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Tuesday, October 28, 2014

#85- The Marine Corps Marathon! OORAH!

This was my 4th year running the Marine Corps Marathon (MCM) and I still love it! Not only is it a lot of fun, it is very inspiring too.
This year I wanted to try and do what I have never done before at MCM and that's run under 5:00. I am always to busy taking photos and having fun at MCM, but this year I at least wanted to beat Oprah's time of 4:29:15!
My race weekend started Friday night when Chris (my friend of almost 30 years) picked me up from the airport. His parents were in town so his mom and his boyfriend Chris (who will be called Gumbo in this blog not only because they have the same name and you won't know who I am talking about, but he is from New Orleans) came too.
We stayed up until 2:30am catching up and Chris broke the news to me that he WAS NOT running the marathon this year. SLACKER!! I told him it was OK as he would only be eating my dust anyway! Ha Ha!
The next morning I got up and decided to run to the expo. Chis lived only 2 miles from the DC Armory and I thought it would be a nice shake out. I was right. The weather was perfect and I felt great! I thought if I can feel this great during the race, I might have a shot at a 4:05 or better.
The line for the expo stretched around the block, but the line moved pretty fast.
I ended up in line with John! He is a Maniac I met at Big Cottonwood. I picked his brain on his BQ strategy!

We made it inside!

The young Marine who was giving out bibs!

Can't be a wuss at the MCM!
You are going down Oprah!

For the first time in 4 years, I love the MCM shirt this year. It's still a mock turtleneck, but it's made of a warm tech fabric and it actually fits and looks good! I can't wait to wear this for my winter running! The collar has the globe and anchor embroidered on it.

It was so great to run into Marcey from Sport Hooks!

Miles, the MCM bulldog and I!

The hardest part of sitting with these service dogs was not only could I not pet them, I couldn't snuggle them! I was dying!! Doggies everywhere and no snuggles to be had!

I ran into some more Maniac friends, Howard and Kevin!

This Marine Corps Band said their job was to "bring the party", and they did! They were swingin'! I was looking for a dance partner because I wanted to dance!

#1 reason to run the Marine Corps Marathon! Cute, young Marines EVERYWHERE!
After the expo, I ran back to Chris's house, grabbed a shower and we headed out to lunch at this German beer garden called Biergarten Haus. If you like German food and beer, the place is great. I had a tomato and cheese sandwich that cost $14, which was a little steep I thought. Thanks to Ma and Pa Carnahan for picking up the tab!

Chris, Gumbo and I at Biergarten Haus.
During lunch, I got an invite to a Maniac dinner that was organized by Scot Barco and his wife, Sandy. I posted that I would not be able to attend because I did not have transportation to get there. It was out in Arlington and I was staying in D.C.
They sprang into action and within the hour, I had three people offer to pick me up! One more reason I LOVE our club! Thanks for the ride Doug!
We had dinner at this place called Vapiano. It was a cool concept. When you walk in they give you a card. You stand in line for whatever you want and everything is put on the card. At the end of your meal, you take the card to the cashier and pay.
The pasta was all made fresh and was really good. The bad thing is it took FOREVER and you had to wait in a separate line for everything. Some Maniacs never made it to the table before everyone left because it took so long.
This place would be great on a slower night, but on the night before a marathon, it was just too busy.
It was fun to hang with some nice Maniac friends though. Thanks Scot and Sandy for organizing it!

A few Maniacs at dinner.
When I got back from dinner, it was time to prepare for race day.

Flat Angie ready to go! I had my mini kilt made by Sport Kilt out of the Marine Corp fabric and sewed all my MCM patches on it. I put my Bataan patch on there too!
I stayed up a little too late watching the World Series (I had to turn it off before the game was over or I would have never went to bed) and that 4:30 alarm came fast!
Chis drove me to the Metro at 5:30am and I caught the train, getting to the Pentagon at 6:30am. I scheduled the photo for 7:30am. We had a lot of people there, but a lot were missing. People think I am exaggerating when I say you need to leave at least 2 hours early if you want to make it on time. There is a lot of walking and the security takes a while. Most people want to use the bathroom first too. 

