PictureThe Wicked Witch, The Hubbo, and I
You guys! 
It's been almost a full month since I've published a blog! How did that even happen? 
So many things have happened since then. I've ran a marathon, ran a half marathon, updated my blog discount page, and so many other cool things. Today I'm going to tell you all about marathon number 7. Garmin in the Land of Oz Marathon which takes place about 4 hours north of Tulsa, in Olathe, Kansas. (Oh-lay-the)

This is actually my second time to participate in this race, but last year I ran the half marathon. 
This year I ran the full marathon for one reason and one reason only. The medal. You might recall that I wrote this post. 
It's still true. I only ran 26.2 mile to get the Dorothy Medal. It totally completed my incomplete collection! 

Before we get into the recap I have to say that this race was one of my all-time favorite races to date! Not because of the medal, not because of the course, but because I got to run most of it with two new friends and it was a blast! 

The People

PictureTom, Kristy, and I in the corral!
Usually, I start my recap with the medal because it is my #1 favorite part about racing. But not today medal, not today! 

I should start this section by telling you that I randomly ran into Tom ( @toms66stuff ) on the way to Olathe at a gas station. That's not creepy at all! 
I first "met" Tom on Twitter and briefly ran into him at the Route 66 marathon 2 years ago and then ran a few miles with him at Route 66 last year too.  
At the gas station we chatted for a few minutes before I left to get back on the road. I had already walked out when it hit me that I should see if he has dinner reservations and invite him to join us. #SouthernHospitality 
Turns out, he and his wife didn't have plans or reservations so they joined us at dinner and then he and I ran the entire race together the next day. Almost in matching Marathon Maniac singlets. Almost.   

My Twitter pal, Kristy (@pghrunner ) , and I decided a while back that we would both run this race so we could meet in real life for the first time! Kristy and Tom joined me, the Hubbo, and about 30 of our running buddies for dinner the night before the race and we had a great time with everyone. See pic below. 

Originally, Kristy was going to do the half but ended up switching to the full. She ran the first 13 miles with Tom and I at our pace and then picked it up a bit so she could get back to the hotel and catch her flight. We had so much fun! We talked the entire way, ate bananas, and tried to avoid the rude lady on the course. I seriously didn't want the first half of the marathon to be over because I knew I'd have to say goodbye. But, we're for sure going to plan another race so we can meet up again soon. 

Run Gingers Run! Oh and Run Tom!
Kristy and I before the race.
Just me and 30 of my running buddies carb loading...No Big Deal

The Medal

PictureDorothy, Toto, The Yellow Brick Road, and a Twister!
This is it. This is the ENTIRE reason I ran the full marathon and not the half marathon. Even though I was facing a little runner's burn out, I wanted to complete my Garmin Medal collection. Sort of. Last year I ran the half and got a Wicked Witch medal. This year it was Dorothy. In the past, the full medal has been rotating other characters until this year, and it was DOROTHY!
I don't mind that I don't have the Scare Crow, the Cowardly Lion, and the Tin Man. Those were cool medals too, but if I'm going to do this race twice, I'd rather have Dorothy and they Witch. 
Mission Accomplished! 

The Course

The course was a little challenging this year. Not for the typical reasons though. Sure, we had rain and wind, but the most difficult part was the mud and mud puddles. 
This is one of the flatter marathons I've ran, but it did have  some hills. 
We ran a lot of the race  on a small paved trail system through a wooded area in Olathe, and that is where we ran into the mud. We had no option at times but to run right through it or walk carefully through them. I was glad to have the rain on one hand, because I was getting hot around mile three. Shortly after that is when we started getting some rain. We were really really muddy/dirty when we finished though. I wish I would have taken a picture of my shoes because it looked like I had just rain a wilderness trail! 
The cool  thing about the course, is the last 100 yards or so they turn it into a Yellow Brick Road! 

The Expo/Swag

There isn't really an expo. There is a packet pick up at the host hotel. It does have 3-5 vendor booths, but that is really about all. So don't expect much at the Expo.

The swag was a gender-specific tech shirt which was really cute this year.
I would take a picture to post on the blog, but it's lost somewhere in the laundry pile from hell so this picture of The Lion, The Tin Man, and The Scarecrow will have to do! 

Parking and Aid Stations

Parking is free and there is plenty of it! Just get to the starting line a little early for the closer parking spots and to get in line for the bathroom.

The aid stations were really good! In the later miles they were stocked with water, Gatorade, Gu, other snacks and Vaseline! Some were even handing out plastic baggies for your phone! 

My Results

This was my last marathon for a while but I'm pleased with how the day ended up. Overall it is my second fastest marathon! That's almost a PR, right?

Marathon Number 7:
Time: 5:34:36
Place: I have no idea
Overall Rank: You aren't even reading this anyways 
Weather: Humid, Rain, Muddy! 

Question! What is your second fastest 5k, 10k, Half Marathon, or Marathon Time?

I don't even know where to begin with this race report. It's so hard to believe that the Honolulu Marathon has come and gone and it's already been over a week since race day! Sorry to keep you all waiting so long. After the race we spent the week in Honolulu being tourists and relaxing with our friends. More on that in another post. If you have read my blog for a while, you all know that I always start with the medal, so here we go! 

