Air Force Marathon 2011

The marathon can humble you! I have heard and read this a thousand times. The marathon distance is a mixture of speed, endurance, willpower and sacrifice. The marathon can humble anyone at anytime at anyplace! I was humbled yesterday!
I was (or so I thought) both physically and mentally ready for this race! I trained hard all summer, I added about 6 lbs of muscle in my legs and core, worked on problem areas with my form and with my breathing. Mentally, I was as strong as I have ever been going into any race! I knew I would finish from the starting gun. Never had I had that feeling before. This was my 16th marathon and before every other one, I was always worried about finishing. Not yesterday! Go ahead and give me the medal early I thought, I have this! I was good to go mentally! For weeks leading up to the race, I was prepared. I knew the route, I knew all the turns…I had the course memorized. Then, yesterday, race morning shows up and that is where everything starts to unravel.
First, I forgot my sunglasses back in my room. Anyone who knows me knows that I never ever run without my sunglasses. NEVER! Ok, strike one….I will just deal with it. About 10 minutes before race time, I turn on my Garmin….nothing! WTF! You have got to be kidding me. I know for a fact I charged it before I left Florida. Well, it is dead and there is nothing I can do about it now. Strike two….I will just deal with it.
The opening ceremonies of the race are incredible. Beautiful rendition of the National Anthem, perfect weather…mid 50’s….an incredible flyover by an air force bomber that shook my skeleton for 30 seconds. Like I said, incredible. The cannon goes off and so does thousands of runners. Running with no watch is actually quite liberating! I just ran. First 4 miles were up and down some rolling hills…nothing too bad (I happen to really like hills anyways so I was good). Then mile 5 shows up and rears back and kicks me in my left hamstring. F$&K!!!! This is not good. I read a quote one time that said…”if your not feeling good at mile 10 you have problems, if your not feeling good at mile 20 your normal and if you are feeling good at mile 26 you didn’t push hard enough.”. Well at mile 5, I am having problems…..this is going to be a long day! My left hamstring felt like someone tied a rope around it and pulled it tight. Thankfully the course flattened out and I pushed on. 10K mark was a little over 49 minutes….not good. In between the 10K mRk and the half marathon mark, I knew I had done what I tell everyone not to do. I over trained! I was only 2 weeks out from completing a 12 hour run where I ran 55 miles straight…I never gave. Yself the rest time I needed to properly heal. Well the half marathon mark came up and I hit it right around the 1:46 mark….my race was in effect over. I actually knew this around mile 10. My goal of 3:15 was shot. Not going to happen! The last half of the marathon was a blur of pain, sweat, determination, drive and self loathing. All I could think about was how stupid I had been in so many ways. All the training, all the early morning runs, all the time strength training….just to fall apart because I didn’t rest properly. I finished the race in 3:46:53 in 414th place out of 2504 finishers. I was and still am happy to have finished but there were so many things I learned out there yesterday. No matter how experienced you may think you are, there are always new things to learn.
The race itself was incredible! Great atmosphere, extremely well organized, incredible support at all the hydration stations and medical support about every 5 miles. There were lots of times spent alone, which is fine for me, but for a first timer, this would have been hard. I would highly recommend this race! It is not as flat as they advertise….first 4 are rolling hills and starting at mile 21 it is up and down all the way to mile 24 and change….one big hill at mile 21 is a potential back breaker for everyone.
All in all, even though I am disappointed with my time, I am happy that I finished the race and learned a ton. Looking forward now to Savannah in November in which I will be leading the 4:10 pace group. I may have been humbled by this race yesterday, but I will not quit on my drive to hit my goal.

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2 thoughts on “Air Force Marathon 2011”

  1. Many people would have quit upon realizing they blew it. You didn’t. Many people would have made excuses or blamed other factors. You didnt’t. Many people would not have learned, and you did. You should be disappointed, but not with the race. The race was a win. Use that disappointment to ensure your next races are also wins. It’s a long season.

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