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Marine Corps Marathon - Run

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Arlington, Virginia
United States
60F / 16C
Total Time = 3h 56m 41s
Overall Rank = ~3,000/30,000
Age Group =
Age Group Rank = 0/
Pre-race routine:

Flew to DC on Saturday morning and got to hang out with some friends that morning, which was great. Drove into DC and did packet pickup with a crazy long line at the Armory, and then eventually headed to our hotel near the finish line.
Event warmup:

Drove to Crystal City to catch the shuttle, waited in line for a while, then had to jog a bit to get to the start on time once we arrived near the Pentagon.
  • 3h 56m 41s
  • 26.2 miles
  • 09m 02s  min/mile

This was Katie's 1st marathon and my 5th. When we both got in we were psyched and I was looking forward to running with Katie.

I wrote a 16-week plan for for her, that peaked around 42 miles and had three long runs around 18 miles. I decided it wasn't worth it to do much more volume than that for her first marathon. She was coming off some peronal tendon issues, but running in Hokas and doing daily icing and stretching really helped.

Two weeks before MCM Katie ran a 1:48 half where I know she didn't run as fast as she could. With this in mind, I felt she was capable of breaking the 4 hr mark.

To accomplish this I knew going out slower than goal pace was crucial, and then build into race pace. The first three or so miles have some decent hills, and we passed through the 5k mark at around a 9:10 pace. The next 5k was at a 9:06 avg, and the third 5k was at a 9:14 pace. After that we began to drop our pace, and Katie felt nice and fresh. We were passing loads of people and I really had to force her to slow down.

The most emotional portion of the race was mile 12, where images of Marines who have died in combat were up. It was quite somber and a real tribute to the service of these young men and women. Katie was still trucking along and did great through the halfway point of the race. I kept telling her that if she felt good around mile 20 that was the time to start pushing the pace.

From around 15k to 30k we cruised along hitting miles in the 8:40-8:55 range. With around 10k to go Katie was still feeling strong and we were heading out of the city and back into Virginia. We began clicking off miles a bit quicker - 8:30-8:40 range. The last 5k was our quickest of the day at around a 8:30 flat pace.

I couldn't have been more happy with our result! Now I know how coaches feel when an athlete succeeds. Due to the thick crowds we were not able to run the tangents and ended up with 26.78 on my Garmin. In my last few marathons I've generally been in the 26.4-26.45 range per my Garmin. Even with running a bit more crooked, we still were able to get under the 4 hr mark. We ended up at an 8:53 avg pace on the Garmin distance. I had explained to Katie that her watch would not be accurate, and after we had passed 26.2 on our watches she wanted to be done and expressed it to me!

Katie is already talking about her next marathon, which is a great sign!
What would you do differently?:

Nothing really, we negative split the run - the 2nd half was about 1 min quicker. That doesn't usually happen in a first marathon.
Post race
Warm down:

There's quite a long walk after getting the medal handed out by the Marines. Even though I was running at a recovery pace for the race my legs were still pretty dead at the end. We initially took a break on the grass near the finish line, and then slowly walked towards the shuttle bus area.

Due to the road closures it took us over an hour on the bus to travel less than 3 miles (as the crow flies). We had to go back into DC and sit in traffic in order to get to Crystal City in VA.

Event comments:

This was a phenomenal race. The logistics of a race of this size in the nation's capitol are pretty big, but it was pulled off well. Yes, there was lots of waiting in lines, but that can't really be helped. The Marines did a great job along with other volunteers.

We'd love to come back again and maybe Katie can shoot for a BQ with some proper marathon training.

Last updated: 2014-10-31 12:00 AM
03:56:41 | 26.2 miles | 09m 02s  min/mile
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 0/30,000
Performance: Good
Course: Looping course around VA and DC, going by most of the monuments and in front of the Capitol and Mall.
Keeping cool Drinking
Post race
Weight change: %
Mental exertion [1-5]
Physical exertion [1-5]
Good race? Yes
Course challenge
Events on-time?
Lots of volunteers?
Plenty of drinks?
Post race activities:
Race evaluation [1-5]

2014-10-31 8:01 PM

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Bedford, MA
Subject: Marine Corps Marathon

2014-11-11 1:06 PM
in reply to: #5064454

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Crab Cake City
Subject: RE: Marine Corps Marathon
Great Race man. It is always cool to share that experience with someone. After watching MCM and NYCM this last month, my wife and I are thinking about pulling the trigger and signing up for a marathon together.
2014-11-13 9:27 AM
in reply to: dmbfan4life20

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Subject: RE: Marine Corps Marathon

Great job, Coach! Seems like a great race for both of you! 

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