Saturday afternoon Drum and I headed to OKC to spectate the crap out of our friends running the OKC Memorial Marathon. As much as I LOVE racing, cheering is pretty high on my list. Y’all know I can be loud and what Pink Girl doesn’t love an opportunity to dress up silly like and make a fool of herself? Exactly.
We arrived later in the evening as Drum rode the Germanfest rally earlier in the day. Joining them for dinner already in progress, we had a blast catching up with each other’s lives. Let me just go on the record stating that I pink sparkle heart each of these incredible people. I’m a blessed girl to have such supportive and encouraging friends. So at the opportunity to pay back just a teeny bit of the support I’ve received from them at races, well I jumped!
Me (duh), Marci, Mama C, Drum, Erik & Michelle (Team K) and Robert
Setting up camp at the hotel, we then set about the business of taking great care to plot out the best spots on the course to see our friends. Spectating is a skill y’all. To ensure you are at critical locations along the course, you must consider road closings along with how much time you’ll have at each designated mile. We didn’t want to miss anyone and some of our runners were tackling the full while others were gunning for a half PR. And of course, all different paces! Stressful stuff y’all because we didn’t want to let anyone down.
Yes, Drum and I slept on the floor. Wanted to make sure our runners were well rested!
Good golly Pete morning came early. And not without rain and even hail during the night. My little pallet was comfortable enough but y’all know I’m prone to insomnia as it is, add the anxiety of negotiating my spectating plan and I spent most of the night , earbuds in, drifting in and out of sleep.
After plenty of photos, hugs and well wishes we sent our runners off to the start (our hotel was deliciously close to the race start, good job Mama C!) Not wanting to get stuck downtown, Drum and I hopped in the car before the road closings began. Which meant, we had about 2 hours to kill before we could expect to see even our fastest runner at Mile 6.
Erik of Team K looking strong at Mile 6. He ran a fantastic half!
It wasn't hard to spot Mama C in her burnt orange!
This guy had eagle feathers!
Spectator FAIL! I missed a few of our runners at Mile 6, despite standing on a bench to get a better view. AND I left my carefully crafted pink sparkle signs at the hotel. Side note, Marci bestowed the great honor of my very own FIGJAM shirt – custom color pink!
Spotting the last of our ten runners, we realized we could catch them unexpectedly at Mile 12. Woo hoo for happenstance! At this point the half had already split from the full so we got to surprise our full marathoners. Parking our cowbell happy selves right after a water stop, it was fun to see the look of surprise when they saw familiar faces! Lemme tell you, runners love the cowbell. Strangers faces would light up as I waved my hands and hollered their names. If I couldn’t read a name I’d just call them out by some identifying characteristic. “Way to go mustache man!” or “Yea Pink Lady, love those socks!” I know how much it means to hear your name, as silly as that sounds, so I tried to call out as many athletes as I could.
Psycho was a little excited to see a familiar face at Mile 12.
Marci, right before she recognized us. Surprise!
Robert looking strong for the second half.
Satisfied that we had spotted everyone, I maneuvered my way around town to drop Drum off before mile 20 so that she could run Marci in. Now I was on my own, trying to navigate in an unfamiliar city with plenty of closed streets! Fortunately, the marathon had a free app with a great interactive course map. That was so helpful; good job OKCM! The runner tracking, not so much. It was really far behind and even at Mile 12 still showed that my runners hadn’t crossed the starting mats. Whoops.
Eventually Mama C found me at Mile 23. She walked the three miles from the finish after racing her half!
Team K was with her - they both ran great races!
Saw Cassie and Elaine on the course - all smiles!
This guy carried this ginormous flag the entire 26.2 miles!
I did my civic duty and ran with these firemen for a while. I'm just patriotic like that. I mean seriously, is there a law or something that says firemen must be cutie patooties?
These guys cracked me up!
Ran a bit with Elizabeth who is training for Comrades! She ran 10 miles after the marathon. A machine, that woman.
I ran with each of my friends for a bit as they came by. Some needed more encouragement than others. I witnessed a sniffly woman running by, looking like she'd just lost her best friend. I jumped in to run with her, asking what was the matter. "It just hurts SO MUCH!" she answered with a quivering lip. "Of course it hurts, it's a marathon! If it didn't, more people would do this!" Oh yes, she got classic TPG wisdom. We have a phrase in our group, "DCTS!" or "Don't coddle that sh!t!" I noticed her purple TNT shirt and talked to her about that and reminded her that she was running for a great cause. I think she was just overwhelmed with the realization that at Mile 23, she was really going to complete a marathon! Satisfied that she was okay, I hugged her tight and sent her on her way.
Mile 23 will do that to you. It's often further than most people have trained and the hurt is great at that point. I rang my bell, danced to the music, hollered my head off and just tried to get the runners to smile a bit as they trudged up the hill. If I could have run all of my friends in the last three miles, I would have. I've been there many times racing and I know what it feels like. That last 5K feels like forever!
Eventually we spotted our girl. There she is, at the very spot she was pulled off the course last year, looking strong!
We yelled and we cheered, we clapped, we jumped and we celebrated her victory. I ran with Drum and Marci to the top of the hill and then we hopped in the car, hoping to make it to the finish to see our friends cross the last timing mat. Sadly, we missed everyone.
Marci getting a classic "A frame" hug from Michelle. She tells us she uses hugs, like the f bomb, sparingly, so it's more effective, ha!
I love these women!
Oh my cries I had a great weekend. I love my friends so SO much.
They are a GREAT group of individuals and I'd run an entire marathon with any one of them if they asked. Note, I did NOT race but I'm wearing a bib because you had to have one on to get to the finish line. So, Erik sorta loaned me his. Hey, I had to be there to hug Marci!
You can read their own race recaps here:
Team K, oops, well, still waiting on HERS!
It was an honor and a privilege to spectate my runners and I can't wait for the opportunity to do it again! I'll be racing next weekend and I'll carry with me their determination, grit and enthusiasm for the sport. And if you see me on the course, crying, just yell, "DCTS!", slap me on the rear and send me on my way. Cause, that's what I'd do for you!