Those are the only things on my body that do not hurt today. Which kinda bums me out...because I trained well. I trained really well. I wasn't even SORE after my last 21-miler. What I did not do, however, is train on any hills (things here in the Heartland are rather flat, after all). If anyone ever tells you that United States Air Force Marathon isn't hilly, punch them in the neck for me. Thank you.
I guess besides the hills (and what running on those hills did to my poor and unsuspecting body), this was a terrific race. The pasta dinner was fabulous. It was staged in the National Air Force Museum with the tables set up right there among all the aircraft. Bart Yasso spoke and showed slides from all the crazy races he has run. Also sharing his experiences was this most amazing man who I was lucky enough to actually see running tethered to his guide the next day during the race. Talk about inspiration.
The fly-over of the F-22 Raptor fighter planes at the start of the race defies description. It was incredible. Really seriously awesome.
The race itself was very organized, from the parking to the shuttle that took runners (and their fans) to the starting line to the aid stations located at every mile on the course. Service men in their dress blues put the medal around your neck at the finish line. Very cool.
It was a hard course and by far the hardest race (of any distance) in which I have participated. Hubby, who has run Boston six times, said the first eight miles were HARDER than Boston! Given that those first eight miles were also the last eight miles of the course, I am pleased that I ran a PR even if it wasn't under five hours like I had hoped.
Finish: 5:05:36 (previous PR 5:09 last year at Marine Corps)
It took me 29 minutes and 38 seconds longer to do the second half than it did the first half. Unbelievable. Even more unbelievable is that at mile 20 I was still on pace for a 4:45. Which means I totally blew 20 minutes during the last 10K. How does that even happen? When I write it down it seems disappointing. But I'm not disappointed.
I used every last bit of energy reserve and gave it everything I had. I ran with a hip that felt as though it could have been dislocated (did I mention the hills?) for 16 miles. I pushed through. There was unquestionably nothing left at the finish line. I did the absolute best that I could do on that day and I'm proud of the accomplishment.
Besides, it isn't about the time. It's about the journey in getting there....and the experience you make it once you arrive. I ran this marathon in honor of my Dad, a former member of the United States Air Force and a man who underwent multiple surgeries, chemotherapy, and radiation last year. I am so proud of him for being the toughest person I know. And for a little while yesterday, I felt almost as tough as him.
What's five minutes in the big picture anyway?
6 months ago