Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Air Force Marathon Review

Saturday, September 17, 2016:

My 98th marathon is in the books – I finished in 6:38:10, second of three in my age group.  I’d like to do better, but the guy who finished first did it in 4:28, more than two hours faster, which is pretty spry for a guy 75 or older.  Good job Don T.

Before the start
This was a wonderful race.  The Air Force does a great job:  (1) Not once was there vehicle traffic on the same road with us runners; (2) They provided aid stations with water and Gatorade almost every mile; (3) I was never wanting for a porta potty, with two or three almost every mile; (4) There were even enough porta potties and portable bathrooms at the start, and that never happens!; (5) The expo was fabulous; and (6) They did their best to keep us out of harm’s way as a lightning storm passed by early in the morning.

My Race:

I had a great time, talked to quite a few people along the way, including a doctor who was curious about my shirt that says “I’m alive thanks to novel cancer medications.”  Please see . I talked to a lawyer who was also a cancer survivor, and we chatted mostly about legal cases.  I was glad when the conversation went another direction.  I met a woman whose shirt said “100 Marathon Club.”  Huh.  I didn’t even know such a club existed, but I guess it would, and in fact there are two.  I’ll be eligible soon, if all goes well.  Do I care?

Whining: NONE!  Imagine that - for a whole marathon.  Actually I did slow in the last couple of miles because of a pain on the underside of the bone that bumps out from the left ankle, the lateral malleolus, the bottom of the fibula.  That was a new one for me, so I slowed to avoid an injury.  However, it turns out the pain was from my shoe (good old Brooks Launch) touching that area.  Tied a little too tight, I guess, so I'm not counting it as a potential problem.  No pains in back, knees, or Achilles tendons.  Training paid off!

The Marine Corps Marathon:

The weather was a topic of the day, starting with rain and lightning storms.  By race time the sky had mostly cleared and we could see the full moon (was it full today, or is it tomorrow?).  The sky clouded over then, for most of the race, and finally sprinkled a bit in the last few miles.  No big deal.  The wind was a big deal, though, holding us back whenever we faced it, but always cooling us.  Overall I didn’t mind.  I suppose the temperature got up to 75 or 80, but I started dumping a cup of water on my head at each aid station from Mile 8 forward.  I was never too hot.  We were all worried that the lightning would return and the Air Force would make us stop and take shelter.  We did see shelters, but happily passed them all by.

The race started and ended just outside the famous Air Force Museum.  What a place that is!  We were able to spend a couple of hours there, and I could have spent a week.  It’s huge, monumental, fascinating.  Mostly it’s military aircraft, plus a lot of test vehicles, but there are a few civilian planes including several retired versions of Air Force One.  We have to go home, but I wish we could stay another day just at that enormous museum.  One of the biggest bombers in this country’s nuclear arsenal was the B-52, and it looked small alongside dozens of other planes inside one of the four hangar-style buildings.

The race itself wound in and out of the Wright Patterson Air Force Base at Dayton, OH, so much so that it was almost impossible to drive the course before the race.  We looked at the map, assumed that our car
would not be allowed on the race route, and gave up.   I was never far from other runners, however, so I didn’t suffer from not seeing the course ahead of time.

Splits: 43:36 (3 mi), 29:15 (2 mi), 14:18, 14:34, 14:34, 15:10, 28:48, 15:24, 15:41, 14:59, 15:12, 15:31, 15:05, 15:39, 14:53, 15:56, 15:57, 16:03, 15:43, 14:34, 16:42, 17:00, 3:40, total 6:38:10, overall pace 15:11.

PS - 2016 Oct 10 - Received the amazing Age Group Award!  Among the best I've ever seen - Plexiglas 3/4 inch thick & 8 1/2 inches tall, printed on the back.  Shown here on our picnic table.

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