It is nearly the end of April and for many of us Oklahoma Runners that means one thing: time for the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon.
I am very excited to be stepping up to the start line in downtown Oklahoma City for the tenth time. I look forward to this event every year. Whenever anyone asks me about it, I always have the same answer: it is one of my favorites.
The weather is always questionable. I think I have experienced every kind of weather at the Memorial Marathon throughout the years. It has been hot, cold, windy, rainy, stormy, hailing… and who can forget the threat of severe storms last year that lead to a two hour delay? Yet, I still love this race. I wouldn’t miss it for anything.
It will be a little different for me this year. I am no longer a resident of Oklahoma City, so 90% of my training runs were not done on the course like in the past. Also, I haven’t been consumed with planning and training groups like I always have been in the past, and I don’t have to worry about two long days of working at the expo prior to the race. I just get to go run and enjoy the event! It will be thrilling to get to run all over Oklahoma City. I am even going to enjoy the Hefner portion and the dreaded “death stretch” going south on Classen. I can’t wait to run down Broadway and hear the cheering spectators.
I am also refusing to get nervous and worked up this year. I am going into the event with no expectations except to finish and enjoy it.
I will be the first to admit, I have not been training seriously at all. I have been running and racing a lot, but nothing quality. Let’s put it this way, you should NOT run a marathon distance run (or longer) every weekend if you want to get faster and be competitive. But here is the thing: I have not enjoyed running this much in a long time. I haven’t been doing any speed training, just long and slow runs (my favorite kind of running). I also haven’t been injured at all.
I was never able to run 20+ mile runs every weekend in the past. Now I can, and I love it. I might change my mind later this year or next and try to get fast again. But for now, I’m going to enjoy running far. I’m going to enjoy running crazy amounts of miles for fun. I am looking to complete at least a 100k this year, and I am not going to complain about running on dirt trails anymore (ha ha)!!
And most importantly, I am going to run through the streets of Oklahoma City next weekend and smile at all my friends. I’m going to hi-five all the little kids who put their hands out. I’m not going to care that I feel like I’m trying to break through a brick wall while running down Classen Blvd. I’m going to smile for Dr. Barnes’ camera at the finish, kiss my husband, and celebrate with all my best friends another finish at one of the best marathons in the country.
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