I arrived at the race site as the sun was setting picked up my bib number had a little dinner and then I realized I had no cell phone reception. I had to call Ashlee and my father to inform them that I had indeed made it. So I took the option of staying at a motel in Atoka because I was not prepared for intense outdoor camping and even if I was I would have liked to have Ashlee by my side.
So I drove down the dusty gravel road towards the exit off to Atoka. The surprise of it all, Ashlee made the drive out to see me at the Thunderbird Lodge motel. It was great.
Here are some photos Ashlee took of me from the race. It was a great race as I set off to a fast early start. I got lost at the first checkpoint as I signed the check in sheet then hopped a creek out 1.5 miles in the wrong direction. I soon learned after heading off course that I had to turn-around at the sign book and so I headed back and then began my ferocious pace to pick off people to regain the lead. It took me 5 miles into the technical rocky and steep little ascents of the Southeastern Oklahoma terrain to realize that I had regained the lead. For 10 more miles I had thought I was in 3rd place as two more names appeared before mine of the sign in log. I continued my 5:30 pace and caught the two women who I later found out to be early starters. The first half of the course was technical rocky,rooty and tough hilly terrain. I excelled at the challenge. Then I hopped onto a fire road for the 2nd half of the run. I ran by ponds and through gates and up and down sandy mounds of dirt. The small forested landscape was beautiful and the race atmosphere was perfect. I settled into a nice pace and continued to surge to the finish. I was able to run 18.5 miles in 1 hour and 45 minutes and averaged about 5:40 a mile. It was a great pace and I really feel with this little adventure out of the way, I am truly ready for the OKC marathon.
Thank you to all of my sponsors...OK Runner, Backwoods, and Acidotic Racing for making this race a reality for me. Thank you Ashlee for being there and supporting me and to all my fans.
If you ever pass through Southeastern Oklahoma, my only advice is to go running; you will love the experience.