A week before this race, I saved one of “Gibson’s Daily Running Quotes” specifically for this marathon.
This quote was perfect for me, a slap in the head much needed, after this race.
First, Pre-Race Day Business
I wanted to run for a hero. Since I didn’t personally know any fallen soldiers, I asked my step son, Teddy, stationed at Camp Pendleton, if he would like me to dedicate my run to anyone. Sure enough there was a special friend by the name of LCpl Michael D. Glover, Operation Iraqi Freedom, 8/2006, B Company. I submitted a photo taken from The Fallen: Military Times so the group could create a poster for the dedication mile as well as putting his dedication on my shirt.
The best way to get to the start of the marathon, the Pentagon parking lot, was to ride the metro. I pre purchased a SmartCard to avoid lines once in DC. When trying to figure out the what and the how while staring at the metro map, someone recognized our confusion and kindly offered an explanation. We discovered our original plan to share a card wouldn’t work which was most valuable or we would’ve been scurrying around race day. *Ted stayed with me to the security check point at the Pentagon.
I usually enjoy marathon expos. Out of the 19 I’ve been to, there are only two that I didn’t enjoy. NYC and this one, the MCM. It was over crowded and Brooks had under stocked. When we went through, Saturday at 10:30 am, styles and sizes were gone. The line for check out was long, we waited for 35 minutes in line before paying for our items. It was too crowded to approach vendor tables. Getting the bib, shirt and bag was easy but anything else was just pure frustration.
Pre Marathon Eats: a good Italian restaurant
Dinner at Fiola
Shared a salad of fresh greens, pomegranate seeds, thin slices of pear, and goat cheese with Ted. So good! We both had a simple bowl of pasta in a light marinara sauce topped with grilled scallops. Pre marathon dinner is always a ritual with me. I don’t want to eat anything unfamiliar, fatty, spicy or heavy but like to include pasta and a protein.
Marathon Morning: October 25th 2015
Got up at 4:20 am to start moving around. Had my caffeine by way of a 5 hour energy drink and ate an Oatmeal Raisin Cliff Bar.
The clear drop bag was packed with post race sandals, banana, garbage bag for rain, but I forgot water. We left the hotel at 5:30 am and caught the yellow line from Gallery Station on 7th and H. All the concern I had about using the metro quickly came to an end. It was easy and everyone was able to get on the train once it arrived.
The ride took about 15 to 20 minutes before arrival at Pentagon Station where we had a slightly rainy walk toward security check. This is where the morning went down hill. We saw a mass of people and they weren’t moving.
For over an hour we stood making very little progress getting to the starting line. I ate a banana with no water to wash it down while standing in line. It was approaching 7:30 and race start was 7:55 am. Finally, the lines began moving quickly and we rushed the gate to get through. I bypassed the metal detector AND the Marines doing bag check. All that waiting for nothing.
It was 7:50 when I walked quickly toward the porto johns, no lines just athletes running up to, into then out of the porto joins as quickly as possible. The race was already underway when I got into the start corral with the 5 hour runner group. There was no getting ahead. It was so congested and the pace was slow. I fought to get a rhythm going but it was too slow for me to get comfortable. The course rolled a little bit during those initial miles with only one notable long hill. It wasn’t the course that was tiring, it was the crowded street. Spectators and volunteers lined the road from the very start right to the finish. Support was excellent, congestion was not.
I was not in a good place mentally being so delayed at the start and didn’t think about the senselessness of weaving trying to make gains. The only gains made were in miles and in the end, my Garmin read 26.83 miles. Such a beginner mistake and I’m no beginner!
Running through the start of the race, spectators lined the hills and bridges. We passed through Rosslyn where we would pass again getting to the finish line. It was reassuring thinking I would pass along the same road again but be at the end of my run instead of at the start.
I looked forward to getting to the Blue Mile and locating my hero, LCpl Michael D. Glover. A smile spread across my face when I saw his poster and thought about stopping to take a photo. As soon as I passed, I wished I had stopped. Instead I plowed on and then broke down into tears. My Wear Blue To Remember was about my mother passing July 3rd then a month later, my dearest friend, running partner Shane, my German Shepherd who was only 7 and my boy, my baby boy. I tried to fight and hide the tears but it was useless. Running all choked up like that is, well pretty tough because I couldn’t breathe.
Running through National Mall was inspiring. Again, spectators cheering, signs inspiring friends and family members wearing a bib, it was a flat and faster couple of miles. We passed through the starting line of the MCM 10K. Hours ago those athletes did their run and were already recovered while we were still running, tiring, struggling.
Crystal City Family Festival area was tough. At mile 22 – 23 it seemed the temperature suddenly jumped up. We did a loop at the end of the mile and headed back. Saw quite a few people sick on the course and one runner on a stretcher with the medics.
To be honest, maybe I never had it in me to put forth the effort in this race. There were times I wanted to catch up and get where I thought I should be then there were times I told myself to settle back and just enjoy this run. I thought about the Penguin award, celebrating the final participant. Possibly another reason for my slower race pace was due to all the standing at security, or the missed fuel intake along the course. I passed the 4:30 pacer early in the race then finally passing the 4;15 pacer and thought I could still eek in a 3:58 time. It wouldn’t happen, not in this race.
Net Time: 4:01:08 Clock Time: 4:17:27 4005/23187 Runners, 1052/10413 Females and 46/856 Div/Age Grp. Not my best but not every race is going to be.
Although I really wanted the fresh watermelon which was being handed out on the way to the family meet area, I wanted a beer more. Walked over to the beer tent, got my two freebies, texted Ted regarding the change of plans and soon we were toasting another race completed.
- Spectators were great! Everywhere on the course, people cheered us on.
- Congested from the start without thinning until approximately the 15 –17 mile point. My rhythm was off so I never found race pace.
- Wear Blue To Remember Mile (12 –13) was awesome! Dedication posters lined the mile with flags at the end. It was very emotional. There were a lot of regrets in this race. Mostly, my own losses earlier in the summer were my down fall during this mile. I tried my best to hide my tears and downturned mouth.
- Early in the race a runner dropped her gel, stopped and bent down, sticking her arm out by my leg. Close call managing not to get tripped up.
- Running up the short hill to the finish line was not a big deal. The excitement of the finish is the push needed to get up there and cross that line.
- Finish line greeted by and saluted by a Marine was one of the best parts of this entire race. What a feeling.
This is the real reason to run the Marine Corp Marathon. It is the epitome of perseverance, determination, friendship, support, and loyalty. It defines the kind of support a runner will encounter in the Marine Corp Marathon: http://noguiltlife.com/mission-accomplished-a-marine-corps-marathon-story-tuesdays-on-the-run/
I have another marathon schedule 5 weeks from now, the Space Coast Marathon in Florida. Sure I’m feeling discouraged but I’m not sure I want a “redemption” marathon. For one thing, I know that’s a dangerous attitude to pack going into the 26.2 challenge. Another reason is leaving Luke and Zoey at home again. Luke was sick with an upset tummy while we were on this trip in DC and Susan’s weekend was spent cleaning up after him. There’s a lot to think about but I just might end 2015 with only 19 marathons in the bag instead of 20.