Tag Archives: Oklahoma

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!


First time to Oklahoma!


After about 7 hours on the road yesterday, I made it to Tulsa, Oklahoma.  The drive from Memphis was beautiful – Arkansas turns kind of windy and mountainous and Oklahoma is green and not as flat as I imagined.  Tulsa’s a small city that’s not really known for being a popular tourist destination, or desirable place to live.  Remember how hesitant Monica was to move there on Friends?

Chandler: You know how people say that Tulsa is the Paris of Oklahoma?

Monica: What? Who says that?

Chandler: People who’ve never been to Paris.

But I didn’t come here for the city.  I stopped here to see my best friend from childhood.  My blonder (and ditzier) other half.  Katie and I met in third grade and have remained friends ever since, sharing everything along the way: sports, clothes, hairstyles, vacations, jobs and even boyfriends (you know you’re best friends when your friendship can survive that.  Twice.)  We parted ways for college when she went north to Wheaton in Chicago and I went south to Rhodes in Memphis.  That’s when we stopped sharing – she snagged herself an Okie and went off to get married before we had a chance to share him.  Now she and hubs live here in Tulsa.

We reconnected quickly over dinner at Fat Guys’ Burgers where I had the biggest kids burger I’ve ever seen in my life.  It was delicious and just what my hungry belly wanted.


I mean – do you see how similar our outfits are – green on bottom and white on top? – totally unplanned.  After dinner she and hubs drove me around all the “districts” of the city.  It’s not huge but it has character and seems like a good place for young people.  My favorite district was one that has laws against chain restaurants opening within their neighborhood!  It definitely seems like a city for foodies and entrepreneurs.  And these two have been bitten by the bug.

Foolish Things Coffee Company

In just a few weeks Foolish Things Coffee Company will open for business in Tulsa and I got a sneak peek last night!

The Happy Couple by their Cafe

Twins by the patio.

Under construction.

The coffee bar.


It will serve coffee and food and they hope to bring people back together and out of the “iPhone zone” over cups of coffee.  I loved taking a behind the scenes tour and seeing all the construction and plans.  I’m bummed I missed the grand opening by just a few weeks but I guess I’ll have to come back……

State Number 10!

With a little persuasion from those two and the positive feedback I received from other runners, I’ve decided that Oklahoma will be my 10th state for my racing goal!  I’m not going to sign up just yet, I want to wait to get my syllabus from school but I’m about 90% committed to the Tulsa Route 66 Half-Marathon.

This Morning’s Run

Katie and I went for a run this morning around her Tulsa neighborhood.  It was hot, hilly and humid!  But we had a good time chatting about high school memories, our current lives and big plans for the future.  We went about 3.5 miles and then zipped over to Old School Bagel Cafe for breakfast.

Ready to run!

I’m so glad she’s turned into a runner (and a quick and effortless one at that – I was dripping in sweat and red in the face at the end of the 3.5 and she handled the hills and heat much differently.  Not sweating or breathing hard.  Curses) – I used to have to drag her out in the summers after I discovered my love.  But she’s done it all on her own and I’m excited to do the half in November!

The Healthy Start

For breakfast I had The Healthy Start bagel, an egg white, ham, spinach and tomato sandwich on an everything bagel.  I think it was the best bagel I’ve ever had.  It was soft and doughy instead of tough and I really liked that.  She’s run off to her big girl job and now I’m here planning the last leg of my trip!

See you soon!

The Final Leg!

In just hours I’ll be in my new hometown – I can’t believe this day is here!

452 Miles to Go!

I will land in Austin on top of my college roommate Koko who has so graciously opened her studio to me and my bags.  The boxes and furniture come next week in a trailer – I can’t move into my new place until the 25 so am just sort of living out of my car….I’ve got at least seven hours there this afternoon – feel free to call and entertain me 🙂  But NO TEXTING!




Westward Ho!


Today I start the big journey into the unknown – I’ve never been further west on I-40 than just across the river and today I’ll make it all the way to Oklahoma.  I’m stopping in Tulsa to see a childhood friend before I head to Austin tomorrow.  I just have a few goodbyes here before I hit the road – I’ve done almost everything I need to survive a 402 mile roadtrip – run and eat.

Pack Run 

This morning I met the Pack at Inside Out Gym for the weekday run.  We did four as a group but I ran one to get to the gym and then added four on at the end before running one more home.  My long run assignment this week was to do 10 miles at a comfortable pace and after the group was finished, I wanted to keep going.  I think because I had pizza, not once, but twice yesterday!

I wasn’t able to get my pre-race pizza at the new place downtown but I did squeeze it in for lunch yesterday.  Aldo’s Pizza Pie is located on Main street across from Local.  Yesterday was their first day open for lunch and I think they handled the crowd very well.  We didn’t wait to sit down and didn’t wait long for our pizza.

Aldo’s Pizza Pie

I split the Gina Bellina pizza with a few changes – roasted tomatoes instead of sundried, and tomato sauce instead of white.  It also had grilled chicken, goat cheese and black olives.  It was delicious – not to thin or thick in the crust department and the cheese was excellent.

Gina Bellina

I also had pizza for dinner at Cortona and so my legs were ready for the long run this morning.  I think also knowing I’m spending up to 7 hours in the car today helped me crank out the extra miles.

Last Memphis Meal

After a cup of coffee and loading up the car I stopped by Libby’s again and we strolled through the neighborhood to Stone Soup Cafe for breakfast.  I couldn’t decide what I wanted – I knew I needed some protein to keep me full for the long ride, but I also wanted something sweet.  So we did what I love to do on dates, I got something healthy (a veggie omelette) and we shared something sweet (a blueberry scone).

Blueberry Scone.

The food is excellent here, for lunch or breakfast and the atmosphere is cozy.  Our waitress was very friendly and attentive.  Check it out if you haven’t been before!

Well y’all, here we go!  See you from Tulsa 🙂

On to Tulsa!