Air Force Marathon Recap

This is going to be long…but it is a race recap sooooo that’s ok right?!

Let me start with Friday..I left work and headed to Ohio to get there in time to pick up my packet.  It was a 3.5 hour drive so I took a few breaks to stretch on the way there.  I got there with plenty of time to spare headed straight to the Nutter Center and got my bib.img_4923

I also picked up this shirt.  I love New Balance running tops.  They are the best for fall and spring running along with they are super durable and handle washing well.

I got checked into the hotel and headed over to a friends house for dinner.  They made spaghetti and it hit the spot!  Next we headed over to Youngs Jersey Dairy and had some seriously good ice cream.  We then walked around (not far) to see some of the animals they have.  If you haven’t heard of Youngs it is a dairy farm that make homemade ice cream that is made from a 15% butterfat mixture.  It gives their ice cream the perfect creamy texture!!  I am not a huge ice cream person and this did not disappoint.  Not to mention they make their own waffle cones.

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In their petting zoo area

Before long it was time for me to head back to the hotel and get some rest before my late/early wake up!  Kevin and Diggs got into town late due to work and football so they woke me up around 10:30 knocking on the door!  🙂

I woke up at 4am and started getting myself around.  I checked the weather (it was 70* and 80% humidity), had a Honey Stinger waffle and relaxed.  The race wasn’t supposed to start until 7:30 so I had plenty of time to continue with hydration and not worry about it hurting my bladder in the first few miles!  🙂  At around 5:15 Kevin took me to the Nutter Center for a shuttle ride to the starting line.  The Air Force had people there checking out each and every person before letting them on the buses.  After I was deemed clear, I hopped on the bus and waited for it to fill.  This is when the day started going not my way.  After being on the bus for a few minutes we were told that the marathon was being delayed.  They didn’t tell us by how much but it was due to the weather.  Apparently, a nearby storm was too close for their comfort.  This was ok but not so great at the same time.  It was already warm and humid and we all knew any delay would cause this to be worse later on.  However, I had left my phone at the hotel due to the rain that was supposed to hit later on in the race, so I couldn’t tell Kevin!

As we sat on the bus waiting I realized that another not so great thing had happened!  I had left my waist belt in Kevins truck!  Ha!  It had most of my Humas in it.  Without my phone to call or text him I had to start plotting how I was going to get this from him before the start.  I also knew I had 2 more Honey Stingers and 3 Humas  on me plus they had Gu on the course.  Worse case scenario I would still be fine!  🙂  Soon enough they cleared us to leave and get taken to the starting line.  When we arrived there I went to find a volunteer and bum a phone call from them!  I talked to Kevin, he met me at gear check a while later and all was good in the hood!

Just before 8 Kevin and I headed over to the starting area.  I lined up right between the 4:20 and 4:30 pacers.  I wanted to have people around me taking it nice and easy so I didn’t get caught up!  Kevin snapped a few photos of me acting like an idiot because I find it fun to do then took a little video of this years fly over!

Soon enough a canon was shot (which actually scared the crap out of a girl next to me and resulted in one of the highest pitched shrieks I have EVER heard) and we were on our way!  Remember I left my phone at the hotel so I do not have any pictures of the course.

Miles 1-5: 10:31, 10:41, 9:47, 10:25, 10:24

The first mile was pretty boring, it was just getting out of the area of the base we were in and toward the outer edge.  Soon we hit some pretty decent climbs but they all came back down also.  Nothing was what I would consider a ‘hard’ hill but one that was a little steeper.  Each hill obviously slowed everyone down a tad but nothing that was exhausting or hurtful in any way.  Almost all of mile 3 was downhill and then a couple more slight uphills before the course mostly leveled out.  This was all on perimeter roads and really had nothing to look at.  I found entertainment in talking to other runners and at each aid station.  They had plenty water and Gatorade along with great volunteers that made sure no runner was missed or didn’t get what they were grabbing at.

