If you've never ran the OKC race, we begin very near the memorial site. In the early morning dark, you can't help but notice the glow of the chairs sitting there to commemorate the 168 lives lost. There is a palpable energy that only intensifies as we observe 168 seconds of silence. This year 3 seconds were added to remember the 3 lost at Boston. Besides the Oklahoma wind, the only sounds are the whispered prayers and muffled tears of those around you. One might think that after a few years that this tradition would not be as poignant as the first time, but the opposite is true. Each year it affects my heart a little differently. This year was no exception. There was a cohesiveness, an inclusion this year among the runners that I had never felt before.
Sure we are a running family. We encourage each other and cheer. But I have never felt such a strong connection among us all as I did on Sunday. I'll admit that the day of the Boston Marathon fear entered my heart . Lots of people said that OKC wasn't "high profile enough" to be a target. But we all felt that way before April 19, 1995, too. I knew that I would still run, but wasn't sure how many others felt that way. I didn't know if I was going to let my kids participate in the kids marathon. I didn't know how safe I was going to feel. But Sunday fear was nowhere to be found. I felt like the strangers surrounding me were my family and anyone of them would protect me and I, them. It was a beautiful amazing day.
I ran the fourth leg of a relay team. It was a first for me. We ran as team Tag It Forward. We ran to honor the memory of a young man who suffered from mental health issues and to bring awareness to the lack of mental health care in the United States. We ran for Boston. We ran for OKC and the 168. I ran for my friend who is battling leukemia. And I ran for the many dedications for my run3rd family. I ran for hope, happiness and peace.
Now that I'm done sounding like an after school special, let me tell you how I did. I also want to tell you about some of the less poignant but just as awesome things that happened. Like I said, I ran the 4th leg of the relay.
It was a long 5k, which means it was over the standard 5k distance. The exchange was a little chaotic for my liking, with a mix of marathoners and relayers coming in at the same time. They would bellow out your bib number when your team mate was quarter mile out. However, there were so many marathoners coming through that we were cheering too loud to hear our bib numbers. So I didn't hear mine until my teammate started screaming my name as she came to the exchange point. My time was average for me. It could have been better and it could've been worse. I completed my section on 47 minutes. Not my best 5K time by far, but not bad with a still mending toe. Once I finished my leg, I hightailed it back to the finish line to meet up with my teammates. Your last leg was injured but soldiered on and we crossed the Finish together.
|Two of my wonderful teammates and runhers ladies|
Unbeknownst to me that while I'm racing my oldest child is being police escorted during his race. T (5 years old) got slightly overwhelmed by all the excitement and veered off his race course. A wonderful police officer scooped him up and pointed him in the right direction. Then a bike cop escorted him all the way to the finish. Only my kid! He was so excited to sit in the back of the cop car and that the other cop followed him on the bike. Thank you so much to the 2 OCPD officers who helped my son. You saved my husbands life. 😉 In all fairness to the hubs, he was expecting to get to run beside our kiddo, but was unable to. So our little boy ran his first 1.2 miles all by himself. They grow up so fast! And it better be his first AND last time in the back of a police cruiser.
I am so proud of my friends who participated in the races. I had several finish the 5K with new PRs.
All of my friends who did the half marathon PR'd. And my geek twin, Aubs, finished her very first full marathon. I was so proud and I love them all.
If you have never ran in OKC, you should. It's a beautiful race in a great city. And I don't just say that because I live here.
Peace, Love, and Unity.