- 3 miles/5K, 13.1 miles/Half Marathon, 26.2 miles/Marathon, Relay
- Road Race
- Event Website
Yesterday I finished half marathon number 5 of 2014 and it was certainly one of those races that leaves an impression! I did the Oklahoma City Memorial half marathon last year and absolutely loved it! The course and the volunteers are amazing and the reason behind the race is so meaningful. I love how much effort the race officials put into making sure to remember what happened 19 years ago and go above and beyond to make sure the 168 people who lost their lives are remembered. Probably two of my favorite things about this race is the 168 seconds of silence at the beginning and the banners that line the course with the names of the victims. It really is special!
So all week long they had been forecasting severe weather. The storms that eventually caused so much damage in central Arkansas were supposed to start right around Oklahoma City and then make their way to Arkansas. I had gotten several emails from race officials about what their plan was to make sure we were all safe so I had no worries about driving up there and running the race. The race starts pretty early at 6:30 so I got up at 4 and took a quick shower and made it downtown by about 5. I had checked the radar as soon as I woke up and there wasn't a single storm around! I couldn't believe our luck! Even as late as Saturday night they were still forecasting thunderstorms with hail for early morning. Well of course literally the minute I got out of my car I saw lightening way off in the distance. I decided to go ahead and walk to the start line because I needed to find the port-a-potties! On the way it started to rain a little but stopped just as fast. I watched a little bit of the sunrise service and then started the walk to my corral.
At 6:00 the race announcer came on and said that they had decided to delay the race start by 30 minutes because of storms moving in. So I just stood around and then not 3 minutes later they came back on and said we needed to get to the shelter that was closest to our area right then. Thankfully I had lined up right by a parking garage that I knew was one of the designated shelters so everyone around took off running to get there.
I made it in but it still wasn't doing anything outside. I could still see some lightening but that was it. Probably the most frustrating thing about the entire situation was that my phone wouldn't work so I couldn't check the radar or let anyone know what was going on. Everyone in the shelter kept trying to pull up the radar, facebook, or twitter to check to see what exactly was coming towards us. We were far enough away from the corrals that we couldn't hear any announcements so we had no clue if it was just a strong storm coming or a tornado. It was a little crazy/scary for a while.
At 8:00 everyone started walking out and getting ready to line up. No sooner had I made it out about 10 steps that it started raining and storming harder than it had all morning. So back to the garage we all went but not before getting completely soaked first. Finally at 8:10 we were told we were going to be starting at 8:20. It was hilarious to watch us all come out. We were convinced that the minute we stepped out of the parking garage we would have to run back in.
The first couple of miles were rough. I was already hungry because I had planned on being almost finished by now and not just starting! It was super humid outside because of all the storms. It felt like I was running through thick air and I couldn't catch my breath. Welcome to running in humidity! The course was crazy crowded because they hadn't waited as long as they usually do to start the 5K so it was packed. Finally we split from the 5K and it was so much better. Around mile 4 the sky started to clear up and I actually saw blue sky! Miles 5-8 I felt great! When I was struggling so much in the beginning I lowered my run intervals to save some energy in case it was rough for all 13 miles and that helped so much. I changed my intervals back up and was feeling awesome. The volunteers all along the course are the best. They were handing out all kinds of food. I had an apple, 2 oranges, a bunch of pretzels, and a banana all while I was running. My all time favorite thing that they hand out at this race are the cold sponges.
Around mile 9 I was getting super frustrated. Besides the huge blister I was getting from wet socks, there were people that were walking everywhere. I don't mind at all that they were walking but when you take up the entire street and I feel like I'm playing Frogger to try to get around everyone it's annoying. Plus then the walkers started to move over to the lanes reserved for the marathon runners. The marathon peeps at this point are super fast and I just kept waiting for someone to get hurt. I also kept getting extremely frustrated with the people who were doing run/walk. Obviously I don't care that they are doing that since it's what I do also, but if you are doing run/walk for the love of all things please don't go from running to a complete stop right in front of me! I actually ran right into two ladies who just completely stopped and never bothered to look if anyone was behind them. It was just so frustrating. I felt like I could never get in a good groove because I had to keep dodging people and making sure I wasn't going to run right into someone.
I finally saw the finish and just sprinted because I was ready to be done. I felt great but it had been a long day and I was just done. It was not even close to a PR but I finished over 20 minutes faster than last year so I'll take it! This race is still one of my favorites that I do! The race director and everyone handled the delays and crazy weather so great! They had a plan and made sure we were safe and once we finally got to start it was a beautiful day. The volunteers were amazing and stayed out there an extra two hours because of the delays. If you ever get the change to run the OKC Memorial race you have to do it! And hopefully the weather won't be so crazy next year!