AnywhOOO Rah, while speaking with Hollster about her experience at MCM last year she mentioned that she and most of the group had issues with not being able to drop the kids off at the pool. I laughed and told her that I would surely not have that problem.
But wouldn’t you know it? No pooping for me. Not even pre-race nerves could produce anything significant before the race.
So with the sound of the gun we were off and running the 35th Marine Corps Marathon. The first five miles were pretty calm. I was just trying to stay at a slow pace because I knew the most significant hills were during miles 1 through 8. I had no choice really but to start slow since there were so many runners. I made it to the crest of the first hill and felt winded. By the time we were ascending the second one around mile 8 I knew it wasn’t going to be my day. I just didn’t feel as fresh as I had during my last 22 mile training run. I did remind myself to look around and enjoy the view. As I looked up that last incline it was a sheer sea of heads bobbing. I couldn’t believe how people were ahead of me.
D had decided to jump in at mile 10 with me and run me as close to the finish as she could. Let me start by saying D is one of the women in the BRA (running group) that I look up to as a runner. She’s fast and strong and doesn’t brag about her mad running skills. Let me also say that she specifically bought and wore a hydration belt so she didn’t take anything from the course.
Speaking of hydration, the water/Powerade stops where a nightmare. Not to say that there wasn’t enough water, because there was. And not to say that it was unorganized, because it wasn’t. But, there were just too damn many people. Every water stop was just crazy. As I grabbed my water at the first few before D hopped in, I was literally running on top of tons and tons of empty cups. It only got worse from there. As a side note, I think MCM should skip the orange slices next year because folks were slipping on them. I sincerely appreciate how much manpower was needed to put on this race and thank all of the volunteers and Marines because it could not have been easy.
Speaking of Marines, they were everywhere. They were running, they were spectating. It was awesome! The ones with the bull horns were actually quite funny. I remember one at mile 4 saying, “You’re almost there! Only 22.2 to go!”
As D asked how I was doing I let her know that my legs didn’t feel as good as they should for 10 miles. At this point D started grabbing my water and letting me keep going while she then caught up to me. It was so awesome of her to do so. Miles 10 through 15 were alongside the Potomac and this is where I really knew stuff was getting tight. I pushed on. I was on pace for a 4:00 marathon. It was also a bit warm at this point in the race and we were running directly into the sun.
The views of the city during MCM are, of course, spectacular. Georgetown University looked gorgeous around mile 6 and I loved running along the little shops. This is where I saw some hysterical signs that made me laugh out loud. I saw “Dad, try not to suck” and “Milk was a bad choice.” I also saw tons of costumes due to the Halloween race date. If I saw one Wonder Woman, I saw twenty. I saw Richard Simmons, a red Devil, a Devil in a blue dress, the Twister game, and my favorite was a spectating man dressed as the woman from the Shake Weight commercial. I also saw a spectator dressed as the Washington Monument. She was yelling “You all are doing monumental!”
By mile 17, along Constitution Avenue, my right IT band was so tight I had to stop and stretch. I stretched and ran a bit and then – hooray! – I had to poop. Finally, I took the Browns to the Super Bowl. *Queue NFL theme song*
After my successful potty break it was a run, walk, stretch routine. I saw the 4:00 goal time slip away. I then saw the 4:05 goal slip away. And finally D said, “Don’t worry about the time. You just got thrown a wild card.” And she was right. I didn’t want to cry, but I was upset that I had an entirely new issue that I never saw coming. It was a combo of not training on hills, favoring my left leg, maybe going too fast on the first 8 miles, and well just one of those things you can’t predict.
D was amazing as support. She told me about this had happened to her at her last Boston and she just got through the race and got her medal. And this really helped me get through since I look up to her so much. I enjoyed the views as much as I could while doing my run, walk, stretch. Repeat.
We then ran what all marathoners know as those last gut check miles. Mile 22 was one where you see all the other runners coming at you and you think, “Where is the turnaround?” D told me it was coming and just to keep going. We finally turned and I started looking for the Band of Brothers. I saw all of their motorcycles and choppers and it gave me a little boost. I cheered for them as I ran by and they seemed pretty happy to be out there. From one B.O.B. to another, thanks!
I started recognizing the route we took to start the race and knew I was close. I wasn’t going to PR and I wasn’t going to meet my goal, but I was going to finish and get that medal. D jumped out and I headed up that last little incline toward the Iwo Jima Memorial. I crossed the finish line and headed to get my medal. As I got to one of the Marines who was passing out medals he said, “You don’t even look sweaty. You have to go do it again.” I laughed and thanked him and then stared at the memorial and got a little choked up.
The post race situation is nuts in DC. From trying to get out of the finishers area to getting on the Metro it’s quite an experience. I felt a bit nauseated at the end and had to sit for a few minutes before I could meet back up with D. I am so glad I did this race but I’m not sure I’d do it again anytime soon.
While I could have done without all of the hills and the craziness at the end, overall, it was a wonderful experience. I love DC and I love the Marines. OOO RAH!
Finish Time: 4:19:14