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Air Force Half Marathon (1:31.12)

The Air Force Half Marathon this year was hot, very hot.  So hot, they drew a black flag and canceled the race around 11-11:30.  I’ve never partaken in a race that has happened, but with so many half marathons, I guess there is a first for everything.

First and foremost, the aid during the race was immaculate, and you couldn’t ask for better support. There were personnel almost every ¼ mile and aid stations every 1.5.  That was never the issue.  The issue was at race start it was already well above 70 and very humid. When I finished the race around 10 is, it was a feels like temp of 88. Last year, I ran a 1:27.28 in better weather but wasn’t in as good of shape.

I know I’m in better fitness than a 1:31, but you have to race for the day which includes how your body feels, the weather, and the course (Two weeks ago, I ran the Boothbay half in 1:29.50 on a much harder course).  To be honest, I never felt great, and the race turned into a longer workout/run.  That’s okay, and I am proud of this finish like any other race I’ve done.

My husband and I drove from NJ to central PA on Thursday (My in-laws live there).  We picked up my father in law and drove the last 6 hours to Dayton, Ohio. Driving that far the day before a race is not my favorite thing to do but with work schedules that’s how the cookie crumbles.  We got to the expo late, didn’t get to stay long, and booked it just before 6, so we wouldn’t get stuck on closed roads due to the 5k.  Everything about the night and morning felt rushed.

The following morning was just as chaotic, and there was an accident in front of the base. The roads were closed, and we made it with just under an hour to spare. Walking the 1.5 miles to the start was enough of a warmup, and I could already feel how hot it was.

The Race:

At the start, I chatted with a few various people.  The race went off at 8:30 and I just ran my own race.  The Air Force half is interesting because it consists of a lot of people who have never run a half marathon but have some sort of military/Air Force connection. I am always happy for them, but it also doesn’t have a corral system, so the first mile is often jam-packed with people who have taken the race out too fast.  Then they quickly realize they have another 12 miles to go.

I hit the mile in 6:59 and I knew immediately it would not be the race I wanted. I wasn’t upset and just ran for the day.

The next two miles went by without any real interest.  I chatted with a few people including a pilot from Illinois, a college ROTC kid running his first half, and retired military officer. It made time go by faster and by the time I knew it, I was at mile 3.

Between mile 3-4, I saw a few C-17s taking off at an adjacent runway. They were planes that had been moved due to the Hurricane Florance.  Not a planned race thing, but a lot were taking off throughout the race.  It made for fun, and interesting scenery. I passed one female in that time. I had no idea where I was in placing, and it didn’t really matter to me either.

Around mile 5, the race started to get hot. I take Gatorade, every time it’s offered in 10+ mile races. At the race, I took at least 2 gatorade cups and water at each stop. It definitely kept me hydrated.

Air force marathon dayton ohio

From 5-6, I just wanted to make it halfway. Around this point, the flags went from yellow to red which was indicated at an aid station. I knew it was getting worse and I was already completely sweating through my clothing.

We trucked along, and by the time I knew it, we were at mile 7.  I was talking to a guy going to UVA just bantering about random stuff.  If there is one thing I do, is talk. I always warn people and if someone doesn’t want to talk, I won’t keep doing it.

At the Air Force Half, mile 8, begins the harder portions of the course.  For the most part, the first 7 miles are relatively flat, with a few turns, and hills but nothing crazy.  Then mile 8 and beyond are rolling hills and running up overpasses.

Air force half marathon dayton ohio

I knew I was pushing myself, but I wasn’t pushing myself to the limit of when I PRed in February. I had plenty left in my tank for hills and for finishing strong, and I was going too.  Up the hills, down the hills, I went the same pace and still averaged about 7:00 minutes.

I passed another female who had passed me earlier, on the overpass at mile 8. The next two miles were spent trucking along alone, and focusing on mile 10. Mile 10 was when I planned to just go.

At mile 10, a hand crank passed me.  I caught a few people walking up the hills between 10-11.  I wasn’t as fatigued as if it was a hard race and I was just trucking along and running faster than the first miles. I ran mile 10 in 6:50 and even with the hills, I was pleased.  I guess the gatorades hit me late.

