State 20: Garmin Half Marathon, KS

On this journey to run in all the states, sometimes I just pick a race that works with my schedule and budget, and sometimes I have a specific race in mind.  Kansas had a specific race.

The Wizard of Oz has long been a favorite story of mine.  I wanted to be Dorothy so badly when I was young that I dubbed my then-crawling little brother “Toto” and only responded to my parents if they addressed me as “Dorothy”.  My mama, being the superwoman she was, put together a homemade Dorothy costume out of a blue overall dress and patent red shoes from Walmart.  It was perfect, except for the reluctancy of “Toto” to actually follow along.

So of course I wanted to run in a Wizard of Oz themed race.  And of course I would dress up as Dorothy.  Due to conflicts the first two years I lived in Tulsa I couldn’t make the race but last April, I set an intention to get it this year.

I recruited Chap to drive with me through the pouring rain up to Olathe.  I managed to keep him company for the first two hours of our late Friday night drive and then gave in to the ZZZs somewhere in the flatlands of Kansas.   Since we weren’t planning to stay to tour around Olathe, I booked a last minute Priceline hotel pretty close to the start.   Once we arrived, I looked up the closest Starbucks for my morning fuel, plugged in my watch to charge and set an alarm.

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Flat Dorothy

I woke up, but not to my alarm.  Simply from the habit of having to be up around 6am most days of the week.  The clock said 6:07 (start time 6:45).  Shit.  I scrambled into my outfit and my running shoes, grabbed my watch and forced Chap awake.  Thank goodness I packed several Superhero Muffins from the Run Fast, Eat Slow cookbook because my extra sleep threw the chance of oatmeal and coffee out the window.  I chowed down on two of those muffins while carefully dressing up as Dorothy.

Being an out of town race, I hadn’t picked up my packet yet so that was the first order of business but every single route we tried was jam packed with traffic.  When we tried to get onto the interstate, the merging lane and the on ramp were bumper to bumper and not moving.  I thought about getting out right there and warmup running to the start.  Chap suggested we just backup in the shoulder lane off the on-ramp and take a backroad.  I’d blindly trust that man to go anywhere so I let him call the shots.  We found the backroad and he got me as close as he could to the start before the roads were blocked off.  Thanks babe.

As I was running down the road towards packet pickup, I got wind that the start of the race was postponed.  Probably because of all the trouble getting to the start.  So, I relaxed a little, grabbed my bib number and had time to revel in the fact that it was in the low 50s and not raining.

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The skirt is flared from the incredible headwind, not from my blazing speed.

I knew to expect a hilly race and had no plans to PR.  I just wanted to log some miles in pursuit of our marathon race in July, dressed up as Dorothy.  And I got exactly that.  The hills just rolled and rolled.  But I kept a steady pace through most of the race.  A lot of that is due to a fellow states-chaser and new running pal Jon.  We fell into step early on and started chatting about running (duh) and from there just hung together the rest of the race.  We saw other characters from the movie, fell into the 1:50 pace group led by a guy Jon dubbed “Drill Sergeant” who rattled off random facts as we crossed each mile (Did you know that there is a 5 year old boy who has run over 48 marathons?!  And the oldest person to ever complete one was 101 years old!).

When we got into the back miles it leveled off a little bit but the wind really started picking up.  At this point we had passed the Sarge and his group but could still hear his chants.  I heard him yell up to us, “Dorothy, get behind that guy and draft off of him.”  So I did.  For the rest of the race.

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There’s no place like the finish….

The last hill was brutal.  It comes at about 3/4 of a mile to go.  But I told Jon I wouldn’t quit on him and he stayed close enough for me to stick with him.  A few other runners joined conversation about different races and the hills.  This is definitely one of the chattiest runs I’ve done.  Maybe it was my costume 🙂

The course finally leveled off to a strong finish.  Chap found me and I posed for some pictures with some fans of the costume.  This was one of the best post-race parties I’ve ever seen.  They had a beer buffet of craft and less crafty beers, hot dogs, chicken sandwiches and margaritas from Chuy’s.  I had two more miles to log for training so Chap joined me on two loops around Garmin’s campus and then we had our party.

