Last week I shared about my emotional visit to the OKC Federal Building Memorial, but I almost completely forgot to do another post sharing details about the memorial race. That would have been a shame since I have never had so much fun running 13.1 miles.
Let’s start at the beginning.
Saturday morning we loaded up and headed out of town, OKC bound. This was a girls only trip that was bound to be fun, exciting and quiet.
Ah yes, a mommy get away indeed.
I guess I could go ahead and insert a joke about us being willing to run 13.1 miles just so we had a reason to get out of town :).
We arrived in OKC and headed to packet pick-up.
I obviously wasn’t the least bit excited….obviously.
We found this AWESOME photo-op, how cool is this?!
Then we walked around the expo where we gathered a random aray of goodies including: pancake mix, good bars, sunglasses, a box of rice and some other random items. Who doesn’t love freebies?
The rest of the day/evening was spent in Norman, OK. Anna has a cousin there and they were amazing hosts who let us stay with them. We had great conversation, laughter and an awesome Italian dinner. It was wonderful.
We headed to bed early and about 4:00 a.m. our alarms went off. Rise and shine? I have never been so glad that I am already an early riser 4:00 a.m. is brutal.
We headed to downtown OKC where we caught our first glimpse of the memorial before heading to the corrals.
Next up were our obligatory pre-race selfies.
Some traditions will just never die.
We had company this race too.
Anna’s cousin Jacy was running her very first half marathon.
It is so exciting when someone sets out to do something they never imagined them-self doing.
I can’t even begin to tell you how large the crowd was. Imagine 26,000 runners if you can.
Is your mind blown? Mine sure was.
That was something this “small race girl” was just not used to. Usually the first mile or two of a race is pretty crowded. Not in OKC. There was a mass of people behind and in front of you for the entire race!
And it wasn’t just runners the streets were LINED with spectators for nearly the entire race. You were never alone where there wasn’t someone cheering you on.
Now we have to talk about the course. It was # 1) beautiful & #2) amazingly flat. Joplin is anything but flat and our half marathon course here is brutal.
I can now officially say with my whole heart, “I LOVE Oklahoma.”
The pace we ran wasn’t our normal pace. We averaged about 2-3 minutes a mile slower than we usually run. But sometimes races are about more than an PR or a great pace.
Never leave a fellow runner behind. Anna and I learned that the hard way on one of our first ever LONG runs. Ever since then she and I have stuck together like glue. This race wasn’t going to be any different. We had no plans of letting Jacy fall behind
So I danced, I sang and I had more fun than I ever imagined 13.1 miles could be. I was able to really soak up this AMAZING race. When the last few miles got tough I was able to see Anna be the encouragement for someone else that she has so many times been for me. That was awesome.
With the finish line in sight and a huge goofy smile on my face….
We all crossed together.
As for a finish time we wrapped it up in about 2:39. I went to OKC with different goals in mind but I walked away with an amazing race experience, a beautiful medal and a few lessons learned.
The first lesson is that people and relationships are so much more important than a time on a clock.
The next lesson is one about myself. I have said many, man times that the day I cross a half marathon line and feel like I could keep running I’ll think about running a full marathon.
Well guess what? It happened. It may not be soon but I definitely see myself attempting one…. let’s say in the spring of 2017.
For now I am content that I finished half marathon #3
Which also means 3 half marathons with this girl by my side.
As for OKC I will most certainly be back. I already have made plans of running the half again next year and taking Russell along to run it with me. He must really love me to agree to do something like that. I just hope that I can keep up with him.
I have one more half marathon planned for this year. The Joplin Memorial Run on May 16th.
Even though the course is going to be hard I know the company, as always, will be good.
I can’t wait.