Miles 6-10: 10:25, 10:34, 11:06, 11:14, 11:12

Miles 6-7 were very boring and completely had very little course support.  Actually almost the whole course had been this way so far so it really doesn’t give you much to remember.  I remember mile 8 more than any other mile on this course.  It is where my entire race changed.  I had just grabbed a water and moved over to the edge of the roadway to throw my cup in one of the many trash bags they had set up.  I was on the right side and throwing with my right arm.  Just after I tossed my cup (and missed-this is why I run and don’t play bball) I felt a hit on the backside of my left shoulder.

A man was tossing his trash to the side and ran into me.  When he did this is caused to to almost fall.  I didn’t but I did step over toward the right with my left foot.  This resulted in me having my right leg and foot facing forward and my left leg and foot facing my right.  My right knee popped and I felt it…the pull.  I tried to continue my slow forward movement after recovering from the near fall.  The man said “oh, I am sorry” and took off.  Meanwhile I knew my race had just changed.

I have sprained my ankles more times than I can count.  I have also had many close calls where I feel it and then it slowly loosens up and feels better over time.  The latter of the two is what I was hoping for in this situation.  I took a short walking break to stretch a little, gather my bearings and rethink my strategy before continuing on.

First, I slowed down.  I wanted to give it a bit to see if it worked itself out like these things sometimes do.  Second, I kept up on my hydration and nutrition knowing I was going to be out longer than anticipated. Third, I crossed my fingers.  The next couple miles are a blur of thoughts.  I do remember several times thinking “get your shit together”.  I needed to remain mentally strong.  If I had let this get in my head I was going to be in even worse shape.  Miles 10-11 helped as they went through a town with lots of crowd support and things to look at.

Miles 11-15: 11:31, 12:24, 11:43, 11:14, 12:11

After getting out of Fairborn slowing down was all I could do.  I started a run/walk with a woman named Deb.  She kept me occupied and we talked about many things including work, family and other races.  We reached the halfway point and agreed to walk at each aid station and then run to the next.  We did this together until mile 15 when I told her I couldn’t continue this with her.  My knee was not having it.  She went off on her own and I slowed to a crawl.  I finally made the decision to find the next medic station and stop.  The roads at this point were all at an angle that wasn’t favorable.  There was no level area to run on.

Miles 16-17.27: 13:59, 16:39

I did as little running as possible as my knee pulled with each step on the uneven surface.  I tried to walk as fast as I could to get to the next Medic.  At mile 17 I finally saw them.  It was by far one of the hardest decisions I have ever made.  I don’t quit anything.  I don’t.  Ever.  I have continued doing things after breaking bones before going to the hospital, I have severely sprained my ankle and continued to run on it and other things that I probably shouldn’t have done.  So to quit, especially my first marathon, that I knew I was prepared for….brought me to tears.  But knowing I have MCM in 5 weeks…this is why I stopped.  I don’t want to screw up my entire fall.  Sometimes running is a game of give and take.  Unfortunately, a man not watching where he was going took this race.

When I got to the tent the medics were confused if I had tears of pain or disappointment.  haha!  I wasn’t outright crying but had a couple sitting there wanting to show themselves.  Me though…I am known for being pretty cold, I don’t cry.  Not in front of people anyway!  😉  So that was that.  The end of my day…running day anyhow.

Next I was moved to the main med tent near the finish line.  I was examined by a nurse and doctor that came to the conclusion I had a sprained MCL.  I was told to go to the doctor after getting home to confirm and get any tests done if needed.  So I officially have a Grade 1 MCL sprain.  Could be worse but I should be ready in time for MCM…so keep your fingers crossed for me ok??

I left the medic upset but also looking at what I can do to recover the best I can and still be ready for MCM.  It took me a long while to find Kevin since I had no phone but he was there for me when I needed him to be.  He really knew what to do to help keep me distracted and not continuing to be upset at the situation.  It is too late to change it so it is much better to just deal with it and move on than get stuck in it.

Now..what went right??

