In honor of today being the day everyone found out if they got in the Marine Corps Marathon, I thought I’d share the post I never published. My 2015 MCM was not my favorite experience, other than running with my girls
As a reminder, I had done the Hershey Half Marathon the previous Sunday and was still in the early stages of my new job – still computer free if I remember correctly…Anyway after a quick trip home and a few days of work, it was time to hop in the car again for another race weekend.
Friday afternoon I took off early from work again to head down to DC for the Fortieth Marine Corps Marathon (and my fifth!) with Phred by my side as usual. The drive down was pretty uneventful which is always a good way to start these things off!
And as usual, I had chosen to stay pretty far out of town in Tyson’s Corner. Before getting to the hotel, I stopped off at Trader Joe’s for some munchies. The plan was to sleep as long as I needed to and head to the expo to meet up with Pam and Kimberlee. And since Team McGraw had put up a team again this year I was hoping I’d run into a few of those running friends as well.
I got to the expo about mid-day and ran into Kristine and Norman at the Metro stop. Kristine was doing some more shopping and we got a couple of pictures (as we tend to do!)
When I got into the expo, I was THRILLED to realize that I was picking up a very low numbered bib for the first time EVER in a big race. It should be noted here that MCM does not number your bib according to pace🙂
This fine young Marine got me started on my way to Iwo Jima
Whoa!! Corral A!!! Not really – MCM is self-corralling
After picking up my bib I headed to get my shirt and bag. Since 40 is the Ruby anniversary the shirts are a gorgeous ruby red color.
A nice winter weight mock turtleneck –
Then I decided to wander the floor while waiting for Pam and Kimberlee
I stopped by the USAA booth and asked about the Challenge Coins that they used to distribute since I hadn’t gotten on the previous year. Due to costs they’ve stopped giving them out but the awesome lady there gave me a special USAA coin when she discovered I’d been a member for 25 years!
When I eventually met up with Pam I ended up trying out the SparklySoul headbands – another company that promises that the bands won’t end up sliding off of my big round head! There were some on sale so I grabbed a couple and would give them a try the next day. I also went through the Official Merchandise room and picked up a beer glass and a shirt. The line was long but moved pretty quickly so once we finished up there we went back out on the expo floor to do more exploring!
Of course we had to take a picture with Coach Galloway!
We found Kimberlee eventually and did a little more wandering before deciding to call it a day and make plans to meet up in the morning.
On my hunt for meat and potatoes I decided to just call a local diner and grab a burger and fries to go so I picked up Phred from the hotel and after a quick walkies he came with me to get my dinner. Another quiet night in the hotel with plans to get up and get on the first train possible in the morning. Bonus with this hotel is there was a metro station within walking distance! Yay!
I did get out there early enough to grab one of the earliest trains. While waiting I chatted with the one other runner who was there, running his first MCM. We made it out to the Pentagon station with little trouble since the crowd wasn’t too bad yet.
The biggest problem came when we got to the security checkpoint. Here the crowds were really backed up – this is the first time I’ve encountered this at Marine Corps and people weren’t too happy about things. After a wait and a screen with the wand (since my pump set off the metal detector) I made it to the runner’s village. I ran into Jeff McMahon and one of the Team McGraw marathoners on my way to the potty and it was good to chat with him – since the last time I saw him was at LAST year’s Marine Corps Marathon. We chatted a bit then I needed to get my bag checked and find all my peeps!
My Racing the Dream people met up for pre-race pictures and then split up and I had told Pam where we were so she headed that way. We were still waiting for Kimberlee who was stuck in that horrible security traffic jam.
Pam and I heading to the start. Notice the ponchos…
Eventually we headed out to the start area to stake out a spot an luckily Kim made it out before the cannon went off!
