Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Run to Remember - OKC Half Marathon 2013

My running trio started running last October.  Our first goal was a 5k, which we ran in November.  After the first of the year, we started talking about a half marathon - the OKC Memorial Marathon.  At first, I thought there was no way in hell!  Seriously!  13.1 miles...you've got to be kidding!  But after some thinking and knowing we had plenty of time to "train" (I use that term rather loosely), my attitude changed.  I think Tiff was the first one to sign up, which somewhat made it official; we couldn't let her run it alone (although I didn't officially sign up until quite some time later)!  So, starting in February, we began upping our mileage.  Before we knew it, a 5k felt like nothing since we were running 4-6 miles each time we went out....never thought I'd say that!  By March, we were spending a couple hours each weekend running 8-12 miles.  Mind you, our peak training came right smack dab in the middle of tax season, which at times made it difficult for us to all run together, but we made it work.  And before we knew it, race weekend was here!

Our race was scheduled for Sunday, April 28, at 6:30am.  Yes, AM!  I think that made me the most nervous...who wants to get up at 4:15am to go run 13.1 miles?  Crazy people obviously!  Actually, we're only half crazy....

Awesome shirts made by Sherri!!!  Love her!  She even made ones for our kiddos...

Back to race weekend.  We headed towards Oklahoma City Saturday morning, men in tow.  We figured they deserved to come and enjoy some time away as well.

With over 24,000 registered runners, we knew we needed to allow plenty of time to check in.

Registration was packed with people and vendors.  We walked around a bit, and most importantly found our running corrals.  I had no idea what this was until Mindy, a veteran half marathoner, told us about it on our drive there.  You find other runners who run your same pace, then you look for them and stay with them during the race (Now that I think about it, I never saw any of them during the race though).  They also had a tattoo you could put on your arm that showed what time you should be at at each mile to finish in your goal time.  This was so incredibly helpful to me!

After checking in, we were starved!  Chet spotted a Mexican restaurant, and it was just what we all needed....

Margaritas and laughter to calm our nerves!

We checked into our hotel after that.  Then headed out for our evening entertainment.....

Yes, horse races!

Chet was in heaven!  If I remember right, as we were all walking in he said, "Now, there won't be a lot of conversation going on tonight."  Haha!

I guess that was the polite way of telling us he takes this stuff seriously!

Us women weren't bringing the guys much luck so we headed to the casino.  I put $20 in and left with $51...I'll take it!

Chet could have stayed there all night....

 No, he's not on the phone with his bookie :)

After 10 races, we thought it was best to call it a night since we were all getting up just hours later.

I was a ball of nerves when we got back to the hotel.  I tossed and turned and my stomach churned.  My alarm was set for 4:15am, and the last time I looked at the clock it was 3:02am....13.1 miles on one hour of sleep!  Go me!

The first shuttle left our hotel at 4:30am, so our plan was to catch the next one.  Wouldn't you know, right when we went to climb in, they cut us off because all seats were full.  We thought it would be no biggie to wait for the next one, but it took a little longer than we thought.  We passed the time by taking pictures....go figure :)

Green laces in memory of OKC bombing victims, red socks in honor of Boston.

We finally made it downtown and still had three blocks to walk before getting to the starting area.

It was 6:05am at this point, and we decided to make a quick stop at the port-a-potties....and the next thing we know it's 6:28am!  Race starts at 6:30!  However, we quickly realized there was no need to worry because we weren't the only ones far, FAR away from the start line.

There was literally no time for nerves, we just had to go, which was a good thing.  I just wish we would have had more time to take in the memorial part of the race; that's what it's all about.  We were in line for the bathroom during the 168 seconds of silence.  Although moving, not quite the same when port-a-potty doors are opening and slamming shut.  Our husbands fans were at the start line taking in some of the memories for us...

Banners for each of those who were killed in the bombing.

Firefighters in full gear walked the entire race!  Amazing!

Chet was texting me while we were waiting to use the bathroom wondering where the heck we were at.  Finally, he just said he'd see me at the official start....luv u....tears filled my eyes....this is really happening.  I was determined to see him before I started, but there were SO MANY PEOPLE!  Somehow I spotted him...

And then we were off!  We made it to the start line 16 minutes after the official start.

I think the hardest part was weaving in and out of all the people.  Every other step someone was in my way.  As I'm sure I was to someone behind me.

I was feeling really good until into mile 5, and then I found myself scouting out which bush I was going to dodge behind so I could throw up!  I really felt horrible.  So nauseous.  I was worried.  I still had 8 MORE MILES!

What's up with all these hills?  So many hills!

And then, at mile 6, I saw the guys!

Boost of energy...I can do this!

Mile 7...looking for puke bushes again!  But held it together.

Mile 9...here it comes!  Thankfully, held it together.

Miles 10 and 11...I'm never going to finish!  Why did I decide to do this?  (that was the G rated version of what I was thinking!)

Mile 12...kick your ass into gear and finish this!  "Your body will go anywhere your mind takes it!"  JUST KEEP GOING!

Mile 12.94...check my watch.  I'm almost there!

Only my watch was a little off.  Sh*t, I am never going to make it!  Go legs, go!

2 hours and 16 minutes later, I was done!  I did it!  THIRTEEN POINT ONE FREAKING MILES!

I wanted to cry so bad.  I was so happy to be done!  And I never wanted to run again.

And where the heck was Chet?  Again, so many people. 

Praise the Lord, he found me.  And did I mention how happy I was to be DONE!

My goal was never to be the fastest, I just wanted to finish without walking, which I did.  And it was an added bonus to run the fastest I have ever ran.  Thank you, adrenaline.  And now I have a time to improve on.

Yes, I will run one again.  I think ;)  But I definitely won't be running without my girls!

 They are awesome, and I am so thankful for them!

I only hope the men will join us next year like they said they would!

I am so thankful for Chet's support and encouragement.  And for his willingness to lug my camera around the entire race :)

It was a weekend I will never forget, and definitely a run to remember.  Chet got to gamble, I accomplished something I never imagined I'd do, and we shared our experiences with some amazing friends.

And before heading home, we splurged at The Cheesecake Factory.

Yes, that was all mine :)  Plus a cocktail.

A huge thank you to my parents and Chet's parents for watching the kids!  We truly appreciate your sacrifice as well.

I'd also like to note that the spectators and volunteers who lined the streets cheering us on were so incredibly awesome!  Including the houses that were serving jell-o shots and beer along the way.  And the people dressed as bananas and gorillas who lined Gorilla Hill blasting music, encouraging us every step of the way.  I didn't look up much for fear of losing concentration, but what a feeling to have a perfect stranger cheering you on.

It's been just over two weeks since the race, and last night, I finally put my running shoes back on....felt good :)

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