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Marine Corps Marathon - RunMarathon

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Arlington, Virginia
United States
50F / 10C
Total Time = 3h 35m 38s
Overall Rank = 1396/20932
Age Group = M 35 - 39
Age Group Rank = 259/2403
Pre-race routine:

After much back and forth the past week, I ended up staying at my friends house the night before the race. I am glad he ended up being home for the weekend as this worked out great! Got up at 6 am to have some coffee, a Cliff Bar, and get in a quick shower. My friend and his girlfriend (my jockstraps for the day) got up with me and drove me as close to the start as we could get. After dropping me off, they went back home and got their bikes to follow me around the course for the morning.
Event warmup:

No real warm up other than some stretching and periods of trying to stay in the sun to keep warm. I was bummed that I didn't get to see any BTers this weekend and I actually walked around looking for some familiar faces from the site, but found none. :( During this pre-race time, they sang the National Anthem with a very cool flyover - pretty emotional! I finally settled into to my coral at the last minute only to find the race had been delayed by 10 minutes - medical emergency???

With all the Tri training over the summer, I really didn't know what to expect for the day. In the back of my mind, I figured I would go out at a 8:15 pace and take note of how I felt at the half way point.

At 8:35 am, we were off.
  • 3h 35m 38s
  • 26.2 miles
  • 08m 14s  min/mile

I don't remember what I put for a projected finish time for the race, but standing in the corral I could see the 3:50 and 3:40 paces in corrals ahead of me. My goal for the first couple of miles was to catch the 3:40 pace group and see what happened from there. When the gun finally went off, it took about 2 minutes before we even moved. WOW is all I can say about the crowds! I When I arrived at the start line everyone around me had settled into a slow jog, so I started playing the game of weaving around people looking for the balloons from the 3:50 pace group. I think I caught the 3:50 group just after mile 1 and I was running a straight 8 flat pace. Mile 2 was uphill and then downhill. (Once again I have to mention the crowds - unbelievable!!! I've never seen anything like this!) When rounding a corner here, one girl near me accidentally bumped into another runner and he went off on her saying "what are you trying to kill me or something" and he just wouldn't stop. I don't know what his problem was, but I jumped in and told him that he should consider running his next marathon at a much smaller race and suggested Antarctica. That shut him up and was the last I saw of him for the day. The girl thanked me and a couple of other people couldn't believe what a jack ass that guy was. Hello - your running a race with 22,000 people - what do you expect??

Just before a pretty good downhill section of mile 2 I saw my friends. They promised to see me again around mile 8. I arrived at mile 2 at 7:48 and wondered if the mile marker was a little off as I didn't feel that fast. I actually asked a couple people around me if they thought the mile marker was off and most said NO. Oh well, I will continue to take advantage of the downhill and then focus on slowing up.

Miles 3 & 4 were without incident and I managed to get back to my 8 flat pace. Mile 4 took us over the Key Bridge and into Georgetown and I hit Mile 5 at just over 40 minutes. The crowds through Georgetown were great! At this point, I still figured I was going a bit fast and tried to slow the pace some more. Miles 6 - 9 took us through Rock Creek Park (?), which was quite nice! I've never been there before. Again I can't think of anything that stands out about my running through these miles other than it was pretty. Despite my efforts to slow, I continued at the 8 flat pace. Going back out of Rock Creek I had my eyes on the look out for other BTers, particularly JeepFleeb's flag, but saw no one. Oh well, I think that was my last chance for a BT sighting.

Around Mile 9 I saw my friends again and gave them a big thumbs up. They were tracking my progress via text messages and told me they would see me after the half way point. They were also tracking another friend of theirs who was already starting to fall off his projected pace of 7:45 miles. I actually passed him between miles 6 - 9 and didn't even see him. When I arrived in the heart of DC and mile 10, I was still right at my 8 flat pace.

Running up Constitution Ave was very cool! We had a nice wind at our backs and I was running along side Heather. She had her name on her shirt and people kept yelling "Go Heather". Since no one knew my name, I told her that I was adopting her for a bit so I could enjoy the 'special' crowd encouragement. Seeing the tourist sites along the way made the race. I only wish I paid more attention to them as I passed (next year!).

After mile 12, we turned into the wind and I could feel the difference in temperature and speed. Mile 13 offered my first chance for a gel, which I took advantage of. (For previous marathons, I've only taken one gel and always bonk around mile 22 - 23, so today I was hoping 2 gels would carry my the distance. Plan was for one at mile 13 and one at mile 20). I arrived at the half way point just over 1:44 and now had 1 minute in the bank for a 3:30 finish. Obviously my pace was quicker running with Heather along Constitution Ave.

