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Marine Corps Marathon - RunMarathon

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Arlington, Virginia
United States
65F / 18C
Total Time = 3h 55m 40s
Overall Rank = 3931/20936
Age Group = F25-29
Age Group Rank = 222/1798
Pre-race routine:

3 pieces of Domino's Pizza and a Sam Adams Oktoberfest around 6:00 for my pre-race dinner. In bed by 9:30 and didn't sleep all that well. Took me a while to fall asleep, then I woke up every hour or so. First time I can remember not sleeping well the night before a race, but I always have trouble sleeping one night every month (ugh!) and pre-race night happened to be the same night. Ahh well.

Even with the broken sleep, I felt great when the alarm went off at 4:15. Got right out of bed, let the dog out, took a shower, ate a peanut butter and banana sandwich, filled up a few water bottles, warned Steve around 5:27 that he wouldn't have time to eat the bowl of cereal that he just poured, Steve said that no one ever shows up on time, Rick showed up shortly after that, and we were on the road by 5:30. Heh. Steve is used to "volleyball time".

Made it to Crystal City, left Steve with the car, and boarded the shuttle with Rick. As soon as we boarded the shuttle, my pre-race nerves went away. Weird, but I always get nervous with the logistics. The worst part for me is going and picking up my packet. I get a little nervous driving to the race start too, but once I'm there, it's fine. I guess it's because I've had a few dreams where I missed the start!

Made it to the Runners Village around 7. Rick headed for the bag drop off, I headed to the port-a-pottie line and picked the wrong one. Fun times in the port-a-pottie line. The girl at the head of our line wouldn't go to any of the other pots except the one directly in front her, even though the other lines were feeding into at least 3 different ones. The girl behind me in line was pretty ticked off about it and starting yelling "go, go, go!!" to the girl in the front, setting off everyone else in the line. Poor girl shook her head and continued to wait for the one pot...zzzz. Finally made it through the line, met back up with Rick, and walked to the start. I lined up in the back of the 3:30 - 3:40 corral (I think) and talked to the girl next to me until the gun went off. She had 4 kids and was trying to run a 3:45 for Boston. I checked her results and she didn't make it either. Boo.
Event warmup: in the port-a-pottie line and the walk from the Runners Village to the start. That's about it.
  • 3h 55m 40s
  • 26.2 miles
  • 08m 59s  min/mile

It was a perfect day to race. Beautiful weather and just the right temperature. Ran for about a mile with the woman that was going for a 3:45 then lost her in the crowd. It wasn't as crowded as I remembered from last year though. Felt great right from the start. Wasn't sure how fast I was moving, but I knew I was a little behind the 8:20 pace I needed based on the chatter around me.

My goal for this race was to keep an even effort and not walk the last 6 miles like the year before. My "secret" goal, which wound up not being so secret was to qualify for Boston. I settled in a ran at an effort and pace that I felt I could sustain for 26.2 miles. Not sure that was the right strategy, but I felt like I had a great race.

Miles 1-8: Some hills, but not too bad. They're over before you know it. Felt a little winded going up the last hill, but I knew it was the last one so I pushed myself to get up it. Took my first GU out of my pocket around 55 minutes into it so I could start eating, but I dropped it. When there are that many people running, stopping and picking something up really isn't a good idea. I only brought three with me so I knew I was going to have to pick up a Clif Shot at the aid station. Blech.

Miles 8-13.1: Kind of uneventful. Just kept running, enjoying the course and the atmosphere. Coming around the corner near the waterfront, I saw a guy holding a sign that said "Don't Poop Yourself". I thought that was pretty funny. Reached the halfway point in 1:53:20. Knew I was still behind the pace I needed, tried to pick it up, but my legs and lungs would protest, so I settled back into the comfortable groove pace and kept going. Picked up a vanilla Clif Shot during this stretch so I could eat it at the 2 hour mark.

Miles 13.1-20: These all felt pretty good too. I was very well trained coming into this event. I think I did 4 20 milers and my legs handled the mileage just fine. Running through DC is awesome. Great crowd support. Really makes you feel like a superstar. High fived lots of kids and saw Shelly and Scott for the first time during this stretch. So nice seeing familiar faces out there. Apparently one of my old USAV teammates was out there too with her fiance. They saw me at mile 16 and tried to get my attention, but I didn't see them. She had a sign that said "Kayne says... I'mma Let You Finish.." haha. Too bad I missed it. Slowly ate the vanilla Clif Shot. I can't stand Clif Shots so this was a big accomplishment.

Miles 20-21: Before going into the race, I had a tiny negative thought in the back of my mind. During my 22 miler, I only finished 19.8ish miles of it. Kind of embarrassing to admit it, but I actually cried during that run because I felt like I was "stuck" in Maple Lawn and still had over 2 miles to go just to get home. No cell phone, no money, I was DONE. Not a great confidence booster. During the race though, that failure never came into my head. My legs were heavy and starting to hurt, but I was fine. Whew. I wasn't going to crack after mile 20. Steve also strategically placed himself on the bridge where I had trouble last year. He rode along side of me, told me I looked great, and gave me a water. The long stretch of the bridge was over before I knew it.

