Sunday, November 19, 2017

Soldier Half Marathon (WW # 120)

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Soldier Half Marathon
Fort Benning, GA
November 18, 2017
Half Marathon  # 47


Last year I thoroughly enjoyed the 2016 Soldier Half Marathon and vowed to run the marathon this year. Well...that didn't happen.  Other plans were made and revised.  Life happened.  Injuries happened.   I am a little disappointed as this was the last year they'll offer the full distance. Originally scheduled to run Vegas, I doubted I'd be able to fit in this half.  But when Vegas didn't happen, I thought...maybe.  Throw in the fact I found out my southern sole sister Teresa and her Major Hubs were going to run it and that "maybe" became...well heck yeah!

Due to the time zone difference, this race required a crazy early wake-up call.  Even so, I prefer sleeping in my own bed.  I arrived one hour beforehand.  I would need to find parking, go through security, register and get my swag, stand in the restroom line, walk back to the car, go back through security, and get to the start line. These logistics are what make me nervous -- never the race itself.  Let's just say there was a bit of a fiasco at registration which left me with little time to spare.  I was glad to get a hat because I forgot mine!

The swag included a poster, awesome moisture-wicking hat,
and a women's cut technical T-shirt.

I connected with Teresa and Hubs and we lined up in the middle.  It was about 40 degrees but would warm up quickly.  I had a throwaway long sleeve T-shirt on; split up the middle for easy removal.  Teresa and I ran together for a bit.  Knowing the famous Drill Hill began in mile three, I wanted to run easy until I crested it. Surprisingly, it was not the same big hill as last year.  In fact, the course was different in the early miles. No worries -- they threw in a suitable replacement hill.  Although it was much longer (a full mile up) it didn't seem as steep.   The Drill Sergeants were there to help us to the top.  One fell right in step with a guy to my right.  I'm happy it was not me.  I giggled at his choice of words and kept running...a bit faster!




While running the few miles on base, I heard what sounded like gunfire a couple of times which was a bit unsettling.  You have to remember this is a true military base.  Their training would not stop for us.  I am very appreciative of the many, many soldiers who worked this event.   My favorite segment was the big down hill.  Yep, those Drill Sergeants were there too!

Being my first half since June, I had no expectations of being anywhere near a PR.  After a year with various injuries and time off, I ran the Battleship 12k last weekend at a 9:31 pace and hoped that would translate to a solid effort below a 10:00.  It did.  My average pace was 9:51.  Sadly, the altered course measured a quarter mile too long so my official time will not reflect it.  {Pet Peeve -- don't get me started!}  I actually don't know my official time as I didn't check at the race and they haven't been posted. 

The start and finish runs through the Avenue of Flags.
Overall, I was happy to run strong with no cramping or other issues.  It was a gorgeous fall day.  You know I'm solar powered -- I was happy to be outside doing something active.  The miles passed quickly and pleasantly, if you can call those last few miles of any half  pleasant.    Even though some of it was due to the added distance, it was still a little hard to swallow being over 8 minutes slower than last year.

Moving on...

National Infantry Museum's entrance.

The post race party was nice with plenty of food and drink options.  I saw people lined up for massages as well.  I only ate a banana and pretzels as I planned to visit with a family member for lunch.  We hung out a little while and took a few pictures but Teresa and Hubs also had to leave in order to check out of their hotel.  I'll let Teresa tell you about their experience, but let me say I'm very proud of both of them.  They nailed this race as part of their marathon training!




There is something about this race that I love.  Perhaps it's the zero traffic.  Perhaps it's the fall foliage.  Perhaps it's the beautiful wooded roads that take you up to the base and back down.  Perhaps it's getting a glimpse of base life.  Perhaps it's the motivating Drill Sergeants.  Perhaps it's the winding trail beside the river during the final miles.  Perhaps it's the Avenue of Flags.  Perhaps it's the impressive National Infantry Museum.  Perhaps it was just running with friends.  Perhaps you could say it's all of the above.  Whatever the case, I'll be back!


t
And that's a wrap!


Have you run a race on a military base?

What do you think makes a great race experience?

What are you training for?




