Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Air Force 1/2 Marathon

So I'm really behind on my blog posts. So much so that I actually have a list of posts that I want to write. Something tells me that blogging isn't supposed to be stressful!

Anyways, I ran the Air Force 1/2 Marathon last month with my father-in-law (FIL). It was sort of strange because I went into it with low expectations and because of that, I really wasn't too stressed or nervous about the race. I was under trained and I knew it. I was very up front with my FIL because I wasn't sure if I could run the entire thing or if I could keep up with him. It was his first 1/2 and I didn't want to hold him back. I went into the race with the goal of running as much as I could and then I would just walk the rest.

The Pilot was in town (yeay!) so we left the house crazy early to make the hour drive to Dayton. I did the full marathon in 2007 and got stuck in crazy traffic trying to get onto the Air Force Base. I was walking that year and it was only my 2nd marathon and having to run from my car to the start to have the gun go off as I was still trying to catch my breath was just a little stressful! Anyways, armed with that knowledge, we met The Pilot's parents just outside of the base nearly 2 hours before the start of the race. We made our way onto the base and took our time getting our bibs on and walking over to the Air Force Museum. My in-laws are great and picked up my race packet for me the day before so I wouldn't have to make the trip to Dayton twice...yeay!

It was actually pretty chilly out (surprising for mid-September and especially since I think it got to 90 the day I did the full marathon back in 2007). We used the "real" bathrooms in the museum where it was nice and warm before heading to the starting area. Just about everyone else had the same idea to use the warm bathrooms inside before going back out to the start. Once we got the the start, I followed my own race advice and went to the bathroom one more time. This time in a not so warm port-a-potty outside. I'm so glad that I did because I was able to make it through the entire race without making a pit stop! It's the small successes you know...

We said goodbye to The Pilot and my mother in law (MIL) and lined up for the start. There was a fly over of some kind of jet (I'm sure The Pilot knows what it was) but the best part of the start was the....goose flyover. This was mob mentality in its finest. Not too long after the real flyover, a perfect V of geese flew over the start line. Someone pointed up and before you knew it, the entire crowd was cheering up at the geese. So funny....or maybe you had to be there?

The course was a little different from the last time I did the race and I was excited because it meant not starting off on a big hill. That excitement was short lived when I realized we would start up on a different hill. Boo! It seemed like all of the hills (really there weren't that many, I just hate hills) were very stealthy. You didn't really notice them until you were 1/2 way up the hill and then it just felt like they wouldn't end! We trucked along for the first 4 miles. It went really quickly and I found my rhythm a lot faster than I normally do, so that was great. I think the cool weather had something to do with it. Just after mile 4, we saw The Pilot and the MIL...our personal paparazzi....especially since they were on the actual base and there weren't too many other spectators out there. The Pilot's dad is retired army and The Pilot's mama has a spouse ID and was able to get The Pilot onto the base to cheer for us. It was so fun to see them out there!
The Pilot captured these gems...faces only our spouses could love?
Note the woman in the pink skirt behind us....that's Virginia...more on her later.
We kept on going and chatting. It was a great distraction to be able to talk for most of the race because I forgot that I was running a few times! That started to change by the time we got to mile 10. I definitely lost my steam around then. That's when my lack of training become very obvious. I told the FIL that I wasn't sure how much more running I had left in me and gave him the option to go ahead but he stuck with me and we took a walk break. I knew I didn't want to walk too long or I wouldn't be able to start running again, and would end up walking the last 3.1 miles. I did manage a run/walk for the next 2 miles and as we closed in on the finish, I kept thinking that I could run the remaining distance. I probably thought this at least three times in the last mile but every time I started to run again, my legs would tell me no. Even as we could SEE the finish line, I just knew I didn't have enough running left in my legs. We took one last walk break, nearly to the 13 mile marker before started to run for the last time.

I told the FIL that we needed to make it look good because I knew The Pilot and the MIL would be taking pictures and video has we came in the finish chute. I was feeling kinda crappy but I went with my Goofy Challenge motto, "fake it 'til you make it." That meant I was going to run in the finish chute and smile.
OK, so I thought I was smiling. Fail.
I'll also point out that the Air Force Marathon has the most obnoxious finish. You actually have to pass by the finish line, do a U-turn and then cross the finish line. After 26 or 13 miles, seeing the finish line is a beautiful thing but having to PASS it and then come back towards it is a kick in the stomach!
Throughout the race, we made friends with a woman named Virginia. We first noticed her around mile 4 when she commented that she wasn't stalking us, she just liked our pace. She was doing a run/walk through the entire race and she would pass us on her runs but then fall behind us during her walks. Well as we made that U-turn into the finish chute, she was right behind us and worked her way in between the FIL and I. That might have annoyed me that she wedged herself into our finish photos but since we struck up a conversation with her a couple times, it was all good. She was just part of our 1/2 marathon story for the day!

FIL must have been saying,
"Woman, why are you photo bombing my first 1/2 marathon finish line photo??"


We all came across the finish line in exactly 3 hours. If you want to get technical, I came across first in 3:00:18 and the FIL was sauntering along behind me at 3:00:19. ;) I probably should have let him "win" since it was his first 1/2 marathon and he slowed down to stick with me. Oh well, I think he still likes me.
It took awhile to get through the food line (free pizza for finishers!) and while we were standing there, both of my calves started to cramp up. I really wanted to sit down but there was no where to go. As soon as we grabbed our goodies and found The Pilot and the MIL, you betcha I was sitting.
Pilot, why are you taking my picture right now?
I know I look like crap and I don't need that documented.

Seriously, Pilot....get out of my face before I slap you with this pizza.
Half Marathon Finishers!

We hung out for a little while before heading our separate ways. I was definitely really sore and was not looking forward to sitting in the car for the hour+ drive home. I knew once we got home that I wouldn't be able to get out of the car. So how do you remedy that stiffness? Stop at an antique fair on the way home. I changed my clothes in the car before leaving the Air Force Base (shhhh....don't tell) and we hit up the Springfield Antique Extravaganza on the way home. We wandered around for about an hour and a half (and didn't buy anything!) before my stomach got all wonky and we decided we better head home. For some reason my stomach gets angry after most longer races and even more so after the races that I run instead of race walk. I haven't quite figured that one out yet.

It was a great day. Perfect weather, a fun race, a great race buddy, awesome super spectators/paparazzi and half marathon # 6 is in the books.

1 comment:

  1. I'm so glad I got the ambulance in the background for that last picture. :-)