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5ksandcabernets: Oklahoma City Half Marathon Race Report


Sunday, April 26, 2009

Oklahoma City Half Marathon Race Report

I'll start this Oklahoma City Memorial Half marathon race report with the weather conditions: 74 degrees at the start with humidity over 80 percent and 25 to 35 mph winds.

Sigh. Deep breath. Blink.

What was I thinking? A 1:30 half marathon in those conditions? Halfway through, I was just hoping to better my PR of 1:36 (run in temps 30 degrees cooler), and by Mile 12, even that goal had bit the dust.

So, there were no tornadoes or hail, or even rain. Just maddening heat and air so thick you could chew it. (On a positive note: Oklahoma City has a charming downtown and the Oklahoma City Memorial was just breath-taking. The start of the race was just across the street from the place where the 1995 bombing happened. Before the National Anthem, there were 168 seconds of silence for each of the victims who died. Emotional stuff, people. Just emotional.)

Also, Joan Benoit Samuelson and Bill Rodgers were amongst the celebrated runners on hand. Samuelson won the women's half in 1:21. Rodgers signed autographs at the expo. And earlier in the week, some guy named Brendan Brustad ran 455 hours on a treadmill in a week, breaking a Guiness Book of World Records record. So, there was a lot of good karma for this race.

My stats
Time: 1:38:23
Pace: 7:31
Overall place: 90th out of 5,770
Division place: 14 out of 238
Gender place: 80 out of 2,185

This is my first half marathon where I haven't PR'ed. The time is 2:22 slower than my PR, but still my second fastest half ever.

As you can tell, there were a lot of other people out there hurting. So even though I didn't qualify for New York City or break my PR, I managed to hold on through cramps and the heat and the humidity to finish in the Top 2 percent of all half marathon finishers.

The race was a struggle from the first mile to the last. My left shin cramps up from time to time during the beginning of races for reasons I have yet to figure out and today was one of those times. It's pain I've run with before and usually goes away if I stop for about 10 seconds and re-tie my shoe. This time, the pain didn't go away until Mile 5.

When the pain subsided, I was feeling hopeful because I knew I'd kind of gimped my way through the first 5 miles and my time at this point was 35:12, just over a 7-minute-mile pace.

And one more thing. I only ran this race because a friend told me it was flat. I've run hillier courses (Cowtown Marathon) but I've never run a race with a gradual uphill from mile 9 to 11 against the wind. My first 8 miles were done in just over 56 minutes. (7:04 pace)

Miles 9, 10, and 11 was this gradual uphill climb right into the teeth of the Oklahoma wind (This place is the capital of Tornado Alley you know). Again, I've never run a three-mile hill in a race. I'm not saying it was a major hill. In fact, if it was the only three miles in the race, you would barely notice it. But when it's this late in a half marathon, against the wind, molehills look an awful lot like mountains.

Each of those miles were done slower than an 8-minute-mile. I've never cramped in a race of a half marathon or shorter, but my calves were just melting in this heat. They started spasming by Mile 10 and I had to stop 6 times over the last three miles to stretch. But that wasn't the end of my misery. I was so pooped and cramping so bad that the little hill on Mile 13 just about wiped me out. I had no finishing kick. But I did smile for the cameras and enjoyed a tasty Carl's Jr. Hamburger after the race.

Here are my splits
1 - 7:05
2 - 7:00 - Shin hurting, but I soldier on
3 - 6:56
4 - 6:56
5 - 7:15 - I stop to rub shin. Pain finally goes away.
6 - 7:07
7 - 7:06
8 - 7:06 - The heat and humidity taking its toll. My lungs hate me.
9 - 8:12 - Start of uphill climb against the wind
10 - 8:17 - When will this hill end
11 - 8:26 - My calves hate me
12 - 7:26 - One more shot at glory?
13 - 8:19 - Uh, no.



Blogger rodney said...

Ouch. Still a great time.

