Saturday, September 26, 2009

55 Seconds.....So Close

19Sep09- Air Force Marathon, Wright Patt AFB OH-

What an experience this whole trip was.....From the travels over the pond to get to the race to just being back in the states. It all started with 2 flights to get to Germany and then we stayed on base for less than 9 hours and then turned around and drove back to the airport. On Tuesday night headed from the airport to base it was about an hour drive on the autobahn. About 10 miles into the drive a BMW went flying by us between 150-175mph, it shook our van thats how fast it was going. Since I had just been up in Germany a month ago I was use to the fast speeds, but what happened next I was not use to. About 5 seconds after the BMW passed us I noticed its tail lights go from the far left lane crossing all 4 lanes and disappeared. I did not see an exit up ahead so was quite confused by what had just happened, then reality set in and there was a huge wreck in front of us with at least 3-6 cars. We were driving right threw it as debris was still sliding down the road and our shuttle driver would not stop. So I will just assume that at that speed the driver did not make it. So then we made it to base got checked into the hotel and got 6 hours of sleep. Woke up bright and early to get a short run in, which was amazing because the weather was great. So the flight across the pond was not bad at all and we landed in DC, ran through the airport and of course I got flagged by customs since we only had 30 mins to get to our flight. The reason they flag me is because there was a "Jessica Williams" that for some reason they thought I knew. Who would of thought since my last name is WILLIAMS I would know her, small world huh? So we made our flight after a good laugh with the US Customs guys. Once on the taxiway waiting to take off some more craziness happens........2 rows in front of me a guy in his mid 50's starts shaking and having a seizure. So everyone is looking around like what in the world is going on so I stood up and yelled to the attendant because we were in the back of the plane on a little puddle jumper. She came running back, called the pilot and back to the gate we went. After about an hour at the gate getting him off the plane we made it back out to the runway and took off. I asked the attendant if our baggage would catch up to us and she looked at me like I was crazy and it was already on board. I just laughed and knew there was no way it could of made it. So 3am in the morning 8 hours after arriving to our Hotel our luggage showed up.

So the three days leading up to the race in Dayton were awesome. I was so glad to be back in the states and have so many different places to eat at. I mean that is something that I love to do is eat. And once the trip was all said and done I sure did eat my $$$$$'s worth of food, $350 worth to be exact. So with all the great food I ate I made sure to go to a different place each day: TGIF, Olive Garden, Noodles (pretty awesome place), Cheese Cake Factory, Sake, Arby's, Hooters, Buffalo Wild Wings and Packys (the hotel restaurant).

Race day........I used the same morning routine I have been using this year for the longer races. Had my 2 packets of oatmeal, 1 banana, and cup of coffee and took care of the morning business, so I am 3 for 3 on that. We took some team pictures the morning of and then headed over to the race start with about 45 mins to get ready. Then next thing I know we are running a marathon, pretty crazy how it just sneaks up on ya.

The race went by really quick for the first 18 miles, thanks to Berlin, Manny and Rodney. I had heard a lot of stories about Manny and Rodney through my buddy Mark and met up with them and ran the first 18 miles with them. Manny and Berlin were both on the USAFE team, so it was cool to run as a group for the first 18 miles. We stopped once for a bathroom break at mile 4 and then picked up the pace to catch the 3:20 pacer. We eventually caught up to him between mile 8 and 9 and slowly pulled away from him. At the halfway point we hit 1:35 and I was really worried I had went out to quick. At mile 18 I realized I had a shot at a Boston Marathon qualifying time (3:10:59) and figured I needed to pick it up a bit. I started concentrating on one person at a time and would slowly make my way through the people. At mile 24 I realized it would be really hard to pull of the Boston time but ran as hard as I could. I ran mile 25 at 6:57 and mile 26 at 6:25 so I knew I had some left in the tank which was hard when I crossed the line at 3:11:54 only 55 secs off of a Boston spot.

All in all I was really happy with the results and went into the race not knowing what to expect. I just looked up the numbers and the month leading up to the race I ran a total of 64 miles with only 10 runs in 35 days, not exactly the kind of mileage I should of been running leading up to the race. Germany really took a lot of out of me mentally and physically so that is the reason for lack of mileage. I also realized after the accident that I had been going pretty hard since 1 December and rest is what my body was in need of. So running a 3:11:54 with only 64 miles of training leading up to the 4 weeks prior was great in my book.

