Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Love Come Down, Let It Take Us Away

Our wedding day was quite frankly, the most amazing day of my life.

Everything everyone told me about the day turned out to be true:  It would go by so fast, things would go wrong but nobody would notice, you wouldn't have time to eat (not literally true, I ate lots, but I did miss out on enjoying details I had looked forward to and worked hard on the entire planning process); Things I said I wouldn't let happen at my wedding happened, things I didn't think I cared about ended up contributing so much to the day, things I thought I cared about ended up not mattering.  And all of it added up to such a special night.

What no one prepared me for was how little time I would have with everyone individually.  As a destination wedding for 85% of our guests, the room was filled with people I see once a year, once every two or three years, and I barely had 60 seconds with most of them.  And these are people who mean a lot to me, the kind of people I'd love to chat with for hours any time they are around.  It was overwhelming in a good way to have so many people to want to talk to and so little time.  I think in the end this is what surprised me most about the wedding.  How all those special people would be in that one room and fill it with such meaning.

It rained for days leading up to and through the wedding.  The venue we picked is known mainly for its outdoor chapel and we were unable to utilize it for our ceremony.  When we chose the venue we knew it could quite possibly rain, and we decided that the indoor venue the site had (known as, "The Barn") was more beautiful than any other indoor venue we were going to come across.  So in a way it was a win-win situation, though I admit we were both a little disappointed it had rained on our parade in the days leading up to the wedding.  But as they say, "Wet knots are harder to untie," and the ceremony site ended up being filed under the Things-I-Thought-I-Cared-About file.

I will never forget the look on Boyfriend's face when I walked down the aisle or the vows we made to each other.

Some blog-safe detail photos for your enjoyment:

Something old:  My maternal grandmother's wedding rings

Something new:  My wedding dress
Something borrowed:  My sister's veil

Something blue:  My paternal grandmother's aquamarine ring (we share it as a birthstone)

And a sixpence in your shoe:  When I was 15 or 16, my paternal grandmother picked this off the floor, exclaimed, "A lucky penny!" and gave it to me.  It has since gone missing and I'm trying to think maybe it used up all its luck for me and has moved on.

We did brave the rain to get some beautiful photos in the outdoor chapel under the redwoods which in the end is more than good enough for me.

Just when I was getting used to calling Boyfriend my fiancĂ© he goes and turns into my husband.  I think the change suits both of us just fine.

The reading from our ceremony:

I love you without knowing how,
Or when, or from where.
I love you simply,
Without problems or pride.
I love you in this way because I do not know
any other way of loving but this,
in which there is no I or you,
So intimate
that your hand upon my chest is my hand,
So intimate that when I fall asleep
your eyes close.
                        ~ Pablo Neruda

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!

I forgot I had these shots to share.  In Auckland we went up the Sky Tower and there were a bunch of Christmas trees.  It seemed as if it were a contest where kids designed decorated trees via sketch and then they were brought to life.  This one was entitled "A Tree For Rudolph" or something of that nature.  Forget the reindeer, I was instantly struck by how this was THE tree for any treat loving rabbit.

Mario says, "YUM!" as do your rabbits, I'm sure.

Bonus round...

One grumpy, you-interrupted-my-Christmas-nap bunny.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Monday Mario

This photo has probably already graced the blog (c. 2009) but the Christmas tree is currently surrounded by various wedding detritus (the fence erected around the tree kept the stuff nicely out of Mario's reach) and it will probably have to wait until tonight or tomorrow before a half decent photo of Mario and the tree can be taken.

After the wedding we went on our honeymoon to Australia and New Zealand.  I printed the above photo and propped it up in our stateroom so that we could have Mario and our tree with us while we were away.  After an almost 14 hour plane ride we went straight to pick up Mario because I promised him he'd be home for Christmas.

