Monday, April 02, 2007

April Fooled - - Once Again

It seems that the April Fool just wouldn't leave things alone yesterday. My wife and I got to the location of the OKC Memorial Marathon training run yesterday morning in time to catch opening comments by Jack Rector who is again training a number of runners for the marathon on April 29. Jack offers a lot of worthwhile information and tips to runners and also introduced several of the Marathon committee dignitaries that were present for our practice run.

After the opening comments all the runners gathered at what is known as the "Survivor Tree", the closest living thing to the April 19, 1995 Murrah Building bomb blast that was still living after most things in the immediate area had been destroyed. The tree stands a vigil watch over the memorial reminding us of the sacrifice that so many made that day as well as a reminder to those that survived that such an event may leave scars for so many but we shall endure as the tree has endured. Through all this tragedy we are capable of rising above the destruction and devastation.

We started our run shortly after 8 am under near perfect conditions, temp was around 55 F, wind was less than 10 mph. Bonnie met me at the corner of Lincoln and 14th Street to cheer and be supportive. She was going to take photos but her first attempt from there looked like a solar eclipse as she forgot to remove the lens cap. She did capture the back side of me and several other runners as we moved on up Lincoln towards the State Capital Building. Then unbeknownst to me, she had car trouble and I didn't realize it until I got to near the 7 mile mark. She was there and I called to locate her and found out that she couldn't get the key to turn in the ignition. Help was on the way and got her going after she sat there for an hour and developed a blister on her index finger from trying to turn the key.

So all was not lost as she caught up with me just after I started mile 8 of the half marathon course. I have to admit it had gotten a bit lonely and seeing her at Classen and 46th Street was a blessing. I started to feel then that I might finish the entire route. My brother had mentioned to me how lonely it feels when you don't have your own support team along the way and for just over 5 miles I was able to understand what he meant. Bonnie caught me again at 23rd and Classen and had some ice cold gatorade ready for me then, that was a lifesaver. By then I was a tired puppy but I told her that I believed I could finish. I never realized that from 50th Street to roughly 23rd Street going south Classen is a steady uphill climb.

I believe Bonnie took this photo somewhere on Hudson, though I can't honestly say that I remember her taking it. I "knew" by then that I would finish and I had started to smile with that knowledge. I was pumped and on top of the world but very tired at this point. Somewhere in this area I realized that it was all downhill to the finish line, what an awesome feeling. I now know that if I can hold something back for the end of the race I can hopefully finish with a flourish, especially after making the final turn onto Broadway, oh what an adrenalene rush. Yes, I've learned from my younger brother the true form of an Aggie is always not far from the surface (that famous Aggie "Gig 'Em" thumb).

As I crossed the finish line just a bit later I have to admit having thoughts of the Survivor Tree again, thinking of myself as something of a survivor. It will be 2 years on April 9th that I underwent a quadruple bypass surgery and here I am running my first half-marathon distance. Yes I have survived and feel better today than I have in years. With 13 miles behind me I admit that I was very tired but at the same time I truly felt alive and very proud.

But now that crazy April Fool played one final trick on me. I remembered to stop my watch as I crossed the finish line and I was soon punching buttons to see my total run time. I thought I had gotten to the screen I needed and what stared back at me was a bit of a disappointment. I told Bonnie that I had finished in 4 hours 1 minute and 7 seconds, I was dismayed but still proud that I had finished. I felt concerned though that I wasn't closer to a 3 hour finish. Then for some reason I asked her what time she had and she said 11:20. At that point I exclaimed that my new watch must not be working right as that should be roughly 3 hours. Then I looked at the numbers again, 04:01:07 but this time it was 04.01.07, April 1, 2007, APRIL FOOLS, and with another click of the button my real finish time was displayed and was 2 hours, 52 minutes, and 46 seconds. Oh what a happy camper I suddenly became. There was a renewed elation all over again. In fact Bonnie informed me that I became just a bit cocky. If I did, so be it, I think I deserved it. Yes I'm proud that I finished, yes I'm doubly proud of my time, though it is not a world pace, it is a best for me and at this point that is all that matters.

I've got scars from two years ago but I too have survived and have in my own way my fight for better health. As good as I felt I will admit to being very tired when it was all over. The emotion of finishing, even though it wasn't the official race and knowing deep in my heart that I will be able to do it again was such an incredible feeling. Still I was one very tired but happy Aggie. The bandaid was the result of my first fall while running and it happened in Houston last week.

1 comment:

J~Mom said...

Great pics!! You have come so far and have so much to be proud of!! Great job!