Whenever I run, I like to be as incognito as possible. We’re talking border-line ninja. I think my goal is to blend in as much as possible so nobody will notice the super-slow girl bringing up the rear. So my running attire for races is pretty standard: black shirt, black pants, white socks. No crazy socks. No tutus. No funny hats. If nobody notices me, I’ve accomplished my mission.
So pulling on long, bright red socks Sunday morning felt pretty weird.
Granted, I wasn’t exactly running a marathon yesterday. I wasn’t even running the half or 5k. I was heading out with my husband and 3-year-old daughter for the Oklahoma City Memorial Kids Marathon. I did my last half – my fourth one – back in March so I would be able to participate with my little girl in her big race. For the Kids Marathon, runners put in 25 miles on their own and then finish the last 1.2 miles at the race. (If you don’t think that sounds far, try putting in that kind of distance when you’re legs are, like, 12 inches long.)
I read in the Landrunners Oklahoma City Running Club newsletter that people were encouraged to wear red socks in honor of those affected by the Boston Marathon bombing earlier this month. After some digging, we were able to rustle up some red socks for all of us. (That’s us in the photo above before the run.)
Granted, a 3-year-old really doesn’t have a preference on her socks on any given day, so it’s not like we really explained to her the reason she was sporting brand new ones. But we wanted her to be a part of it, even if she didn’t know why. At the expo, some children handed out bracelets braided with red, white and blue yarn. We tied one around our daughter’s wrist the morning of the race, and she asked what it was for. All we could really explain was that it was to remember some people who were hurt. It was to help them feel better.
I saw a lot of red socks during the kids event, and we spotted plenty of race finishers wearing them as they staggered away from the finish line. Lots of people wore shirts in support of Boston, including my next-door-neighbors. As we walked back to the car after the fun and celebration, we passed the Oklahoma City National Memorial. My mom overheard a dad explaining to his daughter, “This is a very special place.”
Life is full of hurts. Terrorism is one that frightens us, whether it’s in our city or hundreds of miles away. I can’t stop terrorism, but I can do small acts of love, even if it’s only socks.