I lost Heather at some point and miles 13 - 16 were a blur, with the exception of Lincoln Memorial which was great! Entering Hayes Point (?) you could really see the wind on the water and feel it. This is where things started to get really bunched up. The road went down to two lanes and there wasn't much room to pass, so I settled into the pace around me. As it turns out, I caught the 3:30 pace group and that was part of the reason for the big crowd. Realizing that I was at least one minute ahead of the pace group in time, I figured I would let the pace group leader take me home for a sub 3:30 finish. I had a quick pitstop around mile 18 and it took about a mile to catch the group again. When we arrived at mile 20, the crowds were deafening (again!) and we made the turn to the bridge back to Arlington. It turns out that miles 10 - 20 were a bit faster than 0 - 10 and surprisingly I still felt great!

Mile 20 was over the bridge with some pretty good side wind, but I stuck to the pack and the pace leader kept us going strong. He informed us that we were 45 seconds ahead of pace, which meant that I was probably close to 2 minutes ahead of a 3:30 finish. I saw my friends again around mile 21. Other than that, miles 21 & 22 were without incident, but I realized that I missed a second gel stop somewhere along the way. I was also starting to have some GI issues and the idea of taking in any liquids or gels at this point was unappealing. I knew this was not a good sign, but I pushed along. I arrived at mile 23 with the 3:30 pace group and only needed a 27:20 final 3.2 miles to go sub 3:30. No problem ?.....Wrong!!!

Almost immediately after mile 23, I was reintroduced to my old friend "the wall" and once again he (or mile likely a SHE) won! I don't think it was more than 200 yards from the mile 23 check point when I decided to 'walk for 60 seconds'. The problem with this thought is I am horrible at the walk/run combination - I don't have the discipline. Once I start walking, it is over. Miles 23 - 24 was well over 10 minutes and miles 24 - 25 were even worse! I kept questioning the sanity of doing these things and wondered why I ever decided that signing up for an IronMan was a good idea. The last 3 miles were pure torture. Finally, I saw the crowds again near mile 26 and decided a slow jog home would be in order. The last hill towards the end nearly killed me and my friends watching the finish said I didn't look quite right - DUH!!! Anyway, after mile 23 I threw out all time goals, but was happy to see 3:35:38 on my watch upon crossing the line. This was a PR by a whole 40 seconds. :)

Thank God it is over - when can I do another? ;)
What would you do differently?:

Not really sure - probably could have used another gel along the way. Train specifically for a marathon instead of the Tri stuff - on second thought NAH!!!!
Post race
Warm down:

Walked around to collect my wits and then went to meet my friends on the bridge. Went back to the finish to watch our other friend finish an hour later. Poor guy - he was expecting a 3:15 run and finished in 4:36. It was his first - now he knows what to expect.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Poor nutrition - maybe??? Probably about as good of a result as I could expect.

Event comments:

This is by far the best race I've ever done. I can't even begin to give justice to the crowds and the Marines manning the water stations along the way. It was an honor to run in their Marathon! I will put this on my annual list of events!

Last updated: 2006-05-19 12:00 AM
03:35:38 | 26.2 miles | 08m 14s  min/mile
Age Group: 259/2403
Overall: 1396/20932
Performance: Good
5 Mile 00:40:02 10 Mile 01:19:43 Half 01:44:00 15 Mile 01:58:40 20 Mile 02:38:14 23 Mile 03:02:36 FINISH 03:35:38 Pace: 8:13
Course: Great course around Arlington and Washington DC. Only one real hill, which was follow by a nice downhill. It was very cool running through the sites in DC.
Keeping cool Good Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Average
Mental exertion [1-5] 4
Physical exertion [1-5] 4
Good race? Yes
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? No
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Good
Race evaluation [1-5] 4

2006-10-31 2:15 PM

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Chesapeake, VA
Subject: Marine Corps Marathon

2006-10-31 3:11 PM
in reply to: #584452

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Chelmsford, Massachusetts
Subject: RE: Marine Corps Marathon

Nice job!!!  Yep you're right, we had almost the same pace in the first half.  I almost hit the wall right around the time you did, but that person with that water bottle saved me.  Still man, wow...3:35...I'm HOPING to get there with enough training and for you it was just another marathon.  So congrats!!  You're now who I need to chase!!! LOL

GREAT JOB!!!  CONGRATS on still making that PR. 

2006-10-31 3:17 PM
in reply to: #584452

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Sherman Oaks, CA
Subject: RE: Marine Corps Marathon
Awesome RR. Fun to read.
2006-10-31 4:04 PM
in reply to: #584452

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Kansas City, MO
Subject: RE: Marine Corps Marathon
Congrats on the race and PR!
2006-10-31 6:23 PM
in reply to: #584452

Subject: RE: Marine Corps Marathon

Another, simply amazing!  Nice race, wish I could have met you while I was there!


2006-11-01 7:35 AM
in reply to: #584452

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Virginia Beach, VA
Subject: RE: Marine Corps Marathon
Great race!!!! A PR at MCM is always a great thing.

2006-11-01 8:11 AM
in reply to: #584452

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Subject: RE: Marine Corps Marathon

Great job!  A PR with all of those crowds to dodge is VERY impressive!

It does sound like a nutrition issue, so you'll surely have that buttoned down for your next marathon.  When is that again? 


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