This morning I laced up the running shoes and joined the masses for the OKC Landrunner marathon training run. It was a brisk morning and a group of about 150 runners decided to unite together to rule the early morning streets of the OKC Memorial Marathon course. The start of today's training run was the entrance to the OKC Bombing Memorial and the old starting line of the marathon. I went into this run only scheduled for 7 miles and I had every intention to stick to the plan since I've been skiing for a few days and haven't ran since Monday. I figured my legs would be heavy and sluggish. Something about running with that group really energizes me though. I don't really know anyone in the group and I don't do more than small talk with those around me, but it's nice to be among other people who share the same passion. It's also nice to be in a training group where I can learn and be tested. The skill levels range from people who win marathons to those who will have to opt for the early start option for the full marathon in OKC. Almost every time I run with them I find someone who is nearly a perfect pace for me to run with or test me. Today was no different. About two miles into the run I met a guy named Shane who was training to run his 3rd marathon. I struck up a conversation by joking that some of those lead runners sure know how to blow up a pack pretty quickly. It's interesting to note the speed of runners early in the run because almost everyone goes out too fast and about 2 or 3 miles in you notice a dramatic slowing of pace. Shane and I quickly realized we were running about the same pace so we stuck together and shared stories, goals, and observations. It made the next few miles go by very quickly and I enjoyed the small talk. I ended up having to go on by myself after Shane made a pit stop for some bathroom relief. His goal is to break the 4 hour mark at OKC this year. Good luck Shane, I'll be cheering for you! After parting ways, I looked down at my watch and realized I was nearly 6 miles into my run and not anywhere near my car. I decided to go ahead and run to the 6 mile water stop and turnaround to make the trek back to my car.
At the water stop, I had an odd sensation come over me. All the runners around me were taking in gels, shaking out their legs, and getting ready to embark on the next 2/3rds of their training run. I envied them and the next 12 miles they had in front of them. I wanted to keep running. I wanted to be training for the OKC Memorial Marathon. I wanted to be a part of the journey with them. It was then that I immediately decided I would be running the OKC Memorial Marathon in 2012. I want to experience the course of the full marathon and run on my home turf. I love the half marathon and I'm ready to be tested by the full marathon. OKC can be very unpredictable weather-wise in the spring and you are almost guaranteed to have wind. It's definitely not an easy course either. The last 3 years, the marathon just didn't fit it in my schedule. Year one of my running career, the half marathon here was what got me hooked. Later that year I ran the Dallas White Rock Marathon for my first full marathon. My downtime after Dallas was more than expected due to achilles issues so I opted for the half marathon again and here I am going into year three of my running career with the Ironman looming in August. I think it's time I make the OKC Memorial Marathon a priority though. I feel like I need to pay tribute to OKC and those killed in the bombing nearly 16 years ago. I feel like I owe it to my city and those affected to run the full marathon. Count me in for 2012. I'm finally going to stay home and make some memories with my OKC brethren.
The run today was on the slower side of my runs lately, but I was pretty happy with the way I felt post-ski trip. I ended up cranking out 9 miles and am a couple of weeks ahead of schedule I guess. I'll get back to my actual training schedule this week as I get ever-so-close to the start of IM Louisville training kicking into full gear. I'll also be running my first race next weekend as I participate in the 1st annual Run Lucky 5K to benefit the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. I'm looking forward to my first event and daylight savings time which goes into effect Saturday night. Hello sunshine after work! I'll finally be able to get my bike outside during the week! I'm outta here for now. Have a great start to the week.