I hope everyone has a very Merry Christmas!  It has been quite the month but I'm happy to be home and excited for normal life to resume.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Going To The Chapel

After tomorrow, Boyfriend is going to need a new blog name.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Monday Mario

Big foot, little itch.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Two Cities Marathon

The Mario Recap, Marathon #36:

Knee good.  Temperature bad.  First 17 miles good.  Last 9.2 bad.  PR good.  Post-race postmortem bad.

The Full Recap, Marathon #36:

I did some calculations before the race and determined that my target pace zone was 8:19 (3:39:59) to 8:30 (3:44:59) based off of my finishing Garmin distance last year of 26.46 miles.  Knowing that the course was going to measure almost 0.3 miles "long" I knew having the distance showing on Garfield was pointless and would only piss me off during the race.  So I adjusted Garfield's data fields and for the first time ever ran a race without ever looking at the distance measurement.

I loved how this worked out and will do it every goal race from now on.  You've gotta keep the pace 'til you get to the finish so it doesn't really matter what mile you are at.  Mile markers were all I needed to keep on top of nutrition.

I used "Lap pace" as my main determinant and had "Average pace" up so I knew if I was on track or not.  I also left a "Time" data field because last year there had been people calling out the gun time at every mile marker. I wore a pace band so I could know where I was without a doubt against the clock.

I got up and did my usual pre-race routine.  I had only done a 5 and 4-miler in my knee strap so I lathered up the Body Glide around my knee in case it gave me any issues over a longer distance.  I wasn't too worried about the strap since it just velcroed on and I could pull it off while running (versus an ankle brace which requires sitting down and taking of your shoe). If it started chafing I could always remove it mid-run.  I started thinking about my knee and got super queasy with nerves.

Last year the weather forecast was a low of 41, high of 58, 50% chance of rain.  Regarding the weather, I wrote that it was "perfect."  This year the forecast was a low of 55, a high of 81, 0% chance of rain.  It could obviously be worse, but that is crappy running weather in my book.  I was comfortably cool at the start which is just hot running weather, in my opinion.

My game plan was to stay in the low 8:30's until my knee settled down, and then just see where the day went.

The start

Mile 1: 8:31
Mile 2:  8:24

My knee bothered me for all of 10 steps the entire race.  I had a mild awareness of it somewhere after the first mile which I was expecting.  I kept waiting to see if it was going to morph into sharp stabbing pain as it has every run the last two weeks but it never did.  There were several underpass tunnels which had short, steep inclines leading in and out of the tunnels.  Maybe a step or two here and there I was aware of my knee, but no sharp stabbing pain I experienced on training runs lately.

Mile 3:  8:23
Mile 4:  8:17
Mile 5:  8:22

I had told Boyfriend if the stabbing pain developed and didn't stop I was going to stop running and I would try to find a cell phone to let him know I had dropped.  I recall there being a distinct moment where I realized that my knee was not going to ruin my day. "Wow, I'm really going to have to run the full 26.2 miles today."  I started hitting paces lower than I had expected to see so early on, but I felt good so I decided it was okay.  If I could stay in the low 8:20's I might have a shot of my A-goal if I could bring things down later on.

For the first time, the race put on the marathon and two half marathons.  The original half marathon ran the second half of the course but started only 15 minutes after the full.  This means that the majority of the half runners were already finished by the time we got there.  The race also kept separate lanes for the full runners and half runners so it was pretty much a non-issue to be passing the half walkers in their own lane.  When the race first advertised that they were creating a first half marathon I actually wrote and told them that they ruined their marathon.  And now having run the marathon I stand by this sentiment.

First, some of the first half is run on a recreation path type deal which is really not that wide.  There were probably 3x as many people running on the first half course than last year.  I could deal with that.  But the kicker was that the way they planned the first half and the full courses is that the full course actually diverts away from the first half course twice and adds on an extra three miles with little loops and an extra out-and-back.  This means that while you settle into your pace with other half marathoners running the same speed as you in the beginning, twice you are diverted away and rejoin them but now with people running decidedly slower than you are running.  And finally, it is just a huge morale depressor to be running with people who aren't running the same distance you are.  Too many, "We're almost there!" rally cries among the half marathoners made me want to punch someone.

