Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Oklahoma City Memorial Half Marathon

The Oklahoma City Memorial Half Marathon was very emotional.
This is the only other memorial run that I've participated in other than that which remembers the victims of September 11. What I didn't expect was to feel and see so many similarities in sharing such a horrible tragedy.
Like this,
The Wall of Names

Side-kick and I arrived Saturday, and went to the Expo. You could feel the energy and excitement building. I love the pre-race Expos, where else could you find a Magic Pain Relieving Cream, called "Real Time". You bet your sweet arse we bought that stuff! I bathed in it too - right before the race!

Next, we picked up our packets - 
did you notice how I said "WE"? 
In spite of the steel plate in his leg, Ron (aka "Side-kick" - now that he's running I think he deserves to be called by his first name! LOL!) committed to run in any 5K race offered alongside the half marathons I run! Maybe I should have bought two bottles of the "Real Time"? I'm really proud of Ron - not only does he claim to "hate" running, but running is painful to him ever since he crushed his femur riding his dirt bike about 10 years ago. Nonetheless - he made this commitment last year - and he's actually seeing it to fruition!

Since the race started at 6:30AM, we planned a big dinner at a great little restaurant, Mickey Mantle's Steakhouse. Of course we ate at Mickey Mantle's Steakhouse
After all - I'm a Yankee's fan. 
Oddly, I had no idea he was from Oklahoma! Dinner was great - best steak ever - the heck with pasta, women can't carb load anyway. Besides, I ate enough carbs the last several days - which is when it really counts! Why not some alanine, carnitine, creatine, and glutamate from red meat for energy production? After dinner, we were exhausted, and called it a night. 

Sunday morning, Ron and I woke up at 5AM, had some coffee, water, peanut butter on white bread - and started the walk from the hotel to the start of the race: 620 N Harvey Ave. 
The race start was directly in front of 
When we got to the memorial, we were amazed. The City of Oklahoma did such a beautiful job of remembering each person killed in that senseless 1995 bombing. It was still a little dark that early in the morning, so all the chairs in the "Field of Empty Chairs", which represented each person lost in the bombing, were still lit. Besides the murder of 149 adults, there were 19 pre-school children killed in this bombing. I cried when I saw 19 small chairs representing these children. So like 9/11, this bombing was senseless. 
Field of Chairs
Walls of Time and
Reflecting Pool
Before the start of the race, there was 168 minutes of silence. During that time, I prayed for continued healing and peace for the victims' family and friends, as well as the survivors. The pain never goes away, it changes over time, but it never goes away - I guess you just learn how to live with it. 

After those moments of silence, I could feel my focus strengthen - I was determined to run a good race - I wanted to take first in my age group. There was a lot of meaning behind this race. First, it was my 23rd state on my journey to finish a half marathon in every state - and my late husband was born February 23rd. This meant something to me. And as with all my halves - 
I run to
Never Forget,
and to tell my children,
they will not get us,
nor will they stop us -
not in New York, not in New Jersey,
and not in the other 48 states!
Second, this race was important because I lost a dear friend, Anne Boggess Nightengale, to cancer on February 26, 2013. Anne was born and raised in Oklahoma. Anne and I went to Engineering Skill School when we worked as Safety Engineers for Aetna Insurance in the 80's. For six weeks we shared a dorm room - we simply hit it off and became lifelong friends separated only by a phone call and some miles. I had to run for Anne. I wanted to make her proud. 
I miss you, Anne.
You were beautiful inside and out.
Anne Boggess Nightengale
I was so obsessed with taking first that I actually panicked around mile five - a women, who looked like a really strong runner, started to pass me. "How old are you?" I yelled out. When I found out she was younger, I was like, "Okay. Whew! You're not in my age group! Okay - go ahead!"
Hell yeah I was focussed on that 1st place age win!

But then came "Gorilla Hill".
I thought Oklahoma was flat? Isn't it home of the twisters? People - mostly school children - lined the streets dressed like bananas - and they were handing out bananas. It warmed my little beatingpoundingsuffering nutritionist's heart to see those schoolchildren handing out bananas! The children were so adorable - I even overheard one little boy say, "Don't you want a banana? They're good for you!" 
.... but then, my focus kicked me back into gear and I thought:
'Sorry kid - I trained with and brought Gu!
Maybe next time!'
Firefighter responders climbing Gorilla Hill, 2015
Bananas in the background!
That hill wiped me out. I started calling on John and Anne. C'mon you guys - help me out! I wanna finish strong. Don't let me give it back. I was nailing it, running 7:30' mile pace for the last three miles - now I was falling off the charts! Ech ...7:55'. 
And of course the camera person is always there after a hill - 
to capture your best look!
Thumbs up, Dude!
I placed first in my age group, but actually took 3rd Overall Female Masters! I felt really strong - even my banged up hammy! It must have been my angels!
It was a great race.
I was so proud of Ron - it was great to see him finish his first 5K!
Post race photo's
Congratulations Ron
- even if your medal is "So Small!"
This race was very well organized. It was a beautiful, positive way to remember those who were lost in that senseless tragedy.
All those tiles in front of the building were created by small children
Here is one tile: Love Heals!
Ain't that the truth!
Thank you Oklahoma,
Thank you Oklahoma City,
Thank you Calvin and Virginia Moser for taking so much of your time to share
with Ron and me
your story of that awful day - and the making of the memorial.
God Bless America!
and
Train Smart Today!
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