The Air Force Marathon was supposed to be my BIG DEBUT into the world of full marathons, but sadly two weeks prior to race day my knee had other plans. Regardless of not being able to run, I still had to make the trip back home since
The conditions for start of race were perfect. 48 with practically no humidity when we left my house at 5:30 am (despite half marathon not starting till 8:30, we had to accommodate for S running the full + traffic to get on base)
Although I LOVE running in 40s and 50s, its not the best to stand around in, so we were all bundled up. I got made fun of because I didn't want my flood velour pants in the photos, so I kept pulling them down to my ankles for photo ops- apparently S thought it was funny and took a montage of me pulling down my pants- I'll spare you and just show one
can barely see them in this photo
We had a lot of time to kill so we wondered around, took a photo with a cow, found some fellow bloggers, cycled through the port-o-potty's with NO LINE (there are seriously over 100!) etc until it was time for half mary to start
Although I follow Jess and Jill's blogs, this was the first time ACTUALLY meeting them--- I was shocked at how tiny they were... Kim, I'm so thankful that you don't make me feel like a giant :)
After we all parted ways, my brother and I headed near the 2 hour pace group. We saw a few people i knew from HS and Eric made the comment that I don't live there anymore and I ran into more people I know than he did (he still lives in Dayton)- what can I say, little sister is popular haha jk.
Before the National Anthem started they had 4 guys jump from an airplane and parachute down with flags- its actually quite neat, however pictures don't capture the beauty
The Marathon start had a B2 stealth something or another fly over- its a quiet aircraft so I know a lot of people were disappointed there wasn't more noise or another fly over for the half. I think since this race I didn't care about as I was just there for my brother and to be social, I was easy to please.
Once the race started I made sure we kept an easy pace, but still enough to just bank a few sec per mile for cushion- we settled in at about an 8:56 pace for the first few miles. Since Eric didn't want to run with music- I felt obligated to not run with music as well. I tried to do most of the talking- updating him on my knee, love life, upcoming races etc. I even did the unthinkable and talked with many fellow runners during the race.
Somewhere around mile 3.5 just after a water station we turned right onto a road. Once we were running on it for some time a guy (volunteer?) comes running with a walkie talkie yelling at everyone that they are going the wrong way and they need to turn around---- seriously?!?! Commence clusters and chaos! There were literally hundreds of people all colliding and trying to get back on the right track. Regardless of it you're out there for a PR, or just to have fun- it was annoying.
The road wasn't very wide so not everyone could fit- I was constantly having to bob and weave through people, and the big problem now is you have the people who are running a slower pace that are now in front of you. So even though the extra .4 miles that was tacked onto our race was early enough in the game, it mentally defeated Eric and I noticed that it was now harder for him to keep pace. I decided to change my game plan and instead of running right with him, I would be his rabbit and run ahead of him.
Perfect timing to play bunny because shortly up ahead I saw Kim running. I've never actually ran with her so I came up from behind her and attempted to slap her behind (didn't get it right the first time, but the second time later in the race was perfect). It was such a cool experience to not care about time and be able to run and talk with a friend. I kept bouncing back between her and Eric for next couple of miles.
Right around mile 5 it was like a blogger reunion and we caught up to to Jess and Jill as well- although the mis-direction was considered a "tragedy" to a lot of people it was a slight blessing for me as it gave me opportunity to actually have fun while I run. Too often I just zone out, don't talk to people, and push myself too hard---- today was the exact opposite. We stopped briefly to say hi to my parents, Tracie, and Joseph
Proof that we ran together
Kim said she tried to call out to MaryJo (my mom) but she was too busy looking at me- I think its hilarious it was captured on photo (sorry Kim)
Show his son some love before we leave
After we said goodbye to our folks I think thats when the wheels came off. I made a comment how we would really have to step up our pace and how we couldn't go any slower to get to the 2 hour mark. My brother can be a disciplined runner, however, I think there is work to be had (which just comes with time) in the mentally toughening up department. I remember I said something to him around mile 6 or 7 about our pace and he said he was fine and thats when I knew to not worry about pace anymore.
Pretty much up until mile 10 we played leap frog with Kim- it was fun, annoying, something to do to pass time, and I think it helped Eric not focus on the pain in his right knee (runs in the family, pun intended). There is one large hill in the race and while we're going up it I passed Kim and told Eric he needs to pass her- she jokingly increased her wingspan and said no---I like that kind of joking around... I NEED that in more races.
We passed my parents again around mile 11 - the last 2 miles were a struggle. I'm not good at motivating people apparently and I think Eric was getting tired of me trying to unsuccessfully do it. I noticed how short his stride was and I even tried to be funny and tell him to act like a slut and open up his legs--- the guy next to me laughed, but no reaction from Eric.
The last mile in this race is REALLY long- you enter the runway, run ALL THE WAY DOWN it, turn right for a brief straightaway, then run back on a parallel runway. Although its lined with flags, planes, and spectators, it just takes forever and the hard part is you can see the finish line the entire time.
I stopped my watch at exactly 13.1 just to see what our time was- 2:02 and change... when we actually crossed the finish line was a different story- 2:06 and change (you can obviously see how much I cared about time with this one)-
Our total mileage was over 13.6, so it was a long one for sure. We were actually one of the luckier ones--- the really fast people had a different turnaround mishap right where my parents were standing after mile 5 and with those extra loops people averaged anywhere between an extra 1 mile - 5 miles. Apparently there was a lot of cursing and they had to cover Joseph's ears from all the profanity of the confused runners (can you blame them?)
Overall I had a a good time- yes it sucks we missed our goal and that the last few miles were progressively slower, but it was a GORGEOUS day, I got to spend time running with some friends that NEVER happens, and got to accompany my brother for his second half marathon.
Added bonus, right after coming out of finishers line with my food I run into my best friend from college, Kim. Her husband was running the half- doesn't she look amazing for having a baby 2 months ago?
All in all I'm glad I defaulted and ran a half that day instead of the full. My knee was screaming the last few miles and there is no way I could have kept up that distance without crawling. Because this race is in my backyard, I'll most likely do it again, however I either want to run it for real, or do the full. Despite S's mishaps which you can read on Kim's recap HERE, he did recommend this as a good course to tackle the full. For another good read but a slightly different experience check out Jess' recap HERE (and as a side note, if you ever have the opportunity to meet her in person, DO IT! She is so vivacious and fun to be around- I thoroughly enjoyed our first meet up!)