We had a great weekend in Tulsa at the Route 66 Marathon. Usually when we go to marathons as a family, the girls are running and I am chasing them around the course giving them support. This time was a different experience, I was running the half-marathon while they did the marathon. The experience was awesome, from the day before and packet pickup, to race day, and eventually the finish-line. First’s are always so exicting, especially when they are with family and friends. I call it a positive detour, because I didn’t do my “prescribed” training plan for the week in preparation of the event.
We arrived in Tulsa and checked into our hotel before meeting our daughter at the convention center downtown to pick up our packets. After picking up our packets we eventually went out to dinner at Tiamo’s Italian resteraunt, it was a nice meal with Cynthia and her boyfriend Matt. When we retired to the room Becky and I started getting our gear ready for the morning while watching the OU game on t.v. The game made the night just a little less than relaxing, but at least the Sooners pulled it out. Time for bed!
Getting downtown and walking to our starting corals with my wife and daughter was the first highlight of the day. There were many times that I have taken them to starting lines, but to be actually walking down to the starting line with them was a great feeling. I was proud to be with these two ladies and actually doing the event with them was pretty cool. How many husbands and dads get to experience something like that? They were in coral B and I was in coral C, so while I was alone in the coral I was just taking it all in. I didn’t want to miss anything about the moment. The air was so cool and crisp, it felt so invigurating hitting my lungs. I looked around at all the tall buildings and was just in awe that Iwas actually doing this. I remembered the first time I ever went to a marathon, it was in Tulsa and we were there to cheer on my brother-in-law. Never would it have even occured to me that one day I might be actually doing that, that couldn’t have even been a blip on the radar screen. No way, no how; and here I was. I flashed back to my grand-father and the last thing that he said to me; he was laying in his bed dying from emphasema struggling to get a breath. He called me to his side and said “Mark, I know your still smoking those damn cigarettes. I quit over 20 years ago and it wasn’t in time. They lie to you Mark, they are going to get you. Stop while you can.” My eyes welled up with tears as I breathed in that crisp air and I knew he was with me, as he always has been and forever will be. This race was for my grandfathers and my dad, I said a little prayer of thanks for their inflluences in my life and invited them to come with me!
The national anthem was moving and then it was followed by the start of our groups. Anticipation was high and building, I was going to run with all my heart. What a life! My plan was to run the first eight miles in Zone 2, staying around 152 bpm, then do the next 4-1/2 in Zone 4 not topping 168bmp. When I got to the last quarter mile I wanted to throw it all out there, what ever was left! I also allowed for the “faster than I should have start” too. I nailed that one, the excitement of being with all those people really pegged out my heart rate on the first mile or so, that was OK. I settled into my heart rate the second mile and started to enjoy the run. I felt good, and was having alot of fun. One of the coolest areas that we went threw was a little neighborhood called Swan Lake, the houses were really cool and there was a nice duck pond that ran through the middle of nieghborhood, many of the neighbors were outside to cheer us on.
After leaving the grounds of Casia Hall schools we went into some hilly neighborhoods. I wasn’t sure how I would handle the hills, I hadn’t really trained very much on hills. Actually I had a good time running the hills, I just decided my to blow off worrying about my heart rate going up them and have fun attacking them! So I did. That was a lot of fun. I probably payed for that later. we eventually made it to Riverside drive where I finally saw my wife and daughter after they made the turn a ways ahead of me. The run along Riverside seemed to drag on after the turn back to the north. As strong as I was feeling at mile 8, I knew that I was not a full marathon guy by mile 10. Still yet, there was a sense of pride even then. At mile 10 every step that I jogged was a strp longer than I had ever done! At this point I hadn’t done any walking. I am not sure why I even slowed to a walk at mile 11, but the change in motion from a jog to a walk was ackward. I knew that I better get back to jogging or my legs were going to revolt. Mile 11-12 were really slow, and for me to say that you know it was really slow. But I really felt good emotionally, I knew I could finish it out without any hesitation. With the last 1.1 miles to go I made my jump past my lactate threshold heart rate of 169 and jammed on home. There was an old fart just about 20 yards ahead of me and I knew I had to get passed him. My ego couldn’t take having my finishers picture with him in it, much less with me behind him! So I ran with every thing I had to make the final stretch! It was a victory for a couch potato! A guy that not to long ago was 40 pounds heavier and a smoker. A guy that as little as 9 months before couldn’t have jogged a quarter of a mile! #THIS IS THE GOOD LIFE! And the gratitude I have for it is abundant.
The girls eventually came in from their marathon too. Becky, my wife, had her personal best marathon time! I am so proud of her. Marathons are her responce to her cancer recovery! A lot of time people talk about “survivors”, I don’t ever catagorize her as a “survivor”, she is much more than that! She is a true “thriver”, one who has embraced life and what ever struggles that have come her way. She is always an inspiration and encourager toCynthia, our daughter, and I.
So that’s a brief look at my training detour, if you will. I have a few more blogs that I will be writing in the next couple of days too! Stay tuned for a cool blog on my swimming progress and the awesome workshop that I did with Dr. Amanda Stevens.
I am blessed!