I’m not in the Air Force. But I ran in the satellite race anyway. The longest distance I’ve ever run is 9.3 miles aka 15 kilometers in the Morgantown Balloon Day Race in 1993.
So the race starts. The girls from our HQ are running with us again. They are in fact stronger than many of the men. I can’t keep up with them in any event.
I have to run off the race course in pitch dark to hit the outhouse at the one half mile mark. I get out and everyone is gone except one Army Girl who is walking. I try to catch up to her, but she is walking crazy fast. I don’t catch her for an entire two miles. When I do, I can barely stay ahead of her.
At the five mile mark she is still with me, but she turns the wrong way and goes off the course. For the next 8 miles I am completely alone. All of the other half-marathoners have disappeared in front of me thanks to the outhouse break. All the Marathoners have to run the entire course twice and they are too far ahead/behind to lap me before I hit the finish line.
At each water point I take Gatorade TM(r)(c) all rights reserved, instead of water. The sugar invigorates me for a while. At the seven mile mark, my hamstrings begin to slowly separate from my pelvis, so I have to run in the dirt on the side of the paved road. I have fear of soft ground from Bosnia, so I don’t like running in the dirt, but it allows me to keep going.
At the eight mile mark, I see the sun start to rise over the horizon and amazingly it is still only about 80 degrees-freezing for this place. I am so bored that I start singing to myself, something 70s something Forest Gump TM(r)(c) all rights reserved, I start singing ‘Rocky Mountain High’ TM(r)(c) all rights reserved.
I hit a water station at the ten mile mark. By now the pain in my legs is excruciating, but I can’t bear to stop even though I know I am in dead last place as much as 30 minutes behind the next runner. By now the medic truck has caught up to me and he is so bored we start chatting and I run alongside of him. Now the day is starting and there is a parade of various vehicles and trucks I am trying to avoid. I hit the last water station and check my stopwatch to realize how slow I am going. The Air Force girls hand me more Gatorade. It is going to be over three hours, Rather a horrible time, was I in the outhouse that long?
I hit a turn and nearly get run over by a large truck, then I hit the next turn and I try to speed up but my legs won’t work. I see the finish line up ahead. The staff is still there but all of the other runners are gone. The staff is waiting for the first Marathoner. They cheer me across just to be nice. I then drink like 7 Gatorades. The walk back to my hootch is over a mile and is excruciatingly painful the entire way. I get back and I lay down and drift off to sleep for about 15 minutes. Some idiot is turning a truck around and bangs right into my hootch, the building shakes and I think it is incoming so I go tearing out the door in my bare feet only to see a white truck going past.
I still can’t walk today. And yes, running still sucks.