Ok for the OKC Marathon!


OK City is a
REALLY friendly place to visit!  I've never been called "hun" and "ma'am" so many times... ever... in my entire, GosH DaRn, life. Refreshing. Pleasant. Respectful. A place where people still take their hats off (as they should), and place their hands over their hearts (ditto), for the National Anthem.

we're spelling out "O" and "K" here, for Oklahoma, bear with me here, people  ;D

London was supposed to be my RunningBrooke April marathon, but the volcano event and subsequent flight disruptions, had me change course. So, hello Oklahoma City, for the running of the 10th annual Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon. And so, without further adieu:

The Good (and The Really Good)

Best first.  

Meeting and talking with Running Greats: Bart Yasso, Dick Beardsley and Joan Benoit Samuelson!  Each spoke at the Expo.  Each shared their personal story.  How they came to running, and where running has taken them.  Literally, the opportunities, races and places, and not so literally, the strength, courage, and determination, to persevere through life's hardships.  Most important message?  To NEVER Give Up.

Meet Bart Yasso, on my right, Chief Running Officer (CRO), of Runner's World dubbed the 'Mayor of Running.'   Great guy whom I first met at Disney in January.  If you haven't read his book My Life On The Run, go out.  And buy it Now.  Funny.  Inspirational.  Makes you want to get out there!  Bart was a 2 pack a day smoker, and at a crossroads in his life, whose first run was a 1/2 miler, to a bar stool, for some cold ones.

Visit www.bartyasso.com to learn more.

His inscription: Never Limit Where Running Can Take You.

Meet Dick Beardsley, on my left, motivational speaker, London and Grandma's Marathons Champion.  Who, at the '82 Boston Marathon, lost to Alberto Salizar.   By Two Seconds.  Here was a kid, a relative no one, from nowhere, running against a known great, in (arguably) the most prestigious marathon.  This race is considered one of the most memorable marathons in history.   And Dick, who only joined the cross-country team, after being sandwiched by 20 guys, in the first tackle, of the first football practice, and deciding that this sport was for someone else.   His book, Staying The Course: A Runner's Toughest Race, is a great read, where he recounts his rise to running great-dom (made this word up), and his recovery from near-death accidents and pain-killer addiction.  In October of 2007. he founded the Dick Beardsley Foundation to help people who cannot afford treatment for chemical dependancy.

His inscription:  Have a Smile on your Face, Enthusiasm in your Voice, Joy in your Heart, and Faith in your Soul.     To learn more, visit www.dickbeardsley.com

Meet Joan Benoit Samuelson, two-time Boston Marathon Winner and Olympic Gold Champion (1984 LA games).   1984 was the first year women were allowed(?) to run this distance.  Protecting our female reproductive organs for us(?)!  She kicked butt finishing in 2:24:28, and ran Chicago a year later in 2:21:21.  Joan came to the sport rehabbing, from a downhill ski-racing injury.

Her incription:  May the Many Miles of Life be Good to You.

Her advice to the audience (but I know she was talking only to me ;D), was to run your own race, and don't get pulled into someone else's energy field, whereby running theirs.  I have met my hero,  and she is not taller than me.  (always envisioned my hero as someone taller...)  Joan has a great article in the May/June issue of Women's Running.  Check out www.womensrunning.com/home

There's a common thread, and bond, among these three, and I guess, really, among ALL runners, no matter when they came to the sport.  It is the love of running (obviously) but, it is also the people we meet, the adventures we share, the stories we have, the camaraderie.  It is what running has taught us, how it has become our lives. And for some of us (me included), it has become our vehicle to make a difference in the world.  It has become what we can do to help others succeed.

And the Good
  • Thunder-Mania.  OKC Thunder in the NBA playoffs (first for Thunder), playing the LA Lakers (staying at my hotel).  The championship rings are HuGE and ummm, GaUdy, hunks of gold.  Diamond encrusted, unmissable...  Wish I know which players I rode down the elevator, and insulted(?), by saying 'So what's up with the ring?!'...
  • The OK City National Memorial and Museum.  Serene strength.  Peace in a place of violence.  The 128 seconds of silence (pre-race, just after the National Anthem) represented the 128 lives taken that day.  It brought tears to my eyes.  And I'm no crier.

