Monday, September 23, 2013

Air Force Half Marathon Recap

Up until last Wed, I was having serious doubts in how well Saturday's US Air Force Half Marathon was going to go. All summer I was kicking out awesome average paces until I caught a stupid flu on the airplane from Hawaii. I had 3 weeks after Hawaii to get over the cold and get back to my usual racing strength....and my chances looked pretty bleak with each exhausted and pathetic run leading up to the race. I was a good 15 seconds off where I'd like to be for my pace and I had to go down 1 for resistance for the elliptical. I could feel the icy cold fingers of dread wrapping themselves around my heart.

But then, after a fantastic run on Wednesday, my spirits soared and I was on to new worries like whether or not they'd cancel the race due to they had cancelled the 5k the evening before. Worrying should be a sport, I'd clean up!

Silly us, thinking we'd be standing in the rain for hours pre-race....

Saturday dawned with a little drizzle, and everything went smoothly with getting all of my family going, bins pinned, shoes tied....until we got into the crazy traffic. We'd been told that security would be a little tighter this year because of the Boston Marathon bombings, but this was crazy! Turned out, one of the gates onto the base was coned off and about 80% of the racers were forced to have to funnel into only 2 gates.

7:00...  My twitching begins. The 10K/Marathon was to start in 30 minutes...and we'd barely gone a mile, with a mile to go. It was going to be impossible for us to make it to the parking lot and walk the mile to the start in time for my family's race.

7:30... stuck in our cars, we watched mournfully as we could see the 10k/Marathon racers go by as they headed onto their 2nd mile. I felt terrible for my family, especially my niece and nephew, thinking there was no way they'd get to race, even with chips!

7:40: That does it, I have to pee like the Dickens and at least one of us should be able to make it to their race! So, despite swearing I would only do 13.1 this year, I got out of the car, saluted my family, and jogged the 2 remaining miles straight to the porta potty line at the start.

7:55: Wracked with guilt that I was at the start and I had no idea if my brother would make it in time for the Half, or if my family would get to do the 10k at all, I waited in the drizzle with the runners for the gun.

Mile 1: Feeling good, had to dodge some people at first but slowly found my usual bubble. I must have some powerfully stinky sweat since every race I always end up in a bubble by myself. Fine by me!

Mile 2: Damn, this is the longest mile EVER. Where the hell is that Mile 3 sign? Uh-Oh....Garmin says 3.5 miles.. PLEASE tell me this is NOT happening again!

Mile 3-5: Going smooth, feeling good. A little down pour felt awesome and wished it would have stayed! Signage for where each race should go is amazing. There is NO way you could go the wrong way this year!

Mile 6: Crrraaaaaap.. Side stitch. Make that 2. Please, please, pleeeeeease go away! Had to slow down to a 7:30 pace for a mile til it went away. Almost considered walking it off but my good old stubbornness held on. Yes!

Mile 7-8: The hills begin. Dammit.

Mile 9: Caught up to a 10 year old. Yes, a 10 year old had been ahead of me all this time. And the only reason I caught up to him was because he needed to take a moment to use his inhaler.

Mile 10-12: Ok, I'm about ready for this to be over. Why 13? Who came up with this crazy number anyway?

Approaching the final stretch

Mile 13: I start into the dreaded U toward the Finish. I swear every year this stretch gets longer and longer. I spot the Turtle taking my pic and blow him a kiss. After seeing the smile on his face I knew things had to have worked out somewhat well with the traffic and I immediately felt relief. The ground of the final stretch was so slippery I couldn't sprint and they were cautioning people to slow down!

Final Time: 1:36:48!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! That's a 7:22/mile! Not bad for only 1 really good run in the last 3 weeks and taking a week off for vacation!

The results were posted yesterday and that's when my mouth really dropped. I came in 4th in my division, 20th woman overall (out of 2,884) and 134th in the WHOLE race (5,275). HOLY COW!!!!! I never even think about placing in any of the big races I enter. I know I'm fast locally, but that's only because the races are so small! It's easy to be fast when there's only 10 of you! But, competing in the Air Force Half? With thousands from not only all over the country, but the world? Wow! I still can't get over it!

And my family? They all made it and did their races too. My brother did great with his Half, and the rest of my family got to do their 10k, (starting over an hour late!) and all more than beat their times from last year. It all turned out way better than I could have ever hoped for!

3 weeks until the Towpath Half Marathon! Yippee!!!!


  1. Own it, girl! You rocked it! Glad to hear the signage was much better this year but yikes on the pre-race traffic. Congrats!

  2. Impressive that u were able to bounce back from the flu n time for ur run!

  3. Girl! You are so speedy...and after being sick! Way to go!

  4. Congratulations! You did great. Extra impressive that you ran right after being sick!

  5. Yay! Finally it's here! I have been waiting for your recap on this!:) We were there too! :) I cheered for my husband. I was sooo jealous and I will definitely register next year!

    Congratulations on finishing with an AMAZING time and placing 4th! Holy moly! You are fast! :) You were probably done already while my husband was still waiting in line at the port-a-potty LOL!
    You are awesome!!!