Sunday, November 16, 2008

Jerry's Kids at Tulsa Route 66 Marathon

Jerry Faulkner moments before his 2:27:19.

Time: 91:16
Distance: 16 miles

Yesterday evening Scotty D. and I traveled to T-town for the Route 66 Marathon. We jammed out to José Melendez in the mix with his Wild Workouts at Noon courtesy of the 94.9 podcast. The trip went smoothly and after some goulash at Connor's house upon our arrival to Tulsa, we were ready for some big time pacing duties.

Jerry Faulkner works at the OK Runner in Edmond and he was the reason for our trip up to the marathon. Jerry has a 2:32:xx pr to his name and an OKC Memorial Marathon title too. However, he has struggled his past few 'thons and requested a bit of help from his fellow Team OK Runner mates. The plan was to keep the pace even and under control for as long as possible. Scotty and I are both coming off injuries and weren't sure how things were going to play out, but I hoped to run either 10 or 16 miles. Why such the gap? Well, if you ran any distance in between you would be left way out in Jenks.

The race unfolded pretty much as planned. The relay runners were well ahead by mile two and all the high schoolers had dropped back from their ferocious opening 800 meters. Scotty D., Jerry, Tommy Manning (2nd overall) and myself settled into a rhythm about 25 seconds behind the marathon leader. He was a bigger dude and was lumbering along out in front with a huge target on his back. I felt good clipping off 5:40s for most of the way. Our splits were:
5:57, 5:43, 5:41, 11:33 (2 miles),
5:48, 5:47, 5:41, 5:40, 5:38 (57:33 at 10 miles),
5:49, 5:41, 5:46,
5:26, 5:28, 5:30 for 1:31:16 at 16 miles.

Myself, Jerry, Scotty, & Tommy

Dizzle dropped out at 10 miles shortly after we ran down the leader. Chuck Engle (3rd place) hung tough through 8 miles, got caught, joined the group and then faded starting about halfway, but still managed 2:35:06.

I was pretty committed to getting the group to 16 miles on pace to run sub-2:30. I broke the wind on the way out and maintained a steady tempo until about 12.5 miles when my right hamstring started tightening. I think everybody was hoping to make it back to Riverside feeling fresh because the slight wind (~8 mph) would help during the latter stages of the race. At about halfway Jerry started figuring out what he was going to have to run the second half to run under 2:30. While he was figuring 74 minutes, he immediately dropped the pace significantly which took me from a couple strides in the lead to a few strides behind. I was not feeling compelled to surge to 5:20 pace and the shift in pace shocked me a bit. I recovered the next 800 meters and made my way to the front by the time the course took us out of Jenks and back along Riverside. Despite only having two miles to run, the boost from the runners heading out was big and I'm sure Tommy and Jerry used it to their advantage. I was able to hang on to the pace until 16 miles, just before stepping off I wished Tommy and Jerry good luck and my day was done.

I shuffled back to the car with a sore right hammy, jumped in the car and Scotty and I made our way to the finish line. The final 4 miles of the race feature a few hills and we weren't certain if Jerry was going to maintain the pace. I think we were both a bit surprised when we spotted the all black Team OK Runner singlet round the final two turns with the clock eclipsing 2:26:xx. Jerry was going to have a huge pr and a much deserved one. A fist pumping Jerry (see photo) stopped the clock at 2:27:19. Great race. I guess he broke Tommy around 19-20 miles as Jerry was able to squeeze the pace down to 5:20s for the remainder of the race.

male participants
2117 Jerry Faulkner 2:27:20
666 Tommy Manning 2:30:55
2262 Chuck Engle 2:35:06
2146 Adam Cohen 2:42:59
1425 Tom Brennan 2:44:41
female participants
1022 Gail Brooks 3:02:46
1750 Elizabeth Travis 3:12:05
1378 Allyson Weimer 3:16:35
2074 Lisa Butler 3:23:26
1868 Katie Kramer 3:23:46

The post race festivities were fun in Veterans park. I chatted it up with a number of customers who had competed in the 1/2 marathon or marathon. Jerry was sore but in good spirits. He was chumming it up with a beer in one hand and a Gatorade in the other. Upon returning to Norman, Scotty and I headed over to El Cerrito for Gustavo's 63rd birthday celebration. It was a good outing and a great way to cap off a successful day.

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