from mile to marathon

The journey of a thousand leagues begins from beneath your feet.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

oklahoma city marathon

This was a destination marathon - we actually went to Oklahoma to visit friends, and I ran this race for them. To add a little twist, I had the map of Oklahoma and the letters OK shaved at the back of my head.

I was slow. 5h 12 min 05 sec, although I slowed down to walk only twice, I even slurped water while still running. It is true that at times some walkers seemed to be walking faster than me. It was just one of those things - you hurry, but you are slow.

This is a soulful marathon. It starts and ends at the memorial for the Oklahoma City bombing. 168 banners on the course bear the names of those who died. Many people run it in honor of someone. Many only want to finish, nothing else. It's the only marathon I saw where even the relay runners were walking. Many left their bib numbers on the memorial's fence. Some even left their medals.

Somewhere after mile 18 I fell apart - I was whiny, and moving like a 90-year old, and feeling sorry for myself. Mile 22 was the longest mile I ever ran. I had set my goal on 35th street, going south, and was counting down from 47th. I could swear that someone was shuffling the streets around - no matter how much I ran, 35th was still afar. I was miserable.

Somewhere after mile 22 I snapped out of it. I was still moving like a 90-year old, but I stopped feeling sorry for myself. Every marathon is different. Here, about two miles before the end, someone came, inhabited the body, took over, and finished very nicely. It was me, and it was not me. I came in steady and strong and straight, and it felt as if I were someone else.