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Marine Corps Marathon - RunMarathon

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Arlington, Virginia
United States
Total Time = 4h 34m 3s
Overall Rank = 9944/20667
Age Group = M40-44
Age Group Rank = 1202/2047
Pre-race routine:

Up at 4:45 and drank two Ensures and had some jam on toast. Went back to bed and kind of snoozed for about an hour. Got up, dressed and headed to the race.
Event warmup:

The looooong walk from the Pentagon station to the race start. I misjudged how long this would take and did not have time to hit the porta-potties. I heard part of the National Anthem and watched a pretty cool flyover by what I think were two Marine Ospreys.

I chatted with some of the runners around me and waited for the gun to go off. And then waited for the crowds of runners to start moving. It only took five minutes to get to the start line, I thought that it would be much longer.
  • 4h 34m 3s
  • 26.2 miles
  • 10m 28s  min/mile

I started off slow, but you really did not have much of a choice with the crowds. The first few miles felt good and I decided to pick up the pace just a little bit. I started taking 1 minute walk breaks every mile and this helped with the faster pace.

The changes to the course this year where it heads up Canal Road instead of through Georgetown results in more hills. It is a little tougher, but nothing too bad. There were not nearly as many spectators along this part, but that was not unexpected. It now runs right by Georgetown Univ. It would be fun to get them into the spirit of this race and turn out in large numbers to support the runners.

The crowds along most of the course were fantastic, there was such a huge turnout. Some areas were so packed and people were screaming so loud that it was deafening. The aid stations had a ton of volunteers handing out water and Powerade. I love the attitude of the Marines working these aid stations. Whether they are calling you sir, barking at you or telling you to keep after it, it is awesome.

Even though I live here and see the monuments all the time, I love the part of this course that runs by them all.

I hit Haines Point and was still feeling pretty good. This is the loneliest stretch of the course. It is from miles 16-19, is exposed to some nasty winds off the water from the Potomac and is hard to get to for spectators. Going out in this loop was not bad, but coming back was into some wind. I started feeling pretty rough around mile 18.5, but worked through it.

You then hit some serious crowds that pump you up before you head onto the 14th street bridge back into Virginia. These crowds turn this into my favorite part of the course. The bridge then seems impossibly long and sucks.

I came off the bridge into mile 20 and started feeling pretty rough. Miles 21 and 22 were spent fighting the cramps and pains that I was starting to feel in my legs. At mile 23 I started getting a pain in my left shin that was really nasty. I have not experienced this before and I just could not find a way to work through it. I slowed down and started walking anything that resembled an incline.

The last three miles were incredibly frustrating as I watched my pace get really slow. Another change to the course this year is that you pass the finish line right after mile 25 and head out and back for the final mile. This was the longest mile ever and was really frustrating. The crowds helped pull me up the hill that is the final few hundred yards to the finish.
What would you do differently?:

I should have either not run this race 8 weeks after an IM or slowed down and made this more of a fun day, which is what I had intended to do.

Even though I drank water and Powerade at every aid station, I was dehydrated. I should have drank more.

This was still a PR for me by 16 minutes for a marathon. I cannot wait to have another shot at it next year and to be better prepared.
Post race
Warm down:

I had my finisher photo taken and then waited in the line for food and water and to get out of the finish area. This is one of the most organized and well run races that I have experienced, but the finish area always has some sort of trouble because of the tremendous number of people in this area.

This year you were forced into this narrow chute to pick up food and water. It was horribly backed up and I stood for 15-20 minutes just trying to get through. There was no other way out, people were begging for the fence to be opened up so that they could just leave, but they would not do it. I do appreciate the bags they gave us to hold the bottles of water and pretzels and such. They had a lot more food at the finish last year.

By the time I got through this line I was incredibly stiff and found the first patch of open ground available. I sat down and experienced the worst cramps of my life in my calves, hamstrings and hips. I worked the cramps out and started getting some fluid and food into my body. I finally found my family after a woman let me use her cell phone to call them.

Event comments:

This is an awesome race, one of my favorites. The course is great, the crowd support is incredible and the whole thing is so well run and organized. I would encourage anyone thinking about a marathon to consider this race.

