Quite frankly, the most ambitious running adventure I have taken on. In retrospect, maybe a little too much but I did have fun learning that lesson. As I was writing this blog entry, I found I had a lot to say in this recap, so I'm going to keep the synopsis short. Beginning in September, I began with the race that started it all for me (Brookhaven 5k), traveled to 2 additional states (California, Texas) and participated in 7 total organized (maybe 6, as I'm not sure if virtual counts) runs this fall. I definitely pushed myself to the limit this year...past it actually.... however, that will be another entry for another day. Overall, like I stated previously, this was a fun way of figuring out what works and what I can change in the future. Hopefully you'll enjoy reading about my adventures this fall. With that, here is my 2015 Fall Review.
Saturday: September 5, 2015
Brookhaven Run 5k
Norman, Okla. - This 5k will always have sentimental value to me. This is the race that started it all. 6 years ago, I decided I wanted to do something different. I had never attempted anything beyond 2 miles prior to September 4, 2010. I spent over a year and half by this time working on getting my health back. This was a milestone I used to "test" myself. It was difficult that first time. I had never done any kind of race before. At 36, I did my first race in the form of the Brookhaven Run 5k. I was quite excited I was actually able to complete the race. To me at that time, it may as well have been a marathon. I was convinced it was a nice milestone and I would move on...
...Well, here we are 6 years later and on September 15, 2015, I completed my 6th consecutive Brookhaven Run. If I could only do one run a year, it would be this one. I use it to celebrate health and the kick-off for the College Football Season. It is a MUST DO for me. Looking forward to many more Brookhaven Runs to come. I can't imagine being anywhere else in late August/early September each year.
Wednesday: September 30, 2015
Freedom Run 5k
Moore, Okla. - My first ever virtual run. I learned about this run from a post by Pavement Runner via Instagram. It was a fundraiser for Operation Care & Comfort, an organization that benefits veterans, active duty, and their families. I'm all for supporting our Armed Forces where possible. This "virtual" 5k was a nice focus run to help prepare me for the big October. Had so much fun with it, decided to another....
Sunday: October 4, 2015
Oklahoma City, Okla. - Like I stated above, the freedom 5k got me in the mood for another run. However, to be honest, I probably should have simply chilled out. I went full tilt on that Freedom Run and registered for the "Runtoberfest" on a whim. Why? Their equivalent of a participation medal was quite the eye candy for me. Apparently I will run for unique bling now.
I read on the description of the race, instead of medals, commemorative mugs where to be distributed. I don't drink but I did liked the idea of the mug as a unique keepsake. Registered I did and that Sunday embarked on a 5k full hills (gulp). Was not even close to being ready for that. 2015 was the year of hills for me.
By far, Runtoberfest was not even close to being my best time. However, it was a GOOD time. At the end of the day for me, it is no longer about PRs, as it is the comradery and overall experience the running events provide. This was a great one for that. The mug was worth the effort too.
October 18 & 25, 2015
The OK-LA Challenge
This was a challenge I set up for myself in the mid-Summer. The idea was to run back-to-back half marathons one week apart from each other. What made it sentimental for me, were the locations. My schedule worked out to where I had business in Los Angeles the week leading up to the Rock 'n' Roll Los Angeles half. The HIT Running Festival was taking place a day before my trip to LA. These 2 cities I consider home. Why not sandwich these two half marathons between work? That was the goal and that is exactly what I did.
Sunday: October 18, 2015
HITS OKC Running Festival
Oklahoma City, Okla. - (Bricktown) - Since 2010, I have run races. Prior to the HITS OKC Half, I had completed 20+ races with 5 of them being half marathons. Earlier this year (April), I completed what I believe will be my one and only marathon (26.2 miles). In all of my time of running, I never did a half marathon in OKC until this event.
I like challenges. Earlier this year, I completed 5ks, a 10k, and a marathon in OKC. What I did not have under the belt, figuratively speaking, was the half. The venue that acted as the starting and finishing point, the Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark, a baseball stadium, was the perfect venue to complete what I called, "The Runner's Cycle" for the city (5k, 10k, Half, & Full). I love sports and having the finish line near home plate at the ballpark was the PERFECT ending to this run. For those you that do not know what a baseball cycle is, it is hitting a single, double, triple, and home run in one game. For more details, click here.
The event itself is nice. The course is relatively flat with a nice scenic trail by the Oklahoma River. The bridge and return to the ballpark provided some elevations between miles 12 to finish. Other than that, the course is flat. It was a great location to be at for Sunrise.
Since the timing of the event occurs in the middle of football season (a very big distraction for participation purposes in this area) the participant numbers were a little low. However, this race has promise. I hope to see it grow. This was the first time the race was in Bricktown and that should help with attracting more runners. Having an actual exhibit indoor (not the ballpark itself) should attract vendors in the future. Overall though, a nice trip to Bricktown and worth the effort to make it.
