Marathon Training Week 11: Soldier Half Marathon

I’ve had my eye on the Soldier Half Marathon for a couple of years now, knowing that Major Hubs would really enjoy it.  Imagine my surprise when I asked Coach HoHo if she could work this race into our training plan and she replied with not only a ‘yes’, but also that she has run this one several times and may could even meet us there! Must’ve been fate, right? Excited about the opportunity to see my ‘Southern Sole Sister’ again, I registered Major Hubs and I and promptly booked our hotel. 

Coach Hoho had an easy week of running planned for us, knowing we’d be running 13.1 that weekend, that went something like this…

Marathon Training Week 11:

Monday: Strength Training

Tuesday: Abs/Core + 4 miles on the Zero Gravity Elliptical – avg pace 10:48

Wednesday: 3 easy miles – avg pace 10:38

Thursday: Rest

Friday: Travel to Columbus, Georgia

Saturday: 13.36 miles – avg. pace 11:15

Race Recap:

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We rolled into town around 4:30 pm, checked in to our hotel and headed straight to packet pick-up. It was located inside the National Infantry Museum and I thought I had read that while the museum closed at 5 pm, it would remain open for runners during packet-pickup. Our plan was to tour the museum after picking up our race packets. They had a small expo outside of the museum consisting of a few tents with running gear and t-shirts. Packet pick-up was smooth and quick.

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Women’s cut tech shirt, cap and a poster made for a nice haul.

Upon leaving, there was a table covered with small bibs with the names of fallen soldiers on them. You could choose one of these or write in your own name of a fallen hero to run in honor of. Major Hubs and I both ran in honor and memory of the 11 soldiers in his unit who lost their lives while they were deployed to Afghanistan in 2011-2012.

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These lined mile the course at mile 12 on race day.

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Much to our dismay, the museum was closed even to the participants. Therefore, we had our obligatory ‘packet pick-up’ photo made, carb loaded and turned in early. Even a one hour time difference can throw off these two ‘aging’ early birds.

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Flat Lady Bird ready to run

Race day dawned a bit nippy (low 40s) but the sun was shining and it was forecasted to warm up into the low 60s by mid morning. Since Holly was driving from Montgomery and still had to register, we went through security, hit up the porta-potties while there was no line and finally caught up with her at the starting line. After the National Anthem and a few minutes of chatter, the cannon was fired signaling the start of the race and we were off and running. Resized_20171118_080204_9667

I really had no plans for this race other than to run 13.1 miles with a solid effort. I was treating it as a training run. However, as all runners do …I, too, had a time in my head that I wanted to finish under …2:30.  I kept my watch display on avg pace and just ran by feel only looking at it at each mile marker. At mile 6, I was holding an avg pace of 10:58 and maintained that until mile 10. This is so par for my running course. I always run strong and steady until the last couple of miles where I just fizzle out. I knew that pace would get me well under 2:30 hours but wouldn’t come close to getting me a PR, so I gave in and slowed down the last 3 miles. This would prove to bite me in the proverbial butt. Little did I know at the time, but the course was measured long …a quarter of a mile long to be exact. This little .26 extra distance {and my slowing down} cost me my time goal by 11 seconds. If the course had actually been 13.1 miles, I would’ve finished around 2:26. Que sera sera, right? It was only a training run, not a race, right? Right. Well sort of. Not really. Aren’t we always racing at least a little?

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Photo creds to Coach HoHo!