Air force half marathon dayton ohio

The next mile, I ran alone and just focused on people in front. I wanted to catch every person I could see because it gave me something to think about.  That was my goal to keep my brain engaged with the race. It hot and I needed something. I grabbed water and just trucked along. I high fived a little kid.  I was surprised that I ran the next mile in 6:42.

You enter the base of Wright Patterson at mile 12.  You can see the finish line in the distance and know you still have an entire mile to go. For some reason, I thought “so many women were on my tail”, and I sprinted like I had one race for the rest of my life.  (Probably because in 2017, I was outkicked in races 5-6 times…many for wins).  I passed no less than 5 men in the final mile, and they were probably like…WTF.

Air force half marathon dayton ohio

I ran the last mile in 6:36 and finished in 1:31.12. I was pleased with my time for the day. While yes, I know I’m in better shape than a 1:31 and I would have loved the opportunity to race that, it wasn’t the day and the day will come.

Air force half marathon dayton ohio

I like the Air Force half, not just because my husband is in the Air Force, but I do think it’s a good course and has a good support.  Now that the new refueler, the KC-46 (which replaces my husband’s plane, the KC-10…one day), is going to be the plane of next year…I feel like we have to go back to 2019. 😉

Questions for you:

What is the hottest race you’ve done?

What is one race you enjoy doing?

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Air Force Half Marathon (1:27.28)

Air Force Half Marathon (1:27.28)

A half marathon takes longer mentally to process than a 5k race recap.  So here we are almost a week after my first half marathon since April.  In case you don’t feel like reading, I had a good experience with the Air Force Half Marathon.

It was probably one of my best half marathons in the last year, despite not being my fastest, not that I was expecting a PR or anything close.  This particular recap has a lot more reflection, and a short recap too.

In the last year I’ve run several half marathons:

Rnr Philadelphia (1:27.37)
Runners World Half (1:24.17) probably my best race performance albeit not my fastest
Beat 539 Half (1:25:28)
Philadelphia Half (1:27.44)
Dallas Half (1:23.44)

Mercedes half (1:27.01)
Shamrock Half (1:26.49)
April Fools Half (1:26.17)

Half marathons are my bread and butter.  Unfortunately, the last year never showed the hard work I put into running. Last winter, I was in 1:21-1:22 shape, but I never raced like I was.  As I got slower throughout the spring, it ultimately led to my hiatus (which I needed both mentally and physically).

When my husband was selected to run the Air Force Marathon for his command (Air Mobility Command) several months ago, it was in the back of my mind that maybe I would run the half.  The summer flew by, and I found myself having done little running. Finally, in August, I had more time and decided I would start easing into running. In order to make it to the start of the Air Force half healthy, I forwent running one of my favorite halves: RnR Va Beach a few weeks prior (2 half marathons in doable when I’m training appropriately…but that fitness is not there right now).

We left the Thursday before. We stopped at my inlaws house in central PA and headed to Dayton, Ohio that Friday.  Looking back, we should have left earlier and been in Dayton that Friday.  As we got to Wright Patterson, there was traffic, and we nearly missed picking up packets and my husband’s uniform.  When I say we were one of the last people to pick things up, it was close. We also ended up walking about 2 miles between 7-8:30pm.

Nothing about that is ideal for a morning race, but my only goal was to support my husband and enjoy 13.1 miles.  Whatever happened to me, happened to me.

The morning was uneventful, and we made it to the start by 6:30 (for his 7:30…my 8:30 start). He went to the special Air Force tent, did whatever he does to warm up, and my mother in law and myself headed to the start to spectate.

Not without running over to the start and taking a selfie with him.  (There were no corrals, and everything for this massive race is self-seeded, so I didn’t impact anyone’s race).

The marathoners went off, I relaxed for an hour, and per usual randomly chatted with people.  I felt no need to warm up considering it was my longest run by 3 miles since April.

Before I knew it, it was my turn to head to the start!  I went to the start, and we were off.  I had no goal but to finish, and let my body do what it wanted to do.  Typically I’ve run my first half back from a break or injury between 1:30-1:33 so that’s what I expected.

