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Marine Corps Marathon - RunMarathon

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Washington, Washington, D.C.
United States
Total Time = 4h 27m 37s
Overall Rank = /
Age Group =
Age Group Rank = 0/
Pre-race routine:

Woke up around 5 and had toast and egg whites. Took the Metro to Pentagon and let my husband sleep in! I didn't realize the walk to the start would be so long and congested (we were able to Metro to Arlington Cemetery last year, which is closer), so I cut it closer than I would have liked. Got through the porto-potty line and hightailed it to the start. Found the 4:15 pacer and shed my throwaway clothes, and we were off!
Event warmup:

Walked the mile or so to the start from the Metro.
  • 4h 27m 37s
  • 26.2 miles
  • 10m 13s  min/mile

This marathon was both a triumph and somewhat of a fiasco. I ran a PR by about 6 minutes (4:33 at MCM 2009), and I was really happy about that. However, I was really aiming for somewhere in the 4:15-4:20 range, and I think my training really could have put me there.

I started out feeling pretty good, despite the massive congestion in the first two miles (like, people stepping on each others' heels and elbowing people crowded). The first eight or so miles of MCM have some decent-sized hills, so my strategy was to let the crowds hold me back and keep around a 10:00 pace, then pick it up later. Around mile 5, however, my stomach started to get really upset, and I knew that I would need a porto-potty at some point. I dialed my pace back a bit and tried to breathe through the pain, but it really wasn't working.

Around mile 10, I saw my husband and gesticulated that I was having digestive issues. I was getting truly panicky for a bathroom at that point. I turned a corner past the Kennedy Center, and there, like a shining beacon, was a lone porto-potty with a line of 20 or so spectators. I plead with the line and they let me and another desperate runner cut to the front, thank God. I felt much better after that, with stomach pain but less imminent danger of accidents (ha). Miles 10-15ish are around West Potomac Park and Hains Point, where I do the majority of my training, so I knew where the bathrooms were out there.

I felt good all the way around Hains Point, and went to the bathroom one more time around mile 15 just to set my mind at ease. I saw my husband again around mile 16, right before passing the Lincoln Monument, which was nice. At this point, I was able to keep my stomach in check and hold 9:45-10:00 minute miles very comfortably.

We went onto the 14th St. bridge at mile 20, which I think is really the worst part of the whole race. So boring and no shade, and the wind had really picked up at this point and there was nothing to block it. Most of the people around me were walking at this point, but my legs were still feeling good. Miles 22-24 are through Crystal City, which has a lot of good crowd support, but the roads are fairly narrow and people start acting goofy at that point (stopping abruptly, weaving all over, etc.). Miles 24-26 are back on the highway again. I was still feeling good with underlying stomach pain, but mentally I was so ready to be done. I knew that I was going to miss my 4:15-4:20 goal because of the lost time in the bathrooms, but I knew I'd be able to PR. I was really excited to see that final hill to the finish line!
What would you do differently?:

Bring Pepto Bismol with me to races. Good God.
Post race
Warm down:

As soon as we crossed the finish line, everyone came to a crushing stop. I forgot how bad it was from last year. We literally inched forward to get our medals and a photo op. As soon as I crossed the finish line, I started feeling majorly sick again, but there was nowhere I could go. Finally, I reached someone with water and Powerade. The crowd continued to inch forward and spectators were crushing inward on us and it was very, very overwhelming. I started pushing my way forward apologetically because I knew I needed a bathroom ASAP.

I finally managed to break through to an area with a few porto-potties, waited impatiently, and got my bathroom stop. Thank God. Then I re-joined the shuffle out to the family meetup area and found my husband. I curled up on the sidewalk for about 10 minutes with stomach cramps. Ugh. I knew the Metro would be a disaster, so we opted to walk across Key Bridge and try to get a cab in Georgetown. This ended up being an awful plan since so many people had the same idea -- every cab we saw was full and people were knocking each other out to get a taxi. We ended up just walking home, about 2.5 miles from Rosslyn. It didn't do my stomach any favors, and I was pretty sick for the rest of the day.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Digestive issues. I have a cast-iron stomach and have never had issues like that before. I felt very well-trained for this race (Pfitz 18/55 plan), and I have no doubt I could have hit my goal if I hadn't wasted so much time on bathroom breaks.

Event comments:

I really like this race, but the mile-plus crush/walk with no place to escape at the finish is no bueno. I was basically panicking that I was going to get sick in the middle of that huge crowd and it was fairly awful.

Last updated: 2010-02-11 12:00 AM
04:27:37 | 26.2 miles | 10m 13s  min/mile
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 0/
Keeping cool Drinking
Post race
Weight change: %
Mental exertion [1-5]
Physical exertion [1-5]
Good race?
Course challenge
Events on-time?
Lots of volunteers?
Plenty of drinks?
Post race activities:
Race evaluation [1-5]

2010-11-04 6:01 PM

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Washington, DC
Subject: Marine Corps Marathon
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