Disclaimer: I received free entry to the Tulsa Federal Credit Union Tulsa Run 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!
The Tulsa Federal Credit Union Tulsa Run in Tulsa, Oklahoma started as a small race with around 1,000 runners in 1978. Now, the Tulsa Run has become a historic and iconic Oklahoma race with over 10,000 runners. For those that have run it, it seems to quickly become a favorite and a tradition. This is exactly the case with my dad and me.
My dad and I first ran the Tulsa Run last year, in 2017. Immediately after the race, we decided the weekend would be an annual tradition.
The drive from Dallas (my hometown) to Tulsa is around 4 hours, so not too bad. The best part is that we stay at a hotel downtown RIGHT in front of the Start and Finish line, so the whole weekend is just on foot an super convenient. There is even a (REALLY) delicious Italian restaurant that we order to-go and eat in the room – right next door to the hotel. It is the PERFECT setup.
So, we arrive on Friday afternoon and head straight to the Cox Business Center for the Expo. The Tulsa Run expo isn’t huge, but large enough to spend a little time browsing and shopping. Picking up packets is a breeze (they always do the BEST hoodies!) and there’s a little area with T-shirts, jackets, and other items that you can pick your “run Tulsa” logo and get decorated. There was even a man who would play you in Checkers… win and get a $25 gift card!
I was registered for the “double” – the 5K and 15K. My dad registered for the 15K. The plan: I’d race the 5K, then fun run the 15K with dad.
We eat our pasta and head to bed! It’s time!
Race morning, I wake up and go down for the 5K. Since the hotel is right by the Start line, I actually get to sleep in until about 6:00am (woohoo!) and head down about 7:20 for a 7:45 start time! Pretty sweet.
It was a chilly morning – perfect running weather. There were happy people all over the nice, graffiti-ed downtown. I love that feeling. Everyone is just a tad too cold but everyone is out there ready to give it their all. There was a nice space in the street for a warm up, so I do my high-knees and dynamic stretches keeping my eye on the time.
Time to start! I try to wiggle my way up to the front of the start line hoping to aim for a 7:00 min/mile pace without much time to spare wiggling in and out of people. I get to a decent spot and it’s time! Here we go!!! I start off feeling good. Light on my feet. I still had a little weaving to do – in and out of people – I look down at my watch to see an 8:xx min/mile pace. Oh no… can I do this?? I kick it up a notch. I thought I was probably just barely running in the 7’s but, to my surprise, soon enough I hear my headphones say “beep! Lap One. Six Twenty-Eight.” OH! I CAN DO THIS! I FEEL GOOD! So, I just tell myself to keep doing what I’m doing. Just do that, two more times! No problem. Right?
Well, it was no problem the second mile. There were rolling hills, so I made sure to take advantage and ROLL on the down-hill. I kept my legs going. Mile two felt just as good as mile one. “beep! Lap Two. Six Twenty-Three.” Yes!, I thought. Better than expected! So, once again, I just tell myself to keep doing what I’m doing. Just do THAT one more time. Easy peasy. Right? WRONG. That last mile was TOUGH. ALL. UP. HILL. Literally. I passed a speedster that looked like she was probably in my age group. She nearly caught up with me as I struggled up hill. We were neck-in-neck for a while until she couldn’t hang on any longer. The hills slowed me down, but I was NOT going to let her pass me. Rather than focusing on time, THAT was my goal. Thou shall not pass…
Even though she didn’t catch me, I really thought I blew it the last mile. Gravity was not on my side and I thought I threw a PR away. MAN. But those first two miles felt so good… Oh well… Then I heard it… “beep! Lap Three. Seven Nineteen.” Wait a minute… I didn’t do the math because I was more focused on surviving the last tenth of a mile, but I was pretty sure that could still be enough to beat my previous PR of 21:59. I paused my watch after 3.1 miles to see a 6:44 average pace! 21:07. I can not even express the BURST of joy, relief, excitement, disbelief… I was overwhelmed with emotion. Not that running is all about how “fast” you go… but DAMN IT FEELS GOOD to prove something to yourself after countless 4:00 am alarms, extra loads of laundry, new shoes every few months, 8:00 pm bed times… It. feels. good.
Now, the 15K. The 15K didn’t start until 9:00am so I had plenty of time to walk around, forget where I was due to excitement, take some photos, walk up to the hotel, get my dad and try to express my excitement in words that made sense – all in time to head to the 15K Start line.
My dad, the most amazing human ever, of course says I can go off and try to race the 15K rather than run “easy” with him, but I love the time together. I run a race once a year with my dad. I’m running WITH him. Especially with my 5K PR I wanted nothing more than to have a fun run with Dad. Nothing could turn this day bad after a PR under my belt and Dad by my side.
The weather was perfect. There was so much energy all around. It was one of those days that you just know is a “good day.” I was so happy to be part of this amazing race with my favorite person. The run was scenic and enjoyable.
The air was cool yet the sun was warm. My dad and I talk about random things, point out cute dogs (and even a few chickens!), and high five a few spectators. Not a care in the world. It was perfect. We ran our hearts out then got our post-race banana and sandwiches (yes! free sandwiches after this race!) and just relaxed and talked about our run afterwards.
I could not have asked for a better weekend! A PR, time spent with Dad, perfect weather, spectacular spaghetti and meatballs, a unique and lovable city, and great organized race!
Thank you, Tulsa Run, for the amazing experience. Thank you to Lifelong Endurance for coaching me to become the runner I am today and the runner I will be in the future! See you in 2019, Tulsa!
As soon as they’re ready, I’ll post my Athlinks results here! Remember to claim your results on Athlinks and keep all your races and PR’s in one spot!!! So helpful!
Find me on Athlinks here: https://www.athlinks.com/athletes/319145186