The first mile was packed and a blur.  I saw several females in front and plenty of males.  I hit in a 6:44 and was both surprised and pumped.

Then next few miles, I grabbed Gatorade, and it felt hot.  I started running with several men who were also competing in the MAJCOM challenge.  One thing I can count on with the Air Force, is they are usually as chatty as I am.  We were all just talking for 3 miles about everything from life, to work, to moving.  Our miles ranged in pace from 6:29-6:40 and clicked off quickly.  We passed 2 women and several other men too.  I was feeling strong and confident, but I also knew this wasn’t a 5k and I had a long way to go.  I was unpredictable after mile 10.

We hit the halfway point in exactly 43 minutes.  The course had zero (and I mean zero) shade, and it was already above 70 degrees and humid.  I was glad I wore a hat and sunglasses.  My legs weren’t feeling bad or fatigued, but the heat was starting to affect me.Air force half marathon dayton ohio me running

Around mile 9, we climbed an overpass, and I wasn’t expecting any climbs or any hills at all.  I hadn’t done research but mentally had assumed all Air Force races must take place on flat runways and flat bases.  That thought process didn’t really have any basis and was in fact, foolish.

The last four miles of the Air Force half is harder part of the course.  I looked ahead at the hill and saw one female, and just tunnel focused on passing her and staring at the top.  I did both, caught my breath, and continued.  That was my slowest mile, in 6:46.

At the 10 mile point, I told myself: the half marathons are your bread and butter.  All that’s left is the 5k butter.  The 5k I haven’t run in the months.  The 5k I’m known in my best fitness to hammer and pass people.  I wasn’t going to let it break me, and I felt too good.  I hit the 10 mile in 1:07 and told myself a 1:27 is in your wheelhouse today.

Despite not researching the next three miles were hilly, I was determination to get there.  You enter back onto to Wright Patterson Base around mile 12.  They begin the finishers shoot at mile 12.  Mile 12. I told myself I wouldn’t even care if the course was short.  I knew it wouldn’t be, but my legs would be cool with less running. Air force half marathon dayton ohio me running

Being in a mile long finishers shoot is soul crushing.  You are alone, spectators around, and you’re struggling. Maybe you aren’t struggling so you look strong, but I was as I should be.  One woman outkicked me in the last half mile.  Too bad, she won our age group and was the fourth female.  I didn’t have the kick to catch her.

I crossed the finish in 1:27.28 and fifth female overall.  It far exceeded the expectation I had for the race. Not my fastest half but not my slowest either, but definitely one of my most fun.  The heat affected the half marathons but definitely affected the full marathoners much more.  My husband ran a 3:15 and my father in law squeezed into BQ in a 3:58.

Apparently, I decided to nap and close my eyes right there…

I would love to run the Air Force Half again when I’m in better fitness because I do believe it’s a course I would excel at.  I have a feeling we will probably be back, but T might be competing for a different MAJCOM command.

I’ve recovered moderately well from the half, and for the next five weeks, I’ll focus on 5ks, followed by the Runners World Half.

Questions for you:
Do you typically talk during races?
I’m a talker during halves and fulls…not 5ks

Two Years of Marriage

Two years ago was the best day of my life because my husband and I got married.  Everything went perfectly, and there is nothing we would have wanted differently.

As most people know, he is in the military and has been gone for almost exactly one of those years.  While his deployments aren’t long (about 2 months), they are frequent and so are his other trips.  I won’t say it’s been easy and there have been plenty of hard days. I will say we are still as happy as the day we met.

Today I knew today I wanted to post about our anniversary but had no idea what to post.  I finally settled on a “how we met post”.  I’m always interested to see how other people met their significant other so I thought I would share.

So How Did We Meet?

My husband and I met during college cross country season in 2011.  We met at a scrimmage race between our respected two universities.

Tim ended up winning the scrimmage race for men, and I won for females. After the scrimmage, we talked for a while and went on a run a few weeks later.   Cross country season went by, and we still chatted after the season.  During this time, I was coming back from my first serious running injury a tibial stress fracture.  Tim did multiple sports and was getting ready for ski season.  Since cross country was over, and he was no longer running competitively, running at a slower pace didn’t matter.  I was running easy after my injury and he was running easy just to run.