April 26, 2009 at 8:27 PM  
Blogger Victoria said...

Well THAT didn't sound like a fun race! You ran pretty well though, all things considered.

Humidity still sucks. I will run hills for days to avoid running in humidity.

April 26, 2009 at 11:47 PM  
Blogger Run For Life said...

Oh man, my calves hurt just reading that! I'd say that's definitely good considering the humidity and wind. You never seem to have good luck with race day weather, time to make a sacrifice to the wind gods or something! (jk)

April 27, 2009 at 1:03 AM  
Blogger lindsay said...

heat and humidity are major killers. it was hot here too -- there weren't many finishers under 2-hrs in the half that was held in conjunction with the 5k i ran. a 1:38 is great - esp with the weather. i'm glad it didn't hail like they were calling for.

you will run 1:30 soon, and you weren't too far off your current pr while running under crappy weather conditions. hope you aren't being as hard on yourself as i was on myself.

congrats on a good race and hope the legs are feeling better. i'm sure had it not been for the heat and humidity you would've been able to hold on for those last few miles.

are you going to try to enter the lottery? would you consider qualifying with a full time? (i'm not sure what the requirements are for you for a full)

April 27, 2009 at 6:53 AM  
Blogger Ryan V. said...

I hope I'm not the guy who told you it was flat. Although, I honestly don't remember a 3 mile uphill section. I do, however, remember the brutal headwind for the first half of the marathon in 2008. Things did not improve until the marathon course turned around at the lake.

April 27, 2009 at 8:59 AM  
Blogger Brian said...

Heat, humidity, wind and a 3 mile uphill section? Sounds like the race from hell to me. You did great just to get so close to your PR in those conditions.

April 27, 2009 at 9:44 AM  
Blogger Reese said...

Great job under the conditions. I was out there at mile 25/12 cheering my friends on in the full and they were mostly hurting. A couple even visited the medical tent. Also the female leader in the marathon collasped on the course and had to go to the hospital. Visit my blog for my pictures with Bill and Joan. I ran with them Saturday morning.

April 27, 2009 at 9:54 AM  
Anonymous dadshouse said...

That's a great half marathon time, especially in that heat. I ran the Marine Corps Marathon in DC one year, and the heat and humidity was so oppressive, I was delerious by the end of the run.

My favorite half marathon: San Luis Obispo City to the Sea. Cool conditions. Slight downhill. And a huge breakfast at the finish line. Love it!

April 27, 2009 at 3:41 PM  
Blogger Billy Burger said...

Ah man Kev, I'm sorry the race did not go as planned. I got the final time on my phone before my race and was bummed out for ya.

Sometimes, you just have to adjust to the conditions and throw the 'A' goal out. Keep working at it and that 1:30 will be yours soon!

April 27, 2009 at 3:42 PM  
Anonymous Jess said...

I have a friend who did the full at OKC and she said the conditions were just terrible! I'm sorry that you didn't meet your goal, but unfortunately we have to revise those due to weather sometimes.

April 27, 2009 at 3:52 PM  
Blogger Runner Susan said...

well done, Kevin! I'd take your slow over my PR any day. We had some awesome wines. Have you tried the Golden Eye Pinot Noir or Rombauer Chardonnay? I'm not a white wine drinker, but that chardonnay was pretty good. The Golden Eye was fabulous - if you can find it anywhere let me know.

April 27, 2009 at 5:18 PM  
Blogger Runner Susan said...

i bet we were even in the same corral, I was in the 6:30 corral.

April 27, 2009 at 5:19 PM  
Blogger Ulyana said...

"Sigh. Deep breath. Blink."

I feel sometimes like that. Lol.

It's an awesome time for the conditions! That's the problem with long distance races as you get closer to the summer... most likely the conditions will suck!!! I think the plan should be to survive the hot & humid Texas summer and avenge this half with a sub 1:30 in the fall as things start to cool off. Good luck!

April 27, 2009 at 9:31 PM  

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