Whenever I run, I like to be as incognito as possible. We’re talking border-line ninja. I think my goal is to blend in as much as possible so nobody will notice the super-slow girl bringing up the rear. So my running attire for races is pretty standard: black shirt, black pants, white socks. No crazy socks. No tutus. No funny hats. If nobody notices me, I’ve accomplished my mission.
So pulling on long, bright red socks Sunday morning felt pretty weird.
Granted, I wasn’t exactly running a marathon yesterday. I wasn’t even running the half or 5k. I was heading out with my husband and 3-year-old daughter for the Oklahoma City Memorial Kids Marathon. I did my last half – my fourth one – back in March so I would be able to participate with my little girl in her big race. For the Kids Marathon, runners put in 25 miles on their own and then finish the last 1.2 miles at the race. (If you don’t think that sounds far, try putting in that kind of distance when you’re legs are, like, 12 inches long.)
I read in the Landrunners Oklahoma City Running Club newsletter that people were encouraged to wear red socks in honor of those affected by the Boston Marathon bombing earlier this month. After some digging, we were able to rustle up some red socks for all of us. (That’s us in the photo above before the run.)
Granted, a 3-year-old really doesn’t have a preference on her socks on any given day, so it’s not like we really explained to her the reason she was sporting brand new ones. But we wanted her to be a part of it, even if she didn’t know why. At the expo, some children handed out bracelets braided with red, white and blue yarn. We tied one around our daughter’s wrist the morning of the race, and she asked what it was for. All we could really explain was that it was to remember some people who were hurt. It was to help them feel better.
I saw a lot of red socks during the kids event, and we spotted plenty of race finishers wearing them as they staggered away from the finish line. Lots of people wore shirts in support of Boston, including my next-door-neighbors. As we walked back to the car after the fun and celebration, we passed the Oklahoma City National Memorial. My mom overheard a dad explaining to his daughter, “This is a very special place.”
Life is full of hurts. Terrorism is one that frightens us, whether it’s in our city or hundreds of miles away. I can’t stop terrorism, but I can do small acts of love, even if it’s only socks.
In case you were wondering, here’s how registration stands for the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon. This year we’re doing the kids marathon as a family, and I realized I had signed up my daughter and my husband but not myself! Yikes! So hurry up and register before the price increase April 1 or before all the spots are gone for your event.
Runners will soon have the chance to participate in a sanctioned run in one of the most beautiful places in the city. The Oklahoma City Zoo is hosting a 5k again. Finally! It’s too pretty of a place not to share in this way. I reached out to Dana McCrory, executive director of the Oklahoma Zoological Society, about this landmark race April 14. (Click here to register!)
Q: Where did the idea to do the Oklahoma City Zoo Run come from?
A: The idea to revive the Oklahoma City Zoo Run came from ZooTroop – the Oklahoma Zoological Society’s young professional group. In November 2012, ZooTroop mapped nine trails in the Oklahoma City Zoo to encourage zoo guests to utilize the zoo for a safe, family-friendly walking destination. The interest in the mapped trails has been phenomenal and many of our guests asked if we would think about implementing a run.
Q: What is the course route?
A: The course is a certified, sanctioned 5K. As you dash off into the “wild” your journey will take you out the far east zoo gate, down by Zoo Lake, loop back around into the zoo, around giraffe loop and finish at the elephant demonstration pavilion.
Q: Has the zoo ever hosted a USTFA-sanctioned run? Why have one now?
A: Yes, the Zoo hosted a USTFA-sanctioned run for many years until the late 1990’s. ZooTroop decided to implement the run again to reach a new generation of runners and bring back the runners from the previous runs.
Q: What does the run raise money for?
A: The OKC Zoo Run net proceeds will go the Commitment to Care campaign for the new Joan Kirkpatrick Animal Hospital. Each year, ZooTroop will work with the Oklahoma City Zoo to select a current project that the net proceeds will benefit.
Q: Who does this race target – serious runners, walkers, parents with strollers, people who run so slowly that you think they’re walking (like me)?
A: This race targets everyone in the zoo audience. Everyone is welcome. The serious runners will lead the race, parents with strollers will be positioned to start a little later, and people like you and me who run so slowly that you think they’re walking will start (and finish) last and yet still get a cool t-shirt.
After having such an awesome race in Tulsa, I’m eager to get going on my next run. So I checked my calendar, checked my muscles and picked something: the Dallas Rock ‘n’ Roll Half. It’s Sunday, March 24.
I feel kind of weird choosing that instead of the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon. I’ve run in the half for the past two years, and this city is special to me. But I’m excited to run in Dallas because it will free me up for the Memorial Marathon to run the last 1.2 miles with my daughter, who will be running in the kids marathon. (It will be so adorable!) So it’s bittersweet to give up on the race that was my first half marathon and in my favorite city.
I haven’t signed up for Dallas yet. The price goes up Jan. 31, so I’ll probably wait until Jan. 31 to register. Until then, I think I’ll just feel that pit in my stomach that something horrible is on the way.
I know, I know. The holidays are crazy. If you’re like me, you probably have been slacking like the slackiest of slackers when it comes to your running schedule because you just – for the love of God! – want to sleep in a little bit. (Do you see all those people dressed like Santa and running like champs? I am not one of them.)
But if nothing else, the holidays are a time to remember to register for the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon before the first price jump. Costs go up Jan. 1.
Marathon: $95 to $110.
Half marathon: $65 to $80.
Relay: $250 to $275.
