Marine Corps Marathon Recap!

Two and a half weeks ago I completed my 2nd marathon! It was fabulous!

Here is the story:

I signed up in February because a few friends were signing up and I had enough airline miles to get a free ticket.  I hadn’t even run my first marathon yet, and here I was signing up for ANOTHER! Yes, crazy!

Fast forward to 5am October 30, 2011.  One of my friends running, texts me good luck. We didn’t plan on meeting up which I would have never found her anyways. I go back to sleep and get up at 6. I slept SOO well! (Have you ever prayed for God to let you have true rest and to sleep well? If not, you really need to try it. He is amazing!) I was awake but got up at 6. Checked the weather – yep right at 34 degrees. NOT snowing outside.  I had a banana to get things going and woken up. Took a quick shower to force more  waking up and proceeded to get dressed. I had everything laid out on the floor:

Everything I need! Ready to go!

This was a process to try to remember all the places I would need anti-chafe ointment. I tried to get them all. I had all my stuff laid out so it was easy to get dressed and put everything on.  Then I made a PB&J sandwich to eat on the way to the start line.

Here is my pre-race picture! Ready to go!

It was a bit confusing but I made it to the start area and met up with my friend Bob from Seattle here and his sister Susan.

Bob and I before the start!

I watched them raise one of the flags by the Pentagon.

This was right at sunrise and it was shaping up to be a beautiful day! The lines for the Porta potties were HUGE! So we skipped out and I dropped my bag with my sweats and my sunglasses -OOPS and we headed to the start line.

Here is a cropped shot of my home-made arm sleeves from trouser socks. BEST idea EVER! I also had on $1 gloves to toss. I was completely warm and not even chilly despite it probably being ~36 degrees at this point.

Then the 3 of us at the start:

It was GREAT to be with someone I knew at the start because I didn’t feel alone in the HUGE crowd (40,000 people!) . When things started moving we came up to some EMPTY porta potties! We hit those before we crossed the line to save the chip time! Best idea ever #2!

START LINE!  Hooray!  The crowds were pretty crazy the first couple miles! I stayed with Bob & Susan for the first couple miles. There were some ‘hills’ and then I lost them on a downhill somewhere between mile 3 & 4.  At mile 4 I ditched my arm sleeves & gloves. Then took my first Gu. In Mile 4 we crossed the river into the District by Georgetown.  We headed out a road and on the other side were the people heading through mile 8.  I saw the 3:15 pacer so they were going fast! That’s where all the people wearing shorts & singlets were running!

Miles 4-8 were pretty boring although I did see a hand cycle guy who appeared to be blind! Everyone was cheering him on. There was a small hill in here. I took my next Gu at mile 8 running through Georgetown. Mile 9 we headed down the hill towards the Lincoln memorial. There were starting to be more people along the course here and it was fun. Mile 10 was right by the Watergate complex but I don’t recall actually ‘Seeing’ it! Mile 11 we got to the Lincoln memorial. There were so.many.people.! It was like running through the finish chute!

Miles 11-15 were around this Potomac park island thing.  There were  a couple of groups of people around there.  Lululemon was at the halfway point. The groups out there had lots of people and loud music playing.  I took my next gu at mile 12.  I walked the water stops.  At this point I really noticed people slowing down.  I was very careful to watch my time and try to do my 9:1 run:walk ratio plus walking some through the water stops.  It was working well. I felt fine for the most part. Just trying to conserve energy for the next 10 miles.

Miles 16-20 were around the Mall.  We headed back to Lincoln and then headed down to the Capitol and back. I have walked this many times before but running it is a whole different concept. It is actually a pretty fair distance! I peeled off my hat somewhere in here and tucked it in my waist band. It was getting warm.  I took a gu at 16. There were people off an on. I stopped at the Memorial to get a picture. Why not right? It was an amazingly beautiful day!

A lady took it for me and I took one for her and then kept going. Quite a few people were stopping for pictures and such.  (Yes I carried my phone..) I also somewhere in here took the salt pill I got from Bob before the race as it was getting hot and I knew I was sweating a lot. Around the Capitol they had photographers in the street and here is one of the pictures:

I attempted to pick up my feet and smile but I could have been walking. haha. Oh well. At mile 19 they were giving out sport beans and my stomach was starting to feel off or crampy so I grabbed some and ate. I have had these before.  I didn’t take the Gu on the course because I hadn’t had that kind before and never drank the gatorade! only water!

Mile 20-24 – The bridge and crystal city.  So mile 20 there was a cool band playing but then a nice sign that said “you beat the bridge!”.  I was supposed to take a Gu at 20 but since I had the sport beans I waited about .5 mile for the next Gu.  Plus it helped me get across the bridge. The Bridge is a MILE long. Longest mile ever! Everyone was walking. I was down to walking every 5 minutes instead of 9.  I was trying to run to the 5, walk for 30 sec, run to the 9, walk for 30s to 1 min. I continued this into Crystal City.  Lots of people there including guys giving away beer and the Dunkin donuts. I did NOT eat one. Luckily this was next to some buildings and that totally helped!  The shade was nice. My legs were getting stiffer when I walked so I needed to keep moving but luckily the stomach was feeling much better at this point.

Mile 24-26.2.  Mile 24 I looked at my watch and it said 4:30.  My last mile had been right about 12 minutes. I knew that if I could do the last mile 2x over then I would be at the finish line and finish under 5 hours.  At the mile 24 water I took my last Gu. It was Peppermint stick! I saved the best for last! It was cool tasting and with the water totally felt like I had cooled down! It got me through a mile easy! I was still doing my 5 & 9s walk and really pushing. I probably looked at my watch every 2 minutes! Finally lots of people and we crossed where the start line. The finish is not far!  My parents had come up for the race but we didn’t coordinate anything so I had NO idea where they were! I kept thinking about them the WHOLE race and couldn’t wait to see them and my bff at the end! Right about mile 26 I heard my dad yelling!  He was on one side and Mom on the other, but I didn’t see her.

He got this picture and I headed to the Finish! I turned the corner and saw: A HILL. WHAT??!!! No one told me this! I ended up having to walk up a bit of this and then sprinted to the finish best I could! I hit the watch and looked down to see:


Shortly after the finish we stopped and were in lines. LONG lines. TO get the blankets, medals, pictures by the memorial and food.  I had someone take a picture with my phone.

This is where having my phone paid off! I was able to txt with my dad, mom and bff about where everyone was and re-confirm our meeting location.  It took me at least 20-30 minutes probably to get out of the finish area with the food they were handing out to the UPS trucks to get my bag then to meet my parents.

Here is Mom and I after the race!

We had to walk quite a ways back to the car then headed to get some ice and headed to the house for an ice bath.

It was cold!

After getting warmed up we picked up my dear sister from the airport and had a fabulous Mexican dinner!

I had a blast! If you want to run a FUN marathon – this is one to do! It is well supported and lots of people! You will not get lonely!

Lessons Learned:

– Train More – I really didn’t train as well as I should have and I did pay for it. Those last 6 miles were rougher than I wanted them to be!

-If you aren’t ‘racing’ starting out the race with a friend is a great way to not get too nervous!

-Just have fun! I really was just enjoying the crowd and even turned off my ipod several times to listen to people cheering! It was definitely an experience!

Will I do it again? Certainly! Stay tuned!


About Karla

Runner, Christian, Reader, All about living a healthy lifestyle and living for God!
This entry was posted in Races. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Marine Corps Marathon Recap!

  1. Great post! I love that race photo of you. What a great shot! Congratulations on your 2nd marathon!

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