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Marine Corps Marathon - RunMarathon

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Washington, Washington, D.C.
United States
US Marine Corps
50F / 10C
Total Time = 3h 27m 17s
Overall Rank = 1090/21211
Age Group = M35-39
Age Group Rank = 194/2262
Pre-race routine:

Brian and I got up early. I had my protein shake, supplements, and some water. We had packed the car the previous night so we just took the stuff we needed outside and brought the dog with us, and left for the Metro Station. We parked under a tree at the station, put the dog in her crate in the rear of the truck and gave her food and water. Locked up the car, and headed to the Metro and down to the Pentagon.
Event warmup:

On the train, Brian had an anxiety attack from the sheer CROWD of people. I tried to keep him calm as we made our way to Pentagon Station. Outside he was better. We walked up to the staging area in the Pentagon parking lot. Brian still had to stay out of the way of people, as he was still having his anxiety attack, so we set ourselves up on a curb behind the UPS baggage trucks. There we stayed until it was time to head to the start line. I took a gel 10 minutes before we started. I hugged Brian in hopes he'd be okay with the insane amounts of people that were surrounding him. I made my way up towards the front. As we were walking, the National Anthem played and everyone stopped and became silent. I stood at attention as everyone else did and soaked up the patriotism. It felt good. I thought of Haley. I thought of my other friend Hayley. I thought of a lot of people who have given their service, and their lives. I always get emotional at the start of MCM.
  • 3h 27m 17s
  • 26.2 miles
  • 07m 55s  min/mile

I felt AWESOME as I walked to the start. I was rarin' to go and my legs were ready. I wanted to get into the 3:00 - 3:19 corral, but it was so crowded up there. So I got up to the 3:20 - 3:39 corral (foreshadowing don'tcha think??) and went in thru a break in the fence. I figured I could still get up a little further. I walked up as far as I could without having to push thru. It wasn't long before the gun went off.

At the start, everyone moved as one. I didn't have to do a lot of traffic dodging because everyone up there was fast. I immediately began running at below 8 minute pace and started to accelerate up the hills. I arrived at my flat 7 minute pace before long. Before Mile 1, I had already thrown off the sweatshirt I'd been wearing at the start. I knew the first three miles of the course were uphill so I was confident that I would remain warm with all that hill climbing.

At Mile 3 we started the long downhill to George Washington Memorial Parkway. I still felt great. Mile 4 went by and I took a gel, we'd climbed up to the Key Bridge and into Georgetown. I passed the 3:20 pace group around Mile 6. I had the hardest time getting past them, there were so many!! I even had to run thru puddles to get past. I was tailing two Marines...a guy and a girl...who were running together. The miles went by quickly...the course climbed up another big hill around Mile 6. I was in my zone with my music. "Evacuate" came on my iPod around Mile 7 and I surged. Before I knew it, we were all running downhill at Mile 8 and heading back into Georgetown! I took another gel.

Around Mile 10, we passed thru an area Haley and I ran thru during the Army 10-miler a few weeks before. I smiled. My pace was still awesome and I felt good! I kept telling myself I was gonna have a great day. We ran towards Potomac Park and I was really enjoying the weather. I started to feel a bit cold in the hands but the rest of me was great. Soon we were at Mile 12 and it was time for another gel. I could feel that I needed it cuz my legs felt a bit heavy. At Mile 13, there was a water station so I decided to take my salt pills and Tylenol. I looked at my Garmin as I passed the halfway mark and it had just turned 1:33:00 on the nose. I was happy with goal was 1:32 - 1:35 for the first half. That would give me 1:40 to 1:43 for the second half. I was right on track!

We came out of the park onto the National Mall and I started to feel a bit weird. At Mile 16 I took my fourth gel. But by Mile 17 I wasn't feeling better as I normally do about a mile after taking one. At 17.5 we ran up a short little incline and my legs just didn't feel like they wanted to cooperate. I started to get nervous. Sure enough, at Mile 18, I was feeling very heavy and slow. I looked at my pace and it still said 7:20 so I figured I was just imagining it. I only had an hour to go, and I was way ahead of my goal. I had 9 minutes in the bank! I could finish in 3:06 at this pace!