Disclaimer: I received an entry to the Honolulu Marathon thanks to Bibrave's BibRavePro ambassadorship. You can learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro & check out BibRave.com to find and write race reviews. As always, all opinions, typos, and silly pictures are my own.

The Medal

PictureHonolulu Marathon Medal 2014
The picture on the left is the front of the Honolulu Marathon Medal and the picture on the right is the back. I think this is the first medal that I have that is two-sided! 
When we crossed the finish line we were handed a shell necklace right away. Then we walked further into the finisher area and picked up our cotton finisher t-shirt and medal. It was a pretty smooth process. 
The medal is about the size of my palm so it's not the biggest medal I have, but not the smallest one either. I love how it perfectly represents Hawaii and even though the sponsor (JAL = Japanese Airlines) is on the medal, it's not the main focus of the medal. I hate when races do that! 

The Start/Finish Line

PicturePhoto Cred: Honolulu Marathon Facebook Page
The start of the Honolulu Marathon is like no other start I've been a part of! The race starts at 5:00 AM so it is still dark for a couple of hours at the beginning of the race and instead of using a starting pistol THEY USE FIREWORKS to kick off the race!!! How awesome is that?! 

The starting corrals are different in the fact that they do not assign corrals. You just line up using the honor system and the signs they have posted showing about where you should stand if you plan on finishing in the 4 hour range, the 5 hour range, and so on. We lined up towards the back of the 5 hour range. 

The finish area was in Kapiolani Park. There were vendors selling more race gear, food tents, the finisher shirt tent, the medal tent, and even a GIANT Jumbo Tron which was on a time delay so you could watch yourself finish the race! 

We saw so many people running in costume during the race. We saw a bride  and groom, Japanese Anime characters, Hula girls, and even a man and woman who did the Tango the whole race!! (Yes she had a red dress on and walked backwards!)

This was taken after the first water stop at mile 2.5ish!

The Course/Weather

PicturePhoto Cred: Honolulu Marathon Facebook Page
I couldn't have asked for a better course and weather for this race! We were slightly nervous going into this race because of the heat but it turned out just fine. The course was mostly flat with the slight hill around mile 8 or 9. I wouldn't really call it a big hill. Just a gradual incline as you are running near Diamond Head. You hit it on the way back as well, but we almost didn't notice it at all. This is definitely a flat course with plenty of scenery to keep you occupied! We even saw a rainbow on the course! Seeing that rainbow during the marathon made my whole day! Well, that and the Malasada! 

The weather was definitely in our favor for this race. I know you all already know, I'm not a hot weather runner. But who could pass up the chance to run a race in Hawaii with NO time limit?! Not this Ginger. As we walked out of our hotel we immediately noticed the light rain. I remember thinking to myself that I never even considered checking the weather because, you know, it's Hawaii! So I was pleasantly surprised to have the light rain. It rained off and on for about 75-80% of the race. Thank Goodness! Around mile 19-20 the sun came out and that's when I started to really slow down.  It would  have been a super long day if the sun was out the entire time! 
I can't remember what mile we were at but we did have some strong winds but they didn't last long. 

The Swag

Every runner in the finish area was welcomed with the smell of warm and fresh Malasadas! They were really good and it was all I could think about for the last few miles. It is sort of like a  funnel cake ball covered in sugar. 

All finishers got a cotton t-shirt, a medal, a malasada, a shell necklace, and our bib.

I kinda wish the bibs were a little more fancy being as they are pretty plain, but with over 31,000 runners and the fact that they  even let people sign up for the race at the expo, I understand why they  would want to keep them simple to keep costs down. 

The Expo

PictureFredrik and I at the Honolulu Marathon Expo!
We landed in Honolulu on Friday afternoon before the race. Hawaii is 4 hours behind Oklahoma so when we landed at 3:00, it really felt like 7:00 PM and we had been traveling since 4:00 AM. Long day! So we waited to hit up the expo until Saturday. When we got there it was like we stepped into a different world! It was so crazy and awesome to see that everything was in English and Japanese! This race has a very strong presence from Japan so it makes a lot of sense to have all the signs in both languages. I've never ran a race that has been so diverse and it was really cool to experience that in Hawaii.

During the expo I had a goal of meeting a couple people. One of them was Fredrik who works with the marathon marketing team and does social media. I asked a few volunteers if they knew who he was or where I could find him and no one seemed to really know. Finally I just sent him a message through Twitter and 10 minutes later we were chilling in the expo! 
It was great to finally put a face with a name being as we had been tweeting back and forth for several months leading up to the race! I was totally expecting him to look like a Native Hawaiian but turns out he's not. He's a tall, thin, white guy with an Aussie (I think) accent! 

The expo was definitely big enough for all the runners and vendors and really easy to navigate. It was also easy to get to from our hotel so that was nice. 

