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Marine Corps Marathon - RunMarathon

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Arlington, Virginia
United States
Total Time = 4h 50m 17s
Overall Rank = 12219/
Age Group = M40
Age Group Rank = 1409/2080
Pre-race routine:

My first marathon. This was a family affair, I ran with my sisters Katy and Christy who are both from out of town and I do not get to see very often, my wife Mary and my Mom. Mary and Katy are marathon veterans, the rest of us newbies.

The family started dropping like flies in the weeks leading up to the race. My mom had a lot of problems with her legs and wasn't able to train for any great distance. Christy had heart problems and was not able to train the last 4 weeks. Katy was really sick the last couple of weeks and was lucky to get on the plane out here. And Mary is having some nasty problems with one of her feet. I have been waiting to get hit by a bus or something.

We all decided to start the race together. My mom was going to drop out near her house at mile 6 or 8. Katy and Christy were just going to see how it went.
Event warmup:

Up early, ate a PB&J, took the Metro to the race start. Dressed warm in a lot of throw away stuff. Waited in the shortest lines EVER at a race for the porta-potties. Started stripping off layers while waiting at the start, it was already warming up. I ran into someone from my office, not sure how that happened in a group of 30,000+ people.

I chatted with my family and just soaked it all in.
  • 4h 50m 17s
  • 26.2 miles
  • 11m 05s  min/mile

This was one of the most fun days of my life. What a great race. Do you know how sometimes you have one of those runs where everything just clicks? This was it for me! How lucky am I that this happened to me on this day.

The weather was beautiful and the course was full of people cheering everyone on. Just a perfect day.

The Rollins crew started together and went out slow in the mobs at the start. I was wanting to run 10:00 miles, but was going to do whatever the rest of the family could do for a while. My Mom's leg started hurting on the hill at mile 2 and I stayed back and walked with her for a while.

We caught up with my sister Christy at the first water stop. My mom pushed us on ahead, I wasn't sure that she was going to be able to go much further. I ran with Christy at her pace, about 11:30-12:00, for the next 6 miles. During this time I ran into a bunch of BT'ers, Jeepfleeb, Chippy, Stake, CubeFarmGopher and some others. It was really cool to see them and say hello. I got to wave hello at some of them a bit later in the day as well.

The family regrouped at mile 8 where my Dad and niece and nephew were watching. My Mom stopped at mile 8. The rest of us continued on. These first 8 miles had been at a pretty slow pace for me and I still felt really, really good. My sisters were both hurting and slowing down. They pushed me and my wife on. We all said our goodbyes and good lucks.

Mary and I took off and held about a 9:30 pace. It felt great to be moving faster and passing some people. I had been taking some Gu's, but was getting incredibly hungry. The course through Georgetown earlier in the race passed by some restaurants and the smell of food and coffee had started me thinking a lot about food.

We got to around mile 13 and Mary needed to slow down at the porta-potties. She insisted that I go on and finish at my pace. This was the hardest part of the race for me, I wasn't sure that I wanted to leave everyone behind like this. It was fun being with them. But I did feel good and didn't want to slow down at all. We said goodbye and I took off.

I grabbed some Java flavored Gu at the next aid station. I ignored the nothing new on race day rule and ate it. I was starved and wanted something with more flavor than my Vanilla Gu's. It tasted great. The crowds really picked up again at mile 14. I was still feeling great and picked up my pace a bit.

Some colleagues from my office were out on the course right around here cheering and had some signs and it was really cool seeing them.

I started talking to anyone who would say hello. I never do this during races, but I felt too good to just plod along. If you had your name on your shirt and I passed you, I said hello and chatted. I met so many great people during the day.

Around mile 17 I hit the dreaded Haines Point. I had heard so much about how miserable this part of the race always is. There are very few spectators and the wind off the water is cold. I suppose all these things are true, but it didn't get under my skin on this day. I think being around so many other runners helped.

People were dropping left and right at this point. A lot of walking and stopping to stretch. I saw a man passed out on the side of the road covered by a blanket. He was being attended to by several Marines and aid workers, but it didn't look too bad. When my wife passed him 10 minutes later, they were performing CPR on him. We found out later that he had died from either a heart attack or stroke. I cannot imagine and my heart goes out to his family.

On Haines Point I passed a group of people dressed kind of like Uncle Sam. One of the runners near them started singing God Bless America, kind of as a goof. But the song spread to dozens of the runners in both directions. It was one of those moments that could be really cheesy, but was in fact really moving.

I passed the guy that runs this race dressed as Kermit the Frog every year and chatted with him.

I was still feeling really good, except for my lips. The wind and sun had really chapped them and they were throbbing. So was the area under my nose from all the snot and constant rubbing. I was dying for some Chapstick. Right before we exited Haines Point, there was an aid station that had tubs of Vaseline. I smeared it all over my lips and instantly felt better.