Mile 19 was hell. I started to feel sick, even though my pace was still decent. Mile 20...everything fell apart. We got to the bridge that goes to Crystal City...I was still running, but I was slowing down. My legs had no energy. I felt like my muscles were empty. My brain took over here and I decided to walk. I haven't walked in a marathon in over two years. I never even walked in the last two IM marathons. I felt defeated. I hung my head, I felt like crying. A passing runner gave me a pat on the back and I said thanks, but I was feeling so awful. I still had time in the bank so I figured I could walk a little. But every time I tried to run, I felt like I couldn't! At the top of the bridge incline I ran...and I was able to run a bit, but I wound up having to stop and walk again a minute later. My stomach was sloshing...I wasn't absorbing anything. I was thirsty but it didn't matter. I couldn't absorb water if I drank it. I did a run/walk thing thru Crystal City. At Mile 21 there was beer!! I was so happy to see it. I took a cup and downed it. It tasted so good!! I ran and smiled...I thought maybe I was coming back! But nope. At the Mile 22 turnaround, I was walking so I thought I'd try to eat a shot blok. Bad idea. I gagged as soon as I tried to chew it. I stepped off the course and puked. Turned around and tried to run again, but threw up again. At least now all the stuff that was sitting in my stomach was out. I was still very thirsty so I tried to drink some water at the next station. I didn't feel nauseous, so that was a good sign, but I still felt like I couldn't run. I just wanted to be done.

By now, my BQ attempt was slipping away. I told myself if I was at Mile 25 at 3:05 I'd be able to do it. It was 3:04 on the clock as I passed Mile 24. Now my goal was just to have a better time than the last time I ran it. 2007's MCM time was 3:30...had to beat that. I tried to run, but would get a minute down the road and have to walk again. I jogged when I could but resigned myself to the fact that I was severely dehydrated and nutrient-depleted. I saw a few guys falling over while trying to run and I had thoughts of crawling over the finish line like Julie Moss. There was one guy trying to run while friends of his next to him tried to cheer him on, but he kept stumbling. It was marathon carnage at its best.

My quads were toast so running down the exit ramp toward the Pentagon at Mile 25 was excrutiating. But at least I knew I only had a mile to go. I noticed here, that I'd stopped sweating and was getting chilly. Dehydration. Bigtimie. I tried to run up the next ramp to the road we'd started on 3 hours earlier, but I wound up walking again. With .75 miles to go, I ran. I started seeing my course PR slipping away and I wasn't gonna give that up. I was almost done, I could push myself that hard. My pace was nothing more than a jog, but even at that pace I'd still be able to beat 3:30. At Mile 26, I made the turn up the long steep driveway to the Iwo Jima Memorial. I have never walked up the Iwo Jima hill so I ran up as fast as I could and crossed the line. But after I reached the finish, I just completely stopped and almost fell over. I shuffled past the chute, got a bottle of water and a mylar blanket from a Marine who congratulated me. I thanked her and moved forward. SLOWLY. I haven't hurt like that in a long time...I honestly felt better after IMCdA and IMFL than I did after MCM.
What would you do differently?:

I think it's my e-gel that's locking up my stomach. nutrition plan.
Post race
Warm down:

It was warm, and I was freezing. I was dehydrated. I needed to soak up some liquid. So I took off my shirt, laid down my mylar, got some Powerade and water, and sat in the sun to drink them. My body soaked it all up in no time. At least I knew my stomach had come unlocked. I lamented my failure to BQ (not that I needed it, I'm set for 2010 and 2011 already) but I was glad I still got a course PR.

What limited your ability to perform faster:


Event comments:

Marine Corps Marathon has been and always will be my favorite marathon. I love DC, and running a marathon there is just awesome. The positive feelings on the course are pervasive. The Marines are awesome. It was my first sub-4 in 06, it was my first 3:30 in 07, this year I ran a disappointing race, but I still loved every minute of being out there. I'll be back in 2010.

Profile Album

Last updated: 2009-08-20 12:00 AM
03:27:17 | 26.2 miles | 07m 55s  min/mile
Age Group: 194/2262
Overall: 1090/21211
Performance: Below average
Course: From the Pentagon, thru Rosslyn, thru Arlington, to Georgetown and then back thru downtown DC, past monuments, thru Potomac Park, up and down the mall, then to Crystal City and back to the Pentagon.
Keeping cool Good Drinking Not enough
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Average
Mental exertion [1-5] 4
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: Good
Race evaluation [1-5] 5

2009-11-03 10:12 AM

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Chelmsford, Massachusetts
Subject: Marine Corps Marathon

2009-11-03 10:39 AM
in reply to: #2495176

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Subject: RE: Marine Corps Marathon
Wow tough race. Marathons are funny things, you just never know how your body will react.

In 1998 Boston I was probably in 2:50-2:55 shape, having run a 61min 10 miler during training. I dropped out at mile 10, with illness.

In 2002 Boston I was on Sub 3 pace until mile 23, cramps and walking the last few turned it into 3:11.

So I know how quickly you can go from from feeling fine and being well prepared to just hanging on. Congrads on the toughness it took to get from 20-26. Get some rest.
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