This was a wonderful race.  Aside from the trouble getting to the start, it was very well run, very friendly and a challenging but fun course.  I won’t be doing it again (no repeat states except home until the country is finished) but would definitely recommend it to friends.  And I highly recommend wearing a costume.  The “Go Dorothy” cheers definitely kept me going.  So much that I might become a costumed runner!

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Also, how do people wear these costumes without pants underneath?!

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Oz, Succulents and Running in Tulsa

Happy Monday everyone!

Miley and I hopped in a loaded down car on Friday for the last “visit” to Tulsa!  Next time it’ll be just me in a Penske truck with everything except Miley and a week’s worth of clothing in the back.  The big move happens the first weekend in August – I’ll take all of my things up and then fly back to finish out my last week of work teaching at the University of Texas.  I could not be more relieved to not have to trek south on I-35 again!

Ready to roll!

Ready to roll!

While there was plenty of house work and business work to be done this weekend, I decided it was time to treat Tulsa a little more like I would as a resident and made it a point to go to a few events with my friend Katie and even meet some people who could be new friends!

Oz

Facebook tipped me off to an event at the Philbrook Museum of Art on Friday night.  Most cities I’ve lived in have a summer movie series and Tulsa (thankfully!) is no different.  I immediately suggested that we go as soon as I found out it was the Wizard of Oz playing (my all time favorite movie).  We packed a basket of brie, granny smith apples, Riesling and crackers.  Bug spray, a blanket and waters.  The Philbrook is a beautiful mansion surrounded by amazing gardens.  We were nestled amongst the trees off the side lawn.

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This week was the first of four weeks that will have shows this summer.  All movies are from the year 1939, celebrating their 75th birthdays along with the Philbrook Museum!

The schedule for the rest of the season is:

  • July 18: Wuthering Heights
  • July 25: Love Affair
  • August 1: Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (the last one for the summer, I’ll be back!)

Every week you can expect a good crowd, a different food truck (Andolini’s Pizza for us!) and picnicking!  Lawn chairs, wine and kids are allowed, but no pups.

Not in Kansas...

Not in Kansas…

Succulents

Saturday was a day for succulents!  I’m not sure if these plants are a new trend or have been around forever and it’s one of those things you find out about when you’re old enough.  But I love them.  They’re so easy to take care of (example: I was given a little planter of 3 for a housewarming gift over a month ago.  I left them on the mantle for four weeks and they were still alive when I came back this weekend!)

Retro Den hosted a “plant your own succulents” party on Saturday and I made it a point to stop by between exploring Tulsa and picking up paint samples.  I browsed Retro Den the last time I was in town, looking for pieces to fill the empty house and while I don’t anticipate an entire home of retro pieces, I do love the idea of choosing a few key items out (and have my eyes on a few things there!)

My own creation!

My own creation!

I picked out my own planter, this gold loaf pan, and my own succulents from around their shop.  I met one of the owners, Ashley D (the other owner is also an Ashley!) and she helped me form a base layer of rocks, situate the individual plants and then cover the dirt with more rocks.  All that service and my own mini-garden for less than $20!

It was a great event, made complete with several food trucks outside.  A yummy Chicago dog was enjoyed by yours truly 🙂

Runnin’

Runnin’ Fools are still going strong!  We bumped up to 4 miles this week and enjoyed coffee, breakfast sandwiches and conversation at Foolish Things afterward.  Our run took us on the Midland Valley Trail (which I think we’ll use often!).  There are water fountains, shade and pavement, situated away from traffic.  A runner’s/biker’s/mover’s heaven!

Runnin' Fools!

Runnin’ Fools!

Sunday we had to leave to make the southern trek back to Austin.  But not before another romp with the kiddo on Turkey Mountain (an almost brilliant idea.  She slept the entire ride home….but stank like river rats).  This time she had two furry black companions.  I am certain we’re both going to love it here – til next time Tulsa!

Trailblazers on Turkey Mountain

Trailblazers on Turkey Mountain