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Marine Corps Marathon - Run

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Washington, D.C., Washington, D.C.
United States
Marine Corps Marathon
65F / 18C
Total Time = 5h 00m 24s
Overall Rank = 11645/19454
Age Group = F25-29
Age Group Rank = 860/1516
Pre-race routine:

I was having a nice restful evening of sleep when I was awakened by a text message at 1:40 in the morning. A very kind person was wishing me good luck. Yup, at 1:40 in the morning. Heehee. Slept off and on for the rest of the night. Woke up around 5am. Ate a bagel. Sat around. Took a shower. Got dressed and lubed up. We finally left for the Metro at about 6:30. On the way to the metro I ate another bagel. Uneventful Metro ride to the Pentagon Station. It was about a 10 minute walk from the Metro to the start area. I was all bundled up because it was supposed to be cold but as we walked I realized that it was going to be a warmer day than I thought. On the walk I bored my poor friend with nervous babble. I don't even remember what I babbled about. I just remember her very kind smile and nod :) Upon arrival at the staging area (around 7:40), the long porta potty lines scared me so I got in to do that first. Started my stretching while waiting in line (gotta multitask). After the porta-potty I did MORE stretching. A total of 30 minutes. Mostly ITB and quads. I remember commenting on the nicely just paved Pentagon parking lot. I must have mentioned the asphalt to my friend about 10 times. Remember, I love asphalt. After I was done stretching it was about 5 minutes til we were supposed to start walking to the start line, so I stripped down, loaded my shorts with my gels, and got my friend to take a before picture for me. Also took my Advil. As we walked to the staging area exit I decided I wanted to pee again so I got BACK in the porta potty line. Plenty of time. Then I gave my friend a hug and followed the crowd towards the starting line...
Event warmup:

Well, the 10 minute walk to the staging area and the 5-7 minute walk to the start were my primary warmup. Along with the 30 minutes of stretching.
  • 5h 00m 24s
  • 26.2 miles
  • 11m 28s  min/mile

Normally, I like to bore everyone with the play by play. But in all honesty, I don't remember that much. So...let's see what I can remember....

Miles 1-2: F'ing Marines had to f'ing change the f'ing course last year and put in this f'ing hill. But, alas...with a record 30,000 runners I'm in a HUGE throng of people and can't go anywhere but with the crowd. Oh forces me to keep my HR low. The plan was Zone 1 as long as possible...or until I couldn't stand it anymore (which I decided would be the halfway point). Just past the Mile 1 marker I see a lovely American flag about 20 feet up ahead...hey, that's JeepFleeb! I allow my HR to jump a little to I can dodge in and out of people to catch up...since I know it will be the ONLY time I see him all day. I think he's deaf...I had to shout his name THREE times to get his attention. We jogged along for a minute or two before he and Andrew took off. Little old Jen listened to her HRM and let them go....couple of excursions into Zone 2 and once or twice into Zone 3...that was a big hill!

Mile 3-4: Dang. Guess I didn't really need this throw away after all...I'm SWEATING! But I hang onto it until Mile 3 just to be sure. At Mile 3 I decide it's hot and I toss it. Miles 3 and 4 are mostly downhill since you just ran UPhill. I cruised as best I could with lots of runners all around me. Still in Zone 1. At Mile 4.5 I know a water station is coming up so I crack open my first gel of the day. Good, I was getting tired of holding it. I was carrying 6 in my shorts and one in my hand...and discovered that 6 is overload for my shorts...they were falling down until I could reduce the number to four!!! I pulled them up a lot.

Miles 5-9: Into Rock Creek Park for the short out and back. Very uneventful. Cruising in Zone 1. Slight uphill on the way in, slight downhill on the way out. I shout at JeepFleeb (again, had to yell twice...the man is DEAF!) who has already gained at least two miles on me! He was out his way out of Rock Creek as I ran in. Had another gel at Mile 9. Had been drinking 2 cups of water at every aid station because I thought it was actually kinda hot. I got a twinge or two from my left knee so I decided to take my second round of Advil at the first water stop past 9...I think I took it around 10ish? As I leave Rock Creek Park I am VERY surprised that there seems to be hardly ANYONE behind me on the course...before I get out of this out and back I am seeing the WALKERS. Am I really that slow?

