Saturday, May 3, 2014

OKC Memorial Marathon

Rain, thunder, lightning....and a TWO hour delay to the marathon! This Memorial run was definitely memorable.

The day started early....3:30 a.m. It's always strange waking up when it is still dark outside! The dogs were a little confused, but willing to have their breakfast early too. Leaving the house around 4:30 a.m., we headed for downtown OKC, found our usual parking spot, and walked to where we were meeting friends. After hanging out for awhile, we left for the corrals. It had been raining lightly, but that didn't bother any of us, we were eager to get moving! It was already crowded and a challenge to make our way down the sidewalks and into the corral. If I could change something about this event, it would definitely be to make more side entrances for participants. We had barely made it into the corral and completed a few warm-ups when they announced the first delay. The original start time was 6:30 a.m., now delayed to 7:00 a.m. Sounds of discontent could be heard throughout the streets, but everyone stayed where they were and patiently waited. As 7:00 a.m. came closer, another announcement was made...the race would be delayed until 8:00 a.m.! Runners were advised to leave the corral area and seek shelter in a nearby parking garage. At this time, rain had started to fall more heavily, and there was significant lightning in the area. We tried moving to the garage, but it was packed! Luckily, a friend's car was nearby and we spent our time hanging out with one another. We hadn't heard if the run had been delayed further, so we decided to walk back towards the start line. On our way over, It started pouring again and we had to take shelter until a narrow ledge at the post office.

Seeking shelter just before the can barely see me in the yellow rain poncho under the US Post Office sign. (Original video clip from Channel 5 News.)
We were wondering if the run would happen at all, as we had heard that if the delay lasted past 8:00 a.m. the roads would not be closed and the race would have to be canceled.

Nearly two hours after the original start was scheduled, it was announced that we would begin at 8:15! Everyone was excited and more than ready to run! 

And....we're off!! In this video still you can see Roger as we get started....he's right in the middle wearing the blue singlet! Run, Roger, Run!
(News Channel 5/OKC Memorial Marathon Promotional video)
After sitting and waiting for so long, it felt great to finally be moving. The first two miles went by quickly and I even saw a friend, Julie, along the course. We ran together for a short while.

I loved seeing the crowd support along the way! I saw several students and friends, gave many high fives to some awesome kids, and even shared and received encouragement from fellow runners. I felt decent the first 6-7 miles, even though I was running low on nutrition (Remember...I ate at 3:30!! with only a small snack at 5:30, but that was over 3 hours ago). I had half of my GU around mile 4 and the other half around 7. I ran the pace I had hoped for the first half (about 8:00 minute pace), the next couple miles I slowed a little more and even more after that. I took several walk breaks and was starting to feel very tired. As I was going along Classen, I saw Julie again and we ran/walked together some more. 

The sun was coming out and it was heating up. Heat + humidity + low calories = Get to the finish line fast! It was a welcome sight to finally make it towards the green FINISH banner. The crowd was cheering for all of us and the announcer was calling out names of finishers as we ran across the line.

Roger was waiting for me just past the finish. We grabbed some water, chocolate cookies, and orange slices (those cancel out the cookie calories, right?) We stayed awhile and visited with friends, then headed home for a shower and some real food! 

It was a memorable experience, and I'm always thankful for the opportunity to be able to run. :) 

**As we didn't take our iPhones (due to the rain), I didn't get any pics! There are quite a few at Race Photo Network... bib 12226. 

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