- I am slow….ok, that isn’t so much something I learned, because I already knew it, but it’s something that got re-confirmed…..I am amazed at the speed of the elite runners in these races….the winner of the mens marathon finished the full marathon before I got finished with the half….my chip time was 2:34….my 10K time was right at 1:00, but I could not run at all the last 2 miles due to severe calf cramping…..by the way, the guy that won the marathon—it was his first marathon, which makes it even more amazing (not that he beat me, but that he won)....anyway, the time was slow, but I guess now I've got a time to beat….
- I can finish a half marathon---yes this was my main goal for this race….it almost didn’t happen under my own power though….seriously, the calf cramps were so bad the last mile that I needed someone to walk with me for 100 yards or so, and I actually considered hopping in a golf cart, but I was a quarter mile from the finish and sucked it up to finish under my own power...not sure if I could finish a full marathon after this, butI am confident that I could finish another half…..
- You should drink plenty of fluid prior to the race…this is part of what caused my cramping, I believe, along with the hot weather and humidity….I made the mistake of not drinking anything pre-race, mostly because I wasn’t thirsty……I did drink at about every water station, but with the extreme humidity it wasn’t enough and I got horrible calf cramps….
- There are a lot of runners out there….it was so cool to see so many runners in one place…..they announced 19,000 for the race (probably all the race events combined), and it felt like it…..literally it never really thinned out until like mile 11 or so, and even then it just thinned out a little….I was running in a pack of people the whole time….
has hills….and I think we had most of them on this race….the course description said that it was a flat course, but don’t be deceived, there were several really good hills…not San Francisco type hills, but tough hills to run nonetheless…. Oklahoma
- There are a TON of volunteers that make these races work…..I was so impressed with the volunteers and organization of this thing…amazing, really….
- I’m not sure if all the hype during the run is beneficial......it was almost sensory overload for me to have live music, belly dancers, life size cut outs of Darth Vader, etc during the run….too many distractions and mentally I had a hard time focusing….don’t get me wrong, I think all that stuff was cool, but my training takes place early morning with no distractions on quiet roads…this was quite the opposite, not something I am used to, and I wondered if it all was really necessary……
- I really enjoyed the several parts of the race that ran through some neighborhoods….there were a lot of people sitting out in their front yards cheering runners on, handing out water or candy, and spraying water with a hose to help cool you down….I thought that was really neat….
- The plastic GPS chip that times your race is pretty cool….it didn’t look like I expected, and it didn’t come with instructions on how to put it on, but I think I figured it out and attached it to my shoe….….also they had a way to get email/text alerts during the race, which I thought was a great idea, especially if you have someone waiting at the finish line for you, it gives them an idea of when you’ll cross the finish line….
- The GU packs that are handed to you during the race are already opened….I ran by one water stop and grabbed two Gus, ate one and stuck the other in my pocket….by the end of the race I had a GU-ey mess in my shorts pocket….yeah, I'm smart I know...
- The post race massage is heaven…..after running that far, and especially after cramping, I really wanted a massage, and there was a good sized massage tent at this race....and they were doing a great job of getting everyone massaged, I only had to wait about 20 minutes, and the masseuse focused on my cramping calves….it makes me think I should go get a massage sometime, I’ve never had one…..but this one was great…
- There is a lot of littering on a race course….I know it’s not really preventable, but I was in awe at how many plastic cups and empty GU packs were littered all over the course…..
- I learned again how much I love my Garmin….I'm still loving it just because it's new, but using in a race setting gave me a whole new affection for it....it was awesome to be able to glance down and check out my pace at any time during the race…..I did, however, forget to disable the auto-stop feature (that stops the timing when you stop, like at a bathroom break or stretch break), so my Garmin time was off from the chip time…..
- There aren’t many purple wicking shirts, evidently….the one thing I was wanting to get at the Expo was a purple shirt (K-State color), but there weren’t any…I asked one of the vendors and he said “I guess there isn’t a demand for them.” I am sure there are some out there, and I'm sure I’ll find one, just didn't get it at this Expo…..the Expo was kind of disappointing overall too, really, it was very crowded and didn't have much interesting runner stuff unfortunately….
It was great getting to meet a couple other bloggers, Fair Weather Runner and Running Briefs...we had dinner at Spaghetti Warehouse together with about 20 other people the night before the race...my buddy Adam was there too, and it was a fun blogger meet up...
Okay, this post is way too long already, so I'm going to end it here...if you made it this far congratulations...... my next post will be part two and will have a few more details and lots of pics!