YAY an old school college picture.

Eventually, after several runs, we hung out outside of running. When the semester ended, we both went to our hometowns for winter break. Tim drove down to Virginia Beach and visited for New Years.

Later in the spring, we officially started “officially dating”.  I was blogging at the time, and I don’t think I even mentioned on the blog: OMG you guys, new boy in my life”.  It’s been a theme of the past 6 years, we’ve been happy but he isn’t a large part of the blog.

In May of 2012, we both graduated college and decided to try doing a long distance relationship.  Our options at that point were to try and do a distance relationship or break up.

Tim went to Air Force pilot school in Texas, and I began working in Oswego, NY.  During that time, we both learned a lot about ourselves, interests and hobbies.  We went just over 6 months without seeing each other.  It was one of the hardest times of our relationship but worth it.  The first time we saw each other again was that Thanksgiving, and it was as if nothing had changed.

My first visit to Texas

After Thanksgiving, we saw each other again for Christmas, then in March and in May. It was a lot easier than the first few months.  After nearly a year of distance, we made the decision I would move to Texas. As much as I enjoyed my job in Oswego, I wanted to continue my relationship with Tim and we had to eventually move (he did not have that choice with me).

In Texas, they have these for decoration…

Winning a growler at a half marathon in Texas

Tim graduated his pilot training, and we were told we would be moving to New Jersey. Neither of us knew anything about NJ (except people drive very quickly on the Turnpike) in October 2014.

We’ve now lived in New Jersey 3.5 years and I truly say I love it.  I’ve made incredible friends, I enjoy my job and there is always something to do.  We are only a few miles from Philadelphia and short drive from both of our parents, New York City and Baltimore.

On April 1, 2014, Tim proposed to me.  It was exactly what I wanted, low key and at our house.  We are low key, and I could not have asked for a better proposal.  To be honest, as much as we love running, proposing at a race or in front of hundreds of people is not either of our scene.

 

Engagement photo

Even though we lived in New Jersey, we made the decision to get married in my hometown area in Norfolk, Virginia.  We spent a year wedding planning and got married on April 12, 2015.  While planning a wedding further away was more difficult, it wasn’t as stressful because we both have such supportive and helpful parents.  We couldn’t have dreamed for a better day.

After our wedding, we took a few days to relax and went straight on our honeymoon.  We decided to spend a few days in Key West and go on a cruise in the Carribean.  It was a great vacation, and it was perfect.

Then a few days after we got home, he was deployed for a while.  For the first 6 months of our marriage, he was gone for just over 4.  Afterward, he was home for a bit more, but in the past 2 years, he has been gone for over a year.

Throughout the first two years of marriage, we have learned a lot about ourselves and each other.  Even though I grew up as a military child, being a spouse much different.  It’s not always easy, but the time we do have together makes it worth it.  I’m also thankful for my family and friends who help me get by.

As most people know, he is away now.  We might talk today, we might not.  It doesn’t mean I love my husband any less.  I could not ask for a better person in my life.

Flying together

Hiking Bear Mountain and when we actually saw a bear

Here are some other posts about my husband and I (or just my husband): 
Wedding Post
Honeymoon
Flying Together
Tim’s Recap of the Mercedes Marathon

A Weekend at the Air Show

I’m a little late posting but last weekend, my husband, and I attended and worked the Air Show.  It was a lot of fun seeing different military planes.

Each year the base hosts an Air Show in the middle of May.  They show off planes stationed at the base as well as acrobatic and fighter planes too.  There were both stand alone displays as well as flight demonstrations.  Many bases around the country have Air Shows.  Where I grew up in Virginia, had just as big of an Air Show.  Anyone, military or not, is welcome.  It’s a chance for the public to see all of the cool things the military does!