My other goal was to meet Sam with FlipBelt. I just recently got my very own belt and fell in love with it immediately! You can read my review here. 
She's a totally cool chick who is super relaxed and fun to talk to. I wish we could have stayed and talked more about running and everything but her booth was very busy selling out of belts so I let her get back to business! If you ever see her at an Expo be sure to stop by and say hi! 

My Experience

PictureTypical Corral Selfie!
Due to the warmer weather in Hawaii and being as we ran a marathon just 3 weeks prior to this race, we planned to take this one easy. We planned to use an interval method so I could avoid getting too hot and because we knew there was no time limit to worry about. We ended up running the first 3 miles non-stop and then picked up our intervals of running 3 minutes and a brisk walk for 1 minute. I also decided that since we were taking it easy, I would give live tweeting during the race a try! It was a ton of fun and I got a lot of encouragement from all my Twitter buddies! If you ever run a race for fun, you should try it once just to do it. I had so much fun going through all my tweets/notifications after the race! 

We ended up finishing in 6:24:00.

I really think we could have finished in under 6 hours even with our run/walk method but we had a few stops on the course and I'm pretty sure they  were 10+ minutes due to long lines at the bathrooms. 

This is a huge race! It had over 31,000 runners and even though there are 26 miles to spread out, you never really spread out. You have to be on your game the whole time to  make sure you don't bump into people. You've been warned! 

The first few miles of the race are in the dark and have you running around downtown Honolulu. We saw a lot of businesses decorated with large Christmas light displays which made the race feel fun and festive! 

The course takes you along the shore line not too far from Diamond Head and there are a few opportunities to see the ocean. It was so beautiful! What was even more beautiful, was seeing all the green mountains off in the distance with the low rain clouds hanging around. It gave the race a cool ambiance and backdrop that made everything feel all majestic and stuff! Don't even get me started on the fact that we saw a rainbow during the race. I almost died!! 

Around mile 19 or so I hit the wall. Our walk breaks got a little longer and our running was a little shorter. I was still having fun and the volunteers were still cheering loud and proud. So overall I was doing ok! I've just come to the conclusion that marathons are just hard! I have one more full marathon planned in 2015 and then I think I'll retire and stick with half marathons. We'll see!If full marathons aren't your thing, and you want to run a race in Hawaii, the same race organizers hold the Hapalua Half in April. 

I seriously can't recommend this race enough! If you are looking for a special race for a milestone or an anniversary you MUST. DO. THIS. RACE!
The course, the scenery, the fireworks, the rainbow, the ocean, the list goes on and on! 

How you think I feel during a marathon...
How I really feel during a marathon...

Question! Where is your next race or vacation or race-cation?

Picture2014 Route 66 Marathon Medal
Before we get too deep into my Route 66 Marathon recap, I won't keep you waiting to see if I reached my goal of a PR and a 4:45 marathon. 

Nope! It didn't happen and that's ok. 

I will say that while I'm a little bummed I didn't get a PR, I know that sometimes you win some and you lose some. This was just not my day and that's how it worked out this time. It just means that there will be another time and another race worthy of a PR! 

I don't regret sharing with my blog buddies what my goal was, albeit an ambitious one. For me, sharing my goal with you all made it real and it made it a solidified plan in my mind and it made it feel doable. I received so much love and encouragement on social medial from all  my fellow BibRave buddies and everyone else before and after the race and that was totally amazing and worth every painful step! My recap below will bring you on the adventure of marathon #5. 

The Bling

PictureRoute 66 2014 Medals
I ALWAYS start with the bling because it's my favorite part of any race and since this is my hometown race, I was able to collect a lot of it this weekend.  Between the Hubbo and I, we bought home 8 pieces of bling and 10 shirts! 

Starting on the top row on the left is my 5K medal. These are a definite improvement from last yeas's 5k medal. It's about the size of my palm! 
The next medal on the top is my Marathon Maniacs medal for finishing the full. This is another cool feature of this race. If you are a Half Fanatic, Marathon Maniac, or 50 State runner, and if you register in time, you can get a special medal that shows your club affiliation! The leaves on the outside of medal actually spin which is a cool feature of this large medal! 

The smaller coin on the bottom row is my volunteer coin for helping out at the Expo on Friday. I took a shift of handing out bibs and a shift of handing out shirts and had a blast meeting most of the runners! 

The red and blue coin in this picture is my coin for completing the Center of The Universe Detour. Two years ago when I ran this marathon for the first time the CoU detour was around mile 17, but this time it was after mile 25 and I love that they moved it! 

The Center of The Universe Detour

PicturePhoto Cred: Route66Marathon.com
One of the little extra things that makes this race special is the optional detour that runners can take around mile 25.5. If you want to, you can elect to run up to the Center of The Universe which is famously located here in Tulsa and if you do, you get an extra coin and you get the bragging rights of running the World's Shortest Ultra, a 26.5 mile  race! 

The CoU is an architectural anomaly that is a cement circle and if you stand in the middle of it and talk normal, your voice will echo all around you, but those outside the circle can't hear the echos! I've done it before and it's kinda crazy! 

