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Marine Corps Marathon - RunMarathon

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Arlington, Virginia
United States
60F / 16C
Total Time = 3h 24m 21s
Overall Rank = 891/20936
Age Group = M35-39
Age Group Rank = 160/2227
Pre-race routine:

Got up at 4:30, took out the dog, grabbed a Lara bar and a Clif fruit roll thingy (one of the kids' things but I felt like eating it), grabbed my stuff and drove to Traci's place. Her fiance Steve was driving us down so we wouldn't have to try and fight with the Metro and parking. Felt awesome to have a sherpa. Big thanks to him! No medication before the race as I didn't want to mess up the run )but that caught up with me later in the afternoon).
Event warmup:

We got to the parking garage and in line for the bus to the runners village. Very efficient and got to the village with about an hour to go. Got dressed and dropped off my bag with the UPS trucks. Then we walked over to the start line. Gu ROctane at 45 minutes to go and 15 minutes to go washed down with some Gu2O. Wished Traci good luck at her pace marker and moved forward to the 3:10-3:20 area. Dumped off my long sleeve shirt and bottle and shivered until the start.
  • 3h 24m 21s
  • 26.2 miles
  • 07m 48s  min/mile

I signed up for this race knowing that it would be 2 weeks after the Baltimore marathon, but I had heard a lot of good things about the race and since it was local I wanted to give it a shot. I also found out in the last few years that my Dad had actually signed up and trained for the MCM but had injured himself doing his training and had to opt out of it.

So after signing up I thought that I would run this one for him since he will not have an opportunity to run one with some later injuries and leg issues that he has had. It would be the first race that I have run in where the motivation was something outside of myself, and it actually had me going into the race with a lot more positive aspect and excitement to be in the field.

I lined up just outside of the 3:10 group and when the gun went off I fell right into an easy groove. On this course, you get the bulk of the hills early and they are actually basically over by mile 8 or so! In fact, when we went to make the turn to go up the hill back to Georgetown the people in the 3:10 group were all like "This is it!" And I looked around and said, "What is it?" The people around me said, "This is the last hill!" Holy crap! Well, that was anti-climactic! I'm so used to Baltimore and Boston where the hills beat the crap out of you from 16 - 20 miles!

After about 10 miles I let the 3:10 group go as I knew that there was no way I could hold that pace to the finish, but I wasn't feeling bad. Went through the hal point at 1:35:XX so was still on a great pace, although I was starting to tire. Lack of mileage, lack of fitness and not being fully recovered from Baltimore was catching up quick. We also turned back into the wind - which was picking up - at the half mark. I "put the head down" mentally and pushed through the wind to get back into DC for the Mall and monument portion.

By mile 16 or so I was really starting to tire. I was still under 7:30 pace easily, but the legs were definitely cooked. There was no way I was holding that until the end. Much like Baltimore the legs were telling me they were done. No cramps or twinges, just no more pop and the stride was shortening up. It was all thinning out quite a bit around this portion. Still a lot of people, but once I was out of the 3:10 groups range, it was a lot more sparse. I got around the Mall and to the bridge at 20 right around 2:30. I knew that even with a slower pace the last 10k that I should be able to beat my Baltimore time, which was my only real goal. This was the part where I brought back in what the reason was for running this race.

I crossed back into VA - wow that was a long bridge! A lady next to me was complaining, "When is this damn bridge going to end!" I just smiled and pushed on. Whatever it takes to get to the finish I will continue running and get there!

Whenever I started to think about slowing down even more or walking at the water stops I just remembered my father and what he had come to mean to me over the years. As a teenager I was the resentful and rebellious. There were times where I was very anti-Dad for some reason or another (teenage angst perhaps), but I also never wanted to let him down. It was not until I was out of school and joined the military that I really got to see what an incredible set of parents that I had and how extremely proud I was of them and that I was to be one of there sons.

My father was career Navy. His father was career Navy. The military has been an unbelievably important part of my life. As I ran I thought more and more about what the city of DC, what the Marines standing at the water stops taking care of the runners and most importantly what my father's sacrifices to his country and his family meant to me. It was a very motivating factor.

My pace was slowing, but there was determination and fortitude to carry on. I was encouraging those around me more so than I usually do in a race. We ran by the Pentagon with only a mile or so to go and I was thinking of those who lost their lives on 9/11 and then we are nearing the finish. The last little hill as you turn left to go up toward the Iwo Jima memorial is it! Push to get across the line!

Then it hit me and I don't know why I didn't even think of it before ......

We were running through Arlington National Cemetary. There are only two memorable times that I have been here.

The first was when we laid my Grandmother next to my Grandfather (who died when I was very young).

The second was when my father retired and we went and visited my grandparent's graves with our family and my uncle (Dad's brother) and had a small ceremony there.

The finish suddenly took on a profoundly deeper meaning and signifigance. For the next 5 minutes I had to fight back the emotions and the tears. But I can't keep them back now writing this.

