"We are more alike, my friends, than we are unalike." ~Maya Angelou

Sunday, April 27, 2014

OKC Marathon: Run To Remember






I woke to the sound of thunder and a pattering of rain. 5:30.

-I'm not getting up. It's too early AND it's raining. …………I should get up.  Abbey is already at Able and Kari's house, dressed, breakfasted, eager to get started on the run. ……
-It's too early. I'm staying in bed.
 (really? She has been getting out the door and running in preparation for today and you can't even get out of bed to watch and clap? )
- Okay, I'm up. Here I go.

*Shower….hair….tea and toast…listen to the rain. (There's no way this race is happening in the rain.)

LIGHTNING FLASH!
& text that the race has been delayed thirty minutes.
*Work on the computer a little, check the clouds. Write out the rent check.

Thunder and lightning.
& another text of more delay. (Race was supposed to begin at 6:30 for marathoners/7:00 for 5K)

I got in the car and headed toward the basic vicinity of the end of the 5K so I could beat the crowd.
Got on I-44 and off at NW Expressway, then back to Classen and inched my way south.

Hail happened. Oh No!
Took cover under a huge spreading tree. I know, don't shelter under a tree in a lightning storm, right? It wasn't lightning then, just hail. That's completely different.

There were hundreds of volunteers up and down the route, huddled under pop-up tents or umbrellas, or rain ponchos. Man, a ton of people did a huge amount of work yesterday and last night setting up all the barricades, water stations, signs, balloons, dividers.  Wow.

I started the car and worked my way farther south.
Parked in front of Kaisers for awhile…in the rain…and waited.

Drove south again to 9th and Hudson where I began to see people in running gear heading to the starting areas. They had taken cover in parking garages and their own cars during the rain. At that point they had been there for more than two hours, waiting, ready.


      I got out and started walking toward Broadway and 10th, the last turn of the 5K and the final stretch to the finish line for all the races (except the kid's marathon). I walked five blocks and had to turn around and go back three of them because I had forgotten to lock the car. Ouch.

I found the corner and paced around for a bit, talking to others who were waiting for someone to come past.  The first 5k runners came flying past…too early. They must surely have started with the the husband or friend who was running the whole or half marathon and then veered off at OSSM. (Cheaters never win. Winners never cheat.)

Able and Kari found me and we clapped some people by, still small bunches.

Finally larger bunches started streaming past, kids running fast, older folks running more slowly, people with aching knees, walking with someone, proud to be there, a lady with a stroller.  A mother and daughter running side by side, the mother saying, " You did it! I knew you could! You did it! You're awesome. "
Abbey and a bunch of her friends have been running together in events around OKC for a couple of years now. Sometimes they all run, sometimes they run with their kids, sometimes just a few of them run, but today Abb ran alone. I felt kind of bad that she had no one to run with but, I guess she had 36000 someones to run with, if the truth be told. She trained alone (except for her kids who ran with her at times, in the stroller or running beside her) and she ran alone. I am so proud of her for her discipline and commitment.

      We saw our friends Anna and Jarrett run past and not far behind them came Abbey, in purple and a GW ball cap, running strong, heading for the finish. We cheered and waved like crazy people.

After she was finished we found Brent and the kids and headed south to find Abbey and take pictures and such, only to discover that we couldn't get across the road so had to walk all that way back north again to meet up with them…. And then we forgot the pictures after all.  Drat.

     While we were wandering south, the winner of the men's half marathon came blazing across the finish line. Wow. 1 hour: ten minutes and some seconds. Not many 1/2 marathoners were coming past but a couple now and then, one of them a paraplegic man in a chair/bike (?) that he moved with his hands and arms. He was flying. Lump in the throat.

We climbed into our cars and headed back north up Classen and had a yummy breakfast at the Cafe Cacao and then walked to the median to cheer on the marathon runners for a bit.  We were watching for Abbey's friends, Will and Heather.  Abbey's kids climbed up in a Redbud so they could see better, peeled off some dead bark, waved at the firemen walking past in the race. Everett tried valiantly to run into traffic on the west side of the street. He also sprinted to freedom and made it all the way across the marathon route, between the runners, until he was turned back by a man standing opposite us.  He's fast, no doubt about it.

We saw lots of firemen in full garb walking the half marathon, some EMSA people walking it in uniform as well. I hear the U.S. Marines had a group running too, but I never saw them.

After awhile we found W and H and clapped them past.  Then everyone else headed home and I headed to the shop to work. On the way, I saw Captain America in full costume, running the 1/2 and holding a gigantic American flag that was whipping like crazy in the wind. I bet he regrets that idea. Someone ran past in a green tulle tutu. Okay. (This is not the guy. This is Brendan in his C. America costume, as an example, in case you had forgotten what Cap America looked like.)

I drove north to Penn Square Mall and thought I might wind my way through to Western from there.
Nope.

So I got back on NW Expressway and drove back down Classen again all the way to 12th.
Thought I could drive up Walker. No such luck. Blocked.
I decided to go far enough south that I was south of the finish area and then get to the east side and 235.

I kept running into dead end streets, one way streets, blocked off streets, construction sites and finally found myself at the front door of the Devon Tower, where you have to turn left or right.

I turned left, then right, then left, waited for the many runners walking with stiffening legs, aching knees, blistered toes to limp past with their medals hanging round their necks and friends and family walking back to their cars alongside.

Finally I made it to I-235 and north to slide into the shop parking at 12:30.  It only took me an hour to go what amounted to about six blocks, as the crow flies.  What an adventure!

The rest of the day was slow, slow, slow; everyone tired after the Arts Festival all week and then the Memorial Marathon for half the day. Very few people needed spices today. Only a young couple looking for a couple of refills, an older couple wanting Thyme and a curry blend, Katherine popping in for some more Cardamom pods and the mom and sister of the woman working with me today. Good times. (Well, okay, there may have been a few more than that, but not many.)

Megan and I backstocked and got the jars ready for gift sets to be made for Wednesday.
I had wonderful conversations with several very, very nice people, as I always do.

I hear Audra, Abbey and their crews all pulled on their ball caps and cheered the OKC Redhawks in the afternoon. Ah, baseball!

I like being a part of the Memorial Marathon.  It is very emotionally moving for me, both because of remembering the Murrah Buildng bombing and for realizing all the hard work and training those runners have done in preparation for the day.  There is a great spirit of camaraderie and small acts of heroism and courage all along the way.  Strangers reach out a hand to encourage each other and help where they can. Funny things happen. Sad things happen.  Things happen that make you weep, laugh, cheer and feel good about the community.

Next year we need to have at least a relay team. (We said that last year ). In defense of the people who volunteered to be on the team, there were some injuries in the past few months and some of the members haven't quite recovered yet.

 NEXT YEAR IN OKC!

1 comment:

Brenda Cohorn said...

I remember when I ran the 5K, Heather with Ava in a stroller were there to cheer me on - Heather said as a spectator she just couldn't stop the tears - watching the firemen and she said when the marathoner's started she could feel the vibration in the sidewalk - that alone made her cry. I was too busy trying to survive to cry!! God bless all who ran.