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Race Dummy for the Route 66 Marathon.
It's totally true. I am afraid of the dark. I'm pretty sure I slept with a nightlight until I was 25. In fact, when my husband is out of town, I literally sleep with every light on in the entire house! So much for saving on my electric bill! 

This blog post is inspired by a phone call I received from my dad yesterday. Just when I was getting back into my car from a run downtown after work my phone rang. It went something like this:

Ring, Ring, Ring (really buzz, buzz, buzz because I have my phone on vibrate).
Me: Hi Dad!
Dad: Well what are you doing now?
Me: I just got back in my car from running.
Dad: Really?
Me: Yeah
Dad: It's dark outside honey.
Me: I know. We run in a group. We run in the dark all the time.
Dad: Well ok....

I could tell he was a little concerned about me running after dark here in Tulsa. 
And then the conversation went on with the real point of the call, discussing Christmas presents.

The call inspired me to blog about running safety at night. As you know from my statement above, I'm afraid of the dark. 

Here are some of my tips for staying safe while running in the dark.
  • NEVER run alone in the dark. This is especially important for my fellow female runners. Groups are more fun anyways!
  • Be seen! Wear reflective items from head to toe and wear light colors. I wear a Sweaty Band to hold my hair back from my face that is also reflective. You can kind of see it in the picture above. 
  • Shine on! Running shoes will often have some reflective elements on them. Sometimes running tights or running shorts will have small reflective areas. 
  • Get out of the way. Do not assume that all cars will go around you. When I'm running in my neighborhood if I see a car coming, I'll hop onto the sidewalk and run until the road is clear again. 
  • Light It Up!  You can wear a blinky light but be sure it doesn't become hidden under your clothing. That doesn't help. Or you can wear a head lamp, similar to what you would use for cave exploring. 
  • Know where you are going. Plan ahead and map out a course or know the trail. No one likes to be lost in the dark.
  • Keep a cell phone with you. If you use a run tracking app like RunKeeper or MapMyRun the phone can double for a light if you wear it on your arm. You can also call someone if you get lost or use your GPS to help you get back on track. 
  • Have an alternate route. Sometimes you run up on people, places, or things that are less than safe. If you see something coming up, know an alternate way around the issue ahead. 
  • Arm yourself. If you just have to run alone take pepper spray with you. I hear that bear spray works great too and has a farther shooting range. 
  • Shout out! If you are running on a trail or path after dark be kind to your fellow runners. Be sure to call ahead as you come up on them so that you do not scare them. Call out something non-threatening like "On Your Left" or "Runners Back" This will let them know you are coming and help you avoid the mace. :)

So to all my running buddies out there training this winter in the darker months, Stay Safe, Stay Warm, and Happy Running! 

 
 
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Yesterday I ran my very first marathon. I still can't believe I did it. I ran an entire 26.5 miles! I know, I know. I can just hear you all saying "Silly Ginger, Marathons are 26.2 Miles!" I do know that normal marathons are 26.2 miles. But the Williams Route 66 Marathon has something special to offer those who chose to participate in the Center of the Universe Detour. It added a little hill, and additional .3 miles, and a pretty awesome participant coin. You can see it in the photo to the left. 



Here are my stats:
Time: 5:16:54
Division Place: 83 out of 128
Overall Place: 1343 out of 1891
Place Gender: 502 out of 822

Race Breakdown! 
Overall, yesterday was a good day for me. The weather was great! The energy was high! My body was cooperating really well and the support from my family and friends was amazing! 
My In-Laws drove down from Bartlesville just to watch my husband and I run out first marathon. That was great! Some of our best friends, Cat, Beth and Tyler also came out, cheered us on, made us signs, let me drop off things with them, and were overall really really great support at each check point. Knowing I would get to see them at different spots on the course was my motivation to keep running. I even had an awesome co-worker, Briggite, come out and make a sign to cheer us on! 

Race Grading Scale!

Course - I gave it 4 Ginger Points out of 5. I didn't realize even living here in Tulsa how hilly the first half would be!

Entry Fee - I also gave it 4 Ginger Points. If I had signed up earlier it would have been cheaper but the main reason for the lost point was due to the finisher shirt. See the Shirt grade below for details.


Participation - 5 Ginger Points! This race was the perfect size for me. Not too big, not too small. Loved it! There were 1891 Marathon Finishers, 3795 Half Marathon Finishers, and 151 Marathon Relay Finishers. 

Parking - 5 Ginger Points. Parking was fine if you were familiar with downtown Tulsa.

Shirt - 3 Ginger Points. I had a hard time grading this one. I read some of the comments from people on Facebook and the overall consensus is that people are disappointed that the finisher shirt had to be purchased after the race for $20. Now the race shirt itself that we received in our packet is great, it is even a tech material.

Medal - 5 Ginger Points! This race is known for it's medals. The Route 66 Marathon Medal is an award winning medal and I hope it continues with it's originality and focus on Americana and Good Old Route 66 themes!

Expo - 4 Ginger Points. The expo was good. Easy to get to, easy to navigate, not too crowded. I did expect it to be bigger or have more race representation there for future races.

Temperature - 5 Ginger Points! If you live in Oklahoma you've heard the saying "If you don't like the weather in Oklahoma, stick around 30 minutes, It'll change." by Will Rogers. We got really lucky for a November race in Oklahoma. The temps ranged from 48-62 degrees during the course. Perfect!   

Overall Organization - 5 Ginger Points! I can't think of a thing that could have been better!
 
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Route 66 Marathon Grading Chart www.rungingerrunblog.com
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Sarah and Donovan after finishing the Route 66 Marathon.
 
 
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Last night I completed my very last training run during taper week in preparation for my very first full marathon. On Sunday I will be running in the Williams Route 66 Marathon. 26.2 miles is a long ways to go, plus I was crazy enough to sign up for the Center of the Universe Detour which will add an additional .3 miles to the race. (Insert crazy ginger comment here.)

This time last year I never thought I would be here. Last year my longest run was 6 miles. I trained to run that distance because I was participating in the Route 66 Marathon Relay. And that race is what sparked my running addiction.

Quick running story - My friend, co-worker, and fellow ginger, Amber, asked me to join her relay team her and a couple friends were putting together. Without even thinking about the fact that I had never even made it through a 5K without walking I said "Yes!" Unfortunately during the relay, one of our teammates was injured on the course. We quickly shuffled the running order and made it work. At the last relay exchange we decided we wanted to keep going even though our teammate had already left to finish the race. Amber and I ended up running a little over 11 miles that day and we had only been training to run 5! It was at that moment we decided if we can run 11 miles without proper training, we could run a half marathon! 

My New Year's resolution was to run a half marathon. Did we do it? Yes! Not only did we run one half marathon, my husband Donovan and I ran three in the Spring! We earned our Half Fanatic status when we finished the Joplin Memorial Run in May 2012. (I'm Fanatic #2550-Neptune)

So many people ask me all the time: "Why do you run?" My answer is really simple actually. I run for health reasons and for a hobby that allows me to meet new people. After all, I've never met a stranger!  Not everyone that I talk to about running knows that during my first 5k I was about 30 lbs heavier than I am now. Now I run to keep the weight off. I run because my family health history is chasing me and it is scary! I want to live a long and healthy life and running will help me do that. So that's that! 

Now it is time to focus on my race! Shoes? Check! 19 weeks of training? Check! Trips to the Chiropractor? Check! Check! Check! 

If you are free on Sunday morning feel free to pick a spot on the course and cheer for us, cheer for the other runners, and show the other race participants how awesome Tulsa really is! You have no idea how seeing a smiling face when you are really struggling to run another step, can really change your energy! Funny signs, air-horns, cowbells, crazy costumes, and pom-poms are all highly encouraged!


 
 
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Recently I participated in the Lederhosen Lauf, the 35th Annual Tulsa Run, the Nightmare on 2nd Street Fun Run, and the McNellie's Pub Run . I am running in so many races I thought it would be a good idea to "grade" them to help my fellow runners find out more from a runner's perspective. Hopefully it will encourage others to compete in these races and prepare them for what to expect.

Here is what I plan to accomplish.
1. To recap my race experience.
2. To inform my fellow runners about various races in and around the Tulsa area.                                                                   

Here is how it works. 
I'll create a grading scale which will include the a handful of topics applicable to a race.
The scale will consist of areas being rated anywhere from 1 - 5. 1 being the lowest score possible. 5 will be the highest score possible.

1 = Boo! 
2 = Eh, Ok. Kinda Lame...
3 = Average or RedHairDon'tCare
4 = Pretty Darn Good
5 = Awesome! 

Here are the topics.
  • Entry Fees
  • Medal
  • Shirt
  • Parking
  • Course
  • Temperature
  • Participation
  • Expo

Here is the Grading Scale.

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Have you ever tried to run in a Rubik’s Cube? I’m guessing most people haven’t had the pleasure. It’s not easy. Trust me! Recently my husband Donovan, my friend Amber, and I participated in an un-timed fun run. That 1.5 miles almost felt like a half marathon! My legs were burning, it was hot, and the cube kept hitting me in the throat! I thought my dreams of running a marathon in three weeks might all vanish. One wrong step in a Rubik’s Cube could have turned a fun run into a horror story real fast. But it was all worth it and no one got hurt. We actually had a great time.

The running store that we train with hosted the event and not only was it a fun run, it was a costume contest as well. With the help of all of our Facebook friends and family we won! So if you were one of the 218 votes we received; THANK YOU! We couldn't have done it without you! We aren't sure what we won yet, but who doesn't like a little friendly competition?

Donovan and I love Halloween. We dress up every year. We had a great time planning for this run. We discussed several options of running themed couple costumes before deciding on the Rubik’s Cube, which were handmade by Donovan.

Here are some of the ones we discussed:
Cop + Robber
Headless Horseman + Jack-o-lantern
Mouse + Cheese
Finish Line + Runner
Mario Kart + Bullet Bill

Let me know what your favorite running costume is! I can't wait to see all the costumes in the Route 66 Marathon in a few weeks!