Technically, I've ran more ultra marathons than I've ran regular marathons since 3 of my marathons have been over 26.2 miles. According to some runner's opinion, an ultra is typically a minimum of 50K and up and I've only ran one of those. 

The Course

It's no secret that this course isn't flat. Most people will describe it as challenging but not impossible. It definitely has a lot of rolling hills because that is how most of Tulsa is built. It is a course you can PR on and BQ but you have to work for it. You have to train for some rolling hills if you are going to do this race. 
The course also shows off some of best parts of Tulsa including Cherry Street, Brookside, Midtown, TU, and Downtown Tulsa all in one race. It's definitely a good representation of our city. 

The Expo

PictureBart Yasso at Route 66 2014
This expo is one of my favorite expos of any race I've been to. I've been to OKC, Garmin, Little Rock, and a few others and this one is still my favorite. I even volunteered at the Expo on Friday handing out bibs and then shirts. 
This expo is in a space that is big enough to roam around and it's not crowded at all. There are also plenty of vendors there from races, to Addaday, to KINDBars, to many others. 
They also have extras that make this race special, like Bart Yasso speaking at the Expo, a Blogger's Panel which yours truly got to be a part of this year, and they even collected old running shoes to donate this year. 

My Experience

PictureThe Hubbo and I in our matching Maniac Shirts!
I knew when the Hubbo and I completed the 5k on Saturday that the marathon was going to be a little hotter and harder than I would like. I think I say this in EVERY SINGLE BLOG post, but I'm not a hot weather runner. I'll take 30 degrees over 60 degrees any day! Especially a race day. On Sunday before we even got to the starting line it was 58* and 93% humidity. Not good for this Ginger. Some people thrive in this type of weather and that's good. Everyone has a different ideal race temps. But from what I heard from my running buddies, it was a tough day for everyone. 

Looking back, I really should have realigned my race goals and started with the 5:00 hour pacer, but I decided to go with my original plan of going with the 4:45 pacer and shoot for the best I could do.
I managed to hang with that pace for 10 miles, but around mile 4, I was completely drenched in sweat and knew I wouldn't be able to hang for another 22.5 miles at that pace. 

Around mile 10 at a water stop my running buddy Tara and I left the pacer and our other friends Roy and Paul and decided to slow it down. That was good for a while then we started doing run walk intervals. At mile 20 Tara was ready to run it in so we parted ways. Around mile 21 I started getting cramps in my foot and my right quad. They would literally stop me in my tracks and I'd have to sit down on the curb to stretch them out before I could keep walking.  It was not cute. 
I was hunched over on a curb stretching and a fellow maniac came upon me and asked if I was alright, I let him know I was fine just battling some fun cramps. He told me he couldn't tell if I was stretching or curled up in a ball crying on the side of the road. Looking back, it must have totally looked like I was curled up in an upright fetal position when he came up on me. Also, not cute! 

I managed to limp my way through miles 21-23 and somewhere after that I ran into my running buddy Amber. We had lost each other around mile 4. I have never been so happy to see someone I knew in a race! I just needed someone to help me take my mind off the pain.
Not only was I dealing with the cramps but my feet hurt like hell! I'd stop to walk because I was hot or cramping and all the blood would drain down in my feet until it was too painful to walk. The only thing that helped that feeling go away was to run, but every time I ran, I'd get a cramp. It was a vicious cycle. My feet even got numb and tingly at one point. Again, not cute! 
We managed to run/walk our way to the finish line.
Despite all the heat, humidity, hills, cramping, walking, and stopping to stretch I managed to run my 2nd fastest marathon in 5:43:20. 

More Pics from Route 66

PictureRunning Buddies Tara and Tom!
My running buddy and fellow Okie, Tom, took this photo around mile 14ish. Look at how wet my hair is with sweat and how red my face is! That should tell you that it was a warm one for me! 

Roy, Paul, Tara and I in the corral and ready to go! 
I saw so many people over dressed for this race. So many turtle necks on under singlets, so many long tights and running jackets and gloves. My running club subscribes to the saying "dress like it is 20* warmer than what the temperature says."
So if the temp is 57* outside, dress like it is 77* outside. I wouldn't be wearing a running jacket, and gloves when it's almost 80*! 

Questions! Have you ever gone for a PR and Missed it? 
Does your hometown race have any fun "extras" like the Route 66 Detour?

Happy New Year! I hope your 2014 has started off with a ton of fun already!

In a previous post, I told you how terrible we are at planning races in advance. We will literally sign up for races only a couple days in advance. Well this year I set a few running goals for myself and a few of them will force me to be better at planning ahead on things like my race calendar. Keep reading to check out my goals and first attempt at a race list for 2014.

Goal # 1

Nevada here we come!
Run a race in a State we haven't raced in before.

This was my goal last year as well and we ran the Little Rock Marathon in Arkansas to make that happen. This year we are venturing out a little farther away from home and signed up for a one-time-only half marathon in Las Vegas! We plan to run the Mustang 50th Anniversary Half Marathon in April 2014. 

Goal # 2

2013 Medal Count: 9
Earn more medals in 2014 than 2013.

I'm surprised that I came away with so many medals for 2013. We ended up with 9 which means we'll have to complete at least 10 races that provide medals this year if we want to accomplish this goal. Challenge Accepted! 

This is going to take some planning, which we aren't normally the best at, but we've already started putting our race calendar together and I'll post it below. 

Goal # 3

Goal # 3B - I need to wear this shirt!
Complete a Marathon in under 5 Hours for a new Marathon PR.

My current marathon PR is 5:16. I know, nothing to brag about. And sadly that was my very first marathon as well. Also during training for that race I developed a tough case of Plantar Fasciitus (that still flares up every now and again) but we went ahead and completed 3 more marathons in as many months. Not smart, by the way. This year I have one shot at reaching this goal. We've already signed up for our one and only Full marathon, the Route 66 Marathon, so it's all or nothing on this one!

This time will hopefully be much different because I have my nutrition plan a little more figured out, I respect the distance more than I did the first time, I know that I can't wear stability shoes because I need a neutral shoe, and I have an awesome chiropractor that will help keep my feet and legs nice and healthy for those long runs! 

2014 Race Calendar...so far

Polar Bear Plunge
Tulsa, OK
January 1, 2014
2 Miles, 3 Pools, 1 Medal

(Race Recap Coming Soon!)

Go Short, Go Long, Go Very Long
Tulsa, OK
January 25, 2014
Medal - Yes

Sweetheart Run
Tulsa, OK 
February 15, 2014
5K + 10K = Double
Medal -  No

Aquarium Run
Tulsa, OK
April 5, 2014
Half Marathon
Medal - Yes

Mustang 50th Half Marathon
Las Vegas, Nevada
April 19, 2014
Half Marathon
Medal - Yes!

Tulsa Run
Tulsa, OK
October 2014
Medal - Yes

Jenks Half Marathon
Jenks, OK
November 2014
Half Marathon
Medal - Yes

Route 66 5K
Tulsa, OK
November 2014
3.1 Miles
Medal - Yes

Route 66 Marathon
Tulsa, OK
November 2014
26.5 Miles
Medal - Yes 
Coin - Yes 

So far we have 9 races scheduled but only 8 that will allow us to earn a medal. In order to reach my goal of 10 medals in 2014, we will have to find and pick up at least 2 more races with medals. This should be a fun challenge and help us run a few we haven't ran before. Game on!

What are your running goals for 2014? What races are on your race list?

Route 66 Marathon Medals
It's really hard to believe that Route 66 Marathon weekend has come and gone already. It went so fast and even though it's Tuesday night now, I'm still tired and sore and THAT'S how you know you had a good weekend! I probably took about 1 million pictures this weekend, most of which you'll get to see here, to help me remember this awesome race weekend. Let's start at the beginning, shall we? I still can't feel my feet..

Last Friday Night 

Route 66 5K Medal 2013
The Hubbo and I heard that the Route 66 5k was taking place on the Saturday before the big race and this year would be the first year that all 5k finishers would get a medal. OMG! You all know that we'll pretty much do anything for a medal because we are ridiculously addicted to bling. Seriously, is there a 12-Step program for this? We may need it someday. 
On Friday night we had to go to the Expo to pick up our race packet. We weren't able to get there until about 6:45 but we picked up our stuff and checked out the expo. It wasn't very busy but there was a lot of cool stuff to check out. I was most interested in getting to meet the T-Rex Runner who had a booth at the expo promoting her new company. When we got there, this happened...

This is my sad face because TRex wasn't there!
Of course I failed to pay attention to her Expo schedule because I was entirely too lazy to read it, so she wasn't there when we showed up. 
::Insert Sad Music Here::
But I decided to tweet her this picture with "Oh no! No @thetrexrunner here! #WheresTrex" and she replied! A few tweets later and this happened....
Me aka RunGingerRun, Steven Yee aka The Prez, and Danielle aka T-Rex Runner
Yup! That is me, T-Rex runner and Steven Yee aka the Prez of Marathon Maniacs hanging outside of a local bar just after we all had a beer! Totally made my weekend! 

Saturday 5K and Mascot Dash

Excuse me, Red coat guy, can you move? I'm trying to take a picture for my blog!
Some people told us we were crazy for doing the 5K the day before we ran a Half and Full marathon, but we played it smart. We basically just used this as a warm up or shake out run and didn't even try to race. I think we finished it in just over 34 minutes. It was a good practice run actually because we've had such nice weather here in Tulsa I haven't even had to run in the bitter cold yet! 
The Mascot Dash took place after the 5K and was fun! It was short and sweet which was nice because it was so cold out there. I still can't feel my feet! We had about a dozen or so mascots lined up for the dash, a hot dog, a banana, a cowboy, T-Rex Runner, The ORU Eagle and more that I was too cold to remember. 
Oh #NBD just two Gingers and one is in a banana costume. Totally normal.
The space blanket sarong! Keeps you warm and fashionable during the Mascot Dash!

Sunday! The BIG day! 

