Race Review ...
- Madi ran an awesome 2:28:27 PR!
- Did I mention it STORMED THE WHOLE TIME???
|Michael, me & Madi before the OKC Half-Marathon|
Finisher Medals & Bibs...
|My MOST favorite race bib ever ... "MADI'S DAD"!!!|
The Trip From KC To OKC...
|Excited about the 5-1/2 hour drive!!!|
We left about 7am on Saturday for the 5-1/2 hour drive from KC to OKC ... but the time really flew by because there is SO MUCH TO SEE ON THE INTERSTATE IN KANSAS AND OKLAHOMA!!! (sarcasm) We did make a couple of stops for maybe the world's best photos!
|Oklahoma's sooooooo windy!|
As far as packet pick-ups and race expos go, I would give this one a C+. It could have been a lot better organized and there was a definite "lack of enthusiasm" from the volunteers - but we had a great time anyway!
|Hey everybody ... it's my first race packet & gear bag!!!|
|My two beautiful gals ... wow, I'm lucky!!!|
|Check out this Expo!|
|Shocker ... Michael shopping! (Check out the lady behind her "Hey, what'd ya get?")|
|"Holy cow Jim, it's Bill Rogers, Dick Beardsley, and Joan Benoit Samuelson!"|
There was a ton of great stuff to do in OKC and Bricktown - Oklahoma City's historic entertainment district. We walked around for most of the afternoon and got to see a lot of the sights of this wonderful Southwestern city.
|Hmmmm ... we really need a MAN to decipher this map!|
|Hey, let's jump up and click our heels in front of this giant boot!!!|
|You're out of everything ... what the heck are we supposed to eat???|
|Madi & Mickey Mantle ... swing needs a little work!|
|It was literally a living statue with arms ... Hey there ... Hi there ... Ho there!!!|
|Play that guitar ... idiot!|
|"What is this ... a fountain for ants? |
How are the children supposed to get a drink if they can't even reach the fountain?"
|Madi & Michael in their best Senior Photo poses!|
|Hey, matching bibs!|
We got our racin' clothes on and headed out the door, only to find out the race had been delayed from 6:30am to 7:00am because of lightning in the area. We killed some time in our hotel lobby and rounded up a few trash bags thinking they would keep us dry during in the thunderstorm we were about to brave. They worked great for about 15 seconds! I kept telling Madi everything would be fine, but in the back of my mind I was thinking "Man, this is gonna be a rough way to run your first half-marathon". But my girl is tough ... and I really don't think it even phased her! She came to OKC to hammer that half-marathon, and nothing could stop her!!!
|These should do the trick!!!|
As we approached the starting line corrals, I began scanning the horizon for the gear-check trucks. PROBLEM ... NO GEAR CHECK TRUCKS IN SIGHT!!! It was right about that time that I heard the P.A. announcer blare words that made my heart skip a beat ... "ONE MINUTE UNTIL THE START OF THE OKC MEMORIAL MARATHON"! What the...!!! I panicked ... but tried to remain cool, calm, and collected on the outside so as not to worry Madison. I started running toward the back of the starting corrals with Madi & Michael closely behind ... or so I thought. With about 30 seconds until the starting gun, I saw the gear-check trucks on the other side of the huddled runners. I turned around to tell the girls we were gonna be okay ... but only one girl was standing there - Madi. Somehow we had lost Michael in the confusion. I panicked again! Madi and I had no choice but to continue without her and check our bags. There was a really cool guy at the rainy gear-check who quickly grabbed our bags and said, "I'll take care of them, just go get in line!" He was such a blessing!
|Everyone all smiles & calm ... that would change!|
Once Michael checked her bag, we all got in line. Luckily, this was a large race and we were at the very back of the pack. It took about 17 minutes for us to get to the start, so everyone had a chance to calm down a little and start the race like normal runners. But it was close. It was like one of those dreams where you over-sleep for the S.A.T.'s or something, and then when you get to the testing facility - THE DOOR IS LOCKED! But this wasn't a dream ... it was real! And it was pretty scary! I thought I had let everyone down by screwing around in the hotel instead of heading to the starting line with enough time to prepare. To say we cut it close would be a huge understatement!
After the typical start-stop-start-stop with such a large race, we made it the starting line and Madi & I separated from Michael, agreeing prior to the race to run our own paces. Due to Michael's illness, I worried about her all day - but for the time being, I had to focus on helping Madi run the race of her life!
With rain literally stinging our faces and the wind blowing strong enough to move you from side-to-side, Madi ran the race like a pro! Her pace plan was perfect for her and she ran it to perfection. I'm a pretty wimpy runner when it comes to weather. I had two shirts, a hat, and rain-soaked gloves on ... and I was FREEZING!!! This girl ran in a tank top and pants, no gloves or hat and only mentioned once at mile three that she was a little chilly - but other than that, she was focused!
|Look at that gal ... straight-up Chickin' Fools!!!|
She was smooth and steady, controlling the pace like a seasoned veteran through 10 miles of a rain-drenched, windy, chilly course. At mile 11 she said she wanted to speed up. I was really reluctant to "let" her, wanting to make sure she not only finished, but finished strong. But if you know this girl, you know she is a "little" bull-headed. She started increasing her pace to 10:30, then 10:00. I tried to slow her down, but she only ran faster ... 9:45, 9:30, 9:00. We had chatted throughout the race about running, strategy, pacing, and some of the local sights we ran by ... and at mile 12 I said, "Hey, aren't those homes really pretty?" All of the time-consuming chit-chat came to an abrupt halt right then when she responded, "I NEED TO FOCUS!" I got the message and shut up.
At about 12.5 she was up to about 8:30 and I told her I thought she should slow down ... it was then she announced that she had a goal of 2:30 and, in she willfully responded, "Daddy, I've got to do this..."! She then sped up to 8:00, 7:45, 7:30!!! As we neared the last quarter-mile downhill I asked her if she was okay and she answered by speeding up to a 6:30 pace!!! This girl was hauling!!! As we got closer, I heard her say "I got this" ... AND SHE DID! She finished by sprinting across the finish line at her first half-marathon with an amazing 2:28:27!!!
|"Need a little wind here!"|
After the race we were freezing! We got our gear bags and found Michael, and walked the half-mile back to our hotel in the continued pouring rain, teeth chattering, with fingers and legs numb! It was so cold! We had been in the pouring rain for about 3 hours with the wind trying to ice us over. We couldn't get back to the room fast enough!
Once we got back to the room, everyone took hot showers and crawled under the blankets for a few minutes in an attempt to get our body temps back to 98 degrees before going out to find a well-deserved post-race feast. We were starving!
We landed at Toby Keith's I Love This Bar & Grill - an OKC landmark. We had a great time talking about the race and reliving the horror of almost missing the start. Madi ordered a 1 pound chicken-fried steak that was literally as big as her face! Michael enjoyed a salad, and I had chicken. It was so good! We of course continued to act like tourists, taking a bunch of pictures before heading back to KC.
There are many things I'll remember about the OKC Half-Marathon. I'll remember Bricktown and the nice people. I'll reminisce about the cold weather, rain, and wind. I'll remember how Michael was a trooper and ran a half-marathon while battling a terrible cold. And I'll have nightmares about almost missing the start. But most of all, I will never forget the look on Madison's face as she crossed the finish line and how unbelievably proud I was of my little girl that day! She continues to amaze me. Not because she can now add "half-marathoner" to her growing list of great accomplishments, but because I know that she can do anything. And best of all ... I GET to be her dad! I love you Madi, and I'm so proud you're in my life. Great job baby!
... be great today! (like you are everyday!)