Mile 6: 8:26
Mile 7: 8:11
Mile 8: 8:14
Mile 9: 8:10

The above miles happened during the first time we pulled away from the half marathoners which literally increased my happiness level and thus my pace.  These people were in it with me and that made me feel good.  I also saw Boyfriend out cheering which gave me a lift.  I don't know what I was thinking.  It was too fast.  I tried to slow down a little but I suppose that didn't work.  I felt like I was working at marathon pace so I went with it.

We passed a bank that had the temperature up at about mile 7 and it said 57 degrees.  We passed another building with the temp up just 1.5 miles or so later and it said 64 degrees.  WTF.  The temperature was rising fast and it was going to be a hot day.  Luckily there was quite a bit of shade the first half so I didn't feel like it was bothering me much yet.

Mile 10: 8:18
Mile 11: 8:27

There was a short little out-and-back for the full marathoners and I realized I had a couple of minutes lead over the 3:45 pace group.  They had started *just* behind me as they had bumped up against me in the very first half mile of the race.  We rejoined the half marathoners for a little under two miles and it was hard to find my pace having to weave through slower runners.  I tried to keep my eye on one or two other full marathoners who were slightly ahead of me and figured if I kept equidistant from them I was holding onto my marathon pace.

We had another small out and back with just the full runners before rejoining the half marathoners again.  When we hooked up again I felt like they had slowed way down which is probably the case since we had set ourselves back another mile+ in the half marathon pack.  To make matters worse there was two-way traffic to contend with.  There were still outbound walkers coming towards us and slower half marathoners clogging up the side of the path meant for our direction of flow.  We had to run through the narrow dark tunnels and the whole thing was just frustrating.  I had been working hard to run the tangents as best I could but with all the weaving it was impossible to care about that.

Right around here my average pace was 8:19.  That was short-lived, but nice.

Mile 12: 8:37
Mile 13: 8:47

Boyfriend met up with me at mile 13 to swap out my bottle.  Last year I hated refilling my 22 oz with the race's inefficient hardly-filled cups so I decided I would swap out my 22 oz bottle and supplement with aid stations along the way, thus avoiding having to refill the whole 22 oz myself.

Around the half point.  In this photo only myself and the guy in yellow ahead are doing the full marathon.   There is no counter-traffic on this part of the course, but you can imagine what that was like.

Mile 14: 8:19
Mile 15: 8:28
Mile 16: 8:27
Mile 17: 8:22

I was so looking forward to dropping the first half runners for good at mile 16.  I was having to keep on top of my pacing more but was still right in my sweet spot zone between 8:19 and 8:30.  I told myself once we got to the big out and back the half marathoners would be gone and I could concentrate purely on my effort.

And this, my friends, is where the wheels fell off my race.

Things got really hard.  Boyfriend popped up unexpectedly at mile 18 and I didn't wave or smile or even acknowledge all of his awesome cheering.  A couple of times I thought about how all I wanted to do in that moment was sit down on the curb and cry.  And it is not that I wanted to cry about how I was losing my hold on my goals. I just wanted to cry because it was so dang hard to keep running.

I tried to not dwell on that and tried to focus on that "Lap pace" field.  Right here, in this moment, can I bring that down a little?  I tried but it was barely improving.

I had to stop at aid stations to grab extra water.  My water bottle was nice, but the water at the aid stations was cooler.  I tried to keep running and drink from the cups but that was too hard so I'd walk just long enough to allow me to drink.  Some aid stations I was grabbing 3 or 4 cups of water.  I was losing time doing that but I needed the extra fluids.

I watched my average pace slowly creep up.  8:25, 8:26, 8:27, 8:28...  It is amazing how slowly the average pace creeps up even though you're running far slower.  I realized this meant I would have to work much harder to bring it back down.

