At some ungodly hour on Friday morning, I’m hopping on a plane, heading for Oklahoma. I’ll be boy-free and my bags will be packed with running gear because I’m meeting up with my Crazy Cat Ladies (Kate, Jess and Jen) for a weekend of running fun. I am VERY excited about the whole thing.
Some people have been surprised at the level of my excitement about visiting Oklahoma. It’s the kind of state you never expect you’ll end up visiting, when growing up in Wiltshire. And indeed, many people in California have asked me why on earth I’m going there, when I’ve mentioned this trip. However, when I was 11, my school did a production of ‘Oklahoma’ the musical and I have great partiality to the theme song. So the thought of being actually about to sing ‘O-K-L-A-H-O-M-A-OKLAHOOOOOOOMA – YEOW!’ in the land of the waving wheat (that sure smells sweet) is very exciting to my inner 11 year old! Also, we’ll be staying in Tulsa, which is where Chandler worked for a while in ‘Friends’ so my inner 25 year old is also very satisfied.
Clearly I’m excited about seeing these faces again.
However I’m also excited about running our race whilst we’re there, the Post Oak Lodge Challenge. We are all running the 25k, although at our own pace. 25k is 15.5 miles which is by far the longest I’ve run since the London Marathon 12 years ago. It’s on trails and includes a fair amount of elevation. Race reports I’ve read talk about copious amounts of ankle-twisting rocks and tough technical trails, which worry me a little, so suffice to say that I’m not ‘racing’ this – I’m out for an endurance challenge. Just getting round in one piece will be a goal which will make me very satisfied.
Training has been decent. I missed a few weeks of long runs, which concerned me, but since then I’ve pulled out a 12 miler, a 13 miler and a 15 miler. The 15 miler went remarkably well – I ran it last Friday evening, trying to accommodate the Husband’s Ironman training. My lovely friend Kat joined me for the run, she’s doing Ironman Canada the week before the Husband does Vineman. We set off into the sunset at 5.45 and just quietly, gently jogged two loops around the town. With the company and the conversation, it honestly flew by. We ended up in the pitch black, lit by head torches and flashing red lights having done it at 10.55 pace. Clearly not a speed record but that wasn’t the goal. My legs were toasted but not horrific so I hope that I can eek out another half mile if I’m careful on the hills!
Having said that, I am genuinely quite nervous about the run. I honestly think this will be the toughest run I have done for many many years. It will be the longest in terms of distance. Add in the fact it’s on trails. Add in the fact it’s rocky. Add in the fact temperatures are likely to be around 20C and it’s pretty exposed. I’m kind of expecting it to be grim towards the end and am planning to start VERY slowly.
I’ve been trying to get my head around how long I’m going to be out there (I’m expecting about 3 1/2 hours) and how knackered my legs are going to be. I’m reading Matt Fitzgerald’s ‘How bad do you want it?’ (which should correctly be called ‘How badly do you want it?‘, ugh grammar!) and he talks about preparing yourself for the grimness so that the horror doesn’t shock you on the day. So I’m trying to prepare myself for it.
Having said all that, I’m still looking forward to the challenge! It will be tough, I’m sure, but a weekend of running with my girls? New trails? A new state? Brunch? I’m ready.
See you on the other side!