So we did it! Me, Dave, and my friend Jess all ran the Marine Corps Marathon this past Sunday and survived!
Everything was well-organized, the Marines were very encouraging on the course, and the spectators, wow, it was like one huge victory lap! I made name tags for us all to wear and that was one of the best things I did. There were so many people there to support all the runners and their words of encouragement definitely kept me going. Plus, there seemed to be only a few places that there weren’t any spectators. The hill at the end is killer, I’ve run it many times thinking it’s nothing, but when you are dying to finish after 26 miles, it’s pretty brutal. Overall, for my first marathon experience, I couldn’t have asked for a better marathon. And at the end, you get a Marine to place your hard-earned medal around your neck, it’s very moving! I felt like an Olympian.
I ran the marathon in 4 hours and 8 minutes which was pretty awesome. I had a range of 4:10-4:30 in my head, but mostly I just wanted to cross the finish line. I did beat Dave, but I can’t really brag too much, since it would be like bragging about beating a blind double amputee. Muscle cramps attacked Dave at mile 16, but he did an amazing job in not giving up and kept on fighting through them to make it across the finish line a few minutes after me. The race stays pretty packed the whole time, it never really thins out, which can be good or bad (I guess you are never running alone at all). I didn’t see Dave at all, saw my friend Jess once, but we started at the same time and stayed pretty close in time the whole way.
Looking back on everything, I enjoyed every minute of this whole experience. A lot of time and effort has been put towards my training these past few months, but I feel like a different person compared to the beginning of the year, much healthier. Along with all the training, I’ve learned a lot about my body, it’s been one giant human science experiment. After the race was an interesting experiment too. My calf muscle cramped up on me at the end of the race and for a while after, it was not very fun. I was very sore after the race, I had to walk down the stairs backwards for about 2 days after (and there are a lot of stairs in my life!). Standing up from sitting was the worst and I felt like I walked like the Tin Man, my knees didn’t want to bend. Finally today, I feel 100% back to normal, no more soreness in the legs. Of course, now that I’m no longer sore, I’m already thinking of the next marathon I might want to do, the brain seems to easily forget the pain the body just went through.
Thank you to all my family and friends for the support and encouragement, especially our spectators that made it out to the course and those that were there in spirit. And a big thank you to Dave. He has been my running coach for the past few years and he is the best. Somehow I got him to join me on this crazy adventure (although it was inevitable) and I couldn’t have done it without him. Everything I did during the marathon, I just followed what he taught me. He has been so encouraging throughout all of our training, through the disastrous runs to the cold and rainy runs. He kept me in line with my weekly running schedule and helped pushed me to run faster, even when I was being a wimp and not confident I could (now he needs to help me with being fast on my bike!). Though all of our training, he always remained positive and that thinking helped me through the marathon, I never once let a negative thought slip into my brain (self – where was this during the Baltimore half??). I have one of the greatest running coaches ever, thank you Dave!
So that’s a wrap up of marathon. I’m taking it easy this week, went to the gym tonight, but didn’t even break a sweat on the bike, no running for at least a few more days. I’m addicted to running like I am to pumpkin. I’m excited to continue to add more races to my running log, maybe even a few more marathons!