Mile 18: 8:49
Mile 19: 8:45
Mile 20: 8:35
Mile 21: 8:44
Mile 22: 9:10

We hit the turnaround and I thought about how last year I magically came back to life afterwards.  This year it was just hot out there with no shade at the outer portion of the out-and-back.  We hit the one big hill on the course and I tried to just keep chugging away.

Somewhere towards the top of the hill, I heard a "Great job," to my left as a runner passed me. I said, "thank you," and then looked at him as he pulled in front of me.  He was holding the 3:45 pace sign.

My heart broke.

Right before that my average pace had hit 8:30.

I knew this was the moment I could rally and at least make my main goal of sub-3:45 or I could roll over and die and miss it.  I tried. I pretended I had a rope attached to that neon green shirt and I attempted to stay with him.  But I couldn't.  He slowly pulled away from me.

Boyfriend caught this shot of Mr. 3:45 at the start

The next few miles sucked.  That green shirt and 3:45 sign were not that far away from me but I couldn't for the life of me gain on them.  My lap pace was atrocious.  These are the miles I am used to kicking it up a notch, running faster than my goal pace and bringing it home strong. It was all I could do to just keep running. I was running as hard as I could and wasn't even close to the higher range of my goal pace.

My inner monologue went like this:  "You are going to look back and wish you had dug a little deeper.   Can you dig a little deeper now? I would try and would get close to nothing back.  Okay, good try.  You're going to look back on this and be upset you didn't run faster, but just know that right now, in this moment, you are going as fast as you absolutely can. Don't be upset about it later."

I passed a speaker playing music and the Adele song, "Rolling In The Deep" was playing.  Oh, the irony.  All I heard over and over was, "We could have had it all."  Why yes, I was running at my A-goal for a while there.  "I can't help feeling we could have had it all."  Yes, I still have time to bring it in under 3:45 if I could just find the energy.  "We almost had it all... Could have had it all."  Grr.  "It all, it all, it all..." Thanks, Adele.

Mile 23: 8:50
Mile 24: 8:32

I knew I had a PR in the bag if I just kept running.  I would have to really, really slow down to lose a PR.  I told myself to be happy about that.  A half marathoner walker was saying to her friend as I passed, "It is hot as a bitch out here."  That made me feel better.

Mile 25: 8:35

I passed the mile 25 mile marker and there was a woman calling out the gun time.  The whole race there were maybe 4 mile markers with someone calling out the gun time.  Last year every single mile marker had someone.  She said, "3:35" as I ran by.  She didn't say the seconds but what I heard made me think. I had 10 minutes to run the last mile.  Easy peasy!  For a second I thought maybe I had run the tangents better or maybe Mr. 3:45 was ahead of pace a little.  Then I remembered that extra 0.2.  It wasn't in the bag but it was doable.  I tried to channel the sub-7:20 mile repeats I ran in training. Can't I get just one of those suckers now?  Obviously the answer was, "No."  Okay, I really don't need one of those but maybe just something a little faster than goal pace?  Again, the answer was "N-O."

Mile 26: 8:39  This absolutely breaks my heart.

We rounded into the finish area.  Having run the race before I knew the line was still a few turns away and not right there.  As the finish line came into sight I tried to kick it up little.  I started to dry heave.  I slowed down and tried to calm my breathing.  My poor body knew it was almost at the finish and was getting excited and telling me it had enough.  Speed up a little, dry heave.  Slow down.  Repeat.  Fine then, I'll just run it in normal.  I missed the goal. I'm not about to puke on myself for 6 extra seconds.

Mile 26.2 (26.47-- blech--per Garmin): 8:35

Finish time:  3:45:25

A medical volunteer gave me a look of concern as I passed her and I flashed a smile to let her know I wasn't going to topple over.  Boyfriend caught up to me in the chute and gave me a hearty congratulations.  "It's hot out here," he said.  "I broke a sweat just standing there to cheer at mile 18."

