Friday, October 26, 2012
I got dressed, went outside to the car, and realized I was going to freeze my appendages off if I stayed dressed the way I was. I can describe the weather in Oklahoma City in two four letter words: Cold. Wind. I went back up to the room and put a couple more layers on, and then I was ready.
A few items on the agenda, first was to see the Oklahoma City Memorial and museum downtown, then to the race site to check it out, and then to Whole Foods to get a few things to eat for today and after the race in case I'm too trashed to go anywhere when I'm done.
The race site is only about a 5 minute drive from the hotel, and I turned off the highway to go there first since it was on the way downtown. There was a guy setting up some big tents near the parking lot, and I asked him if he was there for the race. He said yes. I asked him if that was where the staging area would be, I was trying to scope out where I'd set up my table in the morning. He said that would be where the finish line was.
Something didn't seem right. I asked him where the chip timing mats would be, and he looked at me sort of funny. He said, it's not being chip timed. I asked him if that was where the runners would come through on each loop and he said, "There's only one loop." Then I asked him which race he was talking about.
"The Zombie Dash 5K."
It was freezing, 36 degrees with a killer stiff wind, at least 15 mph. I decided to wait until tonight for the race packet pickup, to figure it all out. I couldn't even feel my hands after standing out there for just 5 minutes. I started counting the number of pairs of gloves I packed, in my head, wondering if I would need more...
I headed downtown and found the memorial no problem. Oklahoma City has a complicated freeway system but things are well-marked and easy to find. I found a place to park and went into the museum. It's on 3 separate floors. They start you up on the 3rd floor and you walk through all these displays of the events leading up to that morning.
Then they send you into a room where you hear a recording of the sounds of that morning's bomb blast, and then they flash the faces of all the people who died on a screen. Then you walk into the rest of the museum, that takes you through the subsequent events of that day and the weeks, months and years after.
It was really powerful, is all I can say. It's very moving, and it's really hard to see and hear the stories of the people involved in the rescue efforts and the people who lost children, and the way they have arranged the displays with twisted pieces of metal and broken bricks and concrete, and all the damage from the blast, tells different parts of the story from different perspectives. It's very thought-provoking and well-done.
It took me at least an hour to go through the inside of the museum, and you could easily spend a whole day looking at everything. Then I went outside to see the pool, the empty chairs, and the walls they've built with the times 9:01 and 9:03 on opposite ends of the pool. What can happen in the space between two minutes...
Definitely worth seeing at least once. I've included a lot of pictures here, they are pretty much self-explanatory so I won't say anything else.
Now I am eating a BIG salad and soup from Whole Foods and I plan to take a nap later after I get my stuff organized for the morning. I will go pick up my race packet at 4:30 this afternoon. It will be an early start, 6 am, and I need to get there by 5 to set up my table. If it's anything like it was this morning, I'll be bundled up like a snowman for the first half of the race, at least. I brought lots of clothes.
The sun doesn't come up until late, sunrise is something like 7:48 am! Just like Phoenix, at the western edge of the time zone, they get late mornings, but it will still be light when I finish. I'll have my headlamp and mini-Petzl light ready to go.
Tomorrow is Wheaties Boy's 35th birthday and my challenge is to get as close to doubling his age in miles as I can. I'm not going to be happy with less than 100K, that's for sure. Just how much more than that I can do is today's mystery, tomorrow's reality check. Old PR, set in 1994: 68.3 miles. I have no idea where that puts me today, and tomorrow my job is to find that out.
I plan to make it hurt.