It has been over a week and I think its time for my first post regarding the Marine Corps Marathon.
I am pleased to say that I made it across the finish line! I beat the bridge!
While my time wasn’t what I might have hoped – I honestly don’t care. It was my first-ever marathon – and I learned a LOT! Both about running a race that long, and about myself (But this part will come in later posts.)
I have to say that 30,000 people in a race is a lot. (Just in case it wasn’t obvious enough..) Just getting TO the starting line involved walking in a crowd!
That crowd had such an incredible energy!
The starting line had people as far as the eye could see, going both directions.
Before they race, they entertained the crowd with Parachute jumpers – Incredible!!
Enough talking about pre-race, you are here because you want to know about the race in general.
It was awesome. As you would expect in any race of 30,000 people, it did begin with a large crowd that had to be worked through. Dodging left, avoiding the people who suddenly stop running and start walking in the middle of the road.. And yet, I was loving it. I couldn’t get the smile off of my face if I had tried!
After the first few miles, it did spread out, and I found myself trapped behind people far less often. I was able to see the Marathonfoto people regularly – so I was able to move so that I could get some excellent opportunities for the photographers by being clear. (Many of these photos came from them – you can see the entire collection on my Facebook page MCM album.)
It felt a bit odd to be running without being tired…. Which did lead me to starting off faster than my 10 minute-per-mile plan.
I started well.. I think the crowds may have had me feeling “trapped” and like I was going to slowly… i ended up running several miles at a FAR faster pace, than even my dreamed of 4:00 marathon pace.
Despite that (or maybe because of it) I continued to really enjoy myself! The Smile was STILL on my face!
Around mile 13, I noticed something. I noticed that I was at 2:00:46. For a comparison, my half-marathon time 6 weeks earlier was 1:58:12. I was less than 2 minutes slower. This did concern me a wee bit. (Mile 7 included a potty stop – this is why it was slower)
It was around mile 16, that I began to understand what I had done… You see, I had turned off the volume on my phone, and wasn’t paying ANY attention to my splits. I hadn’t looked at how long the clock had been going when I crossed the starting line – so I had NO idea how fast I was or wasn’t going.
When I hit mile 20, I crossed that and knew that I had now gone further than I ever had. I gave a quick phone call to my son, and let him know. I wanted to share that milestone with him, especially considering he had run the Healthy Kids Fun Run the day before. (It was OUR running weekend!)
After the 20th mile, it was the first time I walked. My legs weren’t happy – specifically my hip flexors. I figured I would start walking a short bit at every mile marker from there out, and give myself some recovery time. Around mile 22, I was feeling rough… But who should be there to cheer me on?
THE CURVY ROADRUNNER!!!!! There was Storme! I had looked forward to seeing her, as we had never met, although we started blogging around the same time – several years ago. I gave her a hug, and almost knocked her over (I was TIRED! I didn’t have the control of my forward motion that I thought I did!) She jumped right out and ran a ways with me (in JEANS none the less! That is how awesome she is! If you don’t already follow her, I will wait here while you go do so…)
That perked me up quite a bit for that mile, letting me go back to a reasonable 10:30ish mile as I went through Crystal City.
Now, I thought I had hit the wall around mile 21ish, when I got tired.. I mean really tired.
I was wrong.
I hit the wall at 23. I began walking here, and there was no chance of running. I tried several times, but there was simply no way to do so. I had no energy.. My hip flexors were not letting my legs lift up in a “running” fashion. I tried to run a few times throughout the 23rd and 24th miles. I Tried. I had a Pentagon police officer yell to me to “Get back in the game!”
I don’t think he understood. The fact that my legs were moving meant I was “In the Game!” I was keeping those legs moving.. I was still in the game. Even when I tried to run.. That smile was gone.
As I crossed the Mile 25 marker, I began to run again. I knew my family was at the finish-line area, and my kids were NOT going to see their father walk across the finish line. I didn’t think I was running much faster than I was walking – but I was running. I did NOT work toward this race for 3 years, so that I could finish it walking.
That last 1.2 miles was hard. In fact, that last .2 miles – may be one of the hardest things I have ever done in my life.
But I got it.
I got the picture that I had dreamed of. I finished a goal I had set over 20 years ago, when I was 16 years old.
I got there with the support of my family. The support of my friends, and yes – that includes you. I had posted my cell phone number here, on the morning of the race and requested supporting texts be sent.You all came through for me, and sent me text messages. From Maine to Texas, I received encouragement. It came through at times I was flying high – and at times where I just wanted to stop and curl into a ball. At all points – it helped me keep going.I may have traveled the 26.2 miles on the day of October 27th – for this year’s Marine Corps Marathon. I did not do it alone. Thank you for your help and support in achieving a dream, and where this picture was possible: