Tag Archives: Half Marathons

State 11: Oklahoma


Hi y’all!  Bet you’re surprised to hear from me ;).  I’ve moved to a new site that is a better attempt at bridging my personal loves with my professional goals – come check it out!

That being said, this will be my final post on my beloved RunMem!  Thank you for your support, comments and suggestions over the past 3 years, it’s been a learning experience and I’ve loved connecting with each of you!  I will still be writing and creating much of the same content over at my new home and I truly hope you’ll follow me there!  Still have lots of racing to do!

A few months ago I completed State 11 (miscalculated my states…the next one was 11, not 12.  And I didn’t end up making it to Michigan).  So 11 it is!  Here’s the summary (a sneak peek for y’all before it’s up on the new homepage tomorrow morning):

A few months ago, I headed north to Tulsa, Oklahoma to participate in the Williams Route 66 Half Marathon.  I’d been to Tulsa only once before, on my roadtrip moving from Zionsville to Austin in August 2012.  My childhood friend Katie and her husband Justin graciously agreed to host me for the weekend, and that’s only the beginning of the Oklahoma hospitality.  Read on….


I left Austin for Tulsa on Saturday morning after running with the ladies I’m coaching for the 3M half marathon (now in less than 2 weeks!).  The weather in Austin had turned suddenly and uncharacteristically cold, we’re talking low 20s, so I anticipated even worse in Tulsa.  I bundled up for the drive, gave little rascal Miley a hug and kiss (my first time ever leaving her!) and hopped in the car.

Bye little rascal – Be good!

The drive was fairly uneventful.  Austin to Waco to Dallas to the state line through nothing and nothing and nothing and then hello Tulsa!  The Oklahoma hospitality greeted me as soon as I crossed the state line.  There’s a toll road just on the other side of the Texas/Oklahoma border and I was in no way prepared for their style.  In Texas they just take a picture of your plates and mail you the bill but in Oklahoma they wanted exact change…..I was $1.40 short.  The sun had already set and temperatures were dropping.  I explained to the booth attendant that I was driving to visit a friend for the weekend and would come back through on Monday.  Then, this kind lady paid the rest of my toll for me!  She simply said, “Can I trust you?”  Yes of course!  She handed me a tiny manila envelope with her name on it and the final amount due, instructing me to drop it off on my way back out of the state.  With that she said good night and waved me through!

Oklahoma, I think you and my unprepared self will get along just fine!

Wide Open Oklahoma Spaces.

453 miles, one friendly toll booth attendant and 7 hours later, I found Katie’s house.  She and Justin came out in the freezing weather to greet me and carry my lightly packed bag inside.  I hadn’t seen their new house yet so after first being greeted by their two fur babies, I was given the full tour (proud to be the first to sleep in their guest room!).  Katie and I caught up on marriage (hers), breakups (mine), dogs (ours) and future plans (she with a new business, me finishing school and thinking of where to move next) over homemade pizza and wine before I snuggled in to the warmth of bed.

Typical pre-race fuel and excellent company!
Zionsville in Tulsa!


I woke up rested on Sunday and checked my phone for the temperature.  I’m not one to wuss out on races because of weather but when 25 registered in my mind, I certainly thought about it.  The skies were clear though, so I bundled up the best I could and mentally prepped for 2 hours in the cold.

Y’all this is a problem #toocold #wuss

Katie and Justin’s cafe, Foolish Things Coffee, was just blocks from the start so we planned to head there so they could open for a few hours during the first part of the race.  Justin fixed me up a cup of their gourmet drip coffee while Katie scooped up some homemade granola for me.  I stayed in the warmth as long as I possibly could (7:59am) and then left them to find the start line.

An Oklahoma sunrise and a Foolish Things breakfast.
Ready to go – State 11!

Y’all, it was cold.  I had on a long sleeve Under Armour tight-as-hell insulating shirt and a fleece zip up over that.  My ears were covered by a Bondi Band and had gloves on both hands.  I could feel the burn on my face and the tiny patch of skin between my mid-calves and ankles, but otherwise was pretty comfortable as long as I was moving.  Talk about motivation to run….

I’m not the only crazy one!

There were plenty of other crazies at the start with me (see proof above) and we all commiserated over the temperatures.  A pair of boys next to me were saying they would be spending 4+ hours trying to complete the full…I’m so glad I gave that distance up!  2 hours sounds like plenty of time in the sub-freezing temps.  Thankyouverymuch.

My beloved Saucony Mirages – their third race! (Austin Marathon, Louisville Half, Tulsa Half)

Mile 1 – We started off with a confetti shower and headed away from the skyline into the residential hills.  I started thinking about my goal for the race – Katie and Justin joked I’d better PR for the sake of promoting their “Breakfast of Champions” but I knew that was out of the question.  I hadn’t been consistently training and honestly didn’t anticipate finishing without walking a bit.  I was going to enjoy my music, enjoy the crowd’s energy and enjoy texting and Instagramming through the miles.  Easiest goal ever 🙂

Mile 2 – Not long after the first mile mark and about halfway up our first significant hill, the two boys from the start line found me.  It was typical race conversation, opened up with a complaint about the hills.  I retorted with something about it being hilly in Austin and so it didn’t seem so bad, although the hills were comparable!