The reflecting pool sits where the Murrah building once stood.

Field of Empty Chairs symbolize each life lost (128).  A victims name is etched on the base of each.

The Survivor Tree withstood the blast and now stands as a symbol of resilience.

The Bad
  • Sorry Oklahomans, but the only thing I had good to eat was a nice and thick, dripping-rare, (probably corn-fed) steak.  But it was. The Best Steak. I've ever had.  Everything else, was the same color (tan),  a lot of which, I didn't recognize.
  • Winds.  Sustained and swirling.  Unsettling.  Not working for me.
  • New shoes.  Yeah, I really did this.  Ran Sunday's race in a newish pair of Nike Luna Racers (They've worked before.   Virtually weightless, and score for the high-cuteness factor).  I'm vain.  Problem was, I ordered a Half-Size.  Too Small.  Mile 10, feet were talking, mile 16, screaming.  Needless to say, I'm returning to the tried-and-true, Mizuno Wave Riders.
  • Lost Running Karma.  My Zen-Like, forward-motion, trace.  My Euphoric connection of Body and Mind, moving in harmony to the finish line.  Sunday, not so much.  I just ran through OK City with a bunch of people I didn't know, but whom seemed to know everyone.  Which was a bummer.  Kinda lonely.  Usually I hook in with a like-paced, like-minded runner.  We work together.  We help each other.  Not this time. 

The Ugly (none!)


  • Shopping Cart (1937) and Parking Meter (1935) were invented by OKC'ers
  • OKC is the home of the National Softball Hall of Fame
  • Oklahoma means "Land of the Red Man" in Choctaw language

RunningBrooke Updates

  • Mayor Eiulle, Mayor of the City of Alexandria, dubbed me the Ambassador of Alexandria, by proclamation, at a City Council meeting on April 13th!

  • Next marathon: May 2 in Eugene, OR.  Less than one week away...

  • Next continent:  Asia!  Great Wall Marathon on May 15th.  Woo Hoo!  Thanks Marathon Tours! www.marathontours.com

That's it.  Thanks everyone.  Feeling great, and cheers, it is a beautiful day for a run!


Dharma, Jumble of Updates and Yada, Yada, Yada...

Hello Friends, Family and Neighbors-

I know that it has been awhile and I can't quite put my finger on where the ten days have gone since my last post.   Somehow Spring does this to me, maybe to everyone...  The extra games of favorite children -- 10+ hours devoted this weekend; I won't go into the number of hours spent last week --, the opening of the outside spaces (pruning/mulching/weeding/planting), the puzzle of insulation bits littering the driveway.  Yeah, birds nesting in the attic, and the guilt of (perhaps) ending their freedom to fix the holes in my facia.  Yada, Yada, Yada.  The joys of parenthood and home ownership.  Actually, it is pretty great, well maybe not the weeding, and maybe not the day-in and day-out of fixing school lunches....

I was at hot yoga last Thursday, and Patty, the instructor and co-owner of Down Dog Yoga, started talking about Dharma.  Sanskrit.  Your life's purpose or virtuous path.  My mind goes directly to the short-lived sitcom Dharma and Greg.  Ahhh, now that show and her character makes a little more sense.  It could appreciated (sort of), on another level.  Though, I don't remember there being too many levels.  It was a sitcom after all.

Patty's point was that yoga could help us find our purpose.  By slowing down.  By breathing.  By understanding who we are in space.  By working together.  It was timely.

I am a 'Type A'  by nature.  Nothing gives me more pleasure than checking something off my list.  But I can appreciate Dharma.  I want Dharma.  Why and I here?  What am I supposed to be doing with my life?  What can I do to make a really good Obituary Story?  (;D)  AND, the last thing I want to do is wake up one day, 80+ years old, with the 'should haves,' 'the could haves,' and the 'would haves' on my back.  And not the 'dones' crossed off my list.