Sunday: October 25, 2015
Rock 'n' Roll Los Angeles (#RnRLA)
Los Angeles, CA (Staples Center) - This one was something REAL special. I have not done anything for Halloween in a long time. Though the event wasn't the day of Halloween, it did have the theme. How could you not get excited this? I debated for a while in what I wanted to do for this theme. I knew I wasn't going to be 100% because of the half the week before, travel, and the work obligations the week leading up to the run. I could went silly, scary, or super hero. I went with a "Dia De Los Muertos" (Day of the Dead) look for the run. Make Up by professional Make Up Artist, Karen Pang, (See below)
So there I was in downtown LA, Sunday, Oct 25 ... kind of feeling oddly enough, like a rock star. Plenty of attention was given at the beginning, duration, and end of the event. Who knew DDLM make up could be such an ice breaker?!?
As for the run ... for me, it was brutal. This was my fault though, not the kind of rest that I needed, the HITS OKC the week before, and not fueling properly before the race made for a grueling run. I did enjoy the sites of downtown LA though. Running into and through the LA Coliseum was quite the experience...then there were THE HILLS. Wow. I believe starting with mile 7, it seemed like every odd number mile had a pretty grueling hills until the beginning of mile 12. I survived the LA event. It was a great experience though.
I thoroughly enjoyed the beginning and the post-race concert with Sir Mix A Lot at the Microsoft Theatre (across from Staples Center). The post race area reminded me a lot of NY's Times Square. Love that I was close enough to get my medal in view of the ESPN Los Angeles office. A nice end to a personal challenge. Nothing but smiles (and smudged make up) at the end...along with a trip to In-N-Out Burger later that day. 🙂
Saturday: November 7, 2015
I Am Second 10k
Plano, Texas - Taking a couple of weeks off from the back-to-back, I started to get back into the swing of things while in the Dallas area. I had one last major run for the year, the Williams Route 66 Half and needed a primer. The I Am Second Run was a nice 10k with great weather in NE side of the Metroplex did the trick.
The morning had slight drizzle and overcast. It wasn't the greatest of settings if you were an observer but great if you were running it. The trails were for the most part flat. There were some elevations between miles 4-5, otherwise a flat and with the slight rain, nice and cool run in Plano. Loved the atmosphere at this one. Very friendly people, well organized, and was very close to an In-N-Out Burger. Good times!
Sunday: November 22, 2015
Williams Route 66
Tulsa, Okla. - To be honest, I almost didn't participate in this one. It was not due to not being prepared for the race. It had everything to do with temperature. The best way to describe the beginning, COLD.
Equipped with stocking cap, gloves, scarf, long sleeve compression top (and beard), it still felt very frigid in downtown Tulsa. The sun had barely started to show itself and let's just say for the first time ever, I was seriously debating going back to my car and driving home. I obviously didn't but wow....the best way to describe how my body felt from the beginning to mile 1.5 is numb.
At the 2 mile mark, the sun began doing it's job. The temperature began to rise, and I found myself getting way too warm. By mile 4, I ended up "donating" my gloves, scarf, and compression top as there was nowhere to place them on my person. Much like #RnRLA, Tulsa had HILLS. I guess I need to start brushing up more on the elevations. 🙂
Like my marathon & other downtown runs (OKC & LA) ... even my 2 #RNRLV (Vegas) runs, I was able to SEE the city. Something is to be said about taking your time and seeing the sites. You really get that chance (if you choose) to do that in these races. I have come to really appreciate that. You get to see the best of the city without all the distractions in these scenarios.
The half ended at the Brady Arts District of downtown Tulsa. I will remember Tulsa for a few things.
- The FRIGID start.
- The AWESOME race bling.
- Offering SPAGHETTI as post-race nutrients (thank you Spaghetti Warehouse!!!)
The Williams Route 66 Race is the weekend before Thanksgiving. If considering participating, there is a high likelihood it will be chilly (at least in the beginning). My advice for a smooth experience (which I had, initial weather withstanding), is to arrive early to the expo in order to get to check-in ASAP. The line will grow long quickly. On race day, arrive at least an hour prior to race time. If you are a burger coinsure, which I am after a race, I recommend Fat Guys Burgers (Greenwood). Outside of the burgers and spicy ballpark fries, they make one of the best milkshakes I have ever tasted in my life!
Well ... that's a wrap (almost) for the year!
What is left in 2015?
I will be returning to the site of the HITS OKC in October, the Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark. I love unique runs. I love the idea and the motivation behind the inaugural, "OKC Dodger Dash 5k & Fun Run".
The all important, racing swag. 😃 Runners of the Inaugural OKC Dodger Dash (Sat, Dec 19) will receive this commemorative long sleeve shirt. Still time to register. Hope to see you at the event next Saturday.
Registration is a tax deductible donation to the OKC Dodgers Foundation. Please remember the winter clothing drive is the driving force for the event. Bring coats, gloves, scarves, etc for this worthwhile endeavor. Help the community and get your morning workout in at the same time. 😃
You can register at http://bit.ly/OKCDDash5k
BONUS RUN BLING:
Rock 'n' Roll Bonus Track
To complete the year, I will also utilize the OKC Dodger Dash as my virtual run for the inaugural Rock 'n' Roll Marathon Series' "Bonus Track" medal. Pretty snazzy and cannot think of a better way to end the (running) year. You can participate by registering to run a distance of your choice between December 17 to December 31. Follow the details and you will receive your "Bonus Track" medal in early 2016. To register visit the link here, #RnRBonusTrack.
It's been a great 2015 for Running. More to come in 2016.