Monday, April 27, 2009

OKC Bus Trip and Weekend Experience Minus the Race

A crowd of DRCers gathered at the clubhouse Saturday morning 9:30 am, but it wasn't for a training run. Armed with luggage, we were heading off to wage war on our own personal race goals at the Oklahoma City Memorial Half and Full Marathon events. The bus driver arrived about 20 minutes late but I loaded everyone on the bus quickly and doublechecked we were all there. And I literally mean double check. I had checked everyone off my list when they arrived in front of the clubhouse and then I told them all that when they got on the bus, that was it - they weren't getting off again. And so everyone found a seat, I went down the aisles and rechecked everyone on the list. Good - no one is being left in the clubhouse bathroom or on a quick run to the Starbucks.

We arrived in Oklahoma City without incident and shuttled everyone to their different hotels before returning back to have our host hotel, the Renaissance. I'd heard the expo line was long and out the door, but was much shorter by the time I got there.

OKC's expo is minimal. Mostly local things of no interest to a non-local runner. Having walked through it in detail last year, there wasn't much to see so I didn't spend much time.

I had told everyone I would be in the lobby at 6 pm to lead a group to the pasta dinner. We had 20-30 show and we walked the 5 or so blocks there. It's nice to have a pasta dinner outside and it's right by the memorial, which is worth spending time at when you go, but the food itself is definitely not what to go there for. They were out of breadsticks when we got there, and the pasta was lukewarm at best. The highlight was the Carl's Jr. chocolate chip cookie they give you for dessert.

I happened to sit down at a table with a guy who saw my DRC Training Program shirt and said he was also from Dallas. We introduced ourselves and he said his name was Kim. I asked if he ran with Park Cities Morning Running Group and he said yes. I said, "Oh, you're Master Kim!" He laughed and said he was. That's what people call him. The guy's sitting there decked out in his Boston Marathon hat and shirt from '08 and has done over 200 marathons or something like that. Hardy athlete and cool to finally meet him!

After dinner, we shuttled everyone back to their hotels. Forced myself to go to sleep at 10 pm knowing it would be a long day the next day. I'm such a night owl that I couldn't even tell you the last time I went to bed before midnight, except probably my last half marathon!

Race day morning, I'm up at 5 am. My roommate, neighbor, and good friend Sarah gets up and just isn't feeling right. She's been feeling "off" for a few days and had pneumonia a couple weeks ago. Her throat is scratchy and so at 5 am, we're sitting weighing pros and cons of her running it. We runners are crazy - the answer should have been an obvious no - but here we are debating. She decides not to run but has to find a way to get home and get to a CareNow before they close Sunday night, so she can't take the bus home. So in addition to getting ready, since my Blackberry has internet access, we're looking up rental car places and hours and directions of how to drive home!

6 am I meet Laurie in the hotel lobby. It's her first half marathon and the night before, Sarah and I had offered to walk her to the start line and help calm those pre-race jitters. We walk to the start, get there in time for the 168 seconds of silence for the victims of the bombing. It's pretty interesting to see that huge of a group that quiet and still for that long. Quite a nice tribute.

We find David and Marie from her pace group, who she'll be doing the race with and I move more to my area of the start corral and chat with Vicki and Roxanne, who are leading some first time half marathoners. (By the way, Laurie did complete her first half and did a great job of it - congrats, Laurie!!!)

The race was brutal, but that's a whole other post once I get past the trauma that has blocked the memory!!! :-)

After the race, I take the bus to pick up folks from their hotels. At 1:30 everyone has listened well to my instructions and is waiting in the lobby. Thank you to everyone for not showing up late and worrying me about leaving someone behind in Oklahoma City. My role as tour guide includes a group activity before we leave - I get those with PRs to raise their hands, and then those who completed their first half or full marathon. We leave perfectly on time, people chat, play games, and sleep on the long drive back, and we get back 4 minutes after the 5:30 pm return I had put on the itinerary for everyone, not bad.

A successful trip is finished. I hope that everyone enjoyed the hotel room block I reserved at a discount and saving their legs and feet from having to drive there and back by having the bus available. I have a lot of fun planning out logistics like this (sick, huh?) and was so glad I could help with this!

If you want to be on the list of those who want info as soon as it's available if a trip is done next year, please go ahead and send me a RaceNation message with your name and email address, and I'll make a list, so those people get "first dibs". Thanks.

Happy Running wherever the road takes you!

No comments:

Post a Comment