Last Sunday, November 21, 2021, I completed my 37th full marathon and 26th state on my 50-state marathon quest, which was the Route 66 Marathon in Tulsa, Oklahoma!
For a full list of marathons that I have run, check out this page.
We arrived in Tulsa late afternoon and checked into our hotel, the Hyatt Regency in Tulsa, and then took scooters over to the expo.
In order to eliminate any challenges with masks mandates and whatnot, the organization decided to just have the expo outside! Worked for us.
That evening, we took an Uber to Prairie Fire Pie, which was delicious.
When my sister Erin was originally planning to run Tulsa, we decided to do the “double” which was the 5k on Saturday and the full marathon on Sunday. Unfortunately, Erin had to bail on the trip for personal reasons, so I was on my own for the 5k.
I figured I would use it as my shake-out run, but honestly it was hard to go super easy. I ended up running a bit of a progressive, ha!
Splits: 8:02, 7:44, 7:19 = 24:30. It was kind of fun to do a short race as my shakeout! Dustin hadn’t registered for the 5k (only the full the next day) so he just jogged around the race course a bit and snapped a few pics as he did his shakeout.
First official race as a masters runner, ha!
Saturday afternoon, we went to the Woody Guthrie Center for a little music history.
We visited some of the historical marks from the Tulsa Race Massacre; I had watched the History Channel documentary “Tulsa Burning” recently to learn more about this terrible event.
We also stopped by the “Center of the Universe.” I thought the Center of the Universe was a marker of the center of the country, smack-dab in the middle of Oklahoma. But I was totally wrong!
“The “Center of the Universe” is a little-known mysterious acoustic phenomenon. If you stand in the middle of the circle and make a noise, the sound is echoed back several times louder than it was made. It’s your own private amplified echo chamber.”
Very strange. You have to try it to understand!
The Right Fit:
Oiselle flyout tank, Tracksmith Lane Five shorts, Sweaty Betty stamina bra, Balega socks, Louva arm sleeves (that I didn’t wear, too warm), Goodr sunglasses, and Saucony Endorphin Pros.
Goal & Fueling:
With Fargo (my last marathon) just 8 weeks prior and my next marathon (Charleston) in another 8 weeks, the plan for this marathon- knowing it would be hilly and windy- was just to run easy and check Oklahoma off the 50-state list. My coach wanted me to practice fueling more frequently, so I ended up taking 1 Maurten gel before & 3 Maurten gels and 2 GU brand gels during the race for 6 total. That’s a lot for me! But my stomach felt fine. I also didn’t have to stop to go to the bathroom, which is a win for me.
My coach guided me to nothing faster than 9 min/miles for the first half with the hopes that I would actually negative split, which, spoiler alert, I STILL did not do. I swear, I don’t think I will ever negative split a marathon! No matter the pace, I always slow down in the final 10k….It didn’t help that in the final miles of this race I did the “Center of the Universe” detour and had a beer at mile 25.5. Ha!
Anyways, the Route 66 marathon is very walker friendly, with a cutoff time of eight hours. That meant even with my estimated finish time of 4 hours, Dustin and I were both in Coral A.
The marathon started at 8 am; our hotel was a few short blocks to the start line, so we headed over there around 7:20, used the bathrooms one last time, dropped off our sweats at gear check, and went into our corral around 7:45.
After the national anthem, we were off, right at 8 am! I said goodbye to Dustin- see you in 4-ish hours! (Dustin ran the full as well and finished in 3:17. His PR is 2:54, but he was still pleased with that time just 5 weeks after running Boston!)
Mile 1: 8:53
Mile 2: 9:09
Mile 3: 9:13
Mile 4: 9:07
Mile 5: 9:12
Mile 6: 8:41
Mile 7: 9:07
Mile 8: 9:05
Mile 9: 9:22
Mile 10: 9:06
Mile 11: 8:56
Mile 12: 9:20 – see you later, half marathoners!
