becky craig st george marathon

Runner Like You – Becky Craig

Running can be intimidating, especially running long distance races like a marathon or half marathon. But it doesn’t take a super human to accomplish these fetes. Regular people like you and me prove time and again that persistence and dedication can take you pretty far in training and running a race. Becky Craig embodies all of this. She is a mother, works a full time job, creates delicious confectionary treats at Sugar Shenanigans, and still finds time to train and run in some pretty prestigious races like her most recent journey to St. Georges Marathon. Becky is a fellow Oiselle Voilee runners and has graciously agreed to be the first spotlight in the new Runner Like You series. Each month Run Oklahoma highlights runners like you and me that find time to dedicate to this sport that intrigues, mystifies, and at times eludes each of us.

Without further ado, I introduce a Runner Like You, Becky Craig.

RO: When did you start running?becky craig st george marathon

BC: I had tried to run a few 5ks in my early 30s but it wasn’t until I turned 35 and decided to sign up to train for my first sprint tri that I actually started running regularly. Although it took probably a year before I had any kind of consistency.

RO: Do you remember the first moment you felt “like a runner”?

BC: Maybe when I got my first Garmin. It was a Christmas gift after I ran my first half in Tulsa at the Route 66 in 2010. I remember thinking, now I have this new watch, guess that means I have to start running.

RO: You just finished the St. George Marathon. That particular race was included in Runner’s World 10 Most Scenic Marathons and was voted in the Top 20 Marathons in the USA. Can you share about your experience running in this race?

BC: St. George was definitely beautiful, but in my opinion, the course is no joke. Sure they say it’s downhill, but there are some serious uphill spots and downhill isn’t always easy I had a great race for 17 miles, I felt good and like I was on track to run a good race. After that, sharp pain in my leg prevented me from running at all. It was a long 9 miles to the finish line.

RO: What’s next, racewise?

BC: Well, I have an MRI scheduled for Monday afternoon and I am currently limping around in a boot. I am hoping it’s not a tibial stress fracture, but I will have to wait until next week to find out what’s going on. I have plans to run the half at the Route 66, I have done it every year since 2010, but I will have to see what my doctor says.

RO: What’s the coolest place you’ve ever run?

BC: The coolest race I have ever done is the Ragnar Colorado. Probably the hardest running I have had to do, mostly on account of the whole lack of oxygen, but this was the most fun race I’ve ever done. Driving around in a van with five other runners in the middle of the night is seriously fun.

RO: If you could deliver one message to fellow runners like you, what would it be?

BC: Everyone has bad days, we just have to keep moving forward. It doesn’t matter how long it takes, because sometimes it will take a long time.

Lightning Round:

Running with music: Yes or no?

Music only for races when I know I will be alone. Otherwise I prefer to run with friends and talk. Trust me, I can talk a lot during a six mile run.

• Kara or Shalane?


• NYC Marathon or Boston Marathon?

NYC! I prefer a race that I could actually run some day! Lol.

May 2015 – Oklahoma City Area Races

superfanfinish2It’s hard to believe that May is already upon us and spring is in full swing. May can be a pretty intense month here in Oklahoma. Think hail storms, thunder storms, and tornados. Perhaps to counter balance the severe weather Oklahoma receives, the month of May seems to be chockablock full of party and/or good food racing events . We’ve gathered a list of local races that are sure to be a blast. For a more extensive list of races check out the Find a Race page.

The Drunkest Run  – Yes, you read that correctly. The McNellie’s Pub 4 Mile Run on Saturday, May 2nd in Oklahoma City is certain to get you tipsy; especially if you take the Guinness Challenge. The challenge encourages participants  to FINISH three 12 ounce Guinness pints during the 4 mile run; one at each water stop (at about mile marker 1.5 and 3) and one at the finish line.

Let Your Sports Freak Flag Fly Run – You live in Oklahoma, so it’s likely you enjoy sports of some sort. Whether you’re a die hard Sooner, Cowboy, or Thunder fan the Old Hat Super Fan 5K in Norman is your chance to get dressed up in your best sports gear and have the crowd cheering you on for a change. Besides, Barry Switzer, Rumble the Bison, and notable Oklahoma City Thunder super fans will be present. It’s sure to be a good time. The race is Saturday, May 16th so get cracking on your sports fan attire.