I was just so relieved to be done.  I was happy I had pulled off a PR close to my goal the way I had been feeling at the end.  I hadn't walked.  It was hot.  My knee had not bothered me.  I wasn't upset at all the way it had gone down.

Writing this report now, honestly I am sad over those 26 seconds.  I should have easily been able to find them somewhere but couldn't.  The way I was running at the end, it didn't require a super-sonic mile to get those 26 seconds back.  Just one strong mile or two miles on-pace would have done it.  I don't know if I went out too fast or if the heat just zapped me that much.  I imagine it is a combination of both though I'm hoping the heat was a bigger factor.

My knee was feeling 100% normal (absolutely no issues from the brace, either) but I went to the med tent to get some ice for it.  It had been good to me and it was my turn to be good back.  Two Cities has an awesome food spread (sundaes, eggs, sausage, bananas, fruit, etc) so I grabbed some of that more to feed Boyfriend than to feed me.

I can say with 100% certainty that I will never run Two Cities again in its current iteration.  The first half is a terrible idea if you care about your time.  And there is no way I would run this marathon for kicks and giggles and not care about my time (scenic it is not) so it is off my list as a goal race candidate.

In other ways the race slipped:  This year the gun time callers were strangely absent (the website said they would be at every mile marker). There were also no bands playing live music on the course. They had some speakers set up here and there but last year they had bands and dance groups out to entertain (they even claim to have a competition where you vote for your favorite and that group wins a prize). So they definitely dropped the ball on a lot of the things they had said they would do.

The swag.  Plentiful and decent looking but none of it is stuff I'll use.  Sweatshirt too big.  Hat not Headsweats.  Gender specific shirt but only down to size small so still too big (though better fitting than last year's "small" dress).  But if you are a medium-sized man who is not a running hat snob like me, you'll find plenty of great stuff to use from Two Cities.

I got to see my two friends, Jess and Jessica get their own PR's.  At all the out and backs I'd see them coming and that was always a huge boost.  Also, cheers to PavementRunner who I totally spazzed about seeing but who earned himself a shiny new PR, too.

A special shout-out to Boyfriend who worked Saturday, drove me 4 hours to Fresno, woke up early Sunday, drove all over Clovis/Fresno to cheer, and then drove us 3 hours back home.  That's love.  He was as tired as I was Sunday night.

So at the end of the day I missed all my goals but did end up with a 3+ minute PR on a bum knee in the heat.  Boyfriend told me, "It could have gone so much worse," and he's totally right.  I am proud of the way I held in there and I'm happy to get close to my goal for this race.  I had a great training cycle which was a big success for me.  I'm so looking forward to next year which I'll talk about later.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Monday Mario

I imagine that finding that your rabbit has placed his willow ball into his dish like this parallels the pride parents must feel when their baby completes this.  However, the placement of the green ball elevates his creation to art.

Friday, November 2, 2012

All The King's Horses and All The King's Men...

Wow.  Where did time go?  Life is crazy in all sorts of ways.  First off, remember when I posted this?  Well, that countdown timer has officially dipped below 30.  We promised ourselves we wouldn't be that couple who runs around like a chicken without a head the week of the wedding which means we're  sort of feeling like that now instead.

I'm just back from the final run of this training cycle for the Two Cities Marathon.  I have a lot to say about the last 20 weeks.  TWENTY WEEKS!  I have never trained for one race this long before.  I started the plan on June 15th which feels like eons ago.

Before I go into that, I have to share this:

Yes, folks.  I'm injured.

Two weeks ago I ran my last long run.  A little over 19 miles with 18 of them at 8:38 pace.  It wasn't my longest run.  It wasn't even my most challenging long run pace-wise.  I actually felt pretty good the rest of the day after and was looking forward to starting to taper.  The next morning I had 4 easy miles on the schedule and my knee threw the most immature hissy fit about the whole thing.