Here are a few photos I managed to capture:

Planes in Formation:

air force air show

air force air show

They brought in several fighter jets! We even got to watch them do a “sonic boom” which was neat.

air force air show

Standing Demonstrations:

I also got to tour one of the KC-10 Refueling plane. The plane’s main job is to refuel other aircraft while flying.  It made me think: what if we had to refuel our cars while driving?  It’s an interesting concept…

Sitting in the cockpit

Sitting in the cockpit

Standing next to one of the engines

Standing next to one of the engines of a KC-10

 

The biggest plane that exists, the C5-Galexy

The biggest plane that exists, the C5-Galexy

Here’s the demonstration they did.  Not my video, but they did a great job capturing the event.  The KC-10 is the plane with an engine in the tail.  During the “stunt”, it’s refueling the other plane.  Normally they do this much higher, but they were only 2000 feet off the ground.  To give you perspective, they were doing this about 200 feet higher than the One World Trade Center tip.  They can refuel anything from fighter planes to bigger tanker aircraft (as shown) to even other KC-10s.

Hopefully, everyone has a great weekend!

Questions for you:
Have you ever been to a base Air Show?
What are your weekend plans?  

Welcome Home.

I’ve been waiting to write this post the last two months. It seems like just yesterday I watched him take off and fly into the dismal skies. It would be a lie if I didn’t sob the entire drive home. After that drive, I can honestly say the last two months went by very quickly. I won’t complain about how fast they went. As most of people know Tim was deployed in August. Out of the six months we have now been engaged, he will have been gone three and a half. That is the nature of his job and how it happens.  While T doesn’t long deployments, he has many deployments.  Between multiple flights and many 10 day trips in between he is gone a lot.  Each welcome home is special though and I could not be more proud of him.  He will probably be gone again before we get married next April.

Right before he left

Right before he left

In my opinion, I think I did pretty well while he was gone. I filled my time work, with life and whatever else. I kept busy and continued life.  I knew he was going to be gone for two months. I had fully wrapped my mind around that. I also know that with the military anything can change in a moments notice. Two months ago the US wasn’t putting planes overseas at the frequency we are right now.

So two weeks ago when T said his deployment might need to be extended, I wasn’t surprised. If you recall, two weeks ago I was also cleared to run a mile and “see how it goes”. It didn’t go well. So I was hammered with more recovery and Tim’s deployment being extended (for an unknown amount of time). It was a rough week for me but I made the best of the situation. Unknowing to me a small light shined through a bunch of storm clouds. Being miserable and complaining wasn’t going to do anything for anyone. It wasn’t like I could change anyone’s mind by feeling sorry for myself.  So I continued to live my life and look towards the future.

Flight School graduation (the plane he flies is in the background)

Flight School graduation (the plane he flies is in the background)

I continued to rest and recover. I continued to live my life. After I accepted what life threw at me, I threw a pity party for one and moved forward.  In situations like these, you have to accept certain things.  You have to accept being miserable for yourself isn’t going to put you in a better mindset.  Things that will always brighten your day: Hanging out with friends, going on diner dates and looking for the positives in life.

Flight School Graduation

Flight School Graduation

I have spent the last two weeks wondering what will happen next. Will my foot feel better tomorrow? Will T tell me he is coming home tomorrow? Will the Realtor get back to me? Will this happen, how about that? 

Finally on Monday,  T was able to tell me news I desperately wanted to hear. He was flying home. He was coming back.  A few changes between Monday and Thursday but he is indeed coming back today. This immediately sent me into clean mode panic. My house had to be instaclean! My LOLZ LOLZ LOLZ fraternity must be cleaned up a little bit. (I’m not a slob but I’m not a neat freak.  I don’t spend my waking hours cleaning all the time…I’ve got a blog to write…and life to live).  So with that I spent a couple of days cleaning and getting ready for his return.  I am kidding, of course I’m very excited for his return!

While T was away, I only broke two things, my foot and my remote control.   Currently half of my blog talks about my foot but I dropped my remote in an Epsom salt bath (typical things that happen to me).

Tim and I’s relationship has been tested, pushed and pulled but honestly we are strong. I know without a doubt we are good together. We make each other whether we are together or apart. These last two months have sealed that. I cannot wait to get married next April.

Thank you to all of my friends, readers and support system.  As cliche as it sounds I truly do feel lucky for all of the love and support I have.

So welcome back Tim and thank you for doing everything you do. For me and for this country.

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