Miles 10-12: First half of the national mall and the beginning of the throng of spectators that accompanies the national mall. Early on I had to try super-hard to hold back and not let the crowd noise speed me up. The way into the mall felt hard to me. I thought maybe it was slightly uphill, but the elevation map shows it pretty well level. Maybe after the downhill of 7-9 it FELT like uphill? You can see that my HR did creep up a bit. The mall was where I was expecting to see my spectators. They are in the same spot every year. Sure enough, just past Mile 12 they were on the side of the road. Woohoo! I waved to my friend Kristina and gave Chiara a sweaty hug. She took a picture of me as I ran up to her. When she sends it to me I'll post it. I didn't want to linger long so I kept running. As I made the u-turn at the end of the mall, Liz (Chipmunkheart) and Jess (Tri Take Me Away) spotted me and screamed SUPER loud! Thanks, girls!!!! HR was really creeping up, but I had made the mental decision after the 10k point to not worry TOO much about low Zone 2 if I creeped up there.

Miles 13-16: I crossed the half-mary point at 2:30:17. I'm thinking...crap, I'm SO SLOW! I know my advertised goal was no knee pain...but I harbored a top-secret goal to go sub-5 for the first time post-knee injury. To do that I would have to negative split...yeah, right. But, I had promised myself that after the halfway point I wouldn't stop myself from going into Zone 2. Heck my heart was pretty much there anyway so I kept plugging away. Had another gel at the half marathon point. Lots of spectators through here and the course was starting to thin out so I just went with it. We loop all over the place, get a preview of the 14th street bridge (but aren't there yet), and generally have NO IDEA where you are for these miles. HR was stable in mid Zone 2. Continued two cups of water at every aid station (it was hot I thought) and downed gel number four at Mile 16. Finally, my shorts stopped falling down!

Miles 17-20: F'ing Haines Point. F'ing Marines put f'ing Haines point back in the f'ing race last year as if adding the f'ing hill wasn't enough. F'ing Marines also provide NO music or anything on this part of the course and it's so out of the way there aren't any spectators either! F'ing Marines. My quads starting hurting at Mile 17. That's AWFULLY early. Bummer. This is gonna suck. At this point I am also contemplating the possible need to use a porta potty...for multiple reasons. I bypass several on the outbound leg of Haines Point thinking it isn't critical yet. Almost like clockwork, after I round by the Awakening Giant (soooo not worth the trek out to Haines Point if you are ever sightseeing and cared to know) I realize...yeah...I need to hit the NEXT porta potties I see. Suddenly the urge to pee is like CRITICAL (WHY did I drink so much water all day?) and also decide that other parts of me would like to get rid of some extra weight too. I swear it was another mile before I saw it...the park restroom...50 yards off the course, but a REAL BATHROOM! SCORE! It was worth the offshoot since it meant no nasty porta potty or long porta potty line. Ditch into the bathroom...take care of business (that was a LONG pee...I drank WAY too much) and feel 100,000 times better. Whew. According to the splits, it must have been right after Mile 19. Damn. Quads still hurt. I think I lost about two minutes on my little bathroom break. Shortly after my bathroom break there is another water station. Another twinge from my knee prompts me to go ahead and take the last of my sense in carrying it all the way to not take it! I downed another gel (around Mile 19) and finally escape Haines Point.

Mile 21: This one really does deserve a paragraph all it's own. Yes, folks...the infamous 14th Street Bridge. The bain of existence for runners of the Marine Corps Marathon. You pass the Mile 20 sign on the onramp to the bridge. And the bridge is evil. It's like a never ending uphill of cement. Evil evil evil. But! Saviors!!! Less than a mile into the evil bridge I spot...JESS AND LIZ! You wonderful, wonderful women! I stop to give them both a hug and keep on moving. They asked if I needed Advil...I said I'd just taken some. Dang...this bridge is seriously goes on FOREVER! Finally get the mini-downhill that signals you are about halfway and then have to go back UP again. Grrr...Mile 21 marker finally appears so you know you are ALMOST over the bitch.

