PictureWe're not in Oklahoma anymore...
This weekend the RunGingerRun crew loaded up, hit the road, and headed north to Olathe, Kansas where There's No Place Like Home! 

We ran the Garmin Land of Oz Half Marathon on Saturday. 
I really liked this race and plan to go back next year!

The Medal/Shirt

PictureGarmin Half Marathon Medal 2014
You all know I'm a total bling junkie and I really really like this medal!

You guys! IT GLOWS IN THE DARK! I'm not even kidding! The orange part glows in the dark.

Ah-mazing!

I understand that the medals for the Half are always the Wicked Witch, but the medals for the full change from year to year based on different characters from The Wizard of Oz. Last year it was the Tin Man and this year it was the Cowardly Lyon.

The shirt reminds me of a football jersey for some reason. I wish they would have used a different color other than dark blue but what can you do? Also, the shirt is themed after the Full Marathon theme, the Cowardly Lyon. 

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Garmin Race Shirt 2014

The Course

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First of all, whoever said that this course was 100% flat is a big fat liar! 
It's Kansas, they said, it will be flat, they said! 
Liars! All of you!

Ok, it wasn't the hilliest course I've ever been on. That award still goes to the Nike Women's Half in San Francisco but c'mon, you expect hills in San Fran! The course at this race in Kansas had one hill between 4-5 that was pretty daunting to run up on. The course even started going up a slight incline. 

I still really liked this course, I just should have gone into it with a better mental expectation that usually courses aren't 100% flat. Now I know and next year I'll be better prepared. 

The Half Marathoners and Full Marathoners broke off from each other shortly after mile 3 and as soon as we made the turn we had a hill to go up. Also, when I was coming in for the finish, it was a little difficult because the the rain had made the road slick and I was trying to run up an incline to cross the line.

The course was slightly confusing with the mile markers. Because the Half Marathoners and the Full Marathoners broke off from each other and then reunited later in the course, we had random mile markers that didn't apply to us sprinkled in around the course. I remember thinking it was a sick joke that when I hit mile 4ish and saw a mile 12 mile marker that some poor delirious runner who wasn't paying attention would get pretty excited to already be at mile 12 so quickly. It wasn't true. Then I got to the end of the half and my watch said I had 1.2 miles left but I came across a mile marker that said 2 miles? WTF! I didn't know if they were telling me 2 more miles for me to go or what. I thought surely my watch wasn't that far off. Turns out, it was for the 6K race they were also hosting at the same time as the Half. Whew! 

My best advice if you do this course next year is to ignore the mile markers and just enjoy the view! You'll know when you get to the finish line. I promise! 

The Expo

PictureThe Hubbo and I at the Garmin Expo 2014.
We stayed at a hotel that was about 3 miles away from the starting line but the expo was in the hotel next door to ours so it worked out. We got to the Expo a little before 5:00 and quickly picked up our packet and our shirts. At 5:00 the small expo started to break down the tables and clear out to make room for the pasta dinner that was taking place in that same area. I didn't go to the pasta dinner but I really wish I would have because Meb was there! One of my coaches even got to take a picture with him! So cool! 

Parking/Shuttles

Parking was a little more difficult than I like. If you do this race, you need to have PLENTY of time to get there. We left our hotel at 6:05 and the race started at 7:00. We had a goal of meeting up with our running club at 6:30 for a picture but we didn't make it. It took us over 30 minutes to drive 3 miles and park. There are plenty of places to park, it's just a one lane entrance to the parking garage they were telling everyone to go into. We ended up parking at a nearby business and walking a littler farther to avoid the parking garage. 

The hotel that hosted the Expo also had two shuttles to take runners to the starting line. I didn't use the shuttles but wanted to list it as an option for those who plan to run this race next year and fly in. 

My Stats and Experience

PictureMid-race selfie!
I didn't set any official goals going into this race either. I had already achieved my spring half marathon PR goal at the Aquarium Run. My only notion of a goal going into this race was to finish between 2:15 and 2:30 and to get that medal! 
Boom! Done!

