To say that I was a bit nervous going into the Marine CorpsMarathon would be an understatement. I was hoping to run well and possibly PR (run sub-4:05), but once the weather forecast wind and rain I relaxed my expectations a little bit and just wanted to run “well.” I guess that is the secret to why I’ve been running marathons for so long. If I set time goals for myself all the time, it would take the fun out of marathon running and the journey would be a struggle.
So before I left on the Bolt Bus to DC, to take my mind off my nervousness, I stopped by the Syfy 31 Days of Halloween display at Flatiron. My friend Donald and I took photos with a giant inflatable pumpkin, decorated our own mini-pumpkins, and got our own animated flipbooks! We took a 7-second video of us jousting and had a free flipbook made of us, haha.
Diane hosted me once again in lovely Virginia, and I arrived on Friday night. She welcomed me with dinner, including this bowl of awesome buffalo chicken wing soup (yes, you heard correctly). It has chicken stock, bleu cheese, hot sauce, carrots, sausage and other delicious stuff. It was delicious.
The next day, Diane, Deb and our friend Greg ran the Runner’s World Challenge shake-out run with Bart Yasso at 8am on the National Mall. It was peaceful and the tourist-free scenery was stunning. Plus, we got to meet Bart, the “Mayor of running.”
After the run, my friends and I got Caribou Coffee. I always stop by that local coffee place when I’m in the DC area. Then,I met up with my German friend Jürgen at the Marine Corps Marathon expo. We walked around, took photos, and I ogled at the new Mickey Mouse medal in the RunDisney booth. I’m running for that 20th anniversary medal in January! Jürgen and I took a fun photo booth picture:
And here is the Mickey medal (ooh and ahh!)
Of course, I couldn’t stop by an expo without meeting a running hero. Shalane Flanagan was doing a signing at the Nissan booth. She placed second at the 2010 ING NYC Marathon and placed 10th at the London Olympic Marathon 2012. She’s pretty awesome, and we coordinated outfits :).
After the expo, we were pretty hungry, so we ate at Matchbox pizza for lunch. I had a half-and-half pie. I had the fig, basil and honey pizza and I think a wild mushroom and sausage combination. It was delicious!
For dinner, Greg very kindly invited us to his place for a lasagna dinner. I was so stuffed–we only had 3 hours in between lunch and dinner so we were well carbed-up!
Race Day 10/28
I met up with Jürgen and Amy on race day. Amy came prepared with a trash bag and a banana. We joke that ever since the Lululemon Seawheeze Half, the banana always has to be in our photo op. You can see the cloudy skies of Hurricane Sandy (approaching) hanging over DC.
The weather was cool and crisp, perfect for running. I told myself that I would listen to my body, and if I could run fast, I would. If not, then I would back off. When the starting gun went off at 7:55am, I felt pretty good. I was running around 9:10 or 9:20 pace, on track for a PR if I could hold it.
I soon realized that 3 weeks of 13.1 mile long runs was not exactly the same as running 18 miles for training. After my 100-miler, I wanted to give my legs plenty of rest so I didn’t run any longer than 13.1 miles. I also didn’t look at the hydration stops on the map. That was another mistake. The volunteers and Marines were fantastic, and I loved the scenery.
My Whippet friends Jim, Emily and Patricia were cheering on the course, as were Diane, Deb and Shannon! I was so happy to see them. There were a couple of significant hills, but it wasn’t too bad. I wished I carried my own water because I need water every mile, and the stops seemed to be every two miles instead. I still took salt tabs and GU as usual.
My friend Wams paced with me from miles 11-26 because she wanted a long run. She’s normally a 3:30 marathoner but she slowed down and kept me company. Thanks Wams! I remember giving her my 6:30pm Boltbus ticket home because I wanted her to get home earlier due to Hurricane Sandy approaching (I had a ride home so I didn’t need it anymore).
We ran past the Washington Monument, the Capitol, Crystal City, the Potomac River and more. The course was very nice.
I started cramping up really badly around mile 20 (due to dehydration) and had to run-walk the rest of it. I was in a lot of pain. I couldn’t prevent my muscles from seizing up. I managed to finish in 4:31:32. Oh well, I didn’t manage to beat Oprah’s time this time around (4:29), but maybe next time! There were lots of signs saying “Run and beat Hurricane Sandy!” so that was motivation enough.
I had to be helped to the medical tent after the finish line due to my cramping, but I was so happy to be done. Thanks to the Marines and volunteers! I ran into Becky during the “slow march of death” out of the finish area. We got cool “disposable” jackets and a lunch box, plus Gatorade. Good finisher amenities. Plus, the medal was gorgeous!
After the race, Jürgen and I left DC together and he drove me home once we realized that MTA trains and buses stopped working at 7:00pm due to the hurricane. Thanks so much Jürgen! The medal below is so precious to me because it reminds me of the good times before Hurricane Sandy struck. I am so lucky to have the support of my friends, and I was honored to run this race with them.