some days I feel like I’ve got a really good shot.  And other days I think there’s no way I can run that fast for that long.IMG_9477

Stuff That Makes Me Feel Confident:

  1. I haven’t missed a track workout.  I’m really proud of this!  Even on the cruise ship.  Even on days when I couldn’t do it in the mornings and I had to hit the treadmill or run in the heat of the afternoon.  I’m logging those fast paced miles and I know that it’s keeping me strong.
  2. Strong long runs.  Until recently, I’ve logged some relatively fast, not too painful long runs.  I try to keep those in mind as they’ve gotten harder in the past week or two.
  3. No major injuries.  Aside from falling down on a hike in Alaska and jamming up my back (fixed by Dr. B), I’ve had a relatively pain-free training cycle thus far.  This has never been the case in my past three rounds of marathoning.  I give credit to strength training, yoga, and regular chiropractic care.
  4. Race conditions.  It will be cooler.  It’ll be downhill.  I’ll have lots of people around me.  And it’ll be game day.

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Stuff That Makes Me Worry:

  1. I haven’t run long enough.  I wanted to have at least one or two 20 milers under my belt by now but the most I’ve done is 18 twice.  I’m glad that these runs don’t leave me too sore or tired the next day but I still want to hit that 20 mark.  Because there’s being conditioned for that long AND having to hit it at goal pace.
  2. I miss my running partner.   I’ve been logging some of these longer runs on my own because M has been battling her own injuries and our schedules just don’t match up well.  It makes getting those longer miles in super boring even with playlists and podcasts out the wazoo.
  3. It’s f*cking hot.  I did a 16 miler last weekend and was soaking wet hair to bra to shorts to shoes and it didn’t even rain.  I wish it would have rained – I would have been just as soaked but cooler.  It makes hitting the distances hard, and the paces harder.  And it’s only going to get worse.
  4. There’s only 7 weeks left.  That’s all.

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Yesterday, I tried to go out for a simple six miler.  One mile easy, 4 miles hard, one mile easy.  I quit at 2.5.  I’m not one to give up mid-training run but it was in the afternoon.  It was hot.  My legs were shaking and felt like I was running sub 7s but I was barely even in the low 8s.  I sat down on the west side of the Tulsa bridge and cried for a minute while I thought about what I was gonna do.  I decided that probably not enough rest, and not enough food (I really have a mental block with later in the day runs.  I don’t want to eat too much and get a cramp so I usually end up not eating enough) and the heat contributed to how I was feeling.  I threw in the towel because I really want tomorrow to go well.  I want to feel strong and rested when I hit the pavement at 5am.

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I’m feeling pretty discouraged.  And I have to come to terms with now the thought of what if we don’t get it?  This is classic Sprenkel.  I always like to think of the worst possible outcome to something, and how I’ll handle it.  So, I’ll keep lacing up and doing the best I can these next seven weeks with a huge emphasis on proper rest. Then come Sunday, July 30, I’ll give Jack and Jill my best shot. But if I don’t get that 3:30, I’m betting that I’ll hit a massive marathon PR in the process and have a breathtaking new state to cross off my list.

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Photos by Kayla Tandoc.

Oklahoma Country Runnin’!

Run 1: Set the Pace

I mentioned in my last post that I was ready to get back to it – starting with a 2 miler to help me gauge my pace for the training season.  I am here to report to you that I completed my mission yesterday evening, in a  light drizzle!  It took a lot of mental determination and energy to get out the door.  Once I was out though, it was just a quick mile up the road and back.  No big deal.

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Rain jacket – check. Sorry Miley, you can’t come.

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It was a rough run, glad to do it though!

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Final stats from my NikePlus App.

I’ll use that 2 mile time to set my target paces for specific workouts throughout the 8 weeks – it’s fun and tortuous all at once.

I posted the last picture on my Instagram account with the following caption: Rain can’t get me down anymore.  Today marks the first run of #8weeksto15 (I know I said a little while ago I’d be doing a race in 4 weeks from now but plans changed, life got hectic  and I pushed it back like a #bosslady).  I felt bad about it for a while and cycled into not running at all.  I felt like I had failed that 12 week plan.  But I coached myself up with the help of a friend and got out there again….

