My dad and I arrived in Tulsa Oklahoma for the Route 66 Race Weekend in the evening on Thursday November 17th. After checking into the host hotel and a quick dinner we went to bed.
The next morning we went to the expo (and actually went a few other times throughout the weekend to kill time/buy more stuff, haha). The expo was located right across the street from our hotel which was SUPER convenient, and was pretty well organized. There were tons of vendors and free samples and it never seemed overly crowded. We had no issues picking up our 5k and half marathon/marathon bibs, and I was easily able to change my marathon corral since my estimated finish time was faster than I expected. I had pre-paid for a marathon finishers shirt (since the race gives you an awesome half zip jacket as part of registration, but I also wanted a shirt!) and was able to easily pick that up as well.
For the rest of the day we walked around exploring Tulsa, and went to bed early to get enough rest for the next two days of races!
On Saturday November 19, I ran the Route 66 5k in Tulsa, Oklahoma. My dad and I walked a mile from our hotel to Guthrie Green – the park in the Arts District where the 5k started. It wasn’t too long of a walk but we made sure to give ourselves plenty of time.
It was super cold that morning – mid 30s – so we both bundled up in throwaway gear though I planned to tie my zip up around my waist so I could reuse it for the marathon the next day and toss it then. Under the zip up, I wore a long sleeved shirt with a short sleeved over it, capris, and gloves.
We had a good amount of time to hang out once we were there, and really tried to just stay warm! There was a really wide range of people lining up to run the 5k – some groups of just walkers, kids, and all ages, it was a really diverse group which was cool to see. My only complaint was people did not know how to line up according to pace. This was exacerbated by the fact that the pacers came out too late so people didn’t change where they were standing accordingly. When they came out, my dad and I ended up next to the 28 minute pacer. We knew to move back, but I’m sure a lot of people did not. I think how to line up could have been a little better communicated, but really this is my only complaint about this race weekend.
We moved back to the 34 minute pacer, because I felt like I could at least start with her and then slow down or speed up depending on how I felt. I did not want to push myself with this race, I just wanted to shake out my legs for the marathon the next morning.
We crossed the start a minute after 8am and I stuck with the 34:00 pacer for the first mile and a half or so. As expected, I took off my jacket about a quarter mile in and tied it around my waist. I ended up keeping my gloves on for the entire race though. We spent a LOT of time weaving around walkers and slower runners, and the pacer was getting frustrated and asking people to move to the side if they were walking. Despite this annoyance, there were some great cheering sections in the city, which surprised me for a 5k. The entire race goes through downtown Tulsa and was really scenic and overall a really fun atmosphere.
They did have one water stop half way through (which looked well stocked and organized) but I chose not to stop since I really didn’t need to drink anything since it was cool and a short race. Around the 1.5 mile mark, and the second (biggest) hill, I tried to maintain my effort as I went up the hill and in the process got ahead of the pace group. I felt good though, so I kept going at what felt like a sustainable effort.
The last hill around mile 2.75 looked tough (it goes under a train bridge), but it really wasn’t too bad, and then we turned the corner and the finish line was right there!
I didn’t look at my watch at all during the race, but since the 34:00 pacer never caught back up with me I knew I would be under that time.
I was shocked that my last mile was 10:19, it didn’t feel that fast and I felt really comfortable and good. I finished in 33:46, got my (awesome) medal and some snacks and waited for my dad. I also finished 27/99 in my age group which I was pretty happy about!!
The 5k was a great opportunity to test out the Tulsa hills the day before the big marathon, and I felt really strong and confident about the marathon since I felt really good during the 5k.
As we were walking back to the hotel, we noticed there were still runners out on the course (they would probably end up finishing with their time being close to an hour), and it was great to see a race so accommodating of all different paces. Two thumbs up for that Route 66!
I would absolutely recommend the Route 66 5k to other runners – it’s well organized (with the exception of the line up issues), scenic, well supported and really a lot of fun. Plus, check out that medal!
We spent the rest of the day resting up (and hitting up the expo one more time, because, why not), before heading to bed early for Marathon day! My marathon recap is here.