Sunday, April 26, 2009

Pasta Dinner

The traditional 'pre-marathon' pasta dinner was held just next to the memorial. Danielle, Kevin & I got there just as they started serving. While the food wasn't gormet by any standards, just being there and experiencing the environment and people was worth it for me.
Over the next few hours I have no idea how many people they served, although tables and chairs were definitely in high demand.

It was amazing how much the volunteers at this event were so focused on doing whatever they could to make sure you had a great experience. Many of the volunteers for race weekend are family members of those who lost their lives in the bombing, and included everyone from older adults to very young children. I met some great people and heard some amazing stories.
During one part of the program the race director introduced elite runner Amy Palmiero-Winters. As a last minute idea I decided to record her talk and I'm glad I did. This video is a few minutes long but it's worth watching. (I apologize for the lack of video and sound quality here. The shakiness was my fault- I forget some of my medications have that side effect. Some of the background noise is a preview of the Oklahoma wind you'll hear more about later).

What you miss hearing just prior to this video beginning, is the race director saying that Amy was invited to participate in the OKC Marathon this year with the idea and expectation that she would set a new elite women's course record. A few days before the event she talked to him again and said that after thinking more about the purpose of this marathon and what it stood for, she had a different idea of how she wanted to be involved....

Her talk was the perfect set up of the whole race experience for me. I stayed a little later at the dinner to meet some other DRC members, but the travel and heat from the day were definitely catching up with me and I was getting tired. I wish I would have taken more pictures at the dinner because I met a lot of great new friends that night and since the following morning would be so crazy with race festivities, I wouldn't get to see most of them again that weekend. (Update- Thanks to Pat for taking more pictures at the pasta party than I did- I borrowed a few from her).
As everyone continued to socialize I found myself quietly looking across the memorial at the Survivor tree (in the background to the right of the photo below), thinking about Amy's talk, and what I wanted this race experience to mean for me. This is something I wish I took the time or had the chance to do for so many things I participate in in life. So often I feel like I end up jumping from one activity to the next just trying to keep up and meet deadlines, meet goals, etc. It's amazing how taking just a moment to reflect and plan for your participation in something can change so much about your experience.

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