We arrived in OKC Saturday morning around 10:30, after catching our hotel shuttle and checking into the hotel we headed out to lunch and to the expo. The expo was at the Cox Convention Center and was amazingly small, and laid out poorly to say the least. You had to walk all the way to the back to pick up your bib and chip. After that you walked to the far left side to make sure your chip was activated and to your name. To pick up our t-shirts back through the crowd to the very right front of the expo, finally we walked through the expo and look at items to purchase. I picked up an OKC marathon hat, pink tech shirt and a pair of double layered socks on sale for $2.
After the expo we went over to the memorial and walked around outside. In our packets we received a coupon for a free entry into the museum. This was an amazing tour; we saw photos, news casts, and articles of many items that were found in the rubble after the bombing. We heard a tape of a deposition that took place at the actual time that the bomb went off that made the hair on the back of my neck stand up. After a very long day we headed to eat dinner and back to the hotel. We had watched the weather off and on all week leading up to this because we were so worried about the heat and the wind. By Saturday morning we were just hoping the race would not be canceled because it was rumored that OKC may be getting thunderstorms that included hail and possible tornadoes. Saturday night was no different; in fact Sunday morning when we woke up and discovered it had not even rained we were happy.
4:15am alarm goes off and we start getting ready. I made a cup of coffee and ate part of a power bar, but my stomach was in knots so I could not finish it. 5:00am we were in the lobby to catch the hotel shuttle to the start line. This was a little nerve racking, the hotel had told us they would run shuttle buses from 4:30 am until race time, so we were in the lobby standing in line when the lady at the desk announces there would not be another shuttle until 6am. (Hello the race is at 6:30 and you have 60+ people in line for 9 passenger vans). We made a stupid decision to try to catch the trolley that was to run every 15 mins a block from our hotel, after waiting 30 mins and no trolley (plus seeing 2 of our shuttle vans go by) we hung our heads and went back to the hotel and finally got on a shuttle to the start line with 10 mins for the bathroom and stop at gear check.
We lined up in the back instead of trying to push our way closer to the start line, but even with 19,000 people we were across the start line in about 10mins. The first 13 miles we had some wind mainly to our backs, but whoever said the OKC is flat needs to have their head examined. In fact I would rather run a half marathon on Flintridge than to run the hills in OKC again. We got to the lake at the half way mark and that’s when the wind started to pick up and they were no longer at my back but about a 25-30 mph head wind. The head winds never went away, for the next half of the race I was fighting the wind, a few times it almost knocked me backwards. At about mile 21 I knew that I would get a PR, I was not sure by how much but I knew even if I walked the last five miles I could probably get a PR. I started talking to a girl that was from OKC and had run the marathon 2 times before and she was complaining about the humidity and asked if it was bothering me, so I told I was from Texas and I did not even notice it was humid. I asked her if was always this windy and she said “pretty much, but the wind is your friend”. I am not sure if it was or not, but it showed me that I am stronger than I thought I was because I had to fight hard to make it to the end. When I finally saw the finish line in the distance I sighed in relief and I ran as hard as I could when I crossed the finish line and saw a dark headed lady with a medal I started near her and she said “sweetie I will come to you, thank you for running for us.” She put my medal around my neck and I made my way to get my finishers shirt, my Carl Jr’s hamburger, Gatorade and finisher picture. All in all despite the wind and hills it was a great race for a great cause. Fabulous volunteer’s, scenic course and another memorable completed marathon with great friends.