Sunday, September 9, 2012

Route 66 Marathon

I'm gearing up for the Route 66 Half.  At least I hope I am.  I'm taking this week to run lightly (just 35 miles compared to my average 60) and hope to do the same next week.  Then the training will really begin.  The one where I become focused on miles, pace, recovery and leaning down.  Why?  Because, I truly feel that the Route 66 Half and Full may just be one of the best run events out there.

I first ran the half last year the weekend after my first full (which I completed with a blown ITB).  It was a real redemptive run for me, assuring me that I hadn't completely ruined my knee and my ever crossing a finish line again.  We ran the San Antonio Rock & Roll Full in 90 degree weather - unseasonably warm even for Texas and ran the Route 66 Half in Tulsa, Oklahoma in something like 34 degree weather.  I love running in the cold!  I run fast.  Okay, I run faster then I normally would.

 (Preparing to head down to the start line - just a quick walk from our Sister-n-laws house)

Yes, Chris had to borrow his brother's Paul's socks to keep his hands warm.  You would think we'd prepare better but it was a last minute decision to run.  And we simply threw our race bags together.  I didn't think I'd make all 13.1 and so Chris drove me past the route the day before.  I was still worried about my knee from the previous week and I knew that I'd be not only battling the course physically, but mentally.  Fortunately, Chris only drove me by one of the inclines - the biggest one.

On the actual race morning, I discovered that the "one incline" Chris kept referring to, was just the first "one".  There were multiple inclines and descents, twists and turns.  All through downtown Tulsa, through Swan Lake neighborhood and finally down to Riverside Drive (where I love running in Tulsa).  Riverside Drive is where the full and halves departed ways.  Riverside Drive was also headfirst running into a northern icy wind.  But it's flat.

And that's when it happened.  My knee locked up and I stopped in my tracks.  Chris ran back to me and saw that I was just in tears.  People on the sidelines kept saying "your almost there, you can do this".  They had no clue I'd already run a full just 7 days before with a blown ITB.  There was no way to finish.  Mind you, I could see the finish line from where I was.  Chris looked at me and said "one more song.".  So I changed my final song to Jonah 33's "This is It", sucked it up and made it across the finish line.  Holding his hand, the way we always do.

So here's some of the things that are so awesome about the Route 66 that I think sets is above the others:

1.  The Finish Line.  Amazingly well organized.  You cross, you get your middle, you get your water, your banana, etc.  All assembly line style.  No competing to get what you need, it's ready and it's there. You then leave the finish line area, and gather with other spectators and finishers, find your families and get to celebrate.  Lots of festivities - again, nicely spread out so you don't feel like your all on top of each other and lots of variety of food, drink and music.

2.  Packet Pick Up - again, key organizational skills were used.  Easy to pick up, get everything we needed and lots of vendors.  Never did I ever stand in line for anything.  And amazing tech shirts to choose from.  It's still my favorite long sleeve tech shirt.
Chris is wearing his red LS Tech Shirt with the Route 66 Logo. 
3.  The Race Route.  Again, twists and turns, scenic, hills and valleys.  Challenging, yet awesome.  Photographers were really well placed and you could see them so that way, you could make a decent race face instead of one of those horrific ones you usually end up with.  

4.  The Other Racers - everyone was super nice, friendly and a lot of chatting was actually going on all around me.  

5.  The Starting Line - the corrals are big, spaced and watched.  No corral jumping - which ensures that walkers aren't going to be in front of you when you cross the start line.  Lots of potties everywhere, and just a general, great start line atmosphere.  

6.  The Owner, Chris Lieberman - being a runner himself, knows what makes and breaks a race event.  He has done (imho) a great job at learning what is important to runners and meeting those needs in all areas of his event - from Packet Pick Up to Finish Line.  

7.  Special Medallion - for those who run the full, they get the option of diverting from the route and running through the center of the earth (which is where we are standing with family in above picture).  If you run through the Center of the earth, then you get one of these:  

8.  The Bling:  This is last years:
And this is this year's:

To see the one for the full you can go to their facebook page .here
Their bling even made Best Race Day Bling List by

9.  And last year, the Honey Badger even ran the Route 66:

10.  There are more reasons to run this year.  They are eco friendly, charity minded and so much more. I suggest you learn more about Route 66 Marathon here. They offer quarter relays, a special saturday run and so much more.  Registration is open now!!

So, I love the Route 66.  It's my next race.  And I now only have 69 more days of training.  I've asked my sister in law, to get my room ready.  O, another great thing about running the Route 66 - it's the weekend before Thanksgiving, meaning you can eat the whole week of Thanksgiving without a single built of guilt.  And my sister in law makes the most awesome corn casserole I've ever eaten!

Route 66, here we come.

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