5K: $35 to $40.
5K for age 12 younger: $20 to $25.
But never fear: if you’re doing the Kids Marathon, the price never changes. It’s just $10 for children and $20 for adults running with them.
I realized a few weeks before the Williams Route 66 Marathon that there was a time limit on your water stops. If you ran slower than a 15-minute pace, you were out of luck. Too slow? Better carry your own water. I’ll be honest: it made me so mad.
I’m a slow runner. This isn’t modesty talking. I’m so slow, I sometimes get passed by walkers. Really. Once, my husband took a picture of me running, and we later discovered there was a man walking in hiking boots – hiking boots! – who was passing me. I don’t like to talk about my pace because honestly, I’m embarrassed. It’s slower than a 15-minute mile.
So when I realized that there was a limit for the water stops, I was scared. What if I couldn’t make it that quickly? What if ran out of water?
Also, setting a time limit can weed out the walkers and slow people like me. It’s pretty disheartening. Doesn’t my training count? Don’t my miles count? I do all the same miles. I do all the same runs. It just takes me twice as long as some people, even three times as long as the fastest folks. Does that mean it doesn’t count? The more I thought about it, the angrier I got.
I bought a water bottle belt the night before the race and my running buddy, Megan Rolland, gave me some Gu to put in the pocket. (She told me to eat it at Mile 6. I was pretty sure if I didn’t eat it right then, I would collapse on the course.) I wrote the mileage for the water stops at the time limits for a 15-minute pace. If I could make it to the first water stop at Mile 2, then I wouldn’t have to use my water until after then.
I headed out onto the hilly first half of the course with the determination to make it to the first water stop. I checked my watch over and over and over. I squeaked in and drank both water and Gatorade. I kept moving and made it to the next water stop. And then next. And on and on. Finally, I hit the last one – Mile 12 – just as they were packing up. I was there right at the 15-minute pace. Me. I was running a 15-minute pace. It was only 1.1 miles to go and I was spent.
It took me 20 minutes to finish that last bit. I ran a few steps, walked, ran a few steps, walked some more. It took so long.
I crossed the finish line and still didn’t really believe my watch or the time on the clock above. I shuffled through the food tent, my legs dragging. I met up with Megan, who had finished more than an hour an a half earlier, and then found my family. I sat down for a long, long time.
When I finally stood up, my husband took me to the timing tent, where a sweet woman in a cozy sweatshirt printed out a ticket for me. I beat my best time by 20 minutes.
Twenty minutes? Was that even real?
So, thanks, Tulsa. I was running as fast as I could so I wouldn’t dehydrate and die, and I set a personal best. So I guess I’m not that mad at you now.
Check out these fun times at John Marshall High School. The school hosted its inaugural 5K recently. More than 130 people registered ahead of time, including students from Webster, North Highlands, Britton, Centennial, John Marshall, and Northwest Classen. From Principal Aspasia Carlson: “It was a wonderful evening, with music and Oklahoma Fidelity grilling for all who attended. Family and community members also participated in the 1-mile Fun Walk around the new track. We hope to have an even bigger event next year!”
If you love running in costume …
The Junior League of Norman is excited to announce the 6th Annual Monster Dash 5K and 1 Mile Fun Run/Walk on Saturday, November 3, 2012.
The race will take place at Journey Church located at 3801 Journey Parkway in Norman, off Tecumseh Road between I-35 and 36th Avenue NW. The USATF certified 5K will begin at 8:00 a.m., followed by the 1 Mile Fun Run/Walk at 9:00 a.m. There will be activities for the whole family including a costume contest, music, donor booths, and more! Register to run at www.juniorleagueofnorman.org.
JLN’s focus is to promote health and fitness for the citizens of Norman and the surrounding areas. This is a topic that is becoming increasingly more important in our community, particularly for our youth. JLN hopes to reach out to children in our community again this year and get them involved in this fun family event while promoting the importance of fitness.
All net proceeds will directly support the Junior League of Norman community projects, including Baby Steps, our program to help teen parents complete their high school education and Food for Kids, our food backpack program for needy middle school students. Donor support will help promote health and fitness in our community by allowing all children under the age of 12 to participate at no charge.
The Junior League of Norman is an organization of women committed to promoting voluntarism, developing the potential of women, and improving communities through the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers. Its purpose is exclusively educational and charitable.
For more information, please call (405) 329-9617 or go to www.juniorleagueofnorman.org
This morning a friend and I headed out to the Oklahoma River trails, and I achieved a big goal.
I ran at race pace for 3 miles.
OK, so that doesn’t sound like a big deal? I basically have never been able to run at race pace for more than, like, 30 yards. I’m so proud! I have a ridiculously slow pace, and I’m not being modest. My husband photographed me cheerfully running while being passed by a walker during the 2011 Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon. Yeah, you read that right. A walker. In fact, it was a walker wearing hiking boots. I’m so glad we memorialized that moment in time.
So I’ve had this goal in my head of what pace I’d like to run a half marathon at. It’s faster than I’ve done in the past, but maybe I could do it.
I’m registered for the Williams Route 66 Marathon half marathon run in Tulsa in November. I still have 65 days to go, but I realize I probably won’t be able to run at race pace the whole way. But maybe I could set a personal record. Could I? Could that even happen? I mean, I’ve only run two half marathons, so I’ve only got two races to beat. This is as good a time as any, I guess. And 3 miles at pace leaves me only 10.1 miles to go.
Here’s how things went Sept. 2.