Mile 22: Here's where I started to hurt. The left side of my stomach was crampy and my back was aching too. Unfortunately for me, race day coincided perfectly with another monthly occurrence. I didn't want to take anything before the race and I think race day adrenaline wore off. In addition to heavy, aching legs, I also had a crampy body. Yipee! But, pressed on. Didn't all. That was another goal. I wanted to run the entire race and I did.

Miles 22 through 26.2: Just a push to get to the finish. Last year I noticed a lot of people walking. This year, I didn't pay much attention to the people around me, just did my own thing, and kept running. I use the term running loosely. Didn't feel like I was moving very fast and I felt a little lightheaded. Heard the music and the announcer. Knew I was getting close to the short uphill finish..... DONE!! :) 3:55:40. A little less than a 20 minute PR from last year. Not too shabby for a year's work, eh?

Made it to the finish line happy, healthy, and injury free. It's been a great year. I've done a lot of big events year and, with coach Rick's guidance, I had really good experiences at all of them.

What would you do differently?:

Not much. I was very well prepared for this. *Maybe* pushed harder in the beginning? I was cooked at the end so pushing too early would've probably screwed me for the last miles. Pacing, nutrition, training for the event... all good.

5K @ 27:01 (8:42)
10K @ 53:49 (8:39)
15K @ 1:20:42 (8:39)
20K @ 1:47:18 (8:39)
half @ 1:53:20 (8:38)
25K @ 2:14:10 (8:38)
30K @ 2:41:36 (8:51)
35K @ 3:10:12 (8:44)
40K @ 3:41:42 (8:55)

Obviously I'm a little disappointed that I didn't hit 3:40, but it just makes me want to work harder to reach that goal. I'll get it.
Post race
Warm down:

Tried not to fall over. Got my finishers medal and joined the pack of runners trying to make it out of the finish area. Kept looking for Steve and Rick, but didn't see either one of them. Slowly walked to our meeting spot and sat down on the curb until we were all in one place.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Nothing. Good race and I felt like I was 100% prepared for it.

Event comments:

This is a large, well organized race. There are plenty of aid stations and the course is beautiful.

Last updated: 2009-04-03 12:00 AM
03:55:40 | 26.2 miles | 08m 59s  min/mile
Age Group: 222/1798
Overall: 3931/20936
Performance: Good
Course: A few hills for the first 8 miles then flat. Through Arlington, Georgetown, DC, Rosslyn... really nice course.
Keeping cool Good Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 5
Physical exertion [1-5] 5
Good race? Yes
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] 5

2009-10-29 1:05 PM

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Olney, MD
Subject: Marine Corps Marathon

2009-10-29 1:22 PM
in reply to: #2486991

Subject: RE: Marine Corps Marathon

Was wondering when you were going to post a RR! Once again, GREAT JOB!!!!! 20 minutes off a marathon is fantastic (at least from what I've heard!), even if it wasn't quite a BQ! I wouldn't be at all surprised if you got it by this time next year.


2009-10-29 1:36 PM
in reply to: #2486991

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Subject: RE: Marine Corps Marathon
Congrats on an awesome PR!

Look into running Steamtown for your BQ... downhill/ flat course. 15 min off of this year's race is totally doable !!
2009-10-29 4:42 PM
in reply to: #2486991

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Binghamton, NY
Subject: RE: Marine Corps Marathon
Great race and great report! I have to second the suggestion for Steamtown for a BQ. It's a great course and qualifies you for 2 years at Boston!!

You have a great attitude and Boston is in your near future!!
2009-10-30 7:54 AM
in reply to: #2486991

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Cycling Guru
Fulton, MD
Subject: RE: Marine Corps Marathon
The other "occurance" answers a lot as to why you just didn't have a lot of oomph!  And it makes your time and effort even more of a great accomplishment.

I'm really proud of your work ethic, your tennacity and willingness to do what you need to get the job done.  Well done Traci!!  A well earned PR and a great season.

We'll just have to try and plan your next BQ attempt with a more specific schedule so as not to have any, uhhhhhh, conflicts.
2009-10-31 10:54 PM
in reply to: #2486991

Iron Donkey
, Wisconsin
Subject: RE: Marine Corps Marathon

Sub-4!!!  I'd take a sub-4!!

Great job!!

2009-11-02 2:42 AM
in reply to: #2486991

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Berkeley, Calif.
Subject: RE: Marine Corps Marathon
Yay, great race!! I was watching your training as a lurker (I remembered we were both training for our first marathon at the same time last year) and you did such a great job preparing for this race. Obviously it showed with a *20 minute* PR! Excellent pacing those first 20-some miles, and fantastic job hanging in there through the end (especially with the other issues you had going on, heh). You've definitely got a BQ coming up -- and yes, I suspect it'll feel that much more awesome.

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