Monday, September 19, 2011

Air Force Full Marathon recap!

Wow! What a weekend!

It flew by so fast.  I knew that it would but I wish that it hadn't.  It was a great weekend.  I learned a few things about my running, myself and running marathons.  But isn't that the point.

First off, the weather was perfect.  It was 53 degrees at the start with some light clouds overhead and it warmed up to about 70.  As the sun came up, the Air Force treated us with the first flyover by the new B-1 Lancer bomber!  It was incredible and made me feel like I could run 5 minute miles.

 At the start of the race, I felt really, really good.  A little too good likely because I went out too hard.  My plan was to run "unofficially" with the 4:20 marathon pace group and see what happened.  But as I ran, I suddenly found myself with the 4:30 group.  I could see the 4:20 ahead, so about mile 3, I began to push forward to catch up.  When I did, I felt so good that I just kept on trucking right past.  (This picture is me about mile 9 (taken by Jackie).  At this point, I was feel great and running 9:30s (instead of the 10:15s I should have been running.  But the crowds here felt so good.)

Problem was... it was early.  And I should have known better.  about mile 18/19, it started to catch up with me.  So did the 4.15 pace group that I had passed earlier... as did the 4.20 group about mile 23.  But I hung in there.  My last 10k, I clipped off about 10:20 minute miles... but honestly, that was about all that I could muster.

 Coming to the finish line was incredible.  It was truly an experience that I'm not sure how to describe.  Honestly, I would have cried I was so emotional (but I didn't have the fluids left in my body... I had actually stopped sweating regularly despite continuing to take water and Gatorade at each stop about mile 23...).  We came up behind the finish line and could see it.  We swung around and made a loop and then came down through a row of retired aircraft!  Incredible!  When I saw the finish line and started down the shoot, I almost couldn't run fast enough.  (This picture is a picture of me getting ready to cross the finish line... I'm under the "N" in finish!)  It was so incredible... It's almost beyond words.

After the race, I sat down because I was wiped.  Jackie saw me finish and I saw her which was incredible as well.  The post-race food was a little "eh" (pizza and chips... I was looking for bagels, yogurt, apples... something else).  But it was food... so I ate it!
 Following the race, Jackie and I spent a little time walking around (she was walking... I was waddling) the Air Force Museum which was open to the public!

Overall, I was pleased with my finish time.  For my first marathon, I wasn't sure what to expect.  I wanted to beat 4:30... but would have really liked to have beaten 4:15... but it just wasn't to be.  I settle for 4:22:29 (my Garmin had 4:22:33... check out the data here)!

A couple of thoughts... some likes and didn't likes about the marathon.

-It was a very flat course.  I knew that going in... that's part of the reason why I choose this marathon... what's flatter than an Air Force base.  But it made it easier to be sure that I would finish.

-The military personnel (that were everywhere) were very encouraging!  Fun to see those guys out there encouraging us... and some running.

-The museum was open to us following the race!  Fun stuff! 

-The race atmosphere was electric.  Maybe it was because it was my first, but it felt really alive!

-The flyovers all day were a great addition.  Added some adrenaline when I needed it most!

-There were a couple of stretches of the race that were on the runway strips... for over a mile.  That's a long time to run in a straight line. 

-The parking was plentiful and free... but it was literally a half a mile to 3/4 of a mile away.  When you've just run 26.2 miles, the last thing that I wanted to do was walk to find the car.

-A lack of a viable shower option was no good.  They provided the option.  But you had to walk the 1/2 to 3/4 miles to get your stuff... then walk back... then wait for a shuttle (which was on a 30 to 45 minute cycle) to pick you up.  No bueno!

-I really missed the crowds.  The crowd at the Flying Pig was amazing!  They were going nuts for 13.1 miles.  Aside from miles 8-10, we really didn't have any crowd support.  I missed the crowds a lot... there were long stretches of quietly doing work.  Would have been nice to have more crowd support... but you can't let a ton of folks on the base. 

All in all.. it was a great weekend.  I loved the experience.  I love the medal (I'll post it's picture tomorrow).  I loved the run.  Can't wait to do it again!!


1 comment:

  1. Congrats! It sounds like such a great experience. I'm looking forward to what you do next. Keep celebrating this accomplishment first!