I just want to say THANK YOU to everyone that continues to support me and follow my passion for endurance sports. A special thanks to my co-workers, leadership and USAFE for allowing me this great opportunity. We were treated somewhat like Pro Athletes in how we were driven around, accommodations and flights were paid for and having all the support of the Services Staff that was there just to support us.

Time: 3:11:54
Overall 58th/2014 participants
Age Group 5th out of 136

Military Division-
15th out of 489
2nd out of 65 Age Group

Average Pace: 7:19min/mile
Fastest Pace: 5:22min/mile
Average Heart Rate: 158 (80%)
Calories Burned: 3,500
Shoes: Aasics Gel Cumulus 9
Fastest Mile: 6:25 mile 26
Elevation: +1,123/-1,048
Mile Splits:

Below are some pictures from the race and travel during the trip:

AF RECRUITING TOOLS....Tricked out Mustang and Chopper were on display at the Expo

Team Dinner pre race night

Team USAFE 9 Marathoners/8 1/2 Marathoners

Team Turkey....had 4 members, the biggest group from one base!
Feeling the pain

This was around mile 24 and I was asking the guy if I could make it in time for Boston....He said "Run fast, you will need 7:20 or faster miles and you can do it"....Our math was off because I ran sub 7 min/miles and came up short :(

Feeling good and showing off the tan lines.

This guy ran the whole marathon with the flag display. He is a bad ass!!

Visited the AF Museum and it was cool.....
The F-22 on display with some prototype plane above it.

Myself and Berlin at SAKE Japanese grill for our last meal. Berlin never had SAKE so I had him try some and you can tell it got to him ;)

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Life's a Roller Coaster......And It Just Keeps On Climbing

12 Sept 2009-

Figured it had been awhile since I have blogged and with all the good news lately figured I should get on here. So where to start.........As many of you know since the crash in Germany things were not looking to good. I was suppose to be out for at least 4-6 weeks from swimming, biking and running. Once I arrived back here to Turkey the Doctor here had his own opinions on my arm and cleared me to run immediately and I was also cleared to ride the trainer. I have now gained about 85% rotation back in my arm and this past week I was cleared to swim. So things started looking promising but I was not motivated to train. The first 3 weeks back I just lounged around and reflected on life and how privileged I had been this year.

I have been in "training" mode since 1 December(3,951 total miles), so lounging around for 3 weeks in August is probably what my body was needing. I have been too 6 countries and have raced in 5 of the 6. I have qualified for the World Championships for the Half Ironman and won two overall triathlons on military bases. I am slowly establishing myself as a endurance athlete and becoming "known" around the community. But when I look back and reflect NONE, ZERO, ZILCH would be possible without the great foundation that supports me. First of FAMILY has been behind me 100% and has supported myself in so many ways. Then comes the FRIENDS, without you guys I would not be where I am today. Then the fellow athlete's, who continue to push me day in and day out. You may not be here stationed in Turkey or you may not even know me but when I train I am training because you might be out there training just as hard or if not harder than me. You are the ones that push me to go harder and strive for more everyday. Then those that doubt me or don't believe in me. I know there are people out there that are waiting for me to fail, and were probably glad to see poor results in Germany (when in all reality the crash and then finishing made me even stronger as a person). These people are around everywhere in life, especially when things start getting good and you start accomplishing great things. So for the people out there that are waiting for me to fail, when I am training it is to prove you wrong. So bottom line THANK YOU to everyone who has been there pushing me and supporting me since the start of this season and the start of the passion for Tri's/running.

Alright so now that the reflection process is over here is all the good news:

I was 1 of 18 individuals selected to represent USAFEurope at the AF Marathon. It was a last minute selection process but I applied in hopes of getting picked up and having a paid trip back to the states to compete at such a great race. We leave on Tuesday to head out to Dayton OH for the race on September 19th. This will be my second marathon so I am quite excited about it.
On Thursday I found out that I was selected for promotion to SSgt (E-5) and will more than likely put on the stripe in December. This now means I will be in a supervisory role, yeah I know SCARY huh?

Then when I thought nothing else could get any better Friday I got more good news. I was selected as the 2009 Incirlik AB Athlete of the Year. My package is now up at MAJCOM level (USAFEurope) and I will be competing against other athletes from around Europe for that award.

So like the title says Liefs a Roller Coaster.........And it just keeps on Climbing. But what goes up must come down, so lets hope this roller coaster doesn't derail for quite some time.