This was a little tough as we essentially passed by the finish line and could hear the announcers and the celebration, but yet the full marathoner runners had to make a turn to head back out of downtown for another 13.1 miles. And of course the back half was even hiller than the first half!
Mile 13: 8:47
Mile 14: 9:04
Mile 15: 8:59
Mile 16: 8:53
Mile 17: 9:18
Mile 18: 9:07
Mile 19: 9:22
Mile 20: 9:22
Mile 21: 9:12
Mile 22: 9:34
Mile 23: 9:16
Mile 24: 9:25
Mile 25: 10:10
The wind was blasting me and I was ready to be done, but I passed the mile 25 clock at 3:49; I knew if just kept running around the same pace, I’d still be under 4 hours, but I wasn’t sure I really cared. I had to decide shortly thereafter whether or not to do the detour across the center of the universe; I decided the sub-4 didn’t matter more than the uniqueness of doing the “shortest ultra” in the country. You had to cross a chip timer twice on the detour to validate that you actually did it and at the turnaround point, I was handed a plastic cup of flat beer. I took a big swig but couldn’t quite finish it all. I bent over to put it down and cramped up- I do not recommend bending over at mile 25.5 mile of a marathon, ha!
Mile 26: 9:21
Final 0.6 (for the “ultra” distance of 26.6 miles): 9:15
Total time: 4:04:19
I found Dustin pretty quickly at the finish- he was happy with his finish time of 3:17 though he did not do the “ultra!”
This was my 3rd marathon in 2021- Sun Valley Idaho (3:52), Fargo, North Dakota (3:42) and now Tulsa, Oklahoma (4:04), so my slowest of the year, but I’m not too caught up on finish times when I’m running this many marathons. I recognize my goals are different than many of my fellow runners, who focus and train hard for 1 or maybe 2 marathons a year; 3 marathons in 5 months is a lot, but my goal is to keep running and stay healthy, which for me does mean I can’t race every 26.2 that I run! I went into Oklahoma hoping to run around 4 hours, which is what I did. It was a little harder than I would have expected for that pace due to the hills and wind, but the effort felt right and I’m happy with how it went.
Favorite parts of the Route 66 marathon:
We ran through some really beautiful neighborhoods with gorgeous houses. The people in the residential areas came out strong and had some really fun cheer stations.
I also highly value DPM’s- dogs per mile! And the DPM at the Route 66 marathon was very high! Two vizslas (one that I saw multiple times), basset hounds, sweet golden retrievers, poofy poodles. I get through 26.2 miles by admiring the pups.
I also go through some of the tough times by positive talking- often out loud- to myself;
“Jessie, you are awesome. You’re doing so great! Easy peasy.” <– for me, self-words of affirmation actually work! The minute any negative thoughts start to creep in, I say positive affirmations to myself until they go away. Try it!
Least favorite parts of the Route 66 marathon:
The reason I needed those positive affirmations is because there were some tough parts of the race, even though I was running it easy. The full marathon essentially ran the entire half marathon course and then passed by the finish line. That was hard, heading back out from downtown knowing you still had to cover the same distance again…
The wind. Man, the wind was tough. Gusts up to 30 mph and sustained wind essentially throughout. It made it challenging. The hills were also pretty consistent throughout. I don’t think Route 66 is a PR course, at least I don’t think it could be for me!
Another downside? No finisher’s medals! Due to supply chain challenges, the medals did not make it to Tulsa in time. I felt so bad for the organization! What a bummer…it was definitely my first 26.2 without a medal! They plan to mail them to all finishers when they can. That also meant no special award for doing the double (5k/marathon) or the “ultra.” Oh well.
(It was so windy, my name came off my shirt pretty early on in the marathon!)
What’s next? Dustin and I are registered to run the Charleston, South Carolina marathon in January, which is 8 weeks away. I’d like to push harder at that one; assuming my training goes okay and I’m healthy, I hope to have a faster time there. It’s a flat and fast course that my coach has run and recommended.