Mile 3 – I paused to take a picture and told the boys to continue on, that I could try to catch up.  Without expecting to, I did (I think they slowed to wait for me 😉 ) and we continued chatting about race histories (the one with the darker beard was trying to do a marathon in every state, the other one was running his first marathon).  I told stories of my first marathon and we kept moving.

Mile 4 and 5 – We’re deep into some historic neighborhoods now.  Beautiful homes, rolling hills and bright autumn colors.  Dad’s texting me, I’m impressing the boys with my ability to take pictures, post to Instagram and text while maintaining their pace.  Their pace, which they keep commenting needs to slow down if they’re gonna make it the full distance.

Mile 6-9 – I’m distracted by my company and fail to take pictures by the mile like I normally do but our conversation is interesting and we’re still trudging along at a sub 2-hour pace.  I learn the relationship of the boys – dark beard is a math teacher from Moore and light beard was his student last year.  Light beard is now in college studying something complex like engineering.  Dark beard knows the route well and warns me of the hardest strip along the river coming up.

Mile 10-12 – We’re finally along the river, a scene that feels happily familiar to me thanks to years of running along the mighty Mississippi.  The drawback is that it’s colder on the river, and I’m chilled deep to my bones.  I remember the Kings of Leon were on, and it’s getting harder for me to text because my fingers won’t move how they’re supposed to.  I’m still trying to stop to take pictures.  Our conversation is a little less but I still offer words of encouragement – those poor souls have a long way to go.

Before we separate,  I make them take a picture with me.  I’ve run several dozen races and have never made friends.  I’m always open to it, how great to be in a new place and make a connection with someone who loves what you love?  It had just never happened until today.  We exchanged information so I could continue to text them encouragement on their last leg of the race.  And I finally learned their names – dark beard, the math teacher is Ryan and his student is Zander (short for Alexander).  I promised to finish under 2 hours for them.

And I do.  I push hard the last mile to make it but I still felt strong – something about the cold weather or good company or a fast song.  State 11 done!

The boys end up finishing the full – Zander the first-timer leaves his teacher in the dust but Ryan sucks it up and gets it done.  And I’m still so grateful I stick to halves.

I reunite with Katie at the Cafe and am served a specialty mocha by Justin.  It takes that, a few hours and a warm bath for me to completely thaw out before hitting the town for Christmas shopping and margaritas!

I leave Tulsa on Monday with it on my mind for a final settling place for me, inspired by the Carpenters’ success at each of their entrepreneurial ventures, a little chilly, pleased with my new friends and tentative plans to reunite for a race this spring (though my Okie-loving grandmother already has us married off….).  And I leave $1.40 plus some interest at the toll booth on the way out of town.

Thanks Oklahoma!


3M Half Marathon – Austin, TX


Today is the best (race day – 3M Half Marathon) and worst (last day of a break from school) kind of day.  The 3M Half Marathon is the fourth race in the six race Distance Challenge series.  I must admit I’ve sort of overlooked this race and Decker as actual races – they’ve become stepping stones to the big grandaddy race in February.  Despite the lack of butterflies last night and no-pressure feeling this morning, it did have the fun characteristic of racing.  I haven’t had this much fun on a long run, or felt this good in a long time.

The Legendary Goodie Bag

Apparently there are people out there who run the races for the goodie bags…I mean I know people who do it for the 13.1 stickers or the shirts but goodie bags is a first.  The 3M goodie bag actually prides itself on being the best in the industry.  I’m sure you would recognize the 3M logo if you knew where to look – household and office supplies, anything that is Scotch or Post-It Note.  I couldn’t wait to see what was in store for prizes.

3M Goodies!

3M Goodies!


  • Blister Band-Aids
  • Lint rollers
  • Sponges
  • Refillable Deskgrip tape dispenser
  • Duct tape
  • Sticky notes
  • Super Glue

It’s an office worker’s dream!  I will admit I’m pretty stoked about the Post-Its and lint rollers!

Race Day Prep

I started to prepare for the race on Saturday, running an easy 3.35 around the lake.  It was almost 80 degrees and pretty humid.  I wondered if the rumors of the cold front were true – the clouds were running out of time to cool Austin off.  For dinner I fixed up some black bean quesadillas with corn and pepper salsa.  A little deviation from the regular pizza but I was feeling domestic and knew the tortillas and beans would take care of the carbs.

Pre-Race Dinner

Pre-Race Dinner

Today I woke up at 5 to have black tea and a packet of oatmeal.  The race started at 6:45 and on big days like this I usually try to eat a small meal about 2 hours before the run begins.  I had a banana right before the race started and took a Gu at mile 6 and mile 10.  Muscles were strong through the whole race.