Miles 22-23: Round the corner after the bridge and see the wonderful words...COOKIES AHEAD! Wooooooohoooooooo! I've been waiting for thsoe cookies for ages! I grab one (mmmmm...chocolate chip) and part of the second one. The second one was oatmeal raisin and I'm not a fan, so I didn't eat much of it. Next comes Crystal City. Another useless thing the f'ing Marines put in last year. Seriously not a fan. All I remember is having to walk the entire thing last year because of my knees and having hundreds of spectators tell me I'm almost there and I can make it but I seriously can't take a running step. Bad memories! This year, I'm feeling much better. The knees haven't screamed, but the quads are super-screaming. However, HR is still staying in Zone 2 and I start to formulate a plan. I decide that I will start ignoring HR at Mile 23 and just give it whatever's left in the tank. I should have had another gel at Mile 22...but I had the cookie instead. I also realize that I'm going to have two extra gels left if I keep eating them every 3 miles, and I'm sure my pre-race calculations were correct that I needed 7....I could have ONE extra since I ate the cookie, but two wasn't gonna fly so I decide to try to stuff another one down at Mile 24. I hit the Mile 23 marker and I light the burners. I FEEL like I'm running fast but I guess it wasn't as fast as I thought :) Faster, but not fast.

Miles 24-26: Mile 24 marker comes along and I can't stomach the thought of another gel yet. So I wait 5 more minutes. The cookies left my belly feeling a little weird. But I manage it down at 24.5 and it's okay. I'm pushing HARD! At the Mile 23 marker I had switched the display on my HR monitor so I could no longer see HR...I could see total time. At the Mile 23 marker I had about 34 minutes to break 5 hours. Shizbit. That was gonna be tough. I'm hauling booty and passing people at a pretty good clip. Though I was amazed at how many people were still moving pretty well. Somewhere in Mile 24 I spot the Hashers giving out beer. I shout an enthusiastic On On!, crab a dixie cup shot of beer, get a "You're looking good!" from the Hashers and try to down the beer. Only half of it gets in my mouth. The other half ends up on my shirt. Great, now I smell like stale beer. :) I am glad to see 25 and 26 go by sub-11. They had some small rolly hills so that was no small feat. My quads are now begging for mercy but there is no stopping me. MUST RUN FASTER! I'm constantly checking my time to see how much longer I have to break 5 hours.

The 0.2: I pass the Mile 26 marker with 2 minutes to go to 5 hours. And then I hit it. The f'ing hill up to Iwo Jima. I run up it as hard as I can (see HR) but it's no use...the last 0.2 is all uphill. I cross the line about 24 seconds shy of the 5 hour mark. Yes, I did my signature cartwheel...OF COURSE! It wouldn't be a Jen race finish without the cartwheel! I'd done it...number 5! And my knees didn't hurt...miracle of miracles!!!!

Okay, so I remembered more than I thought I did!
What would you do differently?:

Speed up sooner...maybe allow myself to be in Zone 2 earlier in the race. I had TOO MUCH left in the tank at the end.
Post race
Warm down:

Shuffled through the finishing shoot maze. Got my picture taken in front of Iwo Jima flashing my #5 sign. Got a medal. Got a nice mylar blankie that was actually making me sweat. Kept crying because I was so happy my knees hadn't hurt. Got some water and powerade and pretzels. Finally escaped the crowd and stood by the big "D" sign until Kristina found me. We walked a half mile to the subway station why I bored her with post-race babble (she's such a sweetheart for doing this every year) and got on the Metro.

We have to stop to hit a bathroom on the way home (Jen's f'ing belly strikes again) and we also stop for my sweet reward...a HUGE cup of Dunkin Donuts coffee...sugar extra cream, please :) I took a shower and packed and waited for the dinner plans to cement. See my log...we went out to an Irish pub for way too much food and lots of beer. Finished up at a second Irish pub for MORE beer (I had five all tolled) and then had our sleepover at Mike's house. Pictures to follow.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Lack of training. I started from zero mileage at the beginning of August. Had to baby the knees so I generally ran three times per week. My last long run was four weeks before the race (20 miles) and my previous long before that was 15 miles. My 13 mile run was part of a HIM. I got sick two weeks out from the marathon so I missed my last long run. I simply did not run enough to run this race fast.