So what is my Dharma?  I've decided that my Purpose -- right now anyway -- is to run marathons and raise money.  7 continents, 50 states and 5 marathon majors -- one marathon a month.  Money for the at-risk children and their families in the City of Alexandria.  I've been dealt a good hand, and I know it.  I need to give back.  Over $30,000.00 since May of 2009.  All going to those who need it most.  $20,000.00 granted in February of 2010 to Child and Family Network Centers.

What is your Dharma?

RunningBrooke UPDates:

  1. Food friend Leslie Ann was picked up by Tastespotting!  A direct link to Leslie Ann's blog and my recipe (with her amendments), follow this link: Marathoner's Banana Bread .
  2. I was awarded by Mayor Euille, mayor of the City of Alexandria,  a Proclamation stating, among other things, that I am now an Official Ambassador for the City.  Yipee!  Feel very honored...
  3. HOpinG that I make it to London on Friday to run the marathon of Sunday.  Really want to cross the 5 majors category off my list and show my favorite mother -- 70th birthday present -- and one of my favorite children, a good time.  Who knew this adventure could get thwarted from an Icelandic volcano, that hasn't erupted in 150+ years.
  4. Made a Plan 'B.'  If I can't get to London, I'll run either the Delaware Trail Marathon or the Oklahoma City Marathon on April 24th/25th.  Both have race day registration...
  5. Running Eugene, OR marathon on May 2.

Cheers everyone!  Feeling great and can't wait to run another.


First Edition, Chapter 2: The BlOg WorLd and the Interview (goal #13)


Hello Friends, Family and Neighbors-

Been a year and I still feel as if I'm still JUST dipping my toes into the potential of the BloG WoRld.  (sigh)  Too much running, too much life, too little time...

Goal #13:

  improve RunningBrooke blog and readership through thoughtful comments (on other blogs), consistent postings (3x a week), guest postings and interaction in blog world...

Again, sigh.  I might have to amend...

But then, someone really cool finds you.  Thanks Lululumon --  www.lululemon.com -- for the connection!  

(Remember, I'm a running ambassador for them.  So, some may say that my opinion is tainted, jaded.  Here it is.  They have the most UBER-CUTE athletic wear, anywhere.  Ever.  PeRiod).

Everyone, meet Leslie Ann.  Leslie Ann, everyone.  See a picture of us below at Cheesetique, Mt. Vernon Ave., in the heart of Del Ray.

I'm holding dark chocolates...

Leslie Ann writes an awesome blog (full of pictures and commentary) about Food (local, fresh, fun) and Fitness (she's an instructor) and their Health Relationship (how each -- food and fitness -- plays a role in the success of the other).

So, Leslie Ann finds me and wants to interview me for her blog.

Her questions to me:

  1. What is your food philosophy?
  2. Do you have recipes to share?
  3. How has your diet changed as your running began and then evolved?
  4. Diet and travel.  How do you eat well on the road?
  5. Cross-training.  How do you stay injury free?

I don't know what she's going to write, so I'll stop here.  But everyone, listen, you need to follow her.  It's that good.

And finally,

I let my camera go outside with my 12 year old and this is what came back...

Ahhhh, Spring in Washington...

Brooke's 2010 goals
in no particular order....

meditate 3x a week, working up to daily by June

stretch key muscle groups at least once a day

cross train 3x a week: hot yoga, swim or bike

live in the moment and appreciate the moment...

listen more, listen more, listen more, instead of making to do lists in my head

have more patience...

run a marathon a month for the next 12 months in 10 different states, London and Australia

raise $50,000.00 for the RunningBrooke fund

get 10 (or more) local businesses/organizations to commit to a donation of $1,000.00 (or more)  for the next 5 years, benefitting the RunningBrooke fund and Alexandria, VA charities

keep a 3 season vegetable garden, starting from seed (when feasible) and from heirloom varieties (when possible): greens, herbs, tomatoes and beans, eggplant, root vegetables and anything else that looks fun

train safely, not pushing too hard, or too soon, or too far...

take Apple workshop session 1x a month

improve RunningBrooke blog and readership through thoughtful comments (on other blogs), consistent postings (3x a week), guest postings and interaction in blog world...

Dedication. Optimism. Persistence.   Do it Now!