As the course exits Haines Point, you do a kind of U-Turn onto an on-ramp to the bridge. The road was pretty narrow here and was mobbed on either side by spectators. They were even hanging over the bridge above us. I don't know if this went on all day or not, but at the point I passed them they were just screaming. Not cheering or yelling, but screaming for the runners. I will never forget the feeling during those couple of minutes, it was the most incredible thing I have ever experienced during a race. The noise was overwhelming as they pushed us up onto the bridge.

Mile 20-21 is over the 14th street bridge. I have heard how much everyone hates this bridge. I can see why. You do not notice it when driving over it, but it is a mile of kind of rolling hills. It did not bother me until the end, then I was really ready to get off of it. On the bridge I met Gary, a 66 year old ex-Marine, who was kicking some ass.

I got off the bridge and saw the signs for food at the next aid station. I was beyond hungry at this point and was really excited. I was bummed when all that they had was Jelly Beans. I took a package of red and a package of green. I ate one of the reds and my stomach instantly turned. It was all I could do not to throw up. I threw that package away and tried one of the greens. Yuck, same problem. I kind of held my breath to keep from throwing up until the feeling passed.

Not long later in Crystal City we passed the hashers or rugby team or whoever it was that was handing out beer. I didn't want any beer, but one of them had a dish of Goldfish crackers. I took a handful and inhaled them. The salt tasted really good. I quickly realized that I had nothing to drink to wash them down. Oops.

Right before the turn-around in Crystal City, I passed more colleagues from work. They took pictures and I high-fived them. How awesome to see them. When I passed the band at the turn-around, they were playing one of my favorite songs. I'm telling you, it was just one of those days.

I passed my wife as I headed out of Crystal City and stopped to give her a quick kiss. We wished each other well and continued on. I was running 9:30-10:00 miles at this point and still felt great. The slow start really helped me out.

Then I hit mile 24. As I passed under the overpass and hit the Pentagon, it all kind of caught up with me. I got this far feeling awesome, but I wasn't going to get away with going the whole race without a some type of struggle. I started feeling winded and tired. And I hurt.

At about 24.5 miles, I decided that I needed to walk. Even if it was for 30-60 seconds, I should walk and calm down a little. I slowed down and started to walk, but it hurt even more! I guess the body was just so used to running by then. I ditched the whole walking idea and started running again.

At the mile 25 water stop, I ran into a young woman wearing a fireman's outfit. I am talking the real deal, not some halloween costume. She had on the big pants, heavy jacket with the giant buckles and the big hat. The hat had to weight 5-10 pounds. I asked her if she was a fire fighter and she said yes, from here in the area. I asked if she had really run the whole race in her gear. She had! She was raising money for a burn trauma center and someone had pledged a bunch of money to her if she ran the whole marathon in her gear. Unbelievable! I met a bunch of inspiring people during the course of the day, but this woman took the cake. Truely amazing. We wished each other well and I took off.

The last mile was neat because the crowds lining the street grew as you got closer to the finish. I reached mile 26 and headed up the hill for the final 0.2. There is a reason everyone bitches about that hill. I hurt the whole way up. It felt great to finish!
Post race
Warm down:

The finish line was really backed up, so I stood in line with hundreds of other finishers. The Marines were yelling at us to get our hands above our heads. It did help. I got my medal, photo, and headed to the food tent. I am sure that I looked like Cookie Monster inhaling a bag of pretzels.

I spent the next hour searching for family. There is no way to describe how crowded the finish area was. There had to be at least 50-60,000 people all looking for each other. I missed the BT meet up after the race; it was hard enough finding my own family.

My wife finished not long after me. She had a tough race with a lot of pain in one foot. Both of my sisters finished. My Mom made it to mile 8 which is awesome. I could not be more proud of all of them.

Event comments:

This is an incredibly organized race. It is also a beautiful course and there are thousands of people that turn up to cheer on everyone. I will do this one again.

Last updated: 2006-05-18 12:00 AM
04:50:17 | 26.2 miles | 11m 05s  min/mile
Age Group: 1409/2080
Overall: 12219/
Performance: Good
Keeping cool Drinking
Post race
Weight change: %
Mental exertion [1-5]
Physical exertion [1-5]
Good race?
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? No
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Average
Race evaluation [1-5] 5

2006-11-01 9:20 AM

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Northern VA
Subject: Marine Corps Marathon

2006-11-02 5:37 AM
in reply to: #585129

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DC Metro, slowly working my way to NC
Bronze member
Subject: RE: Marine Corps Marathon

Great job!!!  Sounds like you had an awesome time to boot.

The course through Georgetown earlier in the race passed by some restaurants and the smell of food and coffee had started me thinking a lot about food.

It did the exact same thing to me, too!   

2006-11-02 10:28 AM
in reply to: #585129

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Ann Arbor, MI
Subject: RE: Marine Corps Marathon
Awesome job completing your first marathon! It's so great that you had so much support out there, and that your wife did it too- how amazing! Enjoy your recovery, you've earned it!
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