Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Better Late than Never....Marine Corps Marathon Race Weekend Review and Catch Up!

I know, I know...all three of you have been dying to hear from me since I fell of the face of this blog.  Sorry. My work and running schedule got the best of me last fall....then vacation...then the holidays...then the new year!  And honestly, I took an extended run break after the I'm just now finally getting back into the swing of things.

So!  Back where we left off!!  Only, not really.  I'm going to to basically run right past that last two months of training.  All you need to know is I stuck to it.  I killed those long runs every weekend.  The last long run of 20 miles I completed under 4 hours...and I finally got past my nerves and felt confident that I was going to run a marathon!!  (The weeks leading up to the 20 miler, I was getting quite nervous and anxious).  So now that MCM 40 lottery results have been announced, I guess I'll finally wrap up MCM 39 for everyone... :-)

Race weekend arrived....packet pick up was PACKED out at the National Armory...I went with my marathon buddy and stood in long lines, but they moved pretty quickly, thankfully.  The Brooks store on site was filled with so much fun MCM gear!  I splurged and bought myself the official MCM Marathon jacket.  I just had to, right?

Marathon Buddy Blake and me at MCM Expo
Day before the marathon, I literally just sat around the house.  We had some family come in to cheer me on all weekend, which was great fun!  I kept my rear in the couch and ate and hydrated all day long.  Both my boyfriend and I went to bed really early to prepare for my 4AM wake up call to head to the race!!

Race day was without a doubt, currently, the best day of my life!  (I seriously, sometimes get teary-eyed even still thinking about what a day it was!)  I was fortunate enough to have a GREAT group of cheerleaders on site - 5 people, to look for with their fun posters at miles 2, 6ish, 11, 18/19 and the finish!  (They ended up walking a total of 11 miles following me around the course!  Go Team!!)  I also had SO MANY people following and tracking me online...sending texts, messages, gifts, etc. leading up to and following the day!  SO MUCH LOVE, I tell you!!

Mile 2 - Smiling!!

Mile 11

Still smiling at mile 18!!!

and mile 19, too!  
I felt great throughout the race.  It was a BEAUTIFUL in the AM and warming up throughout the day.  I kept smiling and running through til mile 20.  Then - I hit that dreaded wall.  Those people unfamiliar with the Marine Corps Marathon, mile 20 is where you must "Beat the Bridge."  The course prior to the 14th Street Bridge closes at you have to get to the bridge no later than 1.  I was there just before 12, so that was fine...but literally - as soon as my little feet hit the bridge - I was ready to be done!  Given that everyone running around me was on the same "pace" as I was, we were all in it together at this point.  We all were running just to run a marathon, obviously were not going to break any records or win any it was kind of funny how everyone literally STOPPED running at this point and slowed down significantly.  It was also particularly hard at this point, because there are pretty much NO spectators on the bridge.  I was lucky enough though to see fellow Oiselle teammates Courtney and Julie at the bridge and get a big ole "You can do it!" hug from Courtney!  (Side note, Yay running community! I love you so much! We had never met in real life and she saw me in my Oiselle singlet, called me out and hugged me!  Just what I needed at that moment, for sure!)

Those last 6.2 miles were without a doubt some of the darkest and most miserable moments I have ever felt!  I was DONE.  From mile 20 until about 23, there are NO people but you and your fellow runners....then you get into Crystal City, where there are some more spectators, but then, again, once you leave Crystal City, you are on your own until that last mile.  It is HARD WORK.  My feet hurt...I wanted to cry and stop so bad!  I would jog about a quarter mile...and then walk again. There were some funny text conversations at this point in time between me and my boy and how I wanted everyone to go home - not celebrate when it was over. Silly me!

Once I got to the point where I could see all the excitement of the finish though, I was awakened and ready to go!  The last 0.2 mile is uphill, but my gosh - never was I so happy to see a hill! Ha!  That last mile or so was filled with Marines along the sidelines high five-ing you to the finish.  It was SO encouraging.  To be quite honest, I'm not a particularly overly patriotic person, but certainly felt more so then than ever.

My finish time was a very less than impressive 5 hours and 35 minutes.  I was aiming for under 5 for my very first I was a bit bummed with that.  But I knew I had worked my hiney off and certainly beat myself mentally several times along those last 6.2 miles, in particular.
He's pretty proud, I'd say....

Making my boy carry me up the hill to the house - I just ran 26.2 miles, darnit!
And beer!!!
The Prize

I was super pumped immediately following the race, obviously...and then once everyone left and I was left to myself, I did get a bit pouty about my time.  But really, that just encouraged me to want to try again!!!  I still haven't found my next full, but I'm definitely on the lookout.  I took the day after the race off, stayed around the boy got me a massage and facial at a local spa, which was much needed and appreciated.  Then, back to life as normal, sorta.

We went on a glorious vacation to St. Martin in November...

The pool at our private villa

Beaches for days....

Bottomless brunch at the St Martin Westin
Then home to Atlanta for Christmas.  Up until this past couple of weeks, my running was just a figment of my imagination.  But now, I'm back at it and have a full spring schedule of races!  AND, I'm going to Oiselle Bird Camp in June!!  CANNOT WAIT!! More on that in a later blog...

I promise to be a better blogger this spring/summer!!  I do, I do!!!

Thanks for reading!!

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