Sunday, November 8, 2009


Most people could probably identify the Wright Brothers and Kitty Hawk when talking about the birth of modern flight. But in truth, credit belongs to Dayton, Ohio – home of Wilbur and Orville Wright and site of our Ohio half-marathon on September 19th, 2009. The race was on Wright Patterson Air Force Base – named in honor of the brothers – and site of the USAF Aviation Museum – one of the truly great aviation museums in the world. The race began (after a "Blue Angel" type fly-over) adjacent to the Museum, was run almost exclusively on the air base and ended on the tarmac of the museum’s air field – running between vintage aircraft from the last 50 years. It was a great way to finish a really nice run – one that was superbly supported by the Air Force with officers and Airmen (not necessarily volunteers, I suspect) manning most of the hydration stops. The day was also nearly a perfect one for running. The temperature was mild, there was virtually no wind, it was partly cloudy and the course was generally flat. The result? It wasn’t a PR for me – but it was close. My “Karen-era” PR was in Chicago in August, when I ran a 1:43:12; for the USAF Half-marathon I was four seconds slower.

It was another really good trip.

Karen’s Mom joined us and we enjoyed and appreciated her company (she was our babysitter during the race). On our first full day, we visited Amish country – north and east of
Columbus. Holmes County has the highest concentration of Amish in the country and we thoroughly enjoyed driving through the green rolling hills of the area, with very unique “Amish Farm Clusters” throughout, the frequent horse-drawn carriages, and the fields interspersed with woods.

We toured an Amish home, visited a museum, had a buggy ride and ate dinner at a well-known Amish eatery in a small town. The home was interesting, the culture and history lesson very informative, the buggy ride okay, and the meal VERY mediocre. It was interesting to learn the origins of the Amish (Anna-Baptists during the Reformation and from
Switzerland) and the three related religious practices – and the varying levels of traditions and rejection of modern conveniences within each of them. It was well worth the visit.

Enroute to Dayton we spent some time in Columbus - to include a visit to the Capitol and to Battelle.

The second day and part of a third were dedicated to
Dayton, the museum and environs. The museum was amazing – as were a number of historical sites around Dayton – most having to do with the Wright Brothers and the origins of powered flight, to include the huge field where they really learned to fly. As it turned out, their Kitty Hawk flight was only memorable because it was the first; they considered it a disappointment, and hardly successful. They returned to Dayton shortly thereafter and over the next several years – working exclusively in Dayton and on successive variations – “perfected” the flying machine. Flight has been intrinsically related to Dayton ever since – thus the home of one of the largest and most prestigious air bases in the country.

Also of note during the trip was a half-day/night excursion to Cincinnati. We enjoyed an Octoberfest celebration downtown (Cincinnati has a rich German heritage), visited a park and walked along the waterfront (Ohio River), and attended a Cincinnati Reds, Florida Marlins game at Riverfront Park.

As for the “thoughtful” part of this blog – perhaps I can share some comments we heard during the pasta dinner the night before the race. We don’t normally attend these (they tend to disappoint), but since the Air Force billed this as a “gourmet” event, we bit. The food was pretty good, the Air Force brass was plentiful, and the speaker was excellent. Dave McGillivray, who has been the race director for the Boston Marathon for nearly 20 years talked to us about overcoming obstacles to success. Growing up, he had always wanted to play pro basketball; unfortunately, he is 5’6” tall. When he finally accepted the message that basketball was not in the cards, he ended up (almost coincidentally) running. He was never one of the elite runners – and it took him several attempts to even finish the Boston marathon – but his story was inspirational and he talked to us about the importance of goals, of commitment, and of taking inspiration from others. In his case it was from his Grandfather, who challenged him to do Boston. However, between being sick and other issues, he failed to even finish for a couple of years. Just before his Grandfather died, he challenged Dave to try again and told him he would always be there for him. Dave tried again – although very much impacted by the loss of his Grandfather. Just when he was ready to throw in the towel again, he realized he was running adjacent to the cemetery where his Grandfather was buried – he WAS there for him! He not only finished, but has subsequently run and finished some 40 consecutive Boston Marathons, including the last 18 or so where he was the Director – running each of them the night after the race to ensure everyone finished and that he was the last finisher. (He was also the first to gain notoriety for running across the country.)

Set goals; stay committed; take inspiration from the sources where it is available. Success is out there. We just have to believe and keep going. It was another great race and weekend – spent with the Fly Boys. Our State-count? 35!


Rachel's Mommy said...

Good post, sweetie! Another great race weekend, and you captured its essence beautifully. I love you.

princess jen said...

Set goals... What is the next one going to be after you finish state #50? This was a great post. It's always so interesting to read about your races and the wisdom you glean from each one. I'm glad Betty was able to be there with you and help with Rach Rach Rach. Sorry the food was only mediocre, but it's because they don't have any really fun kitchen gadgets to play with and no internet to hook up with Pioneer Woman's recipes!

Super Daysh said...

Good message Dad! I'm glad you set another PR! That's awesome. I admire you for setting this goal and going through with it...even if it means you are gone every other weekend and not there for your kids...;) j/k. Love you lots and am excited to be there after your next race. :)

Bug said...

sounds like a fun race daddy. i think that's awesome you keep making and breaking your p.r. that's amazing. i don't even have a p.r.
ohio sounds a lot more interesting than i ever would have given it credit for. :)
amish country would have been super interesting for me too.
i'm glad Betty could come along! did you get to play pinochle too??
i can't believe youre so close to finishing your goal!