The night before before the marathon when all the runners lay out their stuff and pray that the training will pay off. Well if you follow me, then you know I have been in a slump since my first marathon in September. My training was solid before Chase the Sun but between then and the MCM I had run ONCE! Obviously not ideal. So I knew my only true goal for the Marine Corps Marathon was to finish.
I wore my C9 capris and sports bra from Target, Team RWB shirt, Skora Form shoes, and Marine Corps Marathon training hat!
My morning started out with waking up at 0430. I had 4 alarms set, the one on the hotel clock and three on my phone. The hotel alarm went off first and that was all I needed to get up, after going to bed at 2000 the night before I actually felt very well rested. I almost had a horrible morning when the coffee maker in the room wasn’t working, turns out the outlet it was plugged into was bad. I changed the outlet and the brewing light came on, crisis averted. Whew. I got out the peanut butter and spread it on the whole wheat bread that I brought. Sat down and tried to enjoy my breakfast and mentally prepare myself. The whole weekend was a pretty last minute thing, so a few details were fuzzy, like how exactly I was going to get to the start line. After a few minutes of scouring the Marine Corps Marathon website I found the station on 23rd and Crystal Ave. where the free start line shuttles were departing from. The hubby dropped me off with the hundreds of other runners who were waiting. Saying the line was long would be an understatement, though I am so thankful I arrived when I did. By the time I got close to the front the line had serpentined through the parking garage we were in, it was ridiculous.
The bus ride!! It was finally here, the moment that I got to sit down, relax, and enjoy the ride to the start line. Or so I thought. Me and the 47 other runners on the bus were about to be taken on a ride and it wasn’t the one we wanted. No one had really been paying too much attention, trusting that our driver knew where to go. Well, some realized that we had already passed certain landmarks twice. Turns out our bus driver had been following some school buses thinking they were going to the same place. They weren’t. He had no idea where he was supposed to go but we had some locals who were able to get him back on track! Once we got to the correct exit ramp we ran into another problem, the police officers had closed the road prematurely so we had to walk from the bus on the interstate to the starting area. Thank God it wasn’t very far.
Kyle Carpenter was a huge part of the opening ceremony, he sky dived in to the starting area and then proceeded to run the marathon! It was amazing watching him and the others jump but it truly pulled on my heartstrings when I saw the American flag.
Here we go! Finally close enough to see the start line! I was elated and nervous. I knew I was under trained but I also knew I could do it. I knew if I utilized the aid stations for water and gatorade I would have enough water in my hydration to get me through. I also had plenty of gels and salt tabs, along with aleve and imodium. Haha. So my strategy was solid, I just needed to beat the bridge and I would be golden! I had a great first half, I stuck with the 5:30 pace group for most of it. I really feel like I could have stuck it out with them too but I kept getting pushed back by other runners. There is always next time!
I didn’t want to take walk breaks but I figured if my body was calling for it then it would be better to break than get injured. I was able to take in the sights a little bit during my walking time 😉 During the parts with fewer spectators the course was actually quite peaceful. I was able to fully take in everything and enjoy the entire experience.
There were times that I even had to fight back tears. The Mile of Remembrance is lined with photos of some of the military members killed in action. Several of the photos had men with their children and those were the ones that really got me. After living through a deployment and facing all the fears it really hit me hard knowing just what was sacrificed. All I could think about was these children never getting to grow up with Daddy around, the moms having to take it all on and just how horrible a reality it is. So many of the kids in the pictures were the same age as my son. It just…when the mister was deployed the fear of him not returning was always looming, the fear of little man not having Daddy come home was crushing. It isn’t something easily put into words. I have so much respect for our military, the spouses, the children and those who support them like Team RWB and Wear Blue.
My fueling was good all throughout the race, I was on top of my hydration and nutrition. Speaking of nutrition, I need to thank the spectators for some awesome treats! Around mile 12 there was a lady with M&Ms, the best ever. Haha. I also had the best cookie in my life right before I went to go beat the bridge. There were so many other sweets that I didn’t grab, the spectators were the absolute best. The cheers, music, motivation, and random candy was seriously the best. Hands down, awesome crowd support. There were also two aid station workers that were handing out vaseline around miles 5 and 15. I’ve never been happier to have vaseline, my lips were so freaking chapped that it hurt to smile. The climate change and the wind on race day did my lips in, the vaseline was just what I needed. Now I also know to keep some in my pack!! Fortunately chapped lips were my biggest problem of the day, I never hit the wall nor did I experience G.I. issues like I have previously (thank you Imodium!). It really was a perfect day for running, minus the crazy wind, and though my time wasn’t what I wanted I still PR’d!! At first I said I would never go back to the city just because of how hectic it was but I definitely lied. I want so badly to go back next year for the 40th running of it!
It was truly an honor to raise money and run for Team RWB. This wouldn’t have been possible without them. I also owe a huge thanks and lots of hugs to everyone who donated! Those that donated to my Team RWB page and also those who helped fund our trip to DC. You are all blessings! The beautiful medal and finishers shirt!!
They gave out a buy one get one coupon for Chipotle and we don’t have any around us, so we went there for my post race meal. It was good but I still prefer Moe’s 😉
The official race jacket and pint glass are an early birthday present! Hahah.
I fully plan on returning to DC to run this race again. I will be better trained and I will be faster. Gunning for 5 hours or so! 😉 It is an excellent race and if you plan on ever running a marathon, make it this one!
Do you have any questions about my Marine Corps Marathon experience?
Keep on running y’all!!