On Sunday morning, 9,000 of my running buddies and I braved the frigid temperature to run in the Route 66 Marathon here in Tulsa. This was the coldest run I've been a part of which was horrible and awesome at the same time. The temp was in the low 20's with a wind chill in the mid teens. Cold! At least the sunrise was beautiful! I still can't feel my feet...

More awesome runner fashion in plastic bags!
About an hour before the race we met up with these crazy cats and hung out in Lesley's office which wasn't too far from the starting line. We bundled up in our super high fashion trash bags and ponchos and walked our way down to the freezing cold corral where we took this picture. The Hubbo and I both had a goal to get a PR in this race so we said goodbye to our buddies and found our spot next to a pace group. 
Route 66 Half Marathon Medal and Bib 2013
Since this was Half Marathon number 6, I was super serious about this PR business. I decided to start out with the 2:20 pace group knowing that at some point I was going to have to ditch them to finish under 2:18. And that is exactly what I did. At mile 6 I noticed that I kept holding myself back to make sure I was sticking with the 2:20 pacer, and then about a half mile later, I thought to myself that it was crazy I was holding myself back when I was half way done with the race. So I took off and finished the race in 2:16:56 with a 2 minute and 11 second PR! 

                 So what about the course? What was it like? Was it hilly?

The course did have a few hills, but still, nothing compared to the two I faced in San Fran last month. So to me, this course felt easier, but to a lot of people this was a pretty hilly course, so you have to take my opinion with a grain of salt. 
Also, the course had a few ice patches on it because of the cold temps! The race did a great job of marking the areas and even putting sand on it to help the runners avoid injury. I did like the fact that we had a shorter out-and-back on the river. Mentally it was easier to do 3 miles this year versus the 6 miles last year. 

Sunday was a day for PRs for the RunGingerRun house!
The Hubbo got a PR in the Full with a time of 4:27:58! He took over 20 minutes off his previous Full Marathon PR! Great job Hubbo! 

Here's the Hubbo, not wearing a lot of clothes on a super cold day just finishing a marathon!
My Garmin Time for the Route 66 Half
The Hubbo's Garmin Time for the Route 66 Full

Race Highlights

Steve and The Ginger
I never thought that when I started this blog that people would...
1. Read it.
2. Recognize me from it.
3. Want to take a picture with me.
But this weekend proved I was wrong and this happened!
About half a mile into the race a Twitter follower of mine tapped me on the shoulder and said hi and that he follows me on Twitter! Hi Tom!
That totally made my day. Then I had just crossed the finish line and Steve yelled out to me and wanted to take a pic with me so he could tell his wife he met someone "famous" today! LOL I don't feel famous but it was super fun to meet both of these guys and to take a pic with Steve. Thanks for the awesome pic! Totally made my day!

Race Complaints

I know that when you organize a race as big as this, not everything is going to go 100% perfect. I'm still very happy and satisfied with everything and will be doing this race again next year. There were a few things that just didn't work out perfectly though.
  • The race medal and ribbon have the wrong dates on them. The medal has Saturday's date not Sunday's date and the ribbon as 2012 instead of 2013. Weird.
  • The Tracking App didn't work for everyone. It worked OK for me, but some had trouble with it.
  • Some things like the website, tracking app, and others still said 2012 on it.
  • Probably the biggest problem was that some people had thought they had registered for either the half or full, traveled all the way to Tulsa only to find out their registrations were no where to be found. So sad and frustrating being as registration was already closed. Please keep your race registration confirmation emails so this won't happen to you!

One last picture for good measure. You can't have too many pics, right?

Race Bibs from the Route 66 2013 5k, Half Marathon, and Full Marathon 2013
It's official. Race weekend is here! Get Excited! 

Well, maybe not too excited, don't hurt yourself or anything because you still have to function like the well-trained runner that you are. But still, this is kind of a big deal! 

For a lot of you and most of my running buddies, we've been training for this for 20 weeks! That's longer than Kim Kardashian's marriage lasted to what's-his-face! 

But now, it's GO Time! According to the Tulsa World Article, this weekend it will be race day for me and 13,000 of my running buddies. (3000 in the full and 6000 in the half) 

Since this will be my third year to participate in the race on some level (relay, full, and the half) I thought I would dedicate this blog to giving you some info on why this is the BEST. RACE. EVER! 

But really, here are some tips and info to make your race day weekend fun and exciting, or at least more informed. 

The Expo

We all know the expo is important. You have to pick up your bib, you  need to shop, and take tons of pics of you holding up your bib next to a race sign. Obviously!

If you are running the 5K you have to pick up your race packet on Friday. There is no same day-packet pickup for the 5K.

According to the Route 66 Website, the Williams Route 66 Marathon Expo will hosts exhibitors featuring running gear and shoes, as well as sports and fitness related items. It will also feature a Holiday Market with vendors featuring gift and holiday related items. The Expo is the home of the Packet Pick-Up for all participants and volunteers. Held at the Cox Business Center the two-day Expo is free and open to the public. 

We have bought a few 13.1 and 26.2 Christmas Tree ornaments that will come in handy if we do a running inspired Christmas Tree this year and hang our medals all over it. We are still discussing it but we'll see! I mean, we need to use these things for something, right?