Something I’m  trying to learn (over and over again) as I become a more seasoned runner (going on almost ten years now!) is that I won’t always be a four times per week runner.  Hell May has hardly seen 4 in the entire month!  But it’s always there in the back of my mind, and I know I’ll come back to it…..

So here I am, the first run for #8weeksto15.  Have you guessed the state yet?  Drivable from OK!

The run was pretty straightforward – run one mile down the road and run back.  I like coming back into it with a run that I know I can do.  I was pleasantly surprised by my pace, I haven’t been that fast on an average since pre-meniscus!

Run 2: Country Run

Since I didn’t work at any of my jobs today, I took an old offer up from a friend to have a run in the country.  My friend Katherine who writes over here and I have been running together in the city for a few weeks now.  She’s invited me out to her neck of the woods a few times and with the time off today it was perfect!  I was extra enthused when I saw her Instagram post this morning of a baking session going down in her kitchen!

This was my first trip north on 169 to Owasso.  It’s not tough to get to, most places from Tulsa are just a twenty minute drive (except Muskogee which happens to range from 45-50 minutes depending on Broken Arrow traffic).  By the time I arrived, the sun was all the way out and the temperatures were in the 80s!  I opted for no hat in order to get some sun on my face.  She took me on her usual route, pointing out neighbors and barnyard animals as we went.  We had to turn around at one point because of a flooded creek!  We were aiming for four but decided to cut it at 2.2 when we looped past her house to grab her dog Stella for a walk (and because if I’m totally honest, I was struggling in the out-of-nowhere sun and heat).

Turn around, don't drown!

Turn around, don’t drown!

Made a pony friend!

Made a pony friend!

Once we got back home from the walk (and a swim in the river for Stella), we teamwork a delicious banana, blueberry and spinach smoothie and she pulled out the magical blueberry muffins.  The smoothie was a perfect post-run cool-down treat and her muffins were wonderfully delicious and made with healthy alternatives too!  Head on over to meet her and check out the recipe here: Blueberry Oatmeal Muffins.

Blueberries two ways!

Blueberries two ways!

Yay for blogging friends!

Yay for blogging friends!

That’s all for this weekend y’all!  I hope you’ve had a relaxing day off with your families, taken some time for yourself and a moment to remember those who have served for us!

Roadside Attraction: Catoosa Blue Whale

It’s been a glorious fall day here.  I took Miley for a quick run around the neighborhood this morning after teaching a beginner’s yoga class at Foolish Things Coffee.  I’m staying inspired by my clients and nature today.  In just a few minutes, after this blog is posted, I’ll be on the road for the first time to Memphis from Tulsa.  I’m really looking forward to seeing some new parts of this region, visiting some sweet friends once I’m there and bringing home a fun toy for the studio 🙂 Stay tuned!

 

Last week, I ventured outside of Tulsa for a little Oklahoma field trip.  Other than the small town stops along my route from Austin to Tulsa, I haven’t been anywhere in Oklahoma except this town.  I went with my friend Ashley to see her husband’s band – The Fabulous Minx – play at The Blue Whale.  Ash suggested it earlier in the week and proposed a picnic and concert evening.  How could I turn it down?

Catoosa is less than an hour east of Tulsa and the drive wasn’t bad at all.  Of course, I was just enjoying their company and Spotify playlists from the back seat but still, it didn’t seem to drag on.  We arrived at the Blue Whale, right off the side of the Route 66 road and parked in the gravel parking lot.  There were some other attractions there like a tamale stand and arc sculpture that weren’t open for us to explore.  But the whale was!

Welcome to the Blue Whale!

Welcome to the Blue Whale!

Ashley and I played on the whale while the boys set up stuff for the show.  She told me the tale of the whale, which I will now tell you.  Ol’ Blue is the name of the iconic whale that was built as an anniversary gift from a man to his wife.  Hugh S. Davis was his name and he owned the land with the pond on it.  For years people and kids played in the pond, using it to cool off in the hot Oklahoma summers.