The Tastiest 5KFat Guy’s Burger Bar is hosting a Burgers and Baseball 5K race in Tulsa that benefits the Pet Adoption League. The race starts at 7:30 on Saturday, May 30th. After the race participants are treated to complimentary burgers and beverages.

chocolate strawberry smoothie

Post-Workout Chocolate Strawberry Banana Smoothie

If you’re anything like me, you graciously enjoy the 5AM drive to the gym each morning for a little “me time” while the rest of your family sleeps.  But hectic schedules filled with work, family, and errands make meal planning difficult. So the hard work put in at the gym is thrown away with less than ideal food you choke down throughout the day out of convenience rather than nutritional value or even taste.

That’s how protein smoothies became my savior. They are easy and help to meet your nutritional needs in only 5 minutes. Better yet, getting the right mix of protein and carbohydrates within 30 minutes of a workout or race can help with and replenish glycogen stores to help shake that tired, zombie feeling.

My favorite smoothie right now is a chocolate, strawberry, banana concoction. I like to think the strawberries are helping with inflammation of my sore muscles, but really I just love chocolate and strawberries together.  I find that drinking one of these after my intense workouts prevents me from becoming ravenous a few hours later and regretfully finishing off whatever snacks or junk food I can find.


In a blender, mix the following together until smooth:

1 scoop of protein powder

2 oz almond milk

2 oz chocolate milk (for an extra chocolate flavor, otherwise you can use just almond milk)

1 ripe banana

1/2 cup sliced strawberries

1 cup of ice

In addition to a smoothie like this, it’s important to drink plenty of water after your workout. I personally aim for drinking at least 8 to 16 oz right after my workout.

April 2015 – Oklahoma City Area Races

April is just around the corner and as many of you are aware April is the busiest running month in the Oklahoma City area. The Memorial Marathon and Redbud Classic are two HUGE racing events that can really over shadow some of the smaller, local events. So Run Oklahoma has decided to spot light some of the lesser known races happening around this state in the month of April. Check out a more expansive list on our Find a Race page.

Lowest Registration FeeThe Chickasaw Nation Rabbit Run 5K will be held on Saturday, April 11th at 8:30 AM CDT in Purcell, Oklahoma. This race will be timed. But best of all, registration is FREE!  Paying $25 here and $30 there to race in 5K runs throughout the year can really start to take a toll on your wallet. So take advantage of the lowest registration we could find! Also, you can snag a FREE race t-shirt with online registration prior to Friday, March 27. That’s tomorrow, so act fast. Free fitness and clothes! What more could you ask for?

Most Overlooked– Stillwater is a great, small town with plenty of family entertainment to offer. However, it is a bit of a jaunt from the Oklahoma City area. So it’s no surprise that a 5K and 10K race through the Oklahoma State University campus may be overlooked with the many other events going on this month. If you’re looking for a middle distance run with smaller crowds and beautiful scenery than the Remember the Ten is the one for you.

Family Friendliest – If you have kids, you may find it difficult to get them excited about coming along with you on yet another race. Well the Super Heroes Foster Run at Stars and Stripes Park has you both covered. Everyone is encouraged to dress in super hero inspired costumes and there will be inflatable bouncy houses, face painting, and food trucks to keep the whole family happy.

Get out this month and enjoy some local races and the beautiful spring weather!

Oklahoma Ranked Lowest Five in Physical Well-Being

The Gallup-Healthways recently released an annual well-being index. Well-Being Index includes more than 2.1 million surveys and captures how people feel about and experience their daily lives. The well-being index data provides a comprehensive view of well-being across five elements. One element is labeled ‘physical’ and described as “having good health and enough energy to get things done daily”.

Oklahoma was ranked 39th for overall well-being and a disappointing 46th for the specific element of physical well being.

The top ranked ten states in overall well-being were:

  1. Alaska
  2. Hawaii
  3. South Dakota
  4. Wyoming
  5. Montana
  6. Colorado
  7. Nebraska
  8. Utah
  9. New Mexico
  10. Texas

Some of the top ranked states are in relative close proximity to Oklahoma such as Colorado, New Mexico, Texas and Nebraska.  Therefore, it appears geography isn’t the sole reason for ranking higher. Oklahoma did rank well in social, community, and purpose elements of the index. This type of report will hopefully aid lawmakers and communities of Oklahoma in identifying areas of improvement and encourage continued efforts of making Oklahoma a happier and healthier state.

Surprises at O’Connell’s St. Paddy’s Day 8K Run

Today I ran in O’Connell’s 16th Annual St. Paddy’s Day 8K Run in Norman, OK. The run benefitted the Special Olympics of Oklahoma. Thanks to events like this over 10,500 Special Olympic athletes participate in more than 140 competitions and training events annually. It’s been almost five years since my last real race and I figured a fun race benefiting a great organization was a great way to start. I spent those years on the sideline with injuries and workout restrictions due to pregnancies. This is the first race I’ve been able to run that I’ve been able to train for. It’s almost easier to run a race that I haven’t trained for. My expectations are set so low that I really am just concerned with finishing the race rather than pace and stride.