Cox Business Center
100 Civic Center
Tulsa, OK 74103

Friday November 22 - 11:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Saturday November 23 - 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Bonus Info! 
I also hear that Bart Yasso will be hanging around the expo from Noon - Two on Saturday. 

Annnnnnd the thing I'm probably the most excited about....they are having a bloggers forum again this year! OMG! Totally #FanGirling over the featured bloggers! The featured bloggers will be The T-Rex Runner, Mama Laughlin, Running with the Tiny Dangerous One, and more! The Bloggers forum will take place on Saturday from 4:00-5:00. I plan on being there in the audience rapid fire tweeting these folks like crazy! Just kidding! Or not...

Oklahoma Weather

So... let me break the news to you all. Oklahoma weather isn't exactly known for being predictable. 

::Womp Womp::     :(

In fact, we have the famous quote from Will Rogers that says: "If you don't like the weather in Oklahoma, wait a minute and it'll change."

<--- Here is what we are expecting as of today for race weekend.

Low of 25 degrees, Mostly cloudy, with a high near 40. North wind 15 to 20 mph, with gusts as high as 25 mph.

Low of 30 degrees, A slight chance of snow before noon, then a chance of rain between noon and 3pm, then a chance of snow after 3pm. Partly sunny, with a high near 37. Northeast wind 5 to 10 mph becoming south in the afternoon. Chance of precipitation is 50%.

My advice for you is to pack for the cold and precipitation but make sure you have some gear for less cold conditions too. You never know!

The 5K and Mascot Dash

Photo from route66marathon.com
On Saturday there will be a 5K and a Mascot Dash. It may not be the smartest idea we've ever had, but the Hubbo and I both signed up for the 5K which takes place oh... about 24 hours before the big race. No Big Deal! You may be asking yourself why? Well...because we saw that each 5K finisher gets a medal! The End. Done! Once we saw that there was a medal up for grabs, we were hooked. Again, I have some random and incurable need for race bling. There's no hope! Medals are for runners what cats are for crazy cat ladies! We just can't get enough! 

So what is the Mascot Dash? The Mascot Dash is an invitation only race (free to the public to watch) that is held at 9:30 Saturday where some local and not-so-local mascots come out in costume and race to see who wins! I saw a video of this from last year and it looked hilarious!  

Last year we had everyone from Fleet Feet Pete from Fleet Feet Sports Tulsa, The T-Rex Runner (who lost her T-rex head during the race, oops!), and Hornsby from the Tulsa Drillers Baseball Team. Can't wait to see this! Should be fun! 

Maniac Corner

Are you a Marathon Maniac, Half Fanatic, or 50 Stater? 
You have to run this race, just to get the specialized medal! (see picture below) Well not this year because the registration is closed now but next year, you know? 

If you are a Maniac and/or Fanatic like me, you need to go by the Maniac Booth at the Expo and pick up this bracelet! It gives you special powers....or well, really just access to Maniac Corner. 

According to the Route 66 Website, Maniac Corner features the following free race day benefits for members of the Marathon Maniacs, Half Fanatics and 50-States Marathon Club.
  • Private VIP Tent and fenced in outdoor area with volunteers to make sure you have a great experience. The location of Maniac Corner is on the course, near the finish line. It is a great place to cheer for everyone as they finish.
  • Professional group photo before the start of the race, made available at no-charge to members.
  • Private Restrooms
  • Private Gear Check
  • Private supply of post-race food, Gatorade, water, soft drinks and lots of beer
  • Recognition of all three clubs prior to the start of the race

Photo from route66marathon.com

Center of the Universe Detour

Photo from route66marathon.com
If you are doing the Full marathon this weekend, you HAVE TO DO THE COU Detour!!!! You just have to! Plus you get a coin for doing it, everyone knows that runners love bling! Duh!

What is the Center of the Universe Detour? Well this year it is a detour at the end of the marathon and before you cross the finish line you take a .3 mile jaunt over to run to what Tulsans call the Center of the Universe. It is an acoustic phenomenon that wasn't put there on purpose.  Once you go up the brick path to the COU you stand on a brick circle that is located directly over the tracks.  When standing on this spot you can make any sound that you like and it will echo in your ears.  What is so amazing is that no one outside the circle can hear it, no one outside the circle sounds like they are echoing to you in the circle and there are no surfaces near enough to the circle to produce an echo.

Last year, when I ran the Full at the Route 66 I remember seeing a banner that said something like 26.5 the shortest Ultra Ever! 
Technically anything over 26.2 is an Ultra so it was my first full and first ultra!

There's an App for That!

The Route 66 Marathon makes it easy for your friends and family to follow your progress during the race even if they can't come to Tulsa or don't want to hang out in the cold. There's an App for that! My parents and friends used it last year and thought it was pretty swell! 

Also, it is important to note that the tracking part of the App won't be "live" until late Saturday night after all bibs have been assigned at the Expo. Just an FYI on that!

Click Here for the Apple Mobile App
Click Here for the Android Mobile App

I hope all the info helped and that you all have a great race! See you on the course!