I had blood sugar issues right before this race too. I knew it was going to be a rough race when I woke up hungry and with low blood sugar before I even got out of bed. I think I've learned my lesson and figured out that I can't carb load the night before a race! Ugh! That sounds so terrible to be a runner and not be able to carb load pre-race, but I've done it twice this month and paid for it both times. Luckily, the Hubbo came to the rescue again and shared his Gu with me. I hate the texture of Gu but it sure beats the feeling of low blood sugar!

I ran the first 4 miles on pace to be around a 2:10 - 2:15 pace but I got a horrible side stitch right before the big hill at mile 4.5. I was already having to push myself at that pace and after the side stitch I knew I couldn't hang on. So I decided to back off and have fun. That's when I took out my phone and starting taking pictures, Tweeting, Instagraming, and SnapChatting. I got some weird looks from runners who were passing me, but #RedHairDontCare.
It was my race and #IDoWhatIWant! 

I took this photo and posted it to Twitter and Instagram. It's really hard to hashtag while running. Just FYI!

My Stats:
Finish: 2:23:25
I placed 1500th overall
780th in my Gender
165th in my Age Group (242 Total)

Number of Half Marathon Finishers: 2,199
Number of Females: 1,318
Number of Males: 877

Number of Full Marathon Finishers: 678

The Weather

PictureWell it was the Land of Oz Half Marathon...
The weather forecast for this race was different depending on the weather app you use. According to Weather Bug we had a significant chance of rain and thunderstorms during the race and it turns out it was right. The Weather Channel App was wrong. It said the rain wouldn't come into the area until mid afternoon. 
It was a little sunny at the start but not too warm but that quickly turned to overcast skies. I don't remember exactly when I took my sunglasses off but I didn't even need them for the majority of the race. It started sprinkling very lightly at mile 3. Then at mile 5.5 it started to come down a little more. It rained lightly just before mile 8 and then after mile 8 it started pouring buckets of rain! Some runners were lucky enough to get to run through hail. I never saw it but the reports are that it was very small. More like sleet. 

I wore a visor to this race and I'm glad I did. It would have been very difficult to run in the rain without it. I didn't mind the rain at all actually. It helped keep me cool from miles 8-11 where I tried to pick up my pace again. I was a little worried that my phone would get too wet but it survived. There was even a guy handing out plastic baggies for phones somewhere on the course by I didn't take one. That was dumb of me. 

We did have some lightening far off in the distance from this race. I'm glad they didn't call the race off. Also, a big part of the Half Marathon course was on a paved trail in the woods. If they did call it off, I'm not sure where we would have gone and how they would have gotten us out of the woods. Glad it all worked out ok!

If you like reading race recaps like this one you should totally check out Bibrave.com where you can find and write race reviews! 

More Race Weekend Pics!

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My typical race dummy!
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Typical Race Corral Selfie with The Hubbo!
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The Hubbo made me a Ginger Runner sticker for my car!
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Somewhere in Kansas I tried to take an Oscar-style selfie and failed!
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Pre-race carb loading with the crew!
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We may have stopped at Trader Joe's for some $2 Buck Chuck!
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The typical pre-race group pic!

Question! What's your next race?

 
 
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Last weekend the Hubbo and I ran in a once in a lifetime race, The Mustang 50th Half Marathon. I know what you are thinking? 50th and one time only? Doesn't make sense, right? It's the name the race used to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Ford Mustang. The race was on Saturday April 19th, 2014 at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. My Twitter buddy, George, is the one who first told me about the race a few months back and as soon as I heard it was a one time only event and we had a chance to win a custom Shelby Mustang, I was in! 

Now for the details of the race...

The Medal

PictureMustang 50th Half Marathon Medal 2014
You guys! I love this medal! It ranks up there in my top 5 seriously! It's a nice size, a little bigger than my palm, and even though it represents a brand, Ford Mustang, it doesn't just scream ADVERTISING! Like some medals I've seen. We've already established that I'm a total bling junkie and this one made this junkie really excited! 