Hugh was a fan of nature, having worked at the Tulsa Zoo before retirement.  In 1970, Hugh enlisted the help of his friend Harold (a welder) to construct the whale.  It took them 2 years and Harold helped out free of charge (that Okie spirit, I’m tellin’ you!).  Once the whale was complete, people just came to it.  They wanted to jump off the tail (much as I did) and slide off the fins.  The Blue Whale was closed for a while after Hugh died but has been a restoration project ever since.  It was a great backdrop to the concert!  Before the show started kids played and fished on the whale.  There were turtles, fish and snakes in the water but no one swam.  Ryan said people don’t really swim in the pond anymore (I certainly couldn’t have been persuaded, it was pretty murky and stagnant).

After sitting a bit on the tail with Ashley, we carefully climbed down and started our picnic with the rest of the bandmates and their wives.  It was a delicious homemade salad (recipe soon!) and beer.  I loved getting to hear the Minx play for the first time.  The girls and I lounged on the blanket looking at the stars and observing with (not sure exactly) what kind of emotion the underage kids smoking and drinking while their friends’ band played.  Once the Minx came on, we were up and dancing around to their rockabilly sound.  It was a great trip outside town and I can’t wait to see the Minx again.

If you ever find yourself outside Tulsa to the east, swing by Ol’ Blue for a free place to picnic and some funky history.

Whale tails

Whale tails

Time for Memphis!!

Becoming a Documented Okie

This post has very little to do with health and fitness and the most to do with getting that grown-up to-do list taken care of.  Last week marked my one month milestone in my new city of Tulsa and I figured it was time to make the leap to the proper documentation for me and my car.

I went ahead and did all the leg work and research and will now tell you of the relatively painless Oklahoma DOT policies for getting a driver’s license and tags if you’re new to the state.  (Note: If you’re an OK resident already, I have no idea what the policies for renewal are yet.  This only applies for recent transfers into the state).

WHAT YOU NEED (what I had to show)

– OK License: Primary ID (birth certificate or passport) and Secondary ID (old state’s license/student/military ID), official paper you’ll receive from the Driver’s Branch

– Tags: OK license, previous registration, OK car insurance proof

 

Driver’s License.

Do this first.  You’ll need the license to get you tags.  You will have to make two stops before you’ll have the license in your hand.  I know, annoying.  But, if you plan it right it’s pretty ok.  And your driver’s license stop can also be your license plate stop.

So first, you will go to 3190 W. 21st Street S.  It’s on the West side of the river and less than ten minutes from downtown.  They open at 7 AM.  I figured if I got there a little before 7, I would be the first.  Not true.  There was a line already formed at about ten til 7 when I arrived.  It wasn’t too long, but it was the first of our wintry-ish mornings, drizzly and chilly.  I stood in line and chatted with the women close to me – some testing for bus licenses and others renewing.

They open the doors promptly at 7 and let you in.  Standard BMV procedure is next – take a number.  Get the number first, then grab the sheet to fill out with all your personal info.  You will need to have one primary ID (other than your previous state’s license) like a birth certificate or passport, and a secondary ID like my Indiana license or a school/military ID.

I waited less than 30 minutes before being called up.  I did not have to show any proof of current residency in Oklahoma (I had my mortgage bill just in case), nor did I have to say when I moved to town.  They asked the standard questions – am I a felon, can I see, do I have seizures – you know, to make sure I’m a safe driver.  I also re-took the eye exam and handed over my Indiana identification (for the first time ever!).  I didn’t pay anything at this location but when we finished, received an official stamped piece of paper to take to the tag agency.

Tag Agency

Conveniently there’s a tag agency located right next door to the License Branch.  Inconveniently it opens an hour and a half after the License Branch.  Since I was through my process so quickly, I decided to go to the downtown tag location.

Located at 5th and Denver, the downtown tag agency has free parking and took care of both my license and plates.  They open at 9 am during the week and aren’t open on the weekend.  I handed over the sheet from my morning stop, signed a few more things, asked to be an organ donor and sat for my photo.  The total for this was around $35 (I’ll put more specific fees when I look them up later).

Okie Official

Okie Official

While the license was printing, I moved to a different counter to work on my plates.  I needed to show my current registration (from IN) and proof of OK car insurance, and then when it was available I presented my license.  They provided me a form to fill out to transfer my title to OK and will be in touch once that’s completed (I didn’t have my title with me).  This fee was around $130 (again, will update when I have specific amounts).

The kind lady working that morning came out with me to inspect my car – wrote down the serial number and asked for my odometer reading.  And that was that!  Now I’m officially an OKIE!

