Let me begin my recap with a big shout out to some of my favorite bloggers on their Marine Corps Marathon finish!! Way to go, Lisa Runs for Cupcakes, Sneakers and Fingerpaints and Back at Square Zero. I am further inspired and in awe of these gals and excited to start training for my first marathon next spring. Of course, check back with me in about 6 six weeks 😉 but the excitement of MCM weekend is just too great and following others on their journey has given me additional inspiration.
Friday I opted for a lunchtime trip to the Expo to get it done and done. Work got in the way so I didn’t make it until close to 3 pm. By then I was tired, had a headache, skipped lunch, and just wanted to go home and relax.
All that said if there is one thing I’ve learned about the Marines, they know how to organize an event! I was in and out of the tent for bib pickup within minutes followed by a fast moving security checkpoint line into the DC Armory for shirt and Expo goodies. Side note: I heard it was a nightmare on Saturday so happy I made the trek Friday. But in short order the MCM had issued an apology within hours! Shirt pick up for me was a breeze as well – and the mock went technical on us this year:
After shirts I saw the Brooks “Run Happy” area. And I saw the line…Nope, no thanks. I just didn’t need anything that bad to stand in line and my head was pounding harder. I walked around a little and even bought a new pair of compression socks but left after a short time. Still, it was enough to get me pumped for race day!
Saturday I slept in, ran some errands in the afternoon, carb loaded up and just vegged out the rest of the day. I made some Sleepytime tea around 9 pm and went up to bed with the alarm set for 6 am. I’m not sure what happened but Saturday night turned out extremely rough for me. The hours started to tick by, I was still awake, and my stomach was in knots. Not nerves, I was feeling somewhat ill. Eventually around 3:30 am I reset the alarm for 6:30 am turned the TV on for background noise and was able to fall asleep for a mere 3 hours! Woo hoo, let’s go for a run! 😉
I got up at the sound of the alarm, and quickly debated not going but felt well enough to move. My stuff was already lined up so got dressed and headed out. Since I live in DC proper getting to the start line was not an issue and I made it to the Smithsonian just before 7:30 am. It was an absolute beautiful morning for a run…
I avoid porta johns like the plague and the lines were hideous so waited for my friend Alishia to meet me. This was her first so I wanted to hang with her and didn’t bother lining up in any time group. The atmosphere already was just amazing and any illness I had been feeling subsided. I even skipped a little. You would never know I only got 3 hours of sleep!!
We started near the back of the pack when the gun went off so I bobbed and weaved the first mile to get some breathing room and my stride down. The miles sort of flew. Running so many half marathons has made me appreciate the shorter runs. With the 10K distance I’m able to be a little less judicious about my pace so I just ran (and ran and ran) all sub 9 minute miles!!
Mile 1: 8:54 / Mile 2: 8:45 / Mile 3: 8:47
The crowd support did not disappoint and neither did the Marines. Oddly enough the first aid station was well after Mile 3 after crossing the bridge into Virginia. I stopped for Gatorade and walked briefly which resulted in my only 9+ minute mile but still good pacing regardless. At about mile 5.75 we were greeted by a row of Marines giving high fives and fist pumps. Highlight of the course for me!
Mile 4: 9:06/ Mile 5: 8:50 / Mile 6: 8:47
After passing Mile marker 6 I wanted to sprint to the finish line! Too bad that last 0.2 miles was uphill. And no complaining, but there were plenty of Marines around telling us to basically “suck it up” – in a good way of course 😉 At the top and around the corner I then darted my way to the finish line with a net time of: 56:07
Woo freaking hoo!
After crossing the finish line you were awarded a medal put on by a Marine who congratulated and saluted you (of course I saluted back and said “thank you”!!) I wish I had asked for a picture too, darn! As you finish you are facing the Iwo Jima Memorial.
I loved this race the first time around in 2011 and loved it again on Sunday. Military races are such an honor to run and make for quite an enriching experience. Aside from some small elevation lifts around the bridges and at the end it was a relatively flat and fast course. I’m sure I will be back again next year… and who knows, maybe then I’ll go for the full (never say never!)
OORAH and THANK you Marine Corps!!