Photo from Little Rock Marathon's FB Page.
I like socks. I like monkeys. I really like sock monkeys. But I'm even more excited about this huge medal we will be racing for on March 3, 2013 at the Little Rock Marathon! The picture doesn't do the size of the medal justice. This thing is huge!
At the Route 66 Marathon expo, I had the opportunity to meet one of the CICs (Chicks in Charge) from the Little Rock Marathon and we talked about the medal for a bit. 

Fun facts about the Little Rock Marathon:
  • There is no time limit. They have the clock on for everyone.
  • Every finisher gets a medal. Even the 5K & 10K participants.
  • I hear they have an awesome after party later that night. 
  • The medal is bigger every year.
  • The Little Rock Half Marathon medal is bigger than the Boston Marathon Finisher Medal! 
Now if that doesn't make you add this race to your bucket list, I don't know what will!

There is not much that can beat having a huge medal for a race. Unless a race offers 2 medals! In December the Hubbo and I finished our second marathon, the Double Half Marathon aka the Half & Half Marathon here in Tulsa. A lot of times people ask why we run. Well let's be honest, medals are cool! We enjoy the running, and training for the races, we enjoy the races themselves, but we really like collecting something that we feel we really earned every step of the way. Today our second medal finally came in from the marathon we did in December. See the picture below. If you want to read more about how the race went click HERE

The Hubbo has done a great job of finding cool ways to display our medals. This is what he did for our first marathon. 
And here is what he did for our first three half marathons.
What do you do with your medals after a race?
Being as 2012 is coming to a close I have been looking back at how far I've come this year. I really didn't start running consistently until October 2011. Sure, I had done a few 5ks just for fun, but I certainly hadn't trained for them and they weren't pretty. I thought it would be good to show my progress on all my races I have completed since I completed my very first 5k in May 2010. 

Full Moon 5K - May 2010 - Tulsa - 41:53
Wish Lemons 5K March 2011 - Tulsa - 39:08
Full  Moon 5K - May 2011 - Tulsa - 39:54
Maple Ridge 5K - May 2011 - Tulsa - 38:15
Bedlam Run 5K - July 2011 - Tulsa - 44:14
Warrior Dash 5K - September 2011 - Tulsa - 1:02:54
Route 66 Marathon Relay - 11 Miles - November 2011 - No time recorded
Go Short, Go Long, Go Very Long 10K - January 2012 - Tulsa - 1:02:50 (10K PR)
Sweatheart Run 10K - February 2012 - Tulsa - 1:03:52
Aquarium Run 13.1 - April 2012 - Tulsa - 2:19:07 (Half Marathon PR)
Oklahoma City Half Marathon 13.1 - April 2012 - Oklahoma City - 2:25:40
Joplin Memorial Run Half Marathon 13.1 - May 2012 - Joplin - 2:30:55
Kidney Classic 5K - June 2012 - Tulsa - 27:53 (5K PR) 
Warrior Dash 5K - June 2012 - Morris, OK - 54:09
Lederhosen Lauf 4 Mile Run - October 2012 - Tulsa - 39:11
Tulsa Run 15K - October 2012 - Tulsa - 1:45:29
McNellie's Pub Run 4 Mile Run - November 2012 - Tulsa - 42:56
Route 66 Marathon 26.5 - November 2012 - Tulsa - 5:16:54 (Full Marathon PR)
Double Half Marathon 26.2 - December 2012 - Tulsa - 7:23:20 (I hate trail running)

So far for 2013 I am registered for the following races:
Littel Rock Full Marathon
Route 66 Half Marathon

I am sure we will do these races:
Go Short, Go Long, Go Very Long - 50K
Sweetheart Run 10K
Aquarium Run Half Marathon
Tulsa Run 15K

What is on your race agenda for 2013? 

I hate trail running. There I said it! Not only did I discover my hatred of trail running this weekend, I also found a whole new respect for the people who love running them. Trail running is real hard! It's hard on your body, it's hard on your mind, it's just hard. This weekend the Hubbo and I finished our second marathon. It was a difficult race and it took us a long time but we finished and that is all that matters to me. 

The Double Half Marathon was unlike any other race I've heard of. Half of the marathon was on a trail here in Tulsa known as Turkey Mountain, while the other half of the marathon was on pavement. This race might have been so difficult because the Hubbo and I don't run on trails. In fact, it's been over a year and a half since I was even on Turkey Mountain.

So you might be asking why we signed up to run a marathon where half of it was on an unfamiliar terrain. Well, that is a good question. Why did we do that? I even asked myself that question at about mile 8 on the trail. Here is the long, not so direct, kind of, sort of answer.

Who doesn't want to say they ran 2 marathons in a month?
The race was here in our hometown. No travel costs.
The race was cheap. $75
The medals were cool. Yes I said medals. As in plural. 
We got two medals when we finished. 
We could get closer to becoming a Marathon Maniac.
And it just seemed like a good idea at the time. It really wasn'

The picture above is what my feet looked like after I took off my socks and shoes. How in the world did my feet get so dirty? The world may never know. But I do know this. I hate trail running.