64 comments:

  1. I'm so impressed by you! This marathon looks awesome! Way to go!

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  2. I did a OCR race a year ago (in August) on a base...it was total simulation of a war-like scenario. I kept thinking of Forest Gump as we encountered numerous (colored) smoke bombs and constant helicopter flyovers.

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    1. I have never attempted an obstacle course race. It sounds pretty intimidating. We love that movie! We quote lines from it all the time.

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  3. There are a bunch of races on military bases here but I have not done one yet. Look at your racking up the bling this month!

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    1. The last two weeks' races with their patriotic themes and medals have been incredible!

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  4. Sounds like a great event all around. I do love fall running. And that medal is fantastic!

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    1. It's so much easier to breathe now when I run. I don't want to even think about summer running.

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  5. I don't think the drill sergeants would motivate me (more like scare the crap out of me but maybe that would make me run faster).

    It sounds like a fantastic experience, and no, I've never run on a military base -- but gunshots would be disconcerting. The trails I run are close to a pistol range & you can often hear shooting going on, and that's always a bit off putting to me.

    Since I've never slept in my own bed before a half . . . the 15k I do is really the closest I ever get to that, but somehow that distance just isn't as daunting. I do empathize about those races that run long (and the 15k does too!).

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    1. The Drill Sergeants were all in fun but I admit they can be scary. I feel for people who are trying to PR and then get hit with the extra length. Last year, the course measured fairly accurate.

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  6. I've been on bases before, but not for a race. It definitely felt different being on base, but I was visiting family, and they got us in to see a tank. That was cool!

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    1. I noticed a few items on display throughout the base and saw runners taking pictures. Mostly though, I'm focused on the road ahead of me. That's why it is nice to look around at the museum.

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  7. Congrats on a great race, and how fun that you got to see Teresa again! I have not run a race on a military base, but I have run the Marine Corps Marathon ten times and loved having the Marines cheer us on.

    Thanks for the linkup!

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    1. I've heard so many great things about MCM. Maybe one day I'll get to run it.

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  8. I'd love those drill sergeants! Sounds like such a fun race. We have a similar race here where you run from Fort Sheridan to Great Lakes Naval base. Very moving, having the soldiers on the course.

    Great job, my friend!

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    1. You would enjoy hearing how they encourage the runners! It's all in good fun.

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  9. That elevation chart looks intense! Thats frustrating that the course was long. Overall it sounds like a great race- Congrats!

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    1. This race definitely has some elevation changes. It keeps it interesting, to say the least.

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  10. Sounds like a great race - Especially those drill sergeants! And so fun that you got to catch up with Teresa! Congrats!

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    1. The drill sergeants are one of a kind. I think some people may run this race just to have that experience.

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  11. Congratulations!! This looks like a great half marathon! Your pace was awesome!

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    1. This is a great southern race. You should put it on your list.

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  12. Congratulations! Sounds like a beautiful course and hooray for running strong. We have a race here that starts on an army base and ends on a naval base. Other than Marine Corps, that's the only "military" race I've done that I can think of.

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    1. That sounds like a cool race. I hope to run MCM one of these days...

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  13. Sounds like a great race! Sorry it measured long. I ran the Fredericksburg historic half in VA a few years in a row and military personal were cheering and drill Sargenting along the entire course! When a big man in uniform yells at you to attack the hill, you do just that, lol!! Anyways glad you had a good race and good week!!

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    1. Ha! Yes, you do exactly what they tell you to.

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  14. Oye, I hate when courses aren't measured correctly! Otherwise it sounds like a pretty nice weekend!

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    1. I think they rerouted the course due to construction or maybe road work. I hope they'll go back to the original course next year. It measured pretty close.

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  15. Oh my this race sounds like so much fun! Extra distance is one of my biggest pet peeves at races too! Running on a base with drill sergeants sounds like an amazing experience! Have a great week!

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    1. I hope whatever caused the detour will not be an issue next year and they'll return to the original course.

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  16. I'm not training for anything right now! But I guess you could say I'm training my appetite for all the eating I'll do later this week! ;)

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    1. Ha! I could do that type of training every day.

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  17. I've never done a military race! I'm not sure how I would feel about the guns or the drill sergeant - it's definitely stuff that I'm not used to! I hate it when courses don't measure correctly - too long AND too short bother me.