Event comments:

I was incredibly impressed with this race this year. Honestly, I never expected them to be able to double their number of participants and have it run as smoothly as it did. They never ran out of anything and the whole thing went just insanely well. Kudos to the Marines (no one tell Stake I said that). I didn't particularly like running in the massive throng of people the whole time though. The course did get crowded with that many runners. I have liked the course itself better in previous years (just sayin' in case that wasn't clear enough from my race report) but it probably isn't all that hard as marathons go.

I personally felt like the day went well. In the end I DID slightly negative split by 9 seconds...something I have never ever done before. Could I have had a better pacing plan? Yeah, probably. But I'm new to HR training and that will come. The goal of the day was to finish without my knees hurting, and I did that. By that night they were REALLY sore...but they never hurt during the race! Mission accomplished! I have now run this race five times which guarantees me entry for the rest of my life :) :) :)

Upon checking the results, it seems that only about 19,500 runners actually started the race...I wonder what scared off the other 10,500 registered runners? No wonder they didn't run out of anything!

Oh, and according to the Garmin, I actually ran 26.86 miles :) I know, I isn't right :)

Profile Album

Last updated: 2005-08-28 12:00 AM
05:00:24 | 26.2 miles | 11m 28s  min/mile
Age Group: 860/1516
Overall: 1516/19454
Performance: Average
OVERALL AHR = 159 MAX = 188 Splits: 10k => 1:12:41 13.1 miles = > 2:30:17 23 miles => 4:25:54 Mile 1: 12:11 AHR 150 Mile 2: 12:47 AHR 155 Mile 3: 11:40 AHR 146 Mile 4: 10:45 AHR 151 Mile 5: 11:30 AHR 152 Mile 6: 11:19 AHR 152 Mile 7: 11:37 AHR 150 Mile 8: 11:06 AHR 151 Mile 9: 11:10 AHR 152 Mile 10: 11:24 AHR 154 Mile 11: 10:53 AHR 157 Mile 12: 11:22 AHR 158 Mile 13: 11:15 AHR 159 Mile 14: 10:58 AHR 157 Mile 15: 11:35 AHR 161 Mile 16: 11:15 AHR 161 Mile 17: 11:12 AHR 160 Mile 18: 11:36 AHR 162 Mile 19: 11:20 AHR 162 Mile 20: 13:36 AHR 161 Potty break :) Mile 21: 11:37 AHR 164 Mile 22: 12:00 AHR 163 Mile 23: 11:36 AHR 166 Mile 24: 11:00 AHR 173 Mile 25: 10:26 AHR 174 Mile 26: 10:24 AHR 177 The 0.2: 2:40 AHR 186
Course: In and around there and EVERYWHERE!!!!
Keeping cool Good Drinking Too much
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 4
Physical exertion [1-5] 4
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

2005-10-31 8:01 PM

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Evergreen, Colorado
Subject: Marine Corps Marathon

2005-10-31 8:27 PM
in reply to: #275418

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Plant City, FL
Subject: RE: Marine Corps Marathon

Awesome race Jen!!   You freaking rock and showed those silly Marines how to really run!!

2005-10-31 8:28 PM
in reply to: #275418

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Subject: RE: Marine Corps Marathon

Congrats Jen!  No knee pain!!!! You did very well! 

What is better than doing a marathon and having halloween the next day?  You can eat all the candies you want!

2005-10-31 8:29 PM
in reply to: #275418

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Subject: RE: Marine Corps Marathon

Good run, Jen.  The MCM is equal parts spectacle and race.  Really fun event.  Congratulations.  Are you a two-time finisher or more than that?


2005-10-31 9:16 PM
in reply to: #275418

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In my bunk with new shoes and purple sweats.
Subject: RE: Marine Corps Marathon
Great job Jen but could we please stop with all the Marine bashing. Loved your continuous referral to F'ing Marines. One thing about Marines, they always find a way, not always the easiest or best, but they always find a way.
It's a great race for a great cause.