Ever since then it hasn't been the same.  I've decided my biggest weakness as a runner is my stubbornness about sticking to a training plan.  I should have thrown in the towel half a mile into that 4 mile run.  But the knee loosened up so I finished.  Who knows what would be happening now if I had just stopped then, but what is in the past is in the past.

I've been doing this long enough and have had enough injuries to know that there are some you can run through and some you can't.  I've christened this tweak one I can run through if it means enough to me, but I probably should stop if it is going to heal.

I've been running with the bum knee for two weeks now and have figured this out:
1)  I have not figured out a stretch I can do mid-run to make it feel better.
2)  The longer I run the better it feels.
3)  The faster I run, it doesn't feel worse, and actually feels better (this goes hand in hand with #2 as most of the speed runs I've done the last two weeks were also longer runs)
4)  It hurts more going uphill (luckily Fresno is relatively flat, I am worried about the short steep underpasses a bit)
5)   It hurts more when I stop and then start running again (hopefully I won't be stopping much in the middle of the marathon vs. my neighborhood runs with stoplights).
6)  The last two runs I've worn my snazzy pink brace and it definitely lessens #4 and #5.
7)  It tends to hurt the most between 1.2-2.5 miles and then it feels okay or there is just a mild awareness of it up to 13 miles (the longest I've run in the last two weeks).

I saw a chiropractor earlier this week who worked on it and found some tight muscles in the area which may be pulling on the tendons.  I'm going back this afternoon for another treatment.  What she has done has helped a little so hopefully another few days of stretching and rolling those areas out will improve things a little more.

This new development has obviously thrown a bit of a wrench into my game plan for the race.

I don't have anything to achieve or prove at Fresno that can't wait for another day.  This isn't my 16th marathon in 12 months.  I'm not running this one for my dad.  It isn't my 32nd marathon on my 32nd birthday.  I've told myself that if it gets to the point that it really hurts, I'm just going to stop.  I've already run this course and while a great course to race, it isn't the type of thing you want to walk out the last 9 miles.

On the other hand, I've deemed  my knee runnable so I am going to try.  My main goal for this race was to go sub-3:45 and to get as close to 3:40 as I can.  While training I thought that on a perfect day a 3:39 was probably near the absolute limit of my abilities.  The weather doesn't look to be cooperating on that front and with my knee I don't think I have the gumption to pace for my super stretch goal.

All the miles I've run the last 4.5 months

I am extremely proud of the way this training cycle went.  Race day is almost here and I always see it as a celebration of all these weeks of hard work.  Whether or not it culminates in a new PR or even a finish isn't so important to me at this moment.  I've gotten a glimpse of what I can do and I'm excited for  what that means in the future.  I'm in the best shape of my life, but that isn't always everything when it comes to your running performance on one single day.  And let's be frank, my knee is in the worse shape of its life and its a pretty important piece of my machinery.

I haven't done much mental focusing the last two weeks but am going to work on that the next two days.  We'll see what my body gives me on Sunday.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Monday--uh, err--Tuesday Mario

I was going way back in my photo archives the other day and found all sorts of fun classic Mario photos.  Some of these probably appeared at some point on this blog, but there is no such thing as too much Mario.  These were taken between 2004-2008.


Birthday peanut butter treat

When he was a husbun.

10 point ring toss

Huh?! What?! I was sleeping!