The Course

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To look at the course map and really try to follow along it looks really confusing. Luckily for us it was really simple to follow along because the course was marked really clearly. And I certainly didn't have to worry about navigating the course alone because I was definitely not the leader of the pack! Ha!

Also this course was mostly flat. There was one hill and I remember looking over at George and Clarinda and asking them where this hill came from, but in reality, it wasn't bad at all.

We did run on some gravel for a short bit, but also not too bad. Being able to look out at the mountains in the distance was amazing! It was a nice distraction from the heat. 

The Swag/Expo

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Clearly I need to work on my photography skills because this picture isn't centered at all. But anyways, back to the race recap. The swag consisted of this pretty nice race shirt. They had men's sizes and women's sizes which is a plus! 

The Expo didn't really exist. I think other than the packet pick-up table there was only one additional table. I'm not even sure if they were selling anything.

If you look at my bib, the upper left hand corner there is a QR Code. All races can learn a thing or two from the Mustang 50th Half marathon because we could instantly retrieve our results with our smart phones and a QR Code reader! So cool! 
Also - when I went to look at my race photos from the event, they had a video of the finish line and showed me the 30 seconds where I crossed the line! Even more amazing! 

Parking/Shuttle

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The Hubbo and I stayed at the Luxor hotel because it was right next door to the hotel where packet pick up was and it was where the shuttle was picking up runners to drive them about 20 minutes out to the speedway for the race. So parking wasn't an issue for us but we had a little trouble finding the place where the shuttle was meeting to pick everyone up. Luckily while walking through our hotel at 5:00 am it's really easy to distinguish the runners from the drunken Vegas goers who were just coming home from a night out on the strip and we followed a group of runners out to the shuttle stop. The shuttle and the parking lot was about a 10 minute walk from the starting line so not a big deal at all. 

The People!

PictureHubbo, Me, Marvin, Diane, George, Clarinda
This race was an absolute blast because of the wonderful people I met up with! 
George organized a Tweet up at packet pick up and we met up with Marvin and Diane there.

At the race we met up with Katie and Clarinda as well! 

If you are on Twitter you should follow these awesome runners!

George: @GeorgeOkinaka 
Clarinda: @EnjoytheCourse
Diane: @Runninrocker
Marvin: @MarathonPitStop
Katie: @Itsjustkatie

Hopefully this fall we'll get to have a reunion at the Ventura Marathon! The Hubbo and I plan on going to do the Half and so far I think the others are considering it! 
This race is supposed to be set up for PRs and has a post-race beach party! I'm sold and ready to head west RIGHT NOW!
Let me know if you are doing this race and we could arrange a Tweet up!

My Race Experience

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First I need to Thank George for 1. taking lots of awesome pics! and 2. Being my running buddy for the last 10 miles of the race! It was nice to run with someone and have a distraction from the heat!

This race was Half Marathon #2 for the month of April for The Hubbo and I. I had already achieved my goal of a HM PR at the Aquarium run here in Tulsa so going into this race I didn't set a lot of goals for myself. I was worried about the heat because I know I'm not a hot weather runner at all! And you know, Vegas is like, in the desert and all. So there's that.

My goal was to come in around 2:15-2:30 if possible. I started our the first two miles on pace for a 2:15 finish but quickly found out that I wasn't going to be able to hang for 11 more miles. I stopped to go to the bathroom at mile 3 and shortly after that met up with George and we finished the race together. 

I've been having trouble lately with  my blood sugar again and right before the race started my blood sugar dropped. Not Awesome. I felt it drop even though I had my typical pre-race nutrition and had my typical breakfast. Luckily The Hubbo takes a Gu Gel right before the race and he shared part of it with me so help stabilize my blood sugar. It worked to relieve the worst of it, but running 13 miles with low blood sugar to start isn't fun in the desert heat of Las Vegas. Just saying...

