Let me start with the good stuff...
We are an Air Force family and joined Team USO for this event. Thank you to all my supporters, we were able to raise $1118.20 for the USO. That is truly the highlight of this race. It was our honor to support this fabulous organization that assists so many troops and their families on the homefront and abroad.
I've been a bit enamored lately with the notion of 'endurance running' and reading books by the ultra-marathon man himself... Dean Karnazes. I was thrilled to meet him at the Air Force Marathon expo. He gave a nice presentation and graciously signed my book for me.
Hubby and I scored some last minute tickets to the pasta dinner at the Air Force Museum on Friday night. (If you ever run this one, don't delay - the pasta dinner sells out fast!) As we entered the Museum, we were escorted back to the dinner by an extremely friendly Colonel (who we ran into again the next day again at the race). The food was great and we enjoyed our evening wandering through the neat exhibits.
On Saturday morning, we took the hotel shuttle to the starting line. This was truly the best way to go as the bus slipped right on base for dropoff within 10 minutes. It was a perfect morning for running, clear skies and slightly chilly. The finishing stretch was lined with planes and looked so serene in the morning light...
Before the start, I was able to meet up with bloggers Kim and Lisa. It's funny how "imaginary" friends feel so real once you finally meet face to face. I also felt really short... Thankfully Jill arrived! And later we met up with Melissa near the huge rows of porta-potties. Seriously, I've never seen so many bathrooms at a race. No lines; just in and out. Sweet!
|Kim, me, Jill and Lisa|
There was a (very quiet) flyover before the marathon/10k start at 7:30am. Rather un-monumental in my opinion. The half marathon started an hour later. It was disappointing we didn't get another flyover, but there were some parachuters. I guess I'm used to the exciting flyovers here at home (loud, low and fast). I found the few flybys of the day rather boring. Were they even flybys or just planes in the sky? This is the Air Force, right?! I expected more on that end.
Kim and I lined up together for the start. I had taken ibuprofen earlier to dull the toe pain I've been struggling with (since my collision with a door). As we started running, I felt good and decided to run as normal. Let's just see what happens...
Mile Marker 1 - 9:02
Mile Marker 2 - 8:43
Mile Marker 3 - 8:45
These first three were the best miles of the race for me. I had a nice pace going and liking the scenery. Congestion was pretty minimal and everything was going smoothly. I pushed my pace a little faster to get away from some annoying chatty guys behind me... talking nonstop about their previous night's booty calls.
And then, it happened... the turn that would devastate many. The whole race took the wrong turn around mile 3.5. Seriously, how it happened still puzzles me. About a 1/4 mile after the turn, I see a mass of runners weaving towards us through the crowd, frantically waving their arms, "Turn around, we're going the wrong way!" I couldn't believe it and surely my heart wasn't the only one that sunk. As we turned around into the runners behind us, it was like one big traffic jam. I followed several others onto the grass to run along the golf course path. In an attempt to "catch up", I knew I was running too fast for this early in the race.
Mile Marker 4 (which was 1.5 miles worth after the "detour") - 12:15
Mile Marker 5 - 8:52
The wrong turn affected pretty much anyone running a 9:20 pace or faster (my guess). Suddenly we were behind the runners that we had already passed. Faster runners were scrambling, trying to get around and move. It was kind of a dangerous situation at this point because the roads weren't as wide as the beginning. The poor volunteers at the water stations were completely overwhelmed and slightly trampled by the mass the runners trying to squeeze down the street. (The 1:45 pace group reports they ran almost 2 miles extra in this half marathon due to this mishap.) These miles were kind of a blur to me as I was just trying to keep solid footing. I had stepped onto the grass several times to get around people and that made my toe injury suddenly noticeable again.
Mile Marker 6 - 9:17
Mile Marker 7 - 8:56
Mile Marker 8 - 9:42
The best part of the whole detour was that Kim, Lisa, Jill and I were suddenly all together again! We ran near each other for a couple miles, but my foot was hurting and I lost them somewhere in mile 8. I under-pronate in my natural stride (which means the forces of impact are on the outside of my foot, and in the push-off phase, most of the work is done by the smaller toes on the outside of the foot). Because it is my outer little toe that is injured, I was heavily altering my stride to reduce pain. I was trying to over-pronate, which in turn made my arches throb! I could feel every muscle in my left foot screaming at me. Honestly, this is the only time I've ever considered a DNF... but I kept on going.
Mile Marker 9 - 9:53
Mile Marker 10 - 10:07
Mile Marker 11 - 10:17
Mile Marker 12 - 9:50Then came the constant little hills of this last part (I thought this was advertised to be flat?). I was cranky and just unhappy to be running. This doesn't happen very often to me. I turned my music on to dull out the pain and negative thoughts rumbling in my head.
13.1 Finish Line - 11:09We made the final turn into the finish area and I tried to give a little push to the finish. The last mile seemed so so very long. The final stretch was pretty neat with the planes and flags on both sides. My face must have portrayed my pain because I heard a lot of "Go Jessica" cheers as I sprinted down the finish. By far, the worst feeling I've ever had crossing a finish line. Even the Air Force officers draping the cool medal around my neck couldn't fade the disappointing feeling I had at that moment. Not that I ran a "bad time"... a 2:06 is respectable indeed, but it certainly is not my potential right now. Most of all, it was a painful and miserable run. I should not be running on an injured foot. It's just not worth it.
Official Chip Time 2:06:47
With the "detour", I ran approx 13.6 miles, which puts my pace about 9:19
Overall #1548 out of 5447
Females #532 out of 2990
Age Group #120 out of 507
Afterward, I wobbled across the field to wait for my hubby to come in... He was running his very first half marathon. I relaxed in the grass, tore my shoe off, massaged my foot and cheered for runners coming down the final mile. Unfortunately, my hubby wasn't having a very good run either with calf and knee pains. What a crew we are, huh?! As he came down the stretch, I slipped my shoe back on and jogged with him to the finish.
State #7 OHIO is done on my quest to Race All 50.
The run is one I'll be happy to forget, but at least I walked away
with a neat finisher's medal, a cold beer, new friends and
a great fundraising effort for Team USO!