Marine Corps Marathon – Recap

30 Oct

10329305_10154196841865014_348367459975963361_nOkay, so I’m late 🙂 Shocking!!

So, for the purposes of this recap, we will assume there was some travel and such. And the usual expo excitement

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— except these lines weren’t “usual”…

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My plan was to get to the train station as close to 5 am as possible since those places tend to get crowded pretty fast. I man CROWD. ED!

 

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Taken in the Pentagon station back in 2011

Line switching was pretty pain-free and when we finally got to the Pentagon station the crowds weren’t backed up as I’ve experienced in the past.

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Waiting on a train in Rosslyn

We exited the station at the Pentagon and started the trek to the Runner’s Start Village…I love walking past the Pentagon and getting into the village. But first a stop at the metal detectors! We flagged down someone who seemed to be in charge to let him know that Kris couldn’t go through the machines and it was no problem at all!! He was a Jersey guy after all!!

In the village we found the porta potties with no lines/little lines and, while I was in there, I stocked my race belt with some extra tp…just in case!  We headed to the spot where we were to meet up with the other Team McGraw and Team RWB runners for pre-race pictures but never saw anyone we knew so the other girls waited for coffee while I pottied again. And dropped off my bag. And then it was time to head to the start.

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One last picture before the fun!

Where this guy reminded us REALLY why we needed to enjoy each mile:

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Everyone was there!!

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Marine Corps Marathon lets you self-corral — I will confess here that it’s possible I lined up a bit earlier than I should have but NOT ridiculously out of my range!

But more important — there was an AWESOME flag display…including one of the flags being carried by Veteran Kyle Carpenter

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I lost count of how many of the jumpers had flags…probably 10 or so! AWESOME!

And the Black Hawk flyover (I think they’re Black Hawks…they’re big, they’re black and…well..)

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The National Anthem was sung and we were off!!!

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Some of these people seem to be going the wrong way….

My plan was 1:1 intervals so I found some folks who were also doing them. Of course when we hit the first hill I lost them 🙂 I managed to keep up a fairly decent pace and never felt like I was falling too far behind.

I’m very thankful that Cheryl and Kristen were out there on the course! This was when I saw them the first time, I think….somewhere around 10-11

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Then we entered what used to be the most desolate part of the course. The first year I ran this, my friend Jennifer joined me here and got me to the bridge (Back then it was closer to East Potomac Park/Hains Point). Now, this area is the site of the Blue Mile. Here is where the fantastic  people of Wear Blue: Run to Remember set up.

Pictures of fallen warriors. Lots of them VERY young. Lots of them holding their children. (Sorry for the bad pictures — if you visit their website or Facebook page, there are lots of really good ones!)

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And after that, filling out the rest of the mile were people holding flags, also tagged with the names of those being honored.

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These were some of the most encouraging non-Marines on the course! I’m pretty sure that there was not a dry eye for this mile. There were also plenty of hugs handed out here. I myself had a nice ugly cry for a bit, then a minor panic attack when I couldn’t get my breathing under control again! This happened several times on the course but most definitely here.

About this time I started thinking “Yay! Almost at a half marathon!” followed IMMEDIATELY by “Oh hell…another half marathon to go!” And this is also where I started thinking “Maybe I’m just a half marathon kind of girl and after Paris I’ll stick to halfs…except for I want to do this one again, and then LA and London and…” So. Yeah…nuts.

Shortly after coming out of this out and back, I saw Kristen and Cheryl again. Or, they saw me!! I grabbed my last apple sauce and kept moving. We were approaching the mall and my gut was telling me that I was falling behind the clock. Then the girls told me that my last update was predicting a 6:14 finish which…frankly, I did not believe!!

So I kept plugging along, talking to folks along the way and somewhere just after 19 I saw Randy, this weekend’s Team McGraw/Team RWB photographer! Apparently he *did* get that video of me waving and yelling! A quick time check and I knew I was going to make it to Mile 20 in plenty of time! As usual, there was the Ladies’ Chinese drum group (I have no idea what they’re really called!) pounding as we neared the Bridge.

And then, this happened!

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At this point, really all I wanted to do was lay down and take a nap!! I ended up mostly walking across the bridge but still managed to clear it before the bus came along. I knew that the girls were waiting for me just on the other side. And who knew what else was waiting!!

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Yeah, and, I only really wanted just like, on HUGE gulp  – I was surprised how refreshing it was!! The girls headed over to the finish area and the runners (and me!) headed into Crystal City. This was another out and back and it was good to see how well people seemed to be doing! Runners will still all smiles! Mostly. A huge fire hose at the turnaround was refreshing (some thought it was unnecessary and too chilling though!) and I knew that I was just a mile or so away from some Dunkin’ Munchkins! (no picture available….my hands were full!)

Here the course changed up a bit from what I remember but we ran through the Pentagon access roads back out onto the highway where this all started hours ago! And then it happened…Mile 26. Followed INSTANTLY by….

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I was determined to run up this one. Sidelines were PACKED with Marines high-fiving and encouraging!! How could you not want to run this?!

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I didn’t actually run the whole thing.

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But I did make it to the top

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And just around the corner I could see the finish line. And More Marines. And the Marine put the medal around my neck and congratulated me. “Great work Ma’am” . And more ugly crying.

Along with the medal, I picked up my post-race snack box and a blanket (later, down the hill at bag pickup Marines were handing out finishing jackets – another new thing from my last time at this event!)

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After finding my friends, and resting for a bit it was time to head back to the hotel – but not before we made plans to all enter the lottery for this again in 2015. After all, it will be the 40th Anniversary – And you know I love my Anniversary bling!!

All in all it was a most Awesome day! There was lots of course support, both from the sidelines and other runners — was especially great to get the thumbs up from the TeamRWB runners!

And, while I thought I had PR’d turns out that was not so. I got my PR back at this race in 2011! It was really an emotional day for me and one I will remember for a  very long time! And I’m really looking forward to taking on that hill again next year!!

But first, I’ll be doing this one next May!!

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2 Responses to “Marine Corps Marathon – Recap”

  1. fairytales and fitness October 30, 2014 at 11:02 pm #

    Congrats! I really enjoyed your recap Anne. My sister mentioned how crazy the expo lines were too! I love that you wore your red sparkle skirt. You all really had wonderful weather for the race! Crossing my fingers you get to do it again next year! -M

    • outrunningthefork October 31, 2014 at 6:53 am #

      Thanks Mer!!

      I still can’t believe what a great day it was!

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