This is the first race I've been a part of where the status of the race was changed. We went from a Green Flag (normal racing conditions) to a Yellow Flag, meaning that it was getting really hot and runners should be cautious and be sure to hydrate. The temps started in the mid 60s around 7:00am when the race started and climbed to the 70's by the end of the race with little to no wind and no cloud cover or shade on the course. Humidity was around 43%. 

I finished in 2:37:03. 
I've very sad to report that The Hubbo and I didn't win the car. In fact, no one in our group won it despite the fact that Marvin was SURE he was going to win. Sorry Marvin!

More Pictures!

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George, Me, and The Hubbo rocking our back bibs!
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My typical race dummy photo!
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My bibs always look like they went through Hell after a race!

Question! What would you do if you won a new car in Vegas?

 
 
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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 

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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...

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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....
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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

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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. 
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Oh #NBD just two Gingers and one is in a banana costume. Totally normal.
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The space blanket sarong! Keeps you warm and fashionable during the Mascot Dash!

Sunday! The BIG day! 

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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...


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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. 
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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! 

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

Race Highlights

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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?

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Race Bibs from the Route 66 2013 5k, Half Marathon, and Full Marathon 2013
 
 
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This weekend, on a whim, the Hubbo and some of our running buddies decided to run a local half marathon at the last minute. We entered the Jenks Half Marathon on Tuesday and ran it on Saturday. I took a lot of pictures before, during, and after this race so... there's that. You have been warned. 

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Here is the traditional pre-race Running Dummy I like to do so I don't forget anything on race day. It's fun to create a little running dummy person on your floor the night before the race, but it also helps calm my nerves that I'll forget something and be frantically searching for it the morning of the race. 

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Hubbo, Me, Amber, and Mike
Here is our typical, pre-race ginger pic! 

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Ginger Twins with Back Bibs.
The Ginger Twins decided to wear our super fun back bibs for this race. We got a lot of comments and kudos on these things which makes the race more fun for me! A few people kept saying how they want to stay right behind me for the race so they can read my bib and finish the race. Not sure if that is creepy or flattering, but hey...#redhairdontcare. 

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Can you see the airplanes behind me?
So onto the race details. The girls all decided to start together while the boys had a super fast goal of finishing this thing in under 2 hours! Crazy boys!

I went into this race with 3 goals.
1. Finish in under 3 hours because that's how long the course was open.
2. Have fun and take pics!
3. Get another  medal. 

Mission accomplished! Now, where's my gold star???

The course was kind of flat with several rolling hills. Definitely nothing compared to the half I just did in San Francisco but I wouldn't call this one totally flat either. The course was really pretty and reminded me of the Joplin half I did a couple summers ago. The weather was pretty great too. Started out cool and got just a little warm at the finish. 

The first 6 miles of this race definitely were not the best for all of us girls. We all seemed a little sluggish and my belt was giving me fits. I couldn't find a comfortable way to wear it. At one point, I even took it off and tried to just carry it, but decided that was dumb and I'd just deal with it bouncing around like a heavy bouncy ball on my hip. 

Getting comfortable and feeling sluggish weren't the only problem we encountered during this race. We got to a water stop early in the race and we were lucky enough to have gotten some of the last cups of water! They ran out of water! How does a half marathon that has been going on for 34 years run out of water??? I'll never know. This is the second race in a month that I've participated in and they ran out of water. Not cool race directors, not cool! It's really not cool because this particular water stop was a repeated one. Meaning we hit it twice on the course. So it was out when we went by the first time but was really out when we came back by the second time. 

Luckily somewhere around mile 6-7 I started to hit my stride. I had water, I finally decided I could ignore  my super bouncy belt and my legs just all of a sudden felt so much better! So weird and random, I know! 

Between mile 9 and 10 we ran by a small airport in Jenks. That's where this picture from above was taken. I yelled out to the planes and offered them a dollar if they would pick me up and fly me closer to the finish but no one accepted. Weird. 