Our plan was to stick with 1:1 intervals for as long as we could and then switch over to 30:30’s when we got a little tired. This worked really well for the first five miles or so but once we got into Rock Creek Park we started to slow down pretty significantly – or at least it felt that way. But we were still in pretty good spirits
Lioness in Tantrum, and wear blue: run to remember
Pam started to hurt fairly early on and we could see how far behind we were once we made the turn around at about Mile 7. But our goal was to Beat the Bridge and I thought we were still going to be okay, even though my blood sugar was dropping pretty fast and we were all feeling a little more pain. Once we got into East Potomac park we were doing more walking than running and we stopped off at a medical tent along the way.
Me and Mr. Lincoln — sort of🙂
Once back out approaching the mall we were actually PASSED by the tail car and realized at that time that there was definitely a possibility that we weren’t going to get to the bridge on time. At mile 19, when we had a mile to go, it became every woman for herself and Kimberlee pushed out ahead first and got in front of the car. I’m not sure how I did it but as I got closer to the Mile 20 marker I managed to get in front of the car and was seriously concerned for Pam but really couldn’t turn around to see if I could see her. I got onto the bridge and was gaining on Kim and finally got close enough to call out so she turned around and held out her hand and we pushed on, wondering if Pam had made it.
About half way across the bridge we heard it! A voice behind us yelling “Anne!! Kim!!!” and turned around to see Pam coming!! We slowed down and she sped up and we made it across the bridge as a team!!
The next 5 miles we knew we could take a lot slower but we still managed to pass a few people. It was fairly disappointing that the remaining fuel stops had already been dismantled but the water stops were still manned and the Marines and others were just as encouraging as they could be!
I was feeling some pain when walking and felt better at a slow jog so I pulled away from the girls but turned around every now and then to check on them. As I approached the final hill I got a little encouragement from this service dog before turning the corner to take on the last hill.
Best character stop ever – and no line!!
Again it was a little disappointing that instead of the usual crew of Marines cheering us up the hill there was …. no one but I totally get it. We were late.
I tuned halfway up the hill to check on my girls and saw them coming so I made the final push and ran the rest of the way to the Marine who was going to put my medal around my neck.
Once out of the chute I waited for Pam and Kimberlee to head to the monument for the all important finishing picture.
We walked together through the finish area where again, there was no food remaining or any of the warming blankets or jackets (we later learned that runners and non-runners alike were taking multiples of all the runner goodies… sad face)
Pam had a flight to catch so we said good bye at the fence and as Kim and I headed to get our bags I saw that the beer garden was still open so we split there, thinking that we may or may not see each other later at our RTD dinner. Which ended up being canceled since people weren’t going to make it on time, yours truly included
I went in to the beer garden where a very nice lady handed me a beer she had just got for her daughter but couldn’t bring out into the street. And yes, I then went over and turned in my beer ticket so I double-fisted my drinks and hung out for a bit.
By the time I got my bag and got onto the Metro the crowds had pretty much died down and since I was the next to last stop I had a good rest. I got back to the hotel and took my buddy out for his walk and headed over to WalMart to see what I could find for dinner. What I found was a really good loaf of bread and a cheap bottle of wine that went really well with the cheese I had picked up at Trader Joe’s.
A quick shower and then I hopped into bed with my delightful snack where I pondered what had happened that day and the things I learned about myself.
1. I am now past being able to half-ass my training just because I know I can cover the miles. I’ve never been so close to getting swept in a marathon (except for Paris where they don’t actually sweep, they just close everything down!)
2. I need to put in the work. REALLY put in the work. Just because I know I can do it without great training doesn’t mean I should. I was completely mentally and physically unprepared for this to turn out the way it did.
3. I am stubborn and I am sure that is at least 80% of why I was able to finish this. The other 20% was having the support of my friends and knowing they were struggling as much as I was.
This was quite possibly the toughest 26.2 I’ve done since the first time I ran a marathon. I went through a whole range of emotions during the day but at the end of it all, I’m really proud of myself and my girls for pushing through and finishing. I’m not at all proud of my performance and know I can do better .
All in all, I still LOVE this event and will be doing it again. But I will definitely be more accountable and responsible with my training. It’s the adult thing to do right?
Congratulations to everyone who got in today!!! You are in for an amazing 26.2!!! Hope to see some of you out there!!