April 19, 1995 -
I was in 5th grade. The time was 9:02am.. we were standing to do the pledge of allegience when the school shook a bit. Nothing more than feeling like someone had knocked over a desk or pushed a book to the floor. Little did I know that just 6.0 miles down the road was a horrible act of violence on my home city. That morning 168 people lost their lives, including children from the on-site daycare center. It was my first rememberance of a terroist attack and I remember just watching and listening to the news in awe. I had no idea how it could have happened, nor how those family members were feeling trying to find and contact their loved ones.
The Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon and Half Marathon has been taking place for 14 years. I was never a runner, but I enjoyed watching the race on the news. Some of my best friends were runners and have volunteered as well as ran in the half marathon. Once I started running, I knew it was time for me to do this very special race. It was going to just be me and Andrea and we were going to remember and pay our respects to all of those people who lost their lives.
Andrea and I left Dallas Saturday morning at 5:45am with the three kids in tow. It was going to be a very busy weekend with the Expo, Olivia's Oklahoma Birthday, and the race!
That night we laid out our runner girls with a little help from this sweet boy.
My attitude for this race was to just enjoy it. After my last half I knew I wanted to take pictures, sing louder, dance more, talk with my sister, and just enjoy the experience. It was hard to forget about my time and let it go, but I'm so glad I did.
After a 2 hour rain/lightening delay, we were ready to get started! It was 8:30am before we crossed the finish line. The ground was wet and it was so gloomy and humid. We both knew by mile 1 that this was not going to be an easy race. Our bodies were tired and the humidity was outrageous. Not to mention this bridge within the first mile..
I took lots of pictures!
|Our first awesome picture was the State Capitol.|
|Must take pictures with person in a chicken costume!|
|This was one of about 15 comical signs in a row to keep us energized.|
I tried Gu this race and I believe I liked it better than my Cliff Bloks. I felt like it gave me a bigger boost of energy quicker and seemed to last a bit longer. These next two pictures are after my first surge of Gu. I was literally dancing in the street. I had Pandora playing, but not through my earphones. So, when someone heard a fun song, they'd just dance or run with me... it was great!
|I tried to get both of us, it didn't work.|
|Second try was a failure too.|
Next up was Gorilla Hill. Gorilla Hill is a famous hill in the Memorial Run. I didn't even feel it was the steepest hill we encountered, but it was probably the longest. There were people dancing in banana suits and banana peels all over the street (i.e., we were too slow for the bananas.. they'd already been passed out.).
|I made Andrea run up the entire hill. She didn't think she could, but she DID!|
|Definitely took this one for Rex!|
|People even passed out Reeses!|
The water stops were plentiful, the orange slices were refreshing, the Gu was an added bonus... the OKC Marathon definitely knows how to do relief/water stops! It definitely kept us going! Andrea even snagged a wet sponge which she proceeded to give herself a mini-sponge bath mid run.
By mile 8, we were done jogging/running... it was straight on walking. We'd jog a bit, with a lot more walking. It was hot, we were tired, and the hills were still coming. But, we definitely enjoyed ourselves. Andrea kept telling me to go on ahead, but I figured since I didn't have my GPS on, there was no reason to go without her! Started together, finished together!
|This was taken once we saw the finish line in sight! It was a miracle!|
The finish line did not dissapoint! There were apples, bananas, oranges, pretzels, cookies of all kinds, ice packs, water, chocolate milk, Carl's Jr. burgers, and I'm sure so much more! By this point our bodies were famished, our legs aching, and we were just tired.
Olivia's grandmother, Karen, brought Olivia and Astoria to see us cross the finish line. It was so sweet to see their huge smiles as we went running past them. It helped our endurance and our hearts. We run because we can. We run because we want our daughters to see us as strong, determined, and dedicated women. We were blessed to have them see us finish what we started just over 3 hours before.
|The medal is beautiful. |
|The memorial is even prettier. If you've never been, I encourage you to go.|
That afternoon we took a short nap, packed up the van, and went with the family to Ihop. It was the best food we've ever tasted... well, okay, the best after a 3 hour half marathon with a 3 hour drive to still complete.
|Andrea earned her running stripes!|
|My husband stayed in Dallas, but was very proud to hear we had finished.|
I'm so proud of myself and my sister. Never, ever in our lives would we have imagined we'd be runners. With two half marathons under our belt and the upcoming Dallas summer... I think we are ready to cut back the mileage and enjoy our weekend sleep. Thank you for all of your encouraging words, prayers, and thoughts... they pushed us through!