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    1. The guns weren't close to us. But I definitely could hear some type of target practice going on. The drill sergeants were all in good fun, especially since they didn't talk to me. LOL

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  18. That elevation map looks intense! Great job on your race.

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    1. It's definitely not an easy course and I'm always happy to crest that huge hill 'cause I know eventually we will go back down! LOL.

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  19. Sounds like a great race. And that swag and medal for the race looks awesome!

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    1. Since I'm starting to wear hats and visors more often, I can appreciate getting a nice moisture-wicking hat.

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  20. Half #47! Whew! I agree with the comment above me -- the elevation looks intense. I'm kind of terrible at lots of ups and downs. I also hate when courses go so far over I know it wasn't my fault for not running the tangents.... grrrr. Have a great week!

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    1. I feel I ran the tangents well. I believe they had a reason to make the detour and hope they'll go back to the original course next year.

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  21. Fall foliage in races is absolutely beautiful - I agree! I also stress about the logistics of a race, getting there and in line in time.

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    1. I have dreams of not being able to get to the start line before the race begins. It almost happened at this race.

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  22. I like your choice in words - the drill sergeant "helped" up the hill. Lol! Looks like it was a fun race.

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    1. They absolutely helped me up that hill. LOL. I didn't dare slow down.

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  23. That was a great pace for a half and looks like a nice course. I hate when the course is long. Even Vegas was 13.23.

    Love to sleep in my own bed before a half. I want to do more of that.

    So sorry to miss PCM. Maybe next year.

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    1. My half PR was at a low key local race where I slept in my own bed. The stress of travel and logistics is removed. I believe it helps. I'll miss you in PCB!

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  24. My comment got lost... anyway -- congrats! This sounds like such an awesome race. I wish I lived closer so I could join you!

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    1. We need to pick a race and get a huge group of us together. Wouldn't that be fun?

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  25. I have run on a military base, but just a 5K! I don't think that I heard any gun fire - that would have made for an interesting run! How frustrating to have the extra mileage - don't they understand?! The only drill sergeants that I've seen during races are the Green Army Men during RunDisney races. During the marathon, they were stationed at the top of a hill entering Hollywood studios - they would make people who stopped for photos "drop and give 'em twenty push-ups"!

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    1. Ha! Those Green Army Men were not very nice to Tricia and I when we ran the full at Disney one year. We did get our picture made with one though.

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  26. I love that you have such affection for this race. And the drill sergeant, that would have just made me laugh too hard to run!

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    1. I was so relieved that the drill sergeant wasn't in my face and that struck me as funny. I pitied the guy next to me. LOL.

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  27. Congrats on a great race! Sounds like a good event! I also hate when race courses measure long...the 5k I ran this weekend was long and it makes a huge difference- my time officially was 28:02 but it was .10 miles over, so it could have been sub 28 had it been the right distance!

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    1. It is very frustrating when you aiming for a certain "sub" number. You know you got it, but it isn't reflected in the official time.

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  28. This really was a great race and seeing you was icing on the cake! Can't wait for PCB!

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    1. I think it would be fun to repeat this one. (Again)

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  29. Congrats on your race! Sounds like a fun one especially with the drill sergeants. I remember going to Fort Benning long ago when my brother was training there.

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    1. According to the race swag and printed materials, they are celebrating their 100th year. The museum is pretty cool too.

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  30. Congrats on your half marathon finish! Sounds like a nice course! Cool that you also got a hat as part of your swag!

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    1. I've started wearing hats and visors more often so I can appreciate a nice moisture-wicking hat.

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  31. That sounds like a good one... I love seeing fall colors, that is one thing I definately miss living in this area.

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    1. The fall color was pretty but I remember it being more vibrant during last year's race. I guess the timing was a little off this year.

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  32. Congratulations Holly! That is a very strong run. Maybe I need to try for this one next year :) If I end up keeping up with the distances lol
    You ladies look pretty by the Fall colors.
    I love no traffic for sure and the drill sergeants sound like a fun bonus!
    Glad you had a great day to enjoy the run. Any run where no major issues pop up is a good day :)

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    1. This would be an easy flight into Atlanta for you. I'd pick you up and we'd stay in Columbus, GA. Sound like a plan?

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