So, the title of this post is something I overheard in the corrals while we waited for the race to start on Sunday morning. It turned out to be completely untrue on all accounts, but it still made me laugh, so there you go. As soon as I heard it, I knew I had to make it the title of my race recap regardless of what the day held.
Race day dawned extremely early for an 8 am start because we had to meet up with Patty’s running group, the Dom-N-8rz at like 6:30 am and caravan over to the finish area. I complained about this an appropriate amount. When we got to the area where we wanted to park for the race, we decided to see how many people we could squeeze into one vehicle and park as close to the race start as possible, since the start and finish were in separate areas. Mostly, we wanted to answer the eternal burning question of “how many runners can you fit in a Nissan Xterra?”
Probably one of the most entertaining car rides of my life. We then headed over to the Holiday Inn to use the bathroom and gather for the group photo, which somehow led to an impromptu photo shoot in the bathroom.
Then it was time to head over the exclusive Maniacs/50 Staters/Half Fanatics tent to check our gear and get together for the group picture. It was like a family reunion over there. I was actually almost overwhelmed because I really knew too many people and I didn’t have time to talk to them all! Tough life. The Maniacs picture was one of the most ridiculous things I have ever seen in my life.
When I saw how many of my family members were there, I knew it was going to be an awesome day. I gave a bottle of Sprite to an injured Maniac, Kathy, who was going to be cheering along the course and promised to have it ready for me, which was awesome. One day I’m going to be on my own at a race and totally screwed, but today was not that day. We caught up with Otter, Dan and Nolan and wished them luck, since they were going to be much faster than us, and then we headed over the the corrals, where I slowly froze to death and overheard amusing quotes.
Our plan was to stick with Patty and her running group until we reached the Center of the Universe detour, which is an extra 0.3 miles that you can add to the route and receive a special coin. More on this later. We were all planning on doing the detour and Patty wasn’t, but she was going to be running at about 4:30 pace, which seemed like something we could stick with for awhile. I was so excited for the race but worried about my stomach, which had been violently rebelling against me for the entire week.
Two things happened in the first couple of miles of the race that I did not anticipate happening at all. First, we lost Kate, and second, we found Otter. Kate had run a marathon the day before and was having trouble loosening up, and apparently we lost her going up a hill. I was so focused on trying not to lose Patty and trying not to focus on my stomach that I didn’t even realize until we were a few miles in. I am the worst friend ever. Amanda and I stopped to look for her at every water stop, but couldn’t find her. Then, around mile 2, I heard someone say “Excuse me, miss, but you have the best ponytail I’ve seen so far today!” and there was Otter!
Unfortunately, me seeing Otter during the race is not a good thing for him. He has been struggling with a knee injury since a couple weeks after his epic PR in Chicago, and being back in the pack with me and Amanda meant his knee was giving him trouble. He was doing a kind of walk run thing and decided to hang out with us because
he couldn’t run fast enough to escape us we are fun. The early miles of the race took us through some nice neighborhoods of Tulsa and through a Catholic school that looked like it belonged in a magazine. Around mile 4 or 5, we caught up with Anders, JC, Abbi, and their whole crew. Actually, I can’t remember if JC was running with them or not because I saw so many Maniacs that it is sometimes hard to remember who was with who. I do know we saw him, though.
As we approached the out and back portion of the race, there was a girl with a sign that said “Stop for a Hug!” I don’t know if she meant it or not, but I’ll be damned if me, Amanda and Patty didn’t all take her up on it. She may have regretted that sign about 500 sweaty hugs later. This perked Amanda up, who was quite grumpy early on in the race and didn’t really feel like running, which is usually my role on Team T-Rex. Fortunately, I had enough energy for both of us.
I had been feeling pretty sick since early in the race, but I knew that I would be seeing Kathy, who was holding my Sprite for me, at mile 8. I was initially planning on waiting til later in the race to grab it, but it occurred to me that I might not make it to “later in the race” if I didn’t grab it now. When we saw her, she thought I was waiting until later in the race for it too, so she didn’t have it with her and had to run back to her car to get it. The only problem? She can’t run because she is hurt, which is why she wasn’t running the race in the first place, so she walked back to her car instead and Amanda, Otter and I took turns holding the sign and cheering on the Dom-N-8rz. Many people looked at us quizzically because they had no idea who we were and why we weren’t running when we were blatantly wearing marathon bibs, but oh well. At this point, unfortunately, we lost Patty, who kept running on with her group. There went the plan to stick with her until the Center of the Universe!
