Wow what a week, and I mean that in a Great way. This is my 2nd time running the Tulsa Route 66 Marathon. My first was in 2016 and then 2018. I decided to run Route 66 again early this year and went ahead and signed up knowing I had plenty of time to prepare. Long story short, I didn’t prepare well at all. My eating was undisciplined and my training miles were few. I honestly went into this run concerned two weeks out that I honestly might not be able to complete the course. In light of this knowledge I did some research to see what others had done when they found themselves in this same place and here is the plan I came up with.
7 days before the Marathon
Consume half my body weight in water every day.
3 times a day add 2 teaspoons of raw vinegar to my water. (To fight against cramping)
Rest as much as possible.
Carb Load as much as possible.
So the gun goes off at 8am, the weather is cool, around 32 degrees, but really it’s pretty perfect for running a marathon. After the first mile most everyone is starting to shed the extra clothes and trash bags used to keep warm in the starting corrals. I personally choose to use a large garbage bag, it works quite well in keeping the cold air out and its easy to discard once the race starts. So this is the plan I came up with for actually running on the day of the race in order to finish.
Go out with the purpose of just having fun. Time doesn’t matter. (I fully expected the Marathon to take me at the least 6 hours and at most 7 hours.)
Have one cup of coffee, and a good breakfast before the race. Oatmeal with peanut butter, honey, and banana.
Carry “Tailwinds” recovery mix in two 8 ounce water bottles and consume 2 ounces every 2 miles.
Carry “Honey Stinger” honey waffles and Honey Stinger Gels and have one or the other every 3 miles if possible.
Carry “Honey Stinger” energy gummys and chew at random intervals.
Take Gatorade and or water at every water stop provided along the course.
Carry “Pickle Juice” extra strength pickle juice shots and use any time I felt a possible cramp coming on.
And finally, if I needed to stop and sit down, I would do just that.
In what really seemed like no time at all I found myself at mile 18. This was the best mile of the race, simply because my wife and 2 youngest sons met me here to hug my neck, encourage me, and replenish all the items listed above. Amazingly, I was feeling really good at mile 18 with no problems whatsoever this far into the race.
Samuel our 11 year old on your right and Judah our 9 year old on your left.
Samuel, Judah, and my wife Misty
With the excitement of seeing my family at mile 18 the next several miles rolled by pretty seamlessly. There was a time or two that I felt a cramp starting to form and immediately I would take a pickle juice shot and the inkling of a cramp was gone.
How could I possibly quit after Samuel so lovingly made me this sign. 🙂
Tulsa’s finest police officers and some of my greatest heroes kept 12,000 runners and volunteers safe during the run. These officers weren’t just out there directing traffic, they were cheering us on and every single one had a smile and an encouraging word.
I still can’t believe it, mile 26 seemed to come out of nowhere. Yes I was glad to be finished and at the same time I didn’t want it to end. I had fun. I ran my 14th marathon the least trained I had every run a marathon, the most nervous that I might not finish and the most undisciplined in my eating I had every been going into such a distance. But I finished the race. I finished 26.2 miles without experiencing excruciating cramps, the first time accomplishing that in 14 Marathons. I had fun, I talked to people, I prayed for those who were struggling, and I told some I was praying for them. I thanked every officer who wasn’t busy and couldn’t hear me and I gave high fives to everyone with their hand out.
The finish was emotional. It brings tears to your eyes to know that you have just run 26.2 miles and you didn’t die. It is my greatest joy to cross the finish line with my two younger sons on each side of me, cheering me on. Wow, what a great experience.
Route 66 Bling: 5K and Marathon
Route 66 Marathon Flat Runner
My 77 year old mother (Sylvia Collins) ran the 5K with me and the boys. Another one of my heroes.
The boys and I ran and finished the 5K together on Saturday morning.
I had the great honor of sitting on the “Run Influencer Panel” with Alexandria Williams as the host and two other amazing ladies who sat on the panel with me. I don’t remember their names but the amazing woman on your right has lost more than 200 pounds since she started running just over two years ago. This was such a great experience and meeting these ladies was a real honor.
On Saturday evening the First United Methodist Church of Tulsa hosted a Marinara-thon. We were treated to an amazing pasta and salad dinner and dessert and after dinner were were blessed with a “Blessing of the Shoes.” How awesome is that? We were invited to lay our shoes at the altar and then every pair was prayed over. Not only that, the pastor of the church anointed my head with oil and prayed a prayer of blessing not only over my run but also over my ministry.
We were blessed to meet and hear Justin Walkers story (At the Mariana-thon) of running across the state of Oklahoma earlier this year. Justin ran an average of 61 miles a day for 8 straight days to accomplish this amazing run. Another hero for me and the boys.
Final thoughts: Williams Route 66 Marathon is an absolute blast, my favorite Marathon of the 14 I have now run, both years in Tulsa have been great. There were plenty of rolling hills but when you live and train in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia the hills in Tulsa are not really hills. The only discomfort experienced in the 26.2 miles was a tight left hamstring for about the first 14 miles or so that eventually went away and soreness in my toes that didn’t hinder me from enjoying and finishing the race. No cramps is a miracle that I attribute to the prayers of all my family and friends who were praying and cheering me on, hydrating really well several days before the race, adding vinegar to my water 3 times a day, Pickle Juice Shots, Tailwinds Recovery, Honey Stinger gels, waffles, and gummy’s, and last but not least, breathing deeply from the belly, intentionally and often during the race. My runners hat is off to Stormy who worked so hard to make sure everything went well at Route 66, the volunteers who served us so selflessly, the crowds who cheered us on, the musicians who played and sang all along the course, Tulsa First UMC, the multitude of police officers who worked with joy to keep us safe, to family and friends who believe in me and pray for me, and to every man, woman,girl, and boy who ran the race.
My finish time was 5 hours and 14 minutes. 46 minutes faster than I had ever imagined for this race.
I would love to do this Marathon every year. Tulsa Route 66, you are the BEST!