Somewhere after mile 9, Amber hit a good rhythm and kept going while I hung back with Carmen. Carmen decided she wasn't having a great run and that I should go ahead. Somewhere close to mile 10, I took off and eventually caught up with Amber just before the finish line. 

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So here I am being a hyper little Ginger and jumping across the finish line. I didn't realize it but my running buddy Mike took this pic of me finishing. LOVE THIS PHOTO! It makes me laugh every time I see it. Thanks for the photo Mike! I love that this race ended on the school track. There were a lot of people on the field cheering for us and it just felt like even for a small race that there was a lot of energy there at the finish. Which is probably why I decided to jump across the finish line like a weirdo. Right after I did it though, I was worried that maybe my timing chip wouldn't be close enough to register my time but luckily it did. I guess white girls can't jump that high. 

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So this happened. Somewhere between miles 3 and 4, the race photographer, Dr. Chris Barnes, snapped this photo. I vaguely remember waving at the camera as I ran by. I was really surprised yesterday when my Facebook page started blowing up and Oklahoma Sports and Fitness used this picture to post on their Facebook page that the race results were ready. They tagged me in their post and then a lot of my running buddies saw me and tagged me as well. 
#FeelingFamous

This is now my profile pic for almost all of my social media accounts.
Facebook
Twitter
Instagram
DailyMile


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Mike, Amber, Hubbo, Me, Carmen
Here's the typical post-race photo with our medals!

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Here's a close up of the medal. Not the fanciest thing I've ever brought home, but for a cheap, local race that benefits a high school XC team, I'm ok with it. 


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Here's the Hubbo drinking a beer and celebrating reaching his goal of finishing in under 2 hours! He beat his half marathon PR by almost 17 minutes! So proud of you Hubbo!

Time: 1:58:27

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Overall, I loved this race. My attitude was just different this time around. I didn't care about time and I didn't even wear my Garmin. I cared more about hanging out with my running buddies and finishing the race with good memories and that made a huge difference. I'd definitely do this race again next year since it's local. 

Race Stats:
135th out of 189 Females
19th out of 28 in my Age Group
362 Total Half Marathon Runners
Time : 2:31:15

What has been your favorite race? What made it stand out as a good one to you? 

 
 
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I am now less than a week away from my next goal race, the Little Rock Marathon and it is time to start packing. 

The picture to the left kind of reminds me of those Where's Waldo books I used to look at when I was a kid. Sorry to disappoint you, but there isn't a hidden item or treasure in the picture. It is just a messy pile of stuff I packed for my first out-of-town race.
I ran the Oklahoma City Memorial Half Marathon last Spring, and it was the first time I had an overnight stay in a hotel accompanied by a race. Holy Cow Town! I didn't realize how much stuff I needed! Look at this picture. It's ridiculous  Here is a semi-sorta complete list of stuff I packed. 
  • Loaf of Bread
  • Jar of peanut butter
  • Toaster (Really, who brings their own toaster? This kid!!!) 
  • Shoes
  • Socks
  • Shorts
  • Capri Pants
  • Shirt
  • Undergarments
  • Race Belt
  • GPS Watch
  • Bathroom Items - Toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, etc.
  • Nutrition - Gels and Nuun
  • Bodyglide
  • Money
  • iPod and iPod Arm Band
  • Ear-buds
  • Sunglasses
  • Headband
  • Hair Ties
  • Poncho/Trash bag
  • Meds
  • Driver's License
  • Flip Flops
  • Post-Race Clothes
  • Hat or Visor 
  • Band aides
  • Jolly Ranchers
  • Tissues

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For the Route 66 Marathon I took the advice of my running coaches and made a visual aide so I would feel prepared and wouldn't forget anything. They advised me to make a race dummy. What is a race dummy? Basically you lay out your clothes and gear for the race in the shape of a human wearing it so you can see if you are forgetting something. This method has worked for me and is kind of fun too. 

What items are on your Race Day Checklist that I didn't list above? If you have pictures of your race dummies, email them to me or post them on my Facebook page so everyone can see!

Email me here.
Post on my Facebook here