Spread 'em

I'm rounding out my last big week of running before starting taper for Two Cities.  I've had some good runs lately and am hoping to stay in one piece the next few weeks.  All my usual aches and niggles seem to be amplified lately so there's been lots of yoga, rolling, sticking, stretching, and icing going on over here.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Monday Mario

If any baseball team wants to pick up a rabbit, mine has got the art of keeping his foot on the base down.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

The Rest of Ohio

I had a great time at the Air Force Marathon expo.  It wasn't super big or super small -- just right :)  Boyfriend treated me to a few goodies so I picked up the following:

My favorite socks, Balega Hidden Comfort in snazzy new colors, and a new Kid Stick!
I have been trying to be very good with foam rolling and using my Stick at night.  I was sad to think I'd be without both when I was away.  So I decided to look into getting a travel-sized Stick.  I ordered one from Running Warehouse (actually named, The Travel Stick) but was disappointed when it arrived and was practically the same size as my current Stick.

My original Stick on the bottom, Travel Stick in the middle, Kid Stick on top.  The odd-sized Travel Stick has since been returned.
I mean really?  The Travel Stick was barely smaller than my current one.  When I was at the expo, I talked to the guy at The Stick booth and he told me about the Kid Stick.  "I usually sell this to children," he said, "but you're small so it will probably work."  I only use The Stick on my legs so the Kid Stick works perfectly.  In fact, I think any size adult would find it useful for the legs.  I was really nervous about carrying it onto airplanes as I've heard of people who have had theirs confiscated.  But no one even asked to take it out of my bag for a closer look. I am really looking forward to having it with me at Goofy in January and maybe even on our honeymoon.

I also got to ogle some of the new Oiselle clothes that a local vendor was carrying. Some of this stuff hasn't even hit the Oiselle website yet, and it was great to feel all the yummy new fabrics in person.

After hitting the expo, I stopped by McDonald's to pick up my tried-and-true fallback pre-race meal:

I would have much preferred a bowl of pasta, but this was within walking distance of my hotel and I know it agrees with me during races.  Dayton was not a culinary tour as I dined at Pizza Hut the next night after the race (I love me some dine-in Pizza Hut and they are far and few between nowadays -- I saw a dine-in Pizza Hut as I was driving to my hotel and knew where I'd be eating one day).

After eating at Pizza Hut, I swung by McDonald's again to pick myself up a sundae.  I spent the rest of that night lounging in a comfy hotel bed, eating treats, and watching cable tv.  That is the life.

The only touristy thing I really did while in Ohio was visit the Air Force Museum.  I went for a few hours Saturday after the race and again on Sunday before my flight out.  I am not that into the Air Force.  I am not that into planes or space exploration.  But I have to say, this was a pretty cool museum.  I'm not sure what I expected, but I didn't realize they would have so many pieces of aircraft with such important historical stories.  The following are just a very tiny portion of what must be hundreds of aircraft they have on display.

Okay, so the first one is a bike.  The Wright brothers made bicycles before they started making airplanes.  Here is one of their bikes c. 1895.

I didn't take lots of photos of the hangars, but the museum had 5 huge hangars FILLED with aircraft.  Here is a shot of a small part of the collection in the "Early Years" hangar.

Bockscar, the B-29 which dropped the atomic bomb on Nagasaki effectively ending WWII.

The Sacred Cow; President Truman signed the National Security Act while aboard this aircraft which established the Air Force as a separate service.
SAM 2600; So much history on this plane.  Most notable, I think, is the fact it carried President Kennedy to Dallas where he was assassinated.  It then brought his body back to D.C. and Johnson was sworn in as the new president aboard this aircraft.

The crew didn't want Kennedy's body in the cargo hold so they removed these two seats and his casket was placed here during the flight back to D.C.

They had an entire hangar of experimental aircraft that never went mainstream.

Apollo 15 Command Module Edeavour.  I think we've all seen this on television before.  I didn't know that it touched down just north of Hawaii.
The museum also has an IMAX theater and I caught two of the shows that weekend.  You have to pay for the movies but the museum itself is free and I highly recommend stopping by if you are in the area.

One thing I am very thankful for is the fact that I have been able to do a decent number of destination races.  I highly doubt I would ever have taken the time to visit the Air Froce Museum if not for this race.  It is pretty amazing all the extra places I've gone in my life purely because of my running.