Maniacs at the start of the MCM!
We took the photo at 7:30 sharp and headed to the start area. It is super crowded and I needed to walk further up to get in the pace corral (or lack thereof) I wanted to be in.

It is so crowded!

I settled in to the 3:40-3:59 corral. I thought this would be a good pace for a PR! Unfortunately, these are just guideline which a lot of people don't care to follow. A mile in I was dodging walkers and wondered where the heck did they start? With the elites? I REALLY wish they would tighten this up.

Before the cannon shot, they had Marines jumping out of planes and a couple of fly overs. It was really cool!

Getting ready to run!

I ran into Jamila at the start!
Before we knew it we were off!

Getting ready to cross the start line!

Marines everywhere!

It is humbling to start the race with the Pentagon on one side and Arlington National Cemetery on the other. We are lucky to get to do what we love when these brave men and women made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. 

There were LOTS of bands!
The first 3 miles of the course is uphill. The crowd kind of helped me not go out to fast.

Want a great tour of Washington, D.C.? Run the MCM! 

The Jefferson Memorial

The Washington Monument!

One of the most moving parts of the MCM course is called "The Blue Mile". Wear Blue Run to Remember is a national running community that honors the service and sacrifice of the American military.

Every year they are here with their tribute to the fallen. There are many tears shed on the course here. I did not run with my friend Teota this year (I lost her before the start), but she and her son Brandon were in my thoughts as was my friend Amy and her fallen son Adam.

Yay! It's cute Jenn! She was celebrating her 30th birthday by running a marathon!! HAPPY BIRTHDAY JENN!
The US Capitol
It was really fun to run along the river and see all the boats with people cheering us on!

This was beyond AWESOME! What more needs to be said?

A fire boat shooting water made for some theatrics along the course!

These ladies were awesome!
I had hit the half at exactly 2:00. This set me up nice for the 4:05 and if I could run a negative split, a sub 4:00!
Well that didn't happen. At around mile 21, while still on the bridge, I started having some pain in my lower back, but just on the left side. It was affecting my stride so I stopped for a quick second to see if I could stretch it out. Without laying down, I could not do it, so I just kept running and pretty much ignored it.
The last 4 miles of the race were pretty brutal. We had a pretty good headwind which sucked the life out of me the last 1.5 miles. My Garmin was was showing long to which was bringing me down mentally.
That last half mile seemed to last forever. A guy running next to me was so annoyed that he couldn't see the turn. I was too. We knew we would have the hardest .2 miles to come and just wanted to get it over with.
When we could finally see the finish, we also saw this giant hill (or that's what it felt like) lined with Marines yelling "Take that hill!" and "You're mission is not complete!", while also cheering you on as you climb it.
I may have run slow, but I gave it all I had up that hill!

Marines encouraging runners on the last .2 mile hill!
Once I rounded the corner, the crowds were cheering and I could see the finish! I crossed the finish in 4:10:49. Not a PR, but I was happy. I KICKED OPRAH'S BUTT GOOD!

My favorite part is when a Marine gives me my medal, salutes and says "Good job mam!"

My Maniac friend Dan getting his medal.
After we finished Dan and I walked down to get our food and hit the gear truck. On the way to the gear truck they were handing out packages of cold, fresh watermelon. It was the most delicious thing I had ever eaten!

The band from the expo brought the party to the finish line!
MCM finisher swag! Heat sheet, jacket, and a box of food that looked like a little purse. I loved it!
By this time I was in a lot of pain. Dan saw me to the Metro and thank goodness I got a seat on both trains! Chris picked me up from the station and I had a shower and a nap and Chris, Gumbo, Chris's parents and I celebrated with fish tacos on the Potomac River. What a great race and a great day!
 The MCM Bling!

I could not run this race every year if it were not for my pal Chris, who every year opens his home up to me and whomever comes with me. Thanks buddy!! YOU ARE THE BEST!


Bill Tichenor said...

I got in this year but ran Tennessee Ragnar instead! I'm attempting to defer to 2015. Great race!

Bill Tichenor said...

I got in this year but chose to run Ragnar Tennessee that weekend. Hope I've deferred to next year properly! Great report

Daphne Florence said...

Brings back great memories of when I lived there, thanks!

That would have killed me too not to pet all those cute dogs! :)