That cold front absolutely arrived sometime last night.  It was in the 30s this morning when I left the apartment to head for the race.  It’s always tough to judge attire for cold days like this but I knew I’d also be out there for about 2 hours, plenty of time to warm myself up.  I wore half-tights on my legs, a tank top and long sleeve cotton shirt on top and a Bondi band to cover my ears.  While we were waiting in the corral I wished for gloves, and even that I had worn a tech long sleeve shirt.  But a mile in, I tossed the long sleeves and felt comfortable for the rest of the race – was even glad to not have gloves!

The Course

3M is also famous for it’s course.  I’ll just say if Decker is my worst nightmare, 3M was my sweetest dream.  The race starts way north of town and is a point-to-point, finishing up right behind the capitol.

  • USA Track and Field certified‚ TX12148ETM
  • Distance: 13.1 miles
  • 4.5 m/km drop
  • Rolling urban setting
  • Mostly (but not exclusively) downhill
  • Long straightaways
  • Disposable timing device
  • Pace groups provided by Twenty-Six Two Marathon Club and Conley Sports
  • Water every other mile
  • Electrolyte drinks at every water stop
  • Mile markers every mile
  • Split timers every other mile
  • Dry clothing drop-off at start
  • Police-controlled major intersections
  • Entertainment and medical support along the course
  • Food at the finish
  • Return bus transport from the finish to the start upon completion
  • Part of the Austin Distance Challenge
13.1 Miles through ATX.

13.1 Miles through ATX.

The first 9 miles of the course were through a part of town I’m not really familiar with but right around mile 9 we passed my intersection and it was so encouraging to finish in a familiar area.  Almost all of the course was downhill (though not necessarily noticeable) but there were some monstrous (or seems that way deep into a race) hills at the finish.  I also felt a blister creepin up around mile 12 under my big toe and it slowed my pace down.  And man are my feet a sight for sore eyes.  No pedicures for this gal (and for the sake of the salon ladies) for quite a while.

Whee downhill!

Whee downhill!

I wasn’t feeling particularly strong or confident about racing this but came away with my 3rd (I think) fastest time for a half.  The weather and the course had a lot to do with it I’m sure.  I’m already looking forward to next year’s race – I bet I could be really fast with better training and prep for those two hills at the end.

3M Medal

3M Medal

The medals and shirts are pretty cool too.  I like the play on the numbers with the distance and the date.  White seems to be a trend recently in race shirts….can we get a yellow or bright blue goin maybe?!  Oh well, I guess it’ll accentuate my tan 🙂

3M Shirts

3M Shirts

I highly recommend this course for anyone looking to PR.  You don’t get to go through much of the city of Austin but the finish into the capitol is very scenic.  If you do decide to run it next year, let me know!

Avg Pace
Summary 1:50:35.1 13.23 8:21
1 8:40.6 1.00 8:41
2 8:28.3 1.00 8:28
3 8:45.4 1.00 8:45
4 8:21.8 1.00 8:22
5 8:21.4 1.00 8:22
6 8:26.1 1.00 8:26
7 8:02.1 1.00 8:02
8 8:07.9 1.00 8:08
9 8:11.2 1.00 8:11
10 7:57.6 1.00 7:58
11 8:15.8 1.00 8:16
12 8:21.0 1.00 8:21
13 8:32.3 1.00 8:32
14 :54.3 0.10 8:54
15 1:09.5 0.13 8:47

13.23 miles in 1:50:39 (it won’t be my official time, I cheated and stopped my watch when I had to tie my shoe at 13….).  If you subtract the time it took to run the extra .13, it’s 1:49:26!




Adios 2012


Perhaps I should have posted this yesterday but as you’ll see this week (a series of retrospective posts), I’m a little behind….

We were talking around the hot tub last night and my cousin Sarah asked us for our best moment of 2012.  I love games like this!  It’s always fun to look back at the year and really think about the things you did, decisions you made, trips you took, runs you ran that helped make 2012 fantastic.  Even if it was a bummer year for you, surely there are one or two things that stand out as fabulous.  I’ve compiled a list of my ten biggest adventures of 2012, as told to you, my blogging audience – here’s to an even better 2013!


1. Completing 3 Half Marathons in 3 different states – Mississippi, Texas and Illinois

2:00 exactly – State # 9, Illinois

2. Deciding to go to Graduate School at the University of Texas

3. Watching the Grizzlies in the Playoffs

Go Grizz!

4. Visiting my Aunt Julie in California

Under the Rainbow at Yosemite.

5. Actually Moving to Texas (what a journey that was!), Goodbye Memphis and Hello Austin!

ATX, my new home.

6. Turning 25, and the blog turns 2!

7. Meeting the Olympians

Speedy boys, and autographed shoes!

8. Running 1,000 miles this year

9. Going home to Memphis for the St. Jude Race

Old Friends before the Grizzlies Game.

10. Spending Christmas (and New Year’s, and the first week in January….) in Mexico.

Feliz Navidad (y ano nuevo!)!

What’s your favorite memory(ies) of 2012?