Next, we got to run along the river on an out-and-back portion of the race. In theory, out and backs are awful if you do not have anyone to look for, and I sympathize with people running marathons alone who hate them. But when your whole family is running with you and you can see them all along the way, it is really fun. I can amuse myself for hours on an out and back if there are enough people I know running the race. I shouted out to every single Maniac, Fanatic and 50 Stater in the process, probably embarrassing Amanda in the process. We saw soooo many Maniacs, it is impossible to name them all here, but I am still waiting to see all of the 4000 pictures Dave Mari took of us while we were out there. Jay ran past us on his way to a new half marathon PR and shouted “Who’s the sexiest dinosaur ever?” I think we all know the answer. Just look at this picture.
Shortly before the halfway point, we ran past some people with sticks of vaseline. It was at this point that Otter asked me if it was considered socially acceptable to apply vaseline down his shorts in the middle of a race. If I’ve said it once, I’ll say it again – there is no dignity in marathoning. Apply away, sir. The halfers turned off right before mile 13, but it wasn’t too traumatizing as we did not actually see the finish line. Besides, shortly after that, there was beer! And jello shots. Wait, what? Also, there was epic dancing to “Apache” by the Sugarhill Gang. For those of you (like me) who do not know what song I’m referring to by the name alone, it’s the one that goes “Tonto, jump on it, jump on it, jump on it!” and you do inappropriate hip movements to. You know what I’m talking about. I would demonstrate, but I think you’ve seen enough of my dance moves for one week.
I can’t say this was the most scenic course I’ve ever run, but the time was going by quickly and aside from wanting to throw up constantly, I was having a very good time. We ran when we felt like it, walked when we felt like it, took pictures – the usual. I of course got super excited when we saw the iconic Route 66 sign, although I realize now that I’m pretty sure we never actually ran on Route 66 itself.
So finally, we made it to around mile 16.5 and took the Center of the Universe detour. This is an optional detour that adds 0.3 miles onto your total marathon distance. Most importantly, it gives you a shiny coin and free beer! Otter actually got free beer before we even entered the detour, in what proved to be an ongoing theme of this race.
So, the Center of the Universe is this spot in Tulsa where, if you stand in the middle of it, you can make any sound you want and it will allegedly echo in your ears. Apparently, no one else outside the circle can hear it and there are no surfaces nearby that should produce an echo. I was way too distracted by people giving me coins and trying to coordinate a picture that I didn’t actually have this experience, but apparently that’s the deal.
At the bottom of the detour there was…beer, of course! We all stopped this time since it had been a long journey into outer space.
And lo and behold, look who was coming into the Center of the Universe just as we were leaving? Angie and Kate, who busted into an impromptu dance party for our benefit.
I will point out that at this point, I started to feel bad about my life because Kate and Angie were not far behind us at all and Kate had, you know, run a marathon the day before. Oh well. I never promised speed, just amusement along the way. We kept trotting along, and around this point I told Otter that I was no longer interested in running, and that marathons should only be 18 miles long. He responded with the very astute observation that “If marathons were only 18 miles long, everyone would do them.” True. 18 miles, meh.
Otter tried to rally and leave us at mile 21 or so because we were now running too slow on the running parts for him, even though he was still doing run walk. We sent him on his way, because Amanda is just like me in that she does not care about time during the vast majority of races, and she was in a good bit of pain from early on. Fortunately, she was no longer in a bad mood and I took over that role. It wasn’t very long at all before we caught up with Otter again and he couldn’t escape us. By this point, we were running through Tulsa University, which is the home of the inappropriately named “Golden Hurricanes.” Will someone please tell me the last time a hurricane hit Oklahoma? Don’t worry, I’ll wait. And furthermore, what is a golden hurricane? Ugh, it pains me.
Around mile 22, Otter left us for good and Amanda and I were left to ponder the mystery of the golden hurricanes on our own. This also allowed us to do jumping pictures, which turned out to be a rousing success.