  1. My nutrition was ON POINT.  Yes I know I slowed down and averaged 11:41/mile but I continued with my nutrition as planned.  1 Huma every 4 miles.  I drank 1-2 cups of fluid at EVERY aid station.  It was hot/humid/windy.  Not a good combination.  I felt great the entire time!  Not once did I feel like there was a physical struggle.
  2. My head.  I could have went into a very dark place during this.  But I didn’t.  I kept looking forward and know this is just a minor hiccup.
  3. My pace.  I was right on track to hit my goals up until this happened.  I felt comfortable and actually better than I have most of my long runs.

When we left the race I was still in a pretty bad place.  I called my mom told her what had happened and then kind of checked out from the rest of the world for awhile.  Kevin made sure I got some food and Diggs practiced his pool skillz.  So they really did what they could to make the rest of the day really distracting for me.  Except for the constant limp!img_4930

It is now 4 days post injury and I am doing well.  My limp is ‘gone’ as long as I have a brace on it feels well.  Hoping for that to continue.  As for now, I heal up and look forward to MCM!!

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17 thoughts on “Air Force Marathon Recap

  1. Pingback: Marine Corp Marathon Recap | This Girl Runs

  2. Pingback: When I don’t run for a WEEK!!! | This Girl Runs

  3. Wow, sorry this happened to you Staci, but great to hear you pulled through with a positive attitude since that will pay off in spades at MCM. And so smart to stop at mile 17—show me a runner who believes quitting is a character flaw (as the meme suggests), and I’ll show you a runner who spends a lot of time injured. Glad your knee is feeling better already, and look forward to your triumphant return at MCM!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Ah man this sucks. I’m so sorry. How bloody irritating about that men throwing something. I honestly thought you’d smash this. But running is a slippery and tricky beast. For my autumn marathon last year I had a knee issue that came out of nowhere. All my training had been fine and suddenly, bam, race day it was unhappy. These things only make us stronger. At least you could work out what went right so you can smash your next one for sure.

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  5. I know how heartbreaking it is to DNF, but you are handling it with grace. A sprained MCL is nothing to mess with, so I’m glad you decided to stop instead of further injuring yourself – so smart! Now you have time to heal up before MCM — and you’ll have extra motivation heading into that race!

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  6. Oh man!!!! This is horrible! I mean, I am happy it’s already feeling better, but what a sucky thing to happen EVER but especially at your first marathon 😦 But you are so right that your nutrition and mental game was excellent, and that is some of the hardest stuff to figure out, so you’ll be prepared for MCM! I hope you heal in time!!!

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  7. I am so sorry to read this! That is not how you want to end any race let alone your first marathon. I don’t know if I would have made the smart choice so major props to you for being able to listen to your body. I wish you speedy healing so you can rock MCM! That race shirt is all kinds of awesome by the way.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It wasn’t ideal but after being injured last year for months due to not listening to my body. I refuse to take pains lightly. My rule now is: If it changes my gait or form in general, I shouldn’t run with it.

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  8. It can be SO hard to DNF, but often if you’re considering it, it’s the right thing to do. You kept the long view in mind and made the right decision. It looks like you took away some important positives to put toward MCM. I’m sorry this one didn’t pan out, but now you can rest your knee and come back stronger!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • It was the hardest/easiest decision I have ever made in terms of running. I am glad I made the call I did and do not regret it at all. My goal is not to just finish every race, but finish each run in a ‘healthy’ state and set up for a good recovery. This decision made that more possible than if I had continued on.

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  9. So sorry this happened to you 😦 Man, that really, really sucks. But I’m glad you’re keeping your chin up and that you have a shot at redemption at Marine Corps. I’m sure that race will feel even more meaningful and triumphant after what you went through.

    It just goes to show you that we never know what’s going to happen and that everything can change in the blink of an eye. We don’t know what race day will bring and that’s why it’s so important to enjoy the process of training and not just the end result. But you WILL get that medal this year!!

    Liked by 1 person

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