The memorial was built to remember and honor those who lost their lives in the bombing and also for the families and friends who lost loved ones. It is a sad but beautiful place.
The big tree in the picture is called the survivor tree. The message around it reads:
The spirit of this city and this nation will not be defeated; our deeply rooted faith sustains us.
The large gates on each side of the reflection pool are marked as 9:01 and 9:03. The moment of 9:02 A.M. was when the bomb exploded and changed Oklahoma City forever. The reflection pool between the gates has flowing water that provides a peaceful background sound for visitors.
There are 168 chairs for every victim of the bombing. Of these chairs, there are 19 small chairs for the children who were in the daycare of the Murrah building. If you have never visited the museum or the memorial, you should definitely tour it. It is a peaceful place that will make you remember to be thankful for your loved ones. In one moment, everything changed for these families.
There were several visitors here that were running in the race. You can always spot the goodie bad carrying runners! There were also many visitors that were in Oklahoma City for the Festival of the Arts which always coincides with the race. Downtown Oklahoma City is a very fun place to be on the last weekend in April! (which was actually May 1 this year because of Easter last week). We picked up our packets at the race expo and we were off to carbo load at our favorite and boring pre-race restaurant... the Olive Garden. My #1 race rule is NEVER CHANGE YOUR DIET THE DAY BEFORE A RACE!!!
So... did you notice how sunny and beautiful the pictures were from Saturday? Sunday morning the alarm went off at 4:30 A.M. and we heard pouring rain and thunder. Great. Being the devoted and stubborn runners that we are.... we rolled into downtown in the pouring rain with the thermometer reading 46 degrees. Not optimal race conditions. Not at all.
Here we are in the parking garage feeling warm and dry and ready to run! I didn't take my iPod after all because I was afraid it would drown in the rain. Running without music is TOUGH!
We started walking downtown and saw lots of runners walking the other way. That's never a good sign. After a few people told us that the race was delayed until 7 due to lightning, we found a building with an unlocked lobby area so we went inside to stay warm and dry for as long as possible. When the race finally started, it was still raining but at least we didn't see any lightning! The fog horn sounded and we were off! We were dodging puddles and decided to keep a slow pace so we didn't slip and we hoped that we could finish the run! Neither of us had run more than 6.2 miles in the last month so we were not at ALL prepared to do a half marathon!
The first few soggy miles went through Bricktown, the OU Health Sciences Center, Lincoln terrace area, and near the state capitol building. My sweet husband is a caffeine addict who insisted on having coffee before the run. Of course this meant a port-o-potty stop at mile 6 where we lost 10 minutes standing in line. Sometime around mile 7 or 8, we ran up Gorilla Hill where spectators were outside cheering and making drinks as they were dressed up in animal costumes. It was so random and hilarious and it was a much needed morale boost for the runners! Then we ran through Nichols Hills, Crown Heights, Edgemere Park, the Asian District, and Mesta Park. Around mile 10, one of the water stops was blasting Lady Gaga's "Just Dance" and that pumped me up enough to keep going and trying to motivate my husband to keep running. We walked several times but we ran a slow and steady pace for the majority of the race. Luckily we made it to the finish line before the HAIL started! Yes, I said HAIL! The poor marathoners were forced to run through rain, cold, wind, lightning, thunder, and HAIL! And it was 46 degrees! I haven't been that cold in a long time and it was awful! I'm so glad we did the race in spite of the rain and cold, but I have to admit that I'm REALLY glad we didn't run the full marathon under those conditions. The course was beautiful and I would love to run the full someday (Hopefully it won't be hailing and raining!!!)The "after" pic isn't so flattering. I was cold, soggy, and tired! We crossed the finish line at just under 2:40. It was nowhere near our usual 2:10-2:15 time but without properly training and what could we expect?
Once again, I say THANK YOU to anyone who has ever volunteered at a race!
If you stood outside in the rain and the cold while handing water or gatorade to soggy, stinky runners, you deserve a medal and a big hug! THANK YOU!
If you stood out in the rain to cheer for the runners, THANK YOU!
If you handed out race packets, directed people where to go for the expo, or helped stop traffic for the runners, THANK YOU!
The medals were AWESOME for this run! They have the survivor tree on both sides and the other side says "A RUN TO REMEMBER" and that is certainly the truth. We will never forget our experience during the half marathon and much more important is the fact that we will never forget what the run stands for.
Once we were warm and dry, we signed up for another marathon!
Next up... Seattle!
The Rock and Roll Seattle Marathon is on our wedding anniversary! How cool with that be?!