Monday, October 28, 2013

Marine Corps Marathon

Yesterday, I ran the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington, D.C.  This was my fourth marathon but my first one running for a cause. I chose to run for Team Fisher House, along with a few fellow IHS grads, their friends, and also a good friend of mine. The nine of us, known as Team Jack Shick, have raised $11,361.00 to date but the link is still good until the end 2013, so...if you want to contribute go HERE and do so.   
I had a lot of anxiety going into this race. For one, I had put a lot of pressure on myself in training to get a sub 4 hour marathon, so when it came time to taper, my body didn't know what to do without the crazy runs in which it was familiar. Also, I had this bizarre hamstring pain that started on Thursday, my legs just didn't feel good at all, and I woke up every morning with a sore throat and a runny nose. I was pretty much convinced that I was either going to quit mid-run or run with pain the entire time. Luckily, I think a lot of that was mental because by expo time, I felt just fine. Even my cold symptoms were getting better.

While unpacking, I realized that I had forgotten my contacts at my parents house but I managed to get a new pair at America's Best. I spent the day with a friend that I hadn't seen since 5th grade. It was really great having someone who was familiar with the city in the driver's seat because hello, DC drivers are cray cray! 
We went to lunch at this cute place called Busboys and Poets, where I wanted a bowl of chili but got eggs and hash browns instead because I didn't want to make my belly mad this close to race time.
Me and Leah outside of the restaurant.
The Expo was held at the Armory. Apparently, there had been an electrical outage earlier in the day so the lines were insane. Lucky for me, pretty girls don't wait in lines... *wink*
At 6pm, the team dinner was held right in the host hotel where I stayed so that was awesome. The speakers were ahhhhh-mazing and made me so proud to run for such a great cause. I was really fired up at the end of the dinner but luckily, I was able to fall asleep within about 5 minutes of my head hitting the pillow, at 8:15pm!

The bad news is that due to my early bedtime and some residual nervousness, I woke at 2:15am and couldn't fall back to sleep. I decided to shower, even though I was about to run because it's easier to pull my newly short hair up when it's wet. After that, I applied my Glide, got dressed into my team shirt and a pair of shorts and untied and tied my shoes about a dozen time. I ate a banana with PB2 at 6am and headed to the lobby of the hotel to meet up with the rest of the team. 
The leaders and Champ the Cow walked us to the charity tent, where I had a LaraBar, got my last bathroom trip out of the way, and saw a beautiful sunrise. 
I got to the start line in time to see Skydiver Marines jumping out of planes while holding American flags - soooo awesome. I had already found one of my teammates earlier in the morning and we lined up with the 4:00 - 4:10 group. Right before the start, the three other teammates joined us and I was excited that we could, at least, start together. (Note: We had a few other team mates but the two other women weren't at the start with us. One had an injury right around taper time so she wasn't running and the other one was completely MIA, leaving me as the only chick among these boys men) Before I even had a chance for some more nervousness, the howitzer started us off. It took us about four and a half minutes to cross the start. For the first couple of miles, I was running with a few members of my team; They were 3 guys I knew from high school: Keith, Scott, and Brian. Unfortunately, they were going faster than I wanted, so I just did my own thing.

There is a lovely hill early in the race then lots of rolling hills and bridges. The crowds were so amazing that I didn't need my music until about 7 miles in, when we hit a quieter section. I took my first Gu at that point too. At mile 8, I knew my sub 4 dreams probably weren't going to happen unless I really picked it up and I didn't feel comfortable enough to do so, so I just kept myself running at a speed that I knew I could maintain for awhile.

I was very glad I had chosen to wear my bright yellow team shirt because the Team Fisher House supporters were super encouraging. I zig zagged a bunch to slap high fives and thank people for their support. I was actually having fun out there which was great!

I took my 2nd Gu at mile 17-ish. At that point, I started counting down to the end instead of counting up. I passed mile 20 (the beat the bridge part) with not much thought because at that point, I was just thinking that I only had a 10K left. At mile 22, my legs really started to feel the fact that I had been on them for so long and I started taking walk breaks here and there. At mile 23-ish, I saw THE BEST SIGN EVER that read: You don't have to marathon train tomorrow.
 I crossed the 40k mark at 3:59:59 which I thought was funny, given the fact that I had wanted to sub 4 initially. At that point, I thought I might be able to squeeze out a PR (lower than the 4:11:09 I ran 2 years ago) but then I saw a guy collapsed and they were doing chest compressions. At that moment, I realized that picking up my pace just wasn't worth it to me.

I went up the last .2 mile HILL to finish with a 4:13:57. I'm super proud of my time and even though it wasn't a sub 4 or even a PR, I feel like I did really well out there. 
Brian, Scott, Keith, Rob, and Maria
Our Team Results:

Brett - 3:33:15
Brian - 4:08:50
Maria - 4:13:57
Keith - 4:14:40
Scott - 4:39:29
Rob - 4:45:08
Warren - 5:12:36
Pam - 6:33:04

Congrats to Team Jack Shick and to all the Marine Corps Marathon finishers. You can hold your heads high, knowing that you accomplished something - that you are one of the 0.5% of Americans who can say they have run a marathon.

1 comment:

  1. So awesome Miss Ria. I'm really proud of you. Great report, too.