Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Air Force Marathon 10K...It's Over Already?

Dawn & me after receiving our WELL-DESERVED medals 
for the 10K!!!

Yesterday afternoon, I arrived home from a MUCH too-short weekend away in Dayton, Ohio for the 10K at the Air Force Marathon. Today, it was time to put on my homeschooling mommy hat again, and get back into our regular routine. But after looking forward to this weekend for so long, I have to say it went by much too quickly!

Starting with a 4.5-hour drive from Pittsburgh to Dayton, I met one of my best girl friends, Dawn, at the hotel  for a girls' weekend get-away. After getting our room, we headed out the the Nutter Center to pick up our race packets for the 10K - and to do a little shopping at the Expo. I ended up getting a new long-sleeved tech shirt that says, "Running is cheaper than therapy," and a sticker for my car window that says "Runner Girl." There were a lot of vendors with some pretty enticing things for the running-obsessed. I had a hard time not going crazy buying everything I saw! One shirt I really liked, but ended up not buying, said, "Running is a mental sport, and we are all insane." If I had found one in pink, I may have given in. ;) After doing a little shopping, we had a light dinner and went back to the hotel to pin our numbers onto our shirts, set out our running outfits, and get to bed early.

The morning of the race was ridiculously frantic. It started calmly enough, as Dawn and I had no problem waking at 5:15 AM to get ready. Last year was my first 10K, as well as my first race ever, and I was extremely nervous. This year, I didn't feel nervous at all. Excited, yes - but not nervous!  We were very happy to find that this year, the hotels in the area had arranged for a shuttle that would pick us runners up and drop us off at the race, so we didn't have to worry about driving and parking. Yay!! Well, it sounded great, until a group of us runners found ourselves still sitting in the bus at 6:45, stuck in what seemed to be an unending line of traffic - with a start time of 7:15! Aaaccckkk!!!  At that point, we all decided to bid a friendly farewell to the driver and in unison, piled off the bus to walk/run to the starting line. It was at least a mile to go from  where we got off - probably longer. We bus refugees booked it as fast as we could, but not without making a necessary stop at the port-a-potties! You should not, do not, cannot, start a race with a full (or even half-full) bladder! As Dawn and I stood waiting in the potty line, we could hear the announcer over the mic pep-talking the runners to get ready; we watched the awesome jet fly-over, and listened to someone belt out The Star Spangled Banner. Talk about nerve-wracking! And a thankfulness for modern technology - at least what really counted was chip time and not clock time! Dawn and I each were actually inside port-a-potties when we heard the gun go off. We jogged to the starting line, zipped across start, and spent our first mile zig-zagging around all the walkers.

After such a crazy start, the run was very, very pleasant. The weather could not have been better. It was slightly chilly - too chilly to be comfortable standing around in a tank top and shorts, but perfect for running 6.2 miles in that tank top and shorts. There was no humidity, and the sun was shy. Dawn and I eventually got separated, but we both did well and set new personal records. I do wish I could have run faster than I did, but since I took so much time off after the half-marathon because of my shin pain, that was no surprise. I still beat last year's time by 20 seconds! :D

The rest of the weekend was spent doing fun girl things without husbands, kids, or deadlines - shopping, eating out, talking, beer and margaritas, a little more shopping, oh and did I mention talking?? Dawn and I have been meeting annually for a weekend away since 2005. When we started, neither of us was into running or exercise, and as moms of preschool-aged children at the time, we totally thrived on this time away of girl talk and indulgence. After a couple of years, we both began to run for exercise and wondered if we could ever get together for a "healthy weekend" away. Last year's race was the first time we actually met to run, and it was the very first race for both of us - she ran the 5K, and I ran the 10K.

I think we now may be hooked! Not that we've got the whole "healthy weekend away" conquered - but it's better than before! We're getting there, I think! Baby steps. Just the fact that we actually see a morning of running a few miles together as "fun" is a big thing. And already, we are making plans to meet next year for either another 10K...or perhaps (if I can twist her arm enough)....a half-marathon!  Yeah!

Just one last thought I will leave you with: EVERYmom needs a girls' weekend away!!!!