I woke up at 5:48 am realizing that I turned my alarm off and continued to tell Ashlee we still had time while in my sleep. We rushed out of my apartment and then headed off to my exchange zone for the 12k. The rain was coming down hard and there were even blips of lightning off in the distance. What kind of marathon weather is this crap? We headed into OKC and off to Willshire street where my exchange was. The rain was coming down hard and the temps were in the low 40's. Luckily, the marathon was delayed by an hour so that meant I was the first relay participant there. I rushed out in the rain to find the exact location and then decided to head to SONIC so Ashlee could grab a quick meal. The time was 7:30 and I knew I had to say goodbye and brave the frigid temps. These conditions sucked. Pounding rain and cold temperatures equal a world of disaster for a runner especially if you never get to warm up. That was the case with me. I shot out of Ashlee's car and then ran for the nearest tent. I had my neon green OK Runner singlet and my nike Neon green streaks, two pieces of my attire that received rave reviews from the spectators and my Nike gloves---an essential component of the whole race outfit. Because of the delay, I waited around some more freezing my little tush off hanging out with the event crew. It was a lot of fun talking to them and freezing with all of them.
Then I heard it....the helicopter and so it signified the beginning of the hand off. I waited and waited. Then off in the distance it was THE LEAD MARATHONER. WHAT? Really? I could not believe he was running that fast right now as he passed us all waving his arms to pump us up. Then 5 more minutes pass...and there is a bright green singlet. I spring to the exchange zone as rain is scorching the earth and I soon find out it is the exchange for Oklahoma Christian University. I wait another 5 minutes as two other relays get their chips. Then I pick Butler out in the distance. I pick up the chip and pick a pace that equals fast as can be.
I pace the first two relay groups in the first 800 meters as I am running in the 4:40's maybe even 4:30's for the first few miles.
The rain is freezing and I already cannot feel my arms but I am determined to catch OK Christian and the marathon leader. Remember...The leader has about a 10 minute lead on me right now---almost a 2 mile lead.
The 12k leg spans about 7.6 miles of the toughest stretch of the OKC Marathon. Lake Hefner is cold, windy and quiet and this is the make it or break it point in the race.
I shot up the first hills out in the city streets and neighborhoods and within the first mile- mile and a half I caught the OK Christian runner. I came right up on him and told him good luck and lets have fun out here because this run literally was miserable. With that said, I blew right by him and then weaved in and out of the cones as I pushed the pace even more so! The 5k came up and I glanced at my watch---14:30...32...33...34...35!!!!! Wow now that is a pr for the 5k! I was averaging 4:40 a mile! I continued to push the pace.
By four miles in I was at 19:06 which was another pr and my average was at 4:45 a mile. This is when the run became tough. I had trucked it up the bridge to Lake Hefner and I knew I still had to hammer it hard because I had no idea who might catch me if I just start running 6 minute miles. I split 24:16 through 8k another pr where my average has slowed to 4:52 and then I decided to drop the hammer!!!!!
I heard someone named Scott Downard yell, "COLE!" from the other-side of the Lake Hefner trail as I began that 5th mile! I blitzed as long and as hard as I could as I felt my stomach churn with disgust. This run hurt but I still has the strength to push on. My 10k split folks was 29:50 which was another pr and I averaged 4:48 a mile so my mile there had to be in the low 4:40's. Then after 10k I ran out of gas. I slowed down and almost threw up my pre-race bananas.
The last 1.6 miles was slowed to maybe around 5:20-5:30 a mile as the rain turned into almost hail and my body was heavy from the rain soaked jersey and shorts. I turned the illustrious corner into Stars and Stripes Park and then I saw him...The marathon leader only a straight-away from me maybe about 200 meters away. This guy had a 10 minute lead on me an now he was only 40 seconds away! I kicked the straight in and handed off to Stephen. I was welcomed into Ashlee's arms and felt like I really accomplished something Magical!
My final time: 37 minutes and 10.65 seconds! I averaged about 4:58 a mile and ran my heart out. I pr'ed in every distance from 5k up--a true testament to my training and sheer will. I could have easily given up, heck I wanted to but I thought about everyone that has stood by me and my running: especially the OK Runner squad. We all ran well in what was the worst conditions: pounding rain--temps maybe in the 30's and wind that could make your bones freeze. Still, I mentally pushed through it all and ran the race of my life so far!
Scott missed the victory by a mere 7 seconds as he thought the winner was a half-marathon finisher.
Next Year will be my year as I look to run my first marathon here in OKC. I know whatever happens I am going to be ready for it. With the way I have been running who knows what is in store for me. We can only wait and see!