Disclaimer: I received a free entry to the Tulsa Federal Credit Union Tulsa Run race as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!
Check out my detailed review of the Tulsa Run (organization, swag, etc) on BibRave.com!
Ok, before we go in to the dirty deets about how race day went, here’s a little bit about the Tulsa Run!
The Tulsa Run has a 15k, 5k, and 2k distance as well as a 5K and 15K “Challenge” (which is what I did), so there is a race for every runner. The race takes place in downtown Tulsa and passes through iconic parts of Tulsa including Cherry Street, Woodward Park, Veterans Park, the Arkansas River, the Red Fork District, the old Route 66, and finishes in the historic Art Deco District! The Tulsa Run is the host of USA Track and Field 15k Masters Championships and is known for EPIC swag and post-race goodies!
So, this race sounded like a great tradition that I wanted to be a part of. It’s about 4 hours away from Dallas, so the drive wouldn’t be bad and I could just stay a night an experience a new place! I had never been to Tulsa before! I even recruited my dad to drive up with me and make a little mini-vacation of it.
So, we packed our bags and drove up on Friday afternoon, made it to Tulsa around 5:00 pm, and headed straight to the Cox Business Center for the expo. My first impression of Tulsa was that it was really unique! The expo was in a big, beautiful building, too. The city is so colorful and vibrant.
The expo was great – pretty big but not overwhelmingly huge. There were plenty of vendors to keep us occupied for a bout an hour. The local Fleet Feet had lots of cute “Run Tulsa” gear available for purchase as well (I wanted it all!). My dad decided to run the 15K (woohoo!!!) and was able to register at the expo. We picked up our packets which consisted of our bibs, a long sleeve tee for the 5K for me, and hoodies for both of us for the 15K. Hoodies?! The tee and hoodie are seriously THE best and I’ve actually already worn them both! Bonus swag: FREE race photos after the run!!! That plus awesome hoodies… yeah, they have the “swag” part down pat!!!
We then made our way to the local Fleet Feet once I realized I forgot to pack a SPORTS BRA! What?! That’s just slightly important. I think it was a blessing in disguise, though, because I’d never actually been fitted for a sports bra (I know, I know…) so the gals at Fleet Feet Tulsa got me all set up and fitted into a nice Brooks sports bra. There was a little cycle shop next door that occupied my dad at this time (he’s an avid cyclist).
The hotel was just a few blocks away (Courtyard Marriott), so we parked and headed up to check out the room. It was pretty sweet! AND we could see volunteers setting up the Finish Line RIGHT outside the front door of the hotel. Yep, the location was PERFECT. We literally did not drive for the rest of our stay! We walked to the Italian place next door (first things first: FOOD!) – yes, literally next door, then walked to the start line in the morning!
That morning, race day, I woke up extra early (I slept AMAZING, by the way, better even than at home!) and looked at the weather – 33 degrees! That temperature does not even compute with this Texan. I asked my dad what to wear (he’s from Illinois so this weather is no biggie) and he suggested so many clothes! I was thinking I’d get hot in all that. I had to go outside and feel this temperature for myself.
I didn’t make it out the door. Nope, nope, nope! The sliding door of the hotel opened, I felt the cold wind, and ran back up to the room and put ALL my clothes on. A tank top, arm warmers, a long sleeve tee, a jacket, and a hoodie on top, tights on bottom, mittens AND gloves, an ear warmer, and long socks. Yep. All my clothes.
So, it was about 30 minutes before the 5K race start (7:50 am). My Dad was getting ready just to walk me down (we don’t start the 15K until 9:00 am) and I was putting on any finishing touches. The hotel was so close to the start line that I didn’t even head out the door until 7:35 am and had plenty of time (seriously!).
I’m glad my dad went down with me, because once I got outside, moving, and seeing what all the other runners were wearing, I realized I was way overdressed. I took off the hoodie and a layer of gloves for him to take back to the room. I wasn’t brave enough to strip anything else off, even though there were runners there in everything ranging from tights & hoodies to tank top & shorts.
And we’re off!!! The 5K started and I felt good! It was so cold I couldn’t really feel much, so it was nice to move. I felt energized by the cool, crisp air. Quite a change from recent Texas running. The start of the race was pretty bottle-necked as it was a large race, so I had no choice but to start off at about a 12:00 min/mile pace. I zigged and zagged until I could get to about 8:30 minutes a mile, then finally made it to where I could go my goal pace of lower 7:00’s. In order to PR I knew I needed to hold a 7:00 or sub-7:00 minute/mile pace, which I soon realized wasn’t happening due to a slow start and HILLS! Holy hills. I decided not to let this bother me and just ENJOY the race. I did the best with what I had and finished in 24:09. Definitely not my best but good enough to snag second in my age group! Woohoo! Now I was excited to have a fun run with my Dad.
How often does your Dad go to Tulsa with you and sign up for a 15K with you? I made the official decision that I would run the 15K easy with Dad. Forget about time, PR’s, numbers – just have fun! I knew it would be an experience I would never forget. He is an avid cyclist but hadn’t run in YEARS, so committing the 15K was a huge deal! I didn’t care how fast we went, I just wanted to spend time with my favorite person! I was beyond excited for the 15K with Dad.
We had plenty of time to meet up after the 5K, even go back up to the hotel and relax and eat a banana before the 15K started at 9:00 am. We even shedded a couple layers and the temperature was truly PERFECT running weather, which was nice because we were slightly worried it’d be miserably cold.
We ran the 15K and chatted it up, took photos, laughed, stopped for a potty break, and just enjoyed every. single. moment. It was fun hanging out with the back of the pack, too – people were dressed up in Halloween costumes, and it was just a cool crowd overall! Everyone was having fun. Don’t get me wrong – going for a PR and racing hard is fun in it’s own way, but the “front of the pack” vs. the “back of the pack” definitely has a different vibe and I’m glad that I know it can be fun to experience both! I am SO, so, so proud of my dad for running almost 10 miles having not run in probably 10 years!!! I knew he could do it, because he is in AMAZING shape, and never gives up, but I am seriously impressed. He’s only a “little” sore today 😉
My dad and I had a freakin’ blast running together and I wouldn’t trade it for the world. We grabbed our HUGE finisher’s medals (nailing the swag again, Tulsa Run!), grabbed our boxed lunches and other post-race goodies, looked around for a bit then headed up to the room to eat, talk about how much fun we had, and call mom and tell her all about it. We’d already decided in the elevator back to the room that the Tulsa Run would be a new father-daughter tradition!