Edited by gullahcracker 2005-10-31 9:17 PM
2005-10-31 9:41 PM
in reply to: #275418

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Subject: RE: Marine Corps Marathon
AWESOME! I didn;t know you did MCM, duh, I better start paying attention. My one and only mary was MCM 2000. I loved every minute of it, and it was neat reliving it through your RR

2005-10-31 9:49 PM
in reply to: #275427

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Evergreen, Colorado
Subject: RE: Marine Corps Marathon

 Are you a two-time finisher or more than that?

5th Consecutive MCM

7th Marathon

2005-10-31 10:39 PM
in reply to: #275418

Subject: ...
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2005-11-01 5:00 AM
in reply to: #275418

Online or Offline
Subject: RE: Marine Corps Marathon
I hope your knees are feeling better today! I wonder if all that stretching and unintentional warming up while waiting for our wave to go off might have helped your knees during the race....I suppose it's EXPECTED that they hurt after!!

Congrats on your 5th MCM - lifetime entry...that's awesome (watch them discontinue the lottery system now LOL), let alone having this one being your 7th! Do you have to pay the entry fee still?

Although that last .2 up around the Iwo Jima memorial was tough (but cool), the hills and Haines Point really didn't bother me, but I'm very curious what were the previous courses like then? Inquiring minds wanna know!!! Oh yeah the Awakening looks much more interesting from the Potomac than up close LOL

  • ..but I really hated was that those f'ing jarheads Marines didn't control the finish area better. I couldn't even see over anyone's heads to tell which way I was going so I just figured I'd stand facing the same general direction as everyone else and hope the mass of bodies moved somewhere. And I need water, stat!

  • I was so over being in that crowd that I wasn't even considering pictures any more..I regret it, because your pictures look good!

    I'm wondering wtf happened to the other 10,500+ runners myself! I'm kinda glad they weren't there seemed like there definitely was 30,000 runners though.

    Lastly, here's a link to a discussion on the 26.8 issue. Seems like you are not the only one whose GPS tracked 26.8!
    2005-11-01 6:27 AM
    in reply to: #275418

    Conifer, Colorado
    Subject: RE: Marine Corps Marathon
    You run a lot!
    2005-11-01 7:32 AM
    in reply to: #275418

    Williamston, Michigan
    Subject: RE: Marine Corps Marathon
    Great race Jen......are you sure you are a pilot and not a writer....quite the epistle but I'm glad you had a good time

    2005-11-01 7:38 AM
    in reply to: #275418

    Queen BTich
    Subject: RE: Marine Corps Marathon
    2005-11-01 7:42 AM
    in reply to: #275418

    Subject: ...
    This user's post has been ignored.
    2005-11-01 9:03 AM
    in reply to: #275418

    Subject: RE: Marine Corps Marathon
    Yay you! It was so much fun to see you running!
    2005-11-01 9:48 AM
    in reply to: #275418

    Potomac, Maryland
    Subject: RE: Marine Corps Marathon
    Congratulations Jen.  Glad to hear your knees held up so you'll be healthy for future races. I thought I heard someone talking about cartwheels in the finish area, so I must have been close by and not even known it. Great race!
    2005-11-01 10:52 AM
    in reply to: #275418

    Resident Curmudgeon
    The Road Back
    Gold member
    Subject: RE: Marine Corps Marathon
    Great job Jen! Glad you coudn't remember it all.

    2005-11-01 2:40 PM
    in reply to: #275418

    Fairport, NY
    Subject: RE: Marine Corps Marathon

    Jen, that was great. Congrats. Next time you can't remember many details about a race I'll be sure to set aside an afternoon to read the report.

    2005-11-01 4:49 PM
    in reply to: #275418

    Dallas, TX
    Subject: RE: Marine Corps Marathon
    Way to fight through Jen!
    2005-11-01 8:05 PM
    in reply to: #275418

    Extreme Veteran
    Subject: RE: Marine Corps Marathon
    Great job, though we could have used a bit more detail...Mile 14.75 was a bit sketchy!
    2005-11-01 8:39 PM
    in reply to: #275418

    Frisco, Texas
    Subject: RE: Marine Corps Marathon

    Wow.  Great job Jen!  You ran a smart race and the kick at the end is impressive.  It was fun reading you RR.


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