This is part of a series of posts from my quest to run a half marathon in all 50 states. Oklahoma was my 21st state.
Anemia is something that only vegetarians have to worry about right? That’s what I thought until I was diagnosed with anemia even though I’ve never been a vegetarian. Going into the Arbuckles to Ardmore Race for Mercy Half Marathon in Oklahoma I finally understood why I had been struggling with running, heck even walking without getting out of breath for many months, if not years.
When I ran the race in 2011, it was the second year for this race and as the newspaper clipping I have that covered the race states, the strong headwind that day kept times far higher than the inaugural race in 2010. The strong wind on top of the fact that I had just been diagnosed with anemia resulted in one of my slowest half marathon times to date. Before the race, my doctor actually warned me not to run (at all, let alone run a half marathon), but like in the past, I let my stubborn attitude win and I chose to run it (well, sort of. It was more like run/walk it).
My race times had been slipping over the past few races Mississippi-20th state, Wisconsin-19th state and especially in the year leading up to this race I had been really struggling to get my breath when I ran. At first I thought I was just getting older and this was par for the course. I had not had a recent loss of large amounts of blood and I wasn’t vegetarian but I also was not taking a daily multivitamin with iron. Then one evening I was out of breath and so dizzy I had to hold onto the wall after going up one flight of stairs at home that I realized something far more serious must be going on.
I went to the doctor the next day and was told my iron and B12 levels had plummeted and my red blood cells looked irregular. My doctor prescribed me these enormous pills that included mega doses of iron along with vitamin C and B12 and told me to take it easy until my iron levels were back up to normal. Since I would easily get out of breath and be forced to walk, my body pretty much forced me to “take it easy” or at least not run all-out, which would have been downright impossible. One thing I started doing that helped and I highly recommend any pre-menopausal woman to do is take a multivitamin with iron every day.
Fortunately, the half marathon course was overall a pretty nice one except for the huge hills about 3/4 of the way into the race, which I walked of course. If you’re looking for a race in Oklahoma with more of a small-town feel than Oklahoma City, this would fit the bill. The volunteers and aid stations were well-manned and plenty and the swag was pretty nice (both a short-sleeve and long-sleeve shirt and a nice medal).
Turner Falls is a fun area to visit and this area of Oklahoma is a good one for a long weekend mini-vacation. Ardmore is about 1 and 1/2- 2 hours from either Oklahoma City or Dallas/Ft. Worth Airport making it relatively easy to get to from other areas of the country.
From my post-race notes:
“Ran from near Turner Falls in Arbuckle to Ardmore. Course started uphill, went downhill for a couple of miles, then the rest of the course was rolling hills until miles 9 and 10, where there were huge, long uphills. Ran into strong winds (about 20 mph) the entire point-to-point course, which of course made it extremely difficult. Weather other than wind was nice (low 60’s) until the last few miles when the sun came out and it got pretty warm. Finished at Noble Stadium, a high school track, which was fun. Cinnamon rolls and other nice goodies at the finish. Got a long-sleeve finisher shirt, which was unexpected and great. Got short-sleeve shirt at packet pick-up so didn’t expect another shirt; also got a decent medal at finish. Recently was diagnosed with anemia so have been struggling with that for some time now. Was not my best time by any means, but considering my health, did OK. My finish time was 2:35:42.”