This was my 4th year to run the Route 66 Half Marathon in Tulsa and it was the 3rd course change in that time! The course begins with rolling hills for the first 7 miles and then flattens out considerably. This year had very unusual weather with the temps at starting time already in the mid-60's with high humidity. The skies were overcast and the wind was intense around 20mph!
This year I trained with the intent to break my PR that I set last year at this race. My goals were:
A) To Finish
B) Finish within 1 min above/below my PR of 2:14
C) Finish in 2:12 range
D) Finish under 2:10
Well, Sunday was not my day and I only accomplished my A goal! I got a stitch early in the race and struggled to get rid of it. The combination of the heat and humidity was rough on me and I couldn't get comfortable and get into my pace. I also mentally combusted...I let the pressure of PR'ing get to me and just gave up when I realized how hard it would be to make up the time I lost so early in the race. I didn't follow my nutrition plan so that probably contributed to my downer attitude throughout the race too. I did a lot of things wrong in this race but I hung in there and pushed myself through it and finished.
Below is my race history for the Tulsa Route 66 Half Marathon. As you can see my time was right in the middle and not my best or worst so I'm okay with that. I trained to run a better race than this so after a little rest I'm going to get back into those long runs and possibly find a half in December to run.
2010 - 2:23:16
2009 - 2:14:11
2008 - 2:23:12
2007 - 2:28:08
Tulsa puts on a great but challenging race. The support throughout the course is amazing from neighbors getting together on the front lawn to cheer to all the aid stations and volunteers. There are a couple of sections of the race that are a little slim on spectators but overall it is a spectator friendly course.
The hills in the beginning can be challenging and they got to me this year. The course is completely closed to traffic and with nearly 9000 runners you are never on your own. There were several port-a-potties out on the course and in the race village there were separate port-a-potties for men and women (however the runners didn't actually get the concept so both became unisex lines.) Post race food is well managed and includes hot food like pizza and Qdoba rice bowls. This is a Michelob Ultra race so racers can get free beer after as well.
The pre-race Expo has room for improvement...small booths and it was pretty crowded and hot when I went. They have been adding vendors and participants in the 4 years I've been doing the race but they haven't increased the size of the expo so it is a little small for the size of the race. Overall it is a great event...even though I got my butt kicked on Route 66 this year! Don't worry I'll be back next year...this is one of my standing events and I can't break the streak after 4 years of participation!
In sad news, a participant in the half marathon passed away at mile 10 of the race. Not much has been released other than the participant was only 27 years old. This is the 2nd death for the Route 66 event and the race handled things very well. A friend of mine passed the situation and while it was very scary she said that they were doing everything possible to treat him. In the 2008 race, my running partner and I passed a participant receiving CPR who did not survive. After the 2008 race, the race directors made significant course changes by reversing the course so that the hills were at the beginning of the race instead of the end. They also increased the presence of the medical tents and incorporated medical release forms onto the race bib. My thoughts are with the family and friends of the runner who died and I hope that they are able to find solace in this time of grief.