I love you Dad. Thank you for all the sacrifices you have made and that Granda made before. I am very proud to be your son.

This finish was for you.
What would you do differently?:

Usual ..... actually train for a marathon!
Post race
Warm down:

Grabbed my food/drink bag, my medal, mylar blanket and shuffled along to an area where I could look for Traci and others I knew after they funneled out. But didn't see anyone.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Lack-o-training. Baltimore marathon finish two weeks ago. Perhaps if I had started out slower I would have done better, but I ran my own race and did what felt right the whole time. No complaints and no walking!

Event comments:

Good race. Well run for the size of the field. Only hiccup is getting to and from the start/finish to your car. It took us a while to get out of there and back on the road to go home. Ended up getting home later than I thought I would. But it was all good.

Because of the timeline though, I had to meet Mir and the kids over at our friend's house where they were having a bonfire and outdoor picnic sort of thing. I met them there and helped watch the fire and kids. But I didn't get to change or shower (or go home) so I was a little grimy and felt sloppy. Also, within an hour or two my heart started into A-Fib since I didn't take my medication before the race. Resting heart rate was in the 140 range (I still had my HR monitor on). That meant I needed to get home and take my medication. After about an hour after taking it, the HR was back down into more of the normal range. Just an unpleasant feeling!

Last updated: 2009-04-01 12:00 AM
03:24:21 | 26.2 miles | 07m 48s  min/mile
Age Group: 160/2227
Overall: 891/20936
Performance: Good
Avg - 152, Peak - 163
Course: Winding course through Georgetown, DC and Crystal City/Arlington. Only real hills are in the first half then relatively flat.
Keeping cool Good Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Average
Mental exertion [1-5] 3
Physical exertion [1-5] 4
Good race? Ok
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Average
Race evaluation [1-5] 4

2009-10-26 11:14 AM

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Cycling Guru
Fulton, MD
Subject: Marine Corps Marathon

2009-10-26 12:44 PM
in reply to: #2479607

Extreme Veteran
Subject: RE: Marine Corps Marathon
awesome write up and congrats on your race! Thinking about doing this one for the 35th anniv next year, but they've got it scheduled on Halloween.. not sure how I can pull that off, might have to wait until the following year..

congrats again.
2009-10-26 12:56 PM
in reply to: #2479607

Subject: RE: Marine Corps Marathon

Great job, Rick, and glad you could dedicate the performance to your dad - that's really special I have to admit, I was pretty moved by all of the armed forces guys out there.

2009-10-26 3:14 PM
in reply to: #2479829

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Fulton, MD
Subject: RE: Marine Corps Marathon
Nice job, Rick!  A very impressive run a mere 2 wks after running with me in B'more.
2009-10-26 6:33 PM
in reply to: #2479607

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Subject: RE: Marine Corps Marathon

Great post Baltimore race.

Total Time = 3h 24m 21s
Overall Rank = 891/20936


While you had a good race, I am blown away by how many people are slower. Not knocking you but the others out there.

Edited by aarondavidson 2009-10-26 6:33 PM
2009-10-26 8:17 PM
in reply to: #2479607

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Verona WI--Ironman Bike Country!
Subject: RE: Marine Corps Marathon
Great report and race. 

Did it myself a few years ago and having a father who received three purple hearts in WWII made it a very memorable and meaningful event for me too.

2009-10-26 9:11 PM
in reply to: #2479607

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Berkeley, Calif.
Subject: RE: Marine Corps Marathon
Great race! But I really loved the report. My dad was a Marine (is -- once a Marine, always a Marine) and this race is definitely one I want to do someday, for him. It was really neat reading about what this race meant to you.
2009-10-27 11:57 AM
in reply to: #2479607

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Extreme Veteran
San Luis Obispo County, CA
Subject: RE: Marine Corps Marathon
Nice report.  Thanks for sharing.
2009-10-27 12:03 PM
in reply to: #2479607

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Olney, MD
Subject: RE: Marine Corps Marathon

2 marathons in two weeks.  You rock.   Awesome job hitting your goal and beating the Baltimore time!!  Sorry it took a long time to get back home.  Looking back on it, Steve should have just asked if he could bring his bike on the shuttle. 

Good thing my boss didn't walk back here while I was reading your race report.  I'd have to explain why I was misty eyed.   

2009-10-27 12:42 PM
in reply to: #2479607

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Fountain Hills, AZ
Subject: RE: Marine Corps Marathon
Great report, Rick.
2009-10-27 12:47 PM
in reply to: #2479607

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Science Nerd
Redwood City, California
Subject: RE: Marine Corps Marathon
Great race report.  I teared up at the end reading it.  I had the same feeling running into Arlington last year and I don't have any other association with it, so I can't imagine what you were feeling.

2009-10-28 11:11 AM
in reply to: #2479607

Extreme Veteran
Subject: RE: Marine Corps Marathon

Rick, you continue to inspire me.

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