Nervously prepping the night before.
Nervously prepping the night before.

This race had all the makings to be a personal disaster. My worrisome mind was beginning to get the best of me and I had a giant stomachache. My IT band was tight and my knee was aching for the past few days. The weather was overcast, cold, and windy. Not the sunny, temperate day I was expecting.

As I did a quick warm up jog and stretched out near the starting line, the bag pipers started playing and my mood brightened a little. The runners lined up at the starting light and a few of the Special Olympic athletes recited their mantra:

“Let me win, but if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.”

It was a keen reminder of the purpose for the race and for runners to give their best regardless of the circumstance.

At the sound of the shotgun the race started and it was a sea of green runners headed down the streets of Norman. The first mile was uncomfortable because my muscles took their time to warm up in the cool early spring breeze. Around mile two I was surprised to find my own personal cheering crew. My husband and two young daughters decided to brave the chilly day and cheer for me along the road. I nearly broke out in tears to see my four-year-old daughter jumping up and down, waving me on. The joy I felt from getting high fives from my family was short lived because as I turned the corner for miles three and four I started getting passed by other runners and the enemy within was repeating “you’re so slow”, “your legs are concrete”. My training was seemingly failing me.

But my little cheering section popped back up again at mile five. My husband’s smiling face saying “you’re freaking awesome” was all I needed. I reminded myself the reason I run is not because I’m some star athlete hitting world records. I run to be healthy for my family and to be an example for my kids. I want them to understand that fitness is a lifelong effort. And that they can do anything they set their minds to. After seeing them again I decided the only repeating words in my mind would be “you got this” and “run with joy”. So that’s what I did. I waved at spectators, I focused on relaxing my face and smiling, and huffed out a couple of breathy thank you’s to the cops directing traffic along the race route. I turned the corner to the final leg of the race and saw the beautiful, inflatable finish line. My cement legs were aching and I didn’t have much gas left in the tank. I couldn’t make out the numbers on the clock until I was steps from crossing the finish line. As I crossed the finish I saw 4X:XX. It didn’t matter what the rest of the numbers were because that ‘4’ told me all I cared about. I just ran an average pace of sub 10/mile. The race had been full of pleasant surprises so it was only fitting that it finished with one as well.

I finished 100th overall, 39th out of all females, and 10th in my age range. The winner, Matthew Brafford, finished in under 25 minutes with a 5/mile pace. My sub 10/mile seems mediocre at best compared to that. But it’s my personal race and my results have encouraged to keep running and continue to improve.


Even better, there was beer, a bouncy house, music, and face painting after the race. Despite the chill in the air, my cheering squad and I were able to enjoy the festivities and have a great Saturday morning.


Three Important Things to Remember When Buying Running Shoes

You’ve decided it’s time to upgrade those ratty old sneakers that have seen better days. The only trouble with leaving your old, faithful sneaks behind is the daunting selection of running shoes that exists. It’s likely been several years since you purchased your current shoes and therefore entirely possible the newest model of the same shoes is now different. So it just makes sense to really take inventory of what the running shoe market has to offer these days and research some different options.

  1. Expect a Workout – The best and really only way to know if a shoe is right for you is to get moving in them. Most running stores have a treadmill within the store or will allow you to take the shoes outside for a quick jog in the parking lot. When taking your test drive of the shoes, pay close attention to all of the pinches and pokes you feel in the shoe. They may seem minuscule right now but deep into your log run those once small pinches will feel like a boulder in your shoe.
  2. Shoes Make a Difference – You may not be an elite runner with a sponsorship deal but you do deserve a good quality shoe in your budget. I urge you to save up and allow yourself to splurge on a shoe towards the higher end of your budget that meets all your fit requirements. Your feet are where this running journey begins, so be good to them and you will hopefully be able to continue running for years to come.
  3. Listen to Your Gut – Most Sales Associates at speciality running stores are well versed in the different styles and fits of various running shoes. They are there to assist you and often guide you in the right direction. However, you are ultimately the one that knows your body best and what your feet feel most comfortable in. Listen to your instincts and choose the shoe that feels the best on your foot. You will have a long relationship with them so might as well start off on a good note.

The bottom line in finding the shoe that’s right for you is be patient and don’t be afraid to try on a million shoes.