As you can see I have a September stretch of races that I do almost every year. This one is part of the Air Force Marathon and works out in my taper - plus my father was an Air Force F-15 fighter pilot, my brother-in-law is a 2nd Lieutenant - and the Air Force has special meaning to us all. This year my father-in-law ran the entire marathon, my father the half-marathon, my mother-in-law the 10K; so it was (as always) a family affair. We had to get to the base (Wright- Patterson) early because with 12,000 runners entering 3 gates, it takes a while to get in. I was up at 4:30 am and we parked at 6:30. The marathon and 10K both begin on the same course at 7:15 am, with the half-marathon falling later on a different course at 8:30 am.
This years logistics were a bit lacking; parking took longer (we had to walk a mile in pitch black over a pretty bumpy ground), there were not enough port-o-pots and I knew I was making mistake by not getting to use the rest room before the race started. Oh well, after a C-3 fly by and a beautiful rendition of the National Anthem the marathoners and 10Kers were off.
The first half of a mile is on old runway and is bone flat, but that just allows enough warm up before a 250 ft climb in less than a 1/4 mi. My first mile was a little too fast at 8:48 but my heart rate was a steady 170. The only problem was that I knew that I would have to stop at a port-o-pot (GI issues). Dang, about 50 other runners had the same idea and I stood there as the time clicked by. After the rest room and a little bit of a slow run to get back into it, I hit mile 2 at 14:52. Err, I knew I was at a great race weight and I had a PR in me, so I told myself to get back in the groove over the slight up and down 3rd mile and finished it in 10:17. After that I found my legs finally feeling full power and I told myself I could pick up the pace to try to get at least even with my previous 10Ks. The downhill fourth mile passed at 8:19. I knew I could not hold that fast but I knew I could try and be around 9:00 for the last two pancake flat miles. Mile 5 passed at 9:09 and mile 6 passed at 9:10. I finished the 10K at 1:02:32. Not a PR for the course, but if you minus the bathroom mile, I was flying (for me).
My fear is that I have had issues at my past two races - side stitch and GI issues - and I am a bit worried about the upcoming marathon. To top it off I have had flu-like symptoms the past two days (why me). I know that you never can tell what happens with a race but I am not having a good taper. :(
The good news is that I have a few days to rest up, I have my sister, husband & friend from Georgia (Eric) coming to run the marathon with me and help me get through this. I just ask that the stars align and that at least the race passes without many issues.
If you are coming out this weekend to cheer we will be wearing running banana Team Julia shirts with this design.