As we hit mile 23 or thereabouts, we arrived in the Florence Park neighborhood, which billed itself as “the best damned neighborhood in Tulsa” and offered full cans of beer and pretzels and gummy bears. Best damned neighborhood in Tulsa indeed. It was here that Amanda and I decided we didn’t want to run anymore, and with Angie and Kate having passed us and thereby removing all of our incentive to run, we sat down for a minute and cheered on other runners, as I like to do at races. People always look so confused. Just take the damn cheers, people. It’s fine. On a related note, I would like to submit the fact that Kate and Angie passed us as direct evidence that karma is a bitch. Sorry I’m not sorry to admit that while we were running, the thought occurred to me that I might finally finish ahead of Kate in a marathon. Yes, I realize that she had run a really difficult marathon the day before and yes, I realize that she had done a marathon every weekend before that for 3 weeks, but dammit, this could be my one shot at glory! Well, it wasn’t, so I give up forever. I love you, Kate, even if you will always defeat me.
For some reason, mile 24 is when I always get my second wind and regain the will to live, so Amanda and I started preparing for a T-Rex. I realized that Anders and whoever he is running with always take a picture at mile 25 of them getting ready to do a T-Rex, and I almost never do. Given that I invented the idea in the first place, that seemed a little silly, so I’m trying to work on it. And I’ve got to say, a deep lunge feels pretty good around mile 25.
So Amanda and I ran the rest of the way in, right past the special finisher’s area for Maniacs, 50 Staters, and Fanatics, which was awesome! Because of all the perks provided by the race directors for our groups, a ton of people had stayed to enjoy the festivities and were cheering us all in. Thanks to all the dicking around we did during the race, Amanda and I had plenty of energy left to jump at the end.
One of the best parts of the race (and there were many) was being able to hang out at the end of the race with all the Maniacs and 50 Staters and eat food (ok, well I didn’t really eat food) and drink unlimited amounts of beer. YES, people, it finally happened. I drank my first ever beer after a race! I was determined to because dammit, we had the time, and if my stomach was going to hurt anyway, it might as well be for good reason.
One of the many perks of the race was special medals for Maniacs and 50 Staters. Kate and I had come up with a grand plan to switch the ribbons on our medals because she got the 50 Staters medal and I got the Maniacs medal, so this way our medals would represent both clubs. However, our plan was foiled when we realized how totally legit these medals are and that it would require cutting the ribbons and then sewing them back together, which is about 2 steps too many.
We were getting ready to leave when Heather got a text from Dave Mari that said “At mile 25. My balls are chafing so bad.” So clearly, we had to stick around to see him waddle to the finish. We figured it would be like…an 11 minute wait, but Dave must have been acting like his usual self and running back and forth between tons of Maniacs, because homeboy finished about 25 minutes later, snapping pictures the whole way. I was determined to get a picture of him for a change, but my camera failed me at the moment of truth. I guess karma was still punishing me, so I’ll steal this picture instead. That will help.
After the race, we even had enough time to shower (SWEET SWEET LUXURY) at Patty’s house before heading to the airport. The whole afternoon was so relaxing compared to our usual post-race frenzy and it was so nice. It is here that I have to thank the amazing Patty on behalf of Team T-Rex for being the best hostess ever and letting us terrorize her and the Dom-N-8rz for the weekend. The only way the race could have been better is if we could have stuck with her for more than just 8 short miles. We are already planning our next race together! Patty, we miss you already!!
So basically, Route 66 was one of the most fun marathon experiences I’ve ever had. Was the course the most beautiful thing I have ever experienced? No. Don’t go for the scenery (sorry Tulsa, you know I love you). Is the course hard? Yeah, actually, I forgot to mention that. It’s pretty hilly, but hills don’t matter so much when you run slow as hell. I wouldn’t put it as the most hilly course I’ve ever run or really even close, but it’s definitely not an “easy” race. The organization is superb, the crowd support is very good for a smaller race, and the perks for Maniacs and 50 Staters cannot be understated. It’s easy to have fun when you’re surrounded by so many of your friends the whole time. Seriously, if you aren’t running marathons, I don’t know what the hell you’re doing with your life. I don’t know how you have fun. Join the Maniacs (or 50 Staters or Fanatics) and come party with us. There’s beer! It’s even better than Mardi Gras.