OK Plates

OK Plates

I hope this helps anyone else facing this daunting task.  It was actually quite painless and a little bit pleasant.  Those friendly Okies 🙂

Tulsa: One Month Later

As I was running on the river last night, I realized it was the evening bookending my first complete month in Tulsa.  I had a great second half of a 9 miler around the lake river (the Austinite in me still refers to rivers as lakes!).  I was watching the sun set and remembered one of my very first nights here I did the same thing.  And then realized I had been in this new place exactly one month.

It’s funny to me, because both Austin and Memphis took a little while to feel like home.  Not Tulsa.  Maybe I just got lucky with the friends I’ve made, or maybe it’s just the Oklahomans and their kindness.  I’m not sure, but I like it.  People have been asking me how I’m doing and how I’m liking Tulsa and what it’s like – I was thinking about all of this on my run last night, trying to come up with an appropriate way to present it to you.  Then I remembered the blog post of another girl, also new to Oklahoma, who I haven’t met yet but we’ve connected virtually over this similar life transition (and plan to meet soon!), who described it via her senses.

And now I will do the same.

Tulsa tastes like….

….fresh vegetables.  From the garden.  Or from the farmer’s market.  There’s a lot of Oklavore cooking going on here.

….my morning latte.  Part of my morning routine is stopping by Foolish Things Coffee Company.  I do event planning for them part time, and am also working on a business fitness plan for their employees.  Plus, completely unbiased, I just think they’re the best 😉

….Andolini’s pizza.  I’ve found my favorite pizza place here and this is probably the restaurant I’ve visited the most so far.  If you come visit, we will go!

Tulsa sounds like….

….the laughter of my new friends at work.  I can hear them laughing in the kitchen when I’m doing laptop work at the cafe.  Or around the dinner table.  Or during workouts when things are about to get really hard.

….the Divergent soundtrack.  Because well, let’s be honest, that’s what’s fueling my runs right now.

….quiet.  Even in the midst of downtown, there’s this peaceful quietness to Tulsa.  It gives your soul some space and peace.

….hushed conversations for making this place better.  I overhear a lot of chatter at Foolish Things – from One Million Cups meetings to other business owners coming together to make plans for supporting the city, people here care about their town and making it better.  I can’t wait to be part of that.

Tulsa looks like….

….progress.  There’s a lot of construction here.  Not anything like Austin, which is a beautiful thing but you can feel the preparations for growth and improvements.  It’s energizing.

….a backdrop to Gatsby’s era.  There are parts of downtown that if you catch correctly, give you just a view of buildings with the deco style architecture.  It’s beautiful.

….big, puffy clouds.  More than any place I’ve lived so far, I’m noticing the sky.  Clouds do funny things here.  They’re fluffy and make shapes more so than I’ve noticed before.  And when the sun is close to the horizon, the clouds light up in magnificent colors, giving that Texas sky a run for it’s money.

Tulsa smells like….

….dirt.  There’s nothing like my weekend treks on Turkey Mountain with Miley.  You smell dirt and dust on the trail, and on her for days to come after.

.fresh pastries at Foolish Things Coffee Company.  On my days in the kitchen, and even just at the bar tables on my laptop, the smell of sugar and butter and dough wafts through the coffee house.  I’m just glad that I like to run 😉

….sweat.  Yes.  But, that’s my job, and I’m so thankful to have sweaty clients!

Tulsa feels like….

….the last few rays of sun on a river run.  That moment right when the warmth of the sun changes to the feeling of shade.  Always welcome on the hot run days.  In the winter it will be the soaking up of the warmth instead of the welcome anticipation of the shadow.

….Texas.  The heat and humidity are close in comparison.  I know we’ll get winter before Austin does but until then I feel well prepped for the climate here.

….bugs in your face if you mistime your river run.  (Just bein’ honest.  But Austin had the same problem).

….helpfulness.  Everyone I’ve met, from my neighbor Wayne to my newest clients is interested in bartering or helping a girl get settled.  I’ve had fresh veggies, car washes, website development and training space offered to me.

.big hugs from old and new friends alike.  People are so welcoming, friendly and loving here.  And they give great hugs.

….home.  It does.  And one day soon I’ll be able to call it that (as soon as I can let go of the Grizzlies…).