Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Marine Corps Marathon

I am going to skip over the formality of why I haven't written. Life. I think that can sum it up perfectly.

I did want to write about my experience at the Marine Corps Marathon this past weekend. I had never been to Washington, D.C. before the race so I was excited to see new sights, and take in the People's Marathon.

I flew on Friday, and went to the expo after checking in to the hotel. It was smooth process to pick up my bib and shirt. It wasn't as big as I thought it would be, but it was nice to look at the different booths.

After dinner we checked out the White House at night.

Saturday I didn't want to walk too much so we kept it pretty easy by sleeping in, and then heading to the Mall. We visited the Air and Space Museum (of course),

My brother loves Star Trek so I took a picture for him.
The rest of the day was spent resting and contemplating the race. 

Sunday was the day. I was up at 4:30 for an 8am start thanks to the Metro issues. I am glad I left when I did because I heard it was pretty crowded about an hour after I left. I walked right on the shuttle and was whisked to the Runner's Village. The weather was not the best. I never have good luck in the weather department. I was hoping for cooler weather since it was D.C. and the end of October. However the forecasted high for that day was 80. 80! I was pretty worried about the heat bothering me. I trained in the heat here in Florida, but I was never out there in full afternoon sunshine. I had a time goal for the race, but decided to not worry about it when I saw the temperature. Also, I was worried about the hills. Florida is flat. Very flat. The first 3 miles of the race is up, and then the end is hilly. I wasn't sure how I would respond to the hills. 

That is the elevation map for the race
I wanted to go out slow and speed up for the second half. Unfortunately I went out fast. I thought I would be able to maintain it, but I eventually died around mile 21. Considering I only had one 20 mile training run I was pretty pleased I lasted that long with the conditions. I took one break to fix my sock that was rubbing on my toe and caused a blister. I also had one bathroom stop that cost me a few minutes. I noticed at the end that I wasn't really sweating and I knew I was in trouble. I started dousing cups of water on me at the water stops which I would regret later. I really wanted to quit, but knew that if I switched to walking it would take forever to finish, and I was done. I just put my head down and kept going because I needed to finish. I crossed the line 19 minutes after my time goal, but it was a 13 minute PR so I will take it. I was proud that I conquered the hills, the weather, and my brain. 

I had some medical issues when I finished. I made it halfway out of the chute when I vomited. Another runner took care of me since the medics were busy with more serious cases. I saw a lot of people on stretchers. After a few minutes of resting and some liquids I was ready to head back to the hotel. When I finally made it back to the hotel I realized that I chafed everywhere. My chest, arms, back, side of my body, my forearm, and my knees all were chafed. It was horrible. I am guessing when I dumped the water on me, it caused friction. 

My side

My back

My chest

Monday we decided to head back to the Mall and the Capitol. We took a tour of the Library of Congress, and then of the Capitol. We also visited a lot of the memorials on the Mall. The steps in the buildings killed me. I was moving pretty slow on Monday. I loved seeing all the monuments even if I was in pain.

I was very impressed by Washington, D,C and I would love to visit the city again. There is so much to do, and I definitely couldn't visit it all in the short time I was there. As for the race, if you ever get a chance to run it, do it. It was amazing. The Marines are great. The crowd support was unbelievable. There was only one real stretch that wasn't lined with people and that was a bridge. Even the Pentagon parking lot had people cheering. You run past so many of the famous sites of the city. Between mile 10 and 11, they have the Blue Mile where they have pictures of fallen service members, and then family members holding flags. I almost cried running through this part. So many faces that left this world too soon made you realize that running 26 miles isn't that big of a deal. I wish I had taken pictures during the race. I didn't want to keep messing with my phone so I left it in the armband. It has been my favorite race so far. It is a lottery which typically opens mid to late March. I never want to run a marathon again (except I have that pesky Goofy race in January). However, if I choose to run a fifth marathon in the future, this one would be at the top of my list. Oh, and I would train for the hills next time.