Back in March, before I had any idea that I’d be leaving my job to return to school full-time, my wife and I signed up for the Air Force Half-Marathon. On September 15th, my body had to cash a check that my big mouth wrote six months ago. My wife, her mom and sister, 15,000 of our closest friends and I walked or ran or otherwise propelled ourselves (there were a lot of wheel-chair racers and hand-crank racers, which I think is just amazing) for distances of 10K, 13.1 miles, or 26.2 miles.
The day started bright and early. Alarm set for 5:15 AM. On the road to my sister-in-law’s house by 6:00. We were standing near the starting line just after 7:00 AM. The starting gun for the Full Marathoners and 10K participants went off at 7:30 AM. Our race, the Half Marathon, started at 8:30 AM, but when 15,000 people want to do something at roughly the same time, it’s best to show up early. The highlight of the day, other than finishing the race, was the fly-over by a B-2 bomber, a plane I’ve seen in person at the National Museum of the USAF but never seen in flight before today. Check out this video if you want to see it in the air and hear “The Sound of Freedom.”
Some details worth noting:
1) My sister-in-law is six months’ pregnant. Does her OB know she’s doing this? This is the 2nd half-marathon she’s walked while pregant (different pregnancy last time).
2) My mother-in-law turns 60 this year. Goes to show that you’re never too old to abuse your body by walking way farther than anyone alive today in America really has to.
3) I beat my wife by one second. She knew, as we approached the finish line, that beating her was the last victory available to me that day.
4) Don’t worry… I didn’t miss the OSU-Cal game. Thank you, DVR. One of the Top 5 technological innovations in my lifetime. I know that sounds like hyperbole, but my wife knows my catchphrase well: “I don’t watch commercials.”
5) If you ever want to walk or run a long distance and you’ve never done it before, it’s important to get out and practice. But don’t practice too much, lest you realize how bored you’ll be at Mile 11 of 13.1. At about that point, your mind shifts its focus off of the road in front of you and onto the beer and pizza and bananas and Gatorade waiting for you at the finish line. But if you’re practicing, none of that good stuff is waiting for you. You just end up back in your own crappy house staring into your own empty refrigerator. How disappointing.
I just have one photo I’d like to share with you today… this is the flagpole outside the entrance to the Air Force Museum. The flag is at half-staff in honor of the slain US ambassador to Libya and the other Americans who lost their lives in service to their country recently.