Last updated: 2007-05-09 12:00 AM
04:34:03 | 26.2 miles | 10m 28s  min/mile
Age Group: 1202/2047
Overall: 9944/20667
Performance: Below average
Keeping cool Good Drinking Not enough
Post race
Weight change: %
Mental exertion [1-5]
Physical exertion [1-5]
Good race? Ok
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

2007-10-29 7:33 PM

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Northern VA
Subject: Marine Corps Marathon

2007-10-29 10:00 PM
in reply to: #1029029

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King George, VA
Subject: RE: Marine Corps Marathon

Congrats on the PR!
You beat me by 30 seconds and about 70 places!  Bummer about the cramping - I didn't like the finishing area.  Standing around for so long right after running can't be good for you.  I missed the goodie bag and ended up getting a cramp/pinched nerve around my scapula by holding the water against my chest with my elbow.
The last four miles were pretty tough - I hate "out-and-backs" and we had to do three - and that last mile was torture, knowing you were so close, but yet so far from the finish.
I don't know if I'm "hooked" on marathons yet - I'm pretty sore today!

2007-10-29 11:25 PM
in reply to: #1029029

Subject: RE: Marine Corps Marathon

Nice job, and awesome effort fighting the wind and the course.  Yeah, that last out-and-back before the finish really sucked. was the longest mile for me too and I only did the 10-K!!  I thought it would never end!  congrats on a great effort!


Edited by max 2007-10-29 11:27 PM
2007-10-29 11:29 PM
in reply to: #1029029

No excuses!
Subject: RE: Marine Corps Marathon
2007-10-29 11:29 PM
in reply to: #1029029

No excuses!
Subject: RE: Marine Corps Marathon
Great job out there Bill, sounds like a tough day.
2007-10-30 8:44 AM
in reply to: #1029029

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Subject: RE: Marine Corps Marathon
Great race, even w/ the leg cramps to have a PR 8 weeks out of an IM is awesome!!

2007-10-30 10:51 AM
in reply to: #1029029

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Subject: RE: Marine Corps Marathon

Wow, great race! You were right -- we seemed to have carbon copy experience towards the end there! I really can't wait to get back out there and try this thing again.

MCM is a GREAT race. Like you, I'm not sure what they could do better for the finish line area, but I'm getting better at 'acceptance' that it's just going to suck-- maybe consider that mile 27

Great race! Impressive PR, especially so close to your IM.

2007-10-30 1:06 PM
in reply to: #1029725

South Jersey
Subject: RE: Marine Corps Marathon

Great job, Bill. And, congrats on the PR. That's so awesome...especially only 8 weeks after your IM. Woot! Woot! You totally rock.

You sure did an awesome job pushing through the tough parts of the race - new hills, dehydration, cramping, etc. And, that's so awesome that the crowd was big and loud; you definitely seemed to love every minute of the crowd support, and soaked in each mile of the race. Way to take in the experience !

LOL - that comment about people begging to get out of the food line just about cracked me up. I'm just picturing all these tired marathoners in line, "Please! Please! Just let us out of here." Although, one's not in the best physical or mental condition at that point, so I can imagine how much it sucked.

I can't wait to see how you do at this race next year. You're gonna rock it !

Congrats, again !

2007-10-30 2:41 PM
in reply to: #1029029

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Not a Coach
Media, PA
Subject: RE: Marine Corps Marathon

Wow!  Congrats on the PR coming so soon after your IM!

You'll be able to set your sights on another PR the next time you have the chance to focus on the marathon without that little IM race getting in the way. 

2007-10-30 3:05 PM
in reply to: #1029029

Subject: ...
This user's post has been ignored.
2007-10-30 3:15 PM
in reply to: #1029029

Subject: RE: Marine Corps Marathon

Nice PR after your IM....sounds like a challenging and fun day!

Super job..congrats! 

2007-10-30 7:22 PM
in reply to: #1029029

Subject: RE: Marine Corps Marathon
Awesome race, Bill! Really enjoyed the RR to hear all about the sights along the course.
2007-10-31 6:18 PM
in reply to: #1029029

Reston, VA
Subject: RE: Marine Corps Marathon
Great race Bill!

Awesome job on the race and a PR so close to your IM!

Nice to meet you this past weekend and I look forward to seeing you again soon.
2007-11-05 8:20 AM
in reply to: #1029029

Subject: RE: Marine Corps Marathon
congrats on the PR!  you're the man for running a mary so close to an IM.  that's nuts!
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