I started training for this after last year’s Memorial race. I did the 5K and was determined to do the half again, knew I could and frankly I wanted the sticker for my car. The 13.1 sticker from 2012 was coming apart. I admitted I wanted that sweet finisher’s shirt too, to wear and strut around in. Stuff and stubbornness, probably not the best reasons but honest ones.
Seriously, there is something almost sacred about the Memorial race, it’s a reminder of a terrible event, when 168 people including 19 babies were murdered by a guy who didn’t like the way the FBI handled Waco, and felt hatred for anything or anyone affiliated with the federal government. Including babies in the employee nursery, he referred to them as collateral damage. Yet after this, the worst act of domestic terrorism at the time, people opened their hearts to the victims and those hurting. McVeigh was caught outside of Stillwater not by a federal agent but a state trooper. I can verify how easy it is to get pulled over for speeding on that stretch of Highway 151, been there and done that. But this was different. McVeigh, nasty little bastard, was eventually executed and conspiracy theories still linger. We don’t dwell on him, but on those who were murdered. They were the important ones. Something that often gets forgotten. By printing their names on banners and hanging them on the city streets during the marathon we honor their memory.
So I picked up my packet Friday. I went on the pre-race run yesterday, 3 miles downtown. The route included a stop at the museum and along the finish line. It was good. Then last night I watched Las Vegas and San Jose fight it out on Vegas’s ice, even watched overtime but gave up when they were still tied. Frankly neither is my team, it was 11pm and by that time I didn’t care.
There were lots of pictures I wished I took. Like the lady with two canes who chatted with me before passing me, the nun in a white habit walking with the firefighters, more signs and under the finish line sign.
I took Tiny Bear with me. He’s been to Mexico, Peru, China, Vietnam, and Seattle but never to the Memorial half marathon . Until now.
Ironically I got a big cramp when I tried running across the finish so I just walked across it. The last mile was the toughest, my shins began to hurt, my feet hurt and I had to stop to poop. I took my time, the goal was to finish. I took pictures, went to the port-a-potties twice and high-fived every little kid and person in an animal suit along the way. I was slow, and the inclines nearly did me in. I didn’t train on hills or different elevations and I felt it. There were 3 major hills–the dreaded Walnut Street Bridge (AKA Holy Crap Hill); Gorilla Hill and Shartel and a sneaky incline the last mile.
The volunteers are amazing. If you ever need the validation of strangers telling you that you are awesome, that you got this and handing out food and water for free this is it.