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On the Road Again: Time for a New Running Adventure

My cell phone buzzed Saturday afternoon as a text popped into my phone.

The ID read “Amy Petty Downs.”

You may remember Amy from my spring adventure of preparing for the half marathon at the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon. Amy was my running muse. As a survivor of the Oklahoma City bombing, she inspired me. As a non-runner turned long-distance runner, she helped me. And best of all, she made me laugh. A lot.

So, I hurried to open her text. Who knew what kind of craziness she might have to say?

Well, she had crazy all right. Amy and some friends were doing a bike ride across the state, and apparently, that causes some wild thoughts and random plans devised for certain sports columnists.

“The riders today came up with an idea,” Amy wrote, “that you should ride a bike across the state.”

Um, yeah, pretty sure THAT ain’t happenin’!

I told Amy as much, but she and I got to texting back and forth about different things. As we did, I started thinking about what I could do next. I am planning to run another half marathon in the fall, but that’s a long ways off. So, what to do in the meantime?

Here’s what I decided: I’m going to run several 5Ks this summer and work on improving my speed.

And I’m planning to write all about the experience.

A few things, I hope, will be interesting.

The first is running in the Oklahoma summer. If you hadn’t noticed, it tends to get pretty hot around here. Running in the heat can be a challenge. I struggle to get motivated when it’s hot, then the actually running can be really tough. So, I’m planning to explore some tips and tricks for running in the summer.

The second thing is speed work. I’ve never done anything to try to improve my speed. It takes me anywhere from 9 minutes, 20 seconds to 10 minutes, 30 seconds to run a mile. I’m rarely concerned about pace. I just go run.

But I’ve already read up a bit on trying to improve running time. I think I’m going to become familiar with something called 400s. Sounds like torture, er, um, fun.

So, I hope you’ll come along for this new journey. If you’re an experienced runner, I’d love to hear your tips and suggestions for summer running and improving speed. And if you’re a novice like me and you have questions, I’d love to hear from you, too.

Happy running!


Jenni Carlson

Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football... Read more ›