Saturday, December 17, 2016

Two halves make a whole

I did the Half and Half Marathon last Sunday. This was the 5th running of this event, and I've trudged through it all five years. Half is on the trailz at Turkey Mountain, and the other half is on the paved RiverParks trailz.  I ran the full (double half) in the inaugural year, and then only the trail half after that until this year. I really am not a huge fan of running on pavement, but this year I sucked it up and did the pavement for a full marathon.

In years past, we've had unseasonably warm weather, frigid freezing weather, monsoon rains; and this year while it was a bit nippy at the start, it turned out to be a perfect day for running in the woods. I ran from the house and picked up my packet (number, safety pins, and shirt) and did not have time to run back home to drop off my shirt, so I carried it on the run with me. I intended to leave it at Meego's Cantina with friends and get it back after the race. I only ran with one hand-held and had almost no pocket in my running tights. (1st world problems!)

The start/finish was at the main Turkey Mountain Parking lot and starts out with 136 feet of ascent in the first half mile. This little warm-up was the toughest climb in the race, although there were a couple of other climbs that look evil on an elevation profile--but actually are much more gradual. The first section of tight single track about a quarter mile into the race shut things down to a single-file crawl, so I stopped to take pictures and found myself at the back of the pack with only one good picture to show for it.

Once I reached the top, I picked up the pace a little and started passing a few folks and after a little over a mile of running, I realized I was severely overdressed. So, I stopped and shed my Zombie runner vest, Patagonia Capilene shirt, then put on my cotton blend race shirt and the vest over that. I then tied my long sleeve shirt around my waist and was good to go. Hey--sometimes things just work out right.

Picture by Misty
I finally caught up with Johnna and Misty and ran about a mile with them until the Pepsi Bridge. Kevin Lemaster and family (the Mad Dog aid station peeps) worked here and had warm crispy french toast sticks. Delicious! I had seconds. As you can see, by now I had taken a tumble and had the dirt to show for it.

Picture by Lynna
I took off from the with the purpose of putting a little time in the bank. I was having a great run (by my slowish standards) with a 12-15 minute pace which included aid station stops, pee stops, and chatting with friends.  Trying to shave minutes, I decided to not take pictures since that usually adds an houror so to my time. My friend Lynna worked the crazy intersection (the crossroads of a figure 8) and she took pics almost nonstop while making sure runners always turned left going out and always turned right coming back.

Picture by Lynna
I might not look like it, but I was absolutely loving life at this moment. It's always so awesome to have things click on a run.

Picture by Laurie
My partner in crime William had cooked up some brisket, and the mixed drinks were free flowing at Meego's Cantina. I grabbed a Piehole shot on the way out along with a chunk of pecan pie courtesy of Abby. Pecan pie has to be the most perfect aid station food EVER.

I ran the next 1.6 miles well and in good time hit the turnaround, ate some chips, and threw back a cup of Gatorade, then trotted back out and up a hill to the HWY 75 trail. Upon getting to Meego's again, I remembered talk of street tacos. (Key in an angelic choir singing Hallelujah! They were that good.) Jana fixed me up with one, and then Jessy talked me into taking a meat shot. This was a concoction of some brisket in a dixie cup and then covered with Fireball. Well why not? Actually, it was good--wished I'd taken another.

Picture by Lynna
Back at the crazy intersection (which you hit twice going out and twice coming back) Lynna and her friend David were bundled up and directing traffic. The Plate boys were so far ahead of me by this time, I'd need some major cheating or a helicopter in just the right place to catch them. I did pass their dad Mark, but he slipped by me while I dawdled at an aid station. (I was gonna try to keep those short--remember?)

Picture by Lynna
Clint Green was way ahead of me--no chance of catching him. Clint had run 20 miles in Arkansas the day before and was doing a marathon this day. He is running a 24-hour race in Arizona over New Years, so this weekend was just training runs.

I finished the trail half in 3:26. I was happy with that. Truly, I could have managed my clothes and aid station times better and gotten close to 3 hours. Woulda coulda shoulda.

I resisted the temptation of quitting after the trail half by basically skipping through the start/finish. I had my eye on a negative split, but when I hit the Arkansas River bridge, I was put in my place. A strong south crosswind demoralized me. Not sure why, other than I had to grab my hat from blowing off several times. My mile splits for 14, 15, 16, and 17 were ok, but should have been faster since they were flat and there was no need to worry about foot placement. (I had mildly rolled my left ankle a couple of times earlier on the trail.) but But now, the wheels were not rolling. I walked a little but mostly did the zombie shuffle--and at a slow pace.

Selfie by Bryan
I saw my friend Bryan as he was on the way back. Simple math indicated he was two miles ahead of me. Doesn't he look like an early Steve Martin here?

Selfie by Gina
I saw the trio of Jodee, Candy, and Gina about a mile from the turn-around on the east side of the river. I thought about just sitting down and waiting for them to hit the turn and catch up with me, but I was afraid rigor mortis would set in.

I was getting so bummed and discouraged that eventually I turned around and walked back on the course to let Johnna catch up with me so I could at least enjoy some conversation. That really helped. Coming back up across the Arkansas River bridge seemed easier than going down it.

Picture by Carrie 
So Johnna and I ran the last 7 miles together. We didn't catch and pass anyone, and actually got passed by a few people. Jodee and friends passed us and never looked back. But at least the suck-factor was not at an all-time high.

Picture by Carrie
This is the start of the last out and back. This climb was what the last quarter mile of the marathon had in store for us. But I own this hill. This is my dog walk route, and I rarely walk it. Johnna and I ran the last .4 miles of the race--all uphill. Brian Hoover tried to dump a trash can right in front of me in the finisher's chute, but his trick backfired as I did an air-Jordan leap over it--and he had to clean up a bunch of sticky cups and cans. HAHA!

No negative split. I finished in 7:51--a whole 5 minutes faster than my time in 2012. I was wiped out, and instead of hanging around, eating and drinking, I walked home. (Such a party pooper--I know.)

The trail portion is a great route. It's all the easy trailz on Turkey Mountain all strung together. I mapped it out, and it's maybe the best race route I've ever come up with.

Thanks Johnna for the pic
The shirts were awesome this year. And the new medal design was super cool. I'm not a medal hound, but I HAD to have this one. You get a road medal for the road half, and a trail medal for the trail half. Then they fit together for a full medal. Pretty cool, huh?

RunnersWorld-Tulsa, Kathy Bratton, Derk and Barbara Pinkerton, and Mitch Drummond did a flawless job this year with this race. It's my favorite half marathon!

1 comment:

  1. I always love reading your race reports and reliving the race myself! For struggling, you still had that great attitude that I love. :-) Happy Trails!