Regardless, it was a beautiful day for running on a beautiful closed course with the hubby, a great running/blogging/friend and quite a few intense drill sergeants ….speaking of drill sergeants, this guy was positioned just as we turned onto the Avenue of the Flags leading straight to the finish line. As I made the turn, he yelled at me to “pick up the pace and catch that woman in front of you!”  I responded to him with “I’ve been chasing her for almost 13 miles.” (as we kept passing one another throughout the entire race} Well, Mr. Drill Sergeant didn’t let that go and yelled at me “well go catch her now!” I promptly yelled back “Yes Drill Sergeant!” Resized_20171118_112557_889

There was plenty of post race food and drinks, music and a massage tent. After finishing, I shoved a few orange slices and a banana in my mouth and quickly found Holly and the hubs. We snapped a few pictures and walked around the new Global War on Terrorism Monument ….a beautiful tribute to all of those who gave the ultimate sacrifice in Iraq and Afghanistan. Major Hubs found the names of his fallen comrades inscribed on the marble, which I know was very meaningful for him.

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Over the hubs right shoulder is a steel girder from one of the World Trade Center towers which collapsed on 9-11

While I’m sure it doesn’t even begin to compare to the likes of MCM or the Army 10 Miler, this race certainly had its share of inspiring runners…..

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Yes, they ran carrying a log! (Photo from My Team Triumph Georgia)

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I love her ‘jazz hands’ in the air as they approach the finish line! (Photo from My Team Triumph Georgia)

….and my absolute favorite is this precious little girl. After being pushed in a stroller for 13 miles, she left the stroller behind and crossed that finish line on her own and with the most beautifully accomplished and infectious smile!

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Photo from My Team Triumph Georgia

When you run among the likes of these heroes and angels, how can one be anything but thankful? Thankful for this gift of running and the smile that it puts on every runner’s face each time we cross a finish line.

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….and that’s a wrap! I’m linking up with Holly and Tricia for the Weekly Wrap along with Marcia, Erica and Patty for the Tuesday’s on the Run link-up. Be sure to stop by these ladies blogs, see what they’re up to and drop a line or two. You’re sure to be inspired and motivated.

 

xoxo,

Finding “Fabulous” at Fifty, one mile at a time!

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28 thoughts on “Marathon Training Week 11: Soldier Half Marathon

  1. Sounds like a great race! Congrats on a terrific training run! That’s too bad the course measured long. That’s nice that you could show on your bib who you dedicate the run too. My Team Triumph is a great organization. I remember being a part of Team Triumph a couple of years ago and pushing Captain Anthony in his stroller. Such a rewarding experience.

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    • I was so impressed with that organization and how wonderful for you to have given of your time to them. Running 13 miles is a challenge of its own, add pushing a stroller with a child and I’m just amazed at their dedication and determination ….but I’m sure those smiles make it all worthwhile!

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  2. Great pictures! That extra distance would drive me crazy!!! So technically you made your time goal. That is the biggest reason that I’m not running Disney this year is it is so over! Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

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    • Thank you! I was a little disappointed but I really felt bad for any of the full marathoners who may have been aiming for a Boston qualifier …that extra distance could kill a BQ! Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family as well!

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  3. Sounds like SUCH a fabulous weekend & race. I’m sorry you didn’t meet your time goal, but keep your eye on the prize girl — it’s just a training run on your road to 26.2, after all.

    And how fun to meet up with Holly yet again!

    Those drill sergeants — from both of y’alls blogs — sound scary, frankly!

    Happy Thanksgiving, Teresa!

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  4. Such a powerful race recap! Running in honor of those fallen soldiers is so heartbreaking but special. And that little girl crossing the finish line brought tears to my eyes. Running with such empowered warriors is such an inspiring experience. Congrats!!

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  5. We have a military race here in the summer–runs from Fort Sheridan (Army) to Great Lakes Naval Base. It’s 11 nautical miles. It’s such an amazing experience. No drill sergeants though. That guy could yell at me and I’d move it!

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  6. Ok, I’m on the verge of a blubbering situation. These kind of tributes always get me emotional. As you said, running in honor of angels and heroes is pretty incredible…it certainly makes one thankful for everything. Great job! Happy Turkey Day 😉

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  7. Congrats on a race (training run) well run!!! I can’t get enough of the military inspired races and everything/everyone that the participants run for.

    I soooo need to do this race!! I’m pretty sure I can make it work for 2018!!

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