2015 Marathon Corps Marathon Recap
The Marathon Corps Marathon is something I will remember forever. I had such an incredible time this past weekend. From the expo, to hanging out in VA/DC, to actually running Marine Corps Marathon…it was an experience I will never forget.
First of all, it feels so good to have made it to the starting and finishing line injury-free. I was out for about 5 months last spring/summer and finally got back into some easy running in July. Since I was just getting back from injury, I had a shorter time to train (12 weeks) and my training was much less intense than usual (less mileage, more rest days, less speed work). Honestly, my goal for the past 12 weeks was to train smart so I could avoid injury and I am happy to say that I successfully met that goal! My plan for Sunday was to run at my typical long run pace and to enjoy the experience at the Marine Corps Marathon. I was so happy with my game plan. I was truly able to enjoy the experience and I felt great the entire race.
Race morning started early around 5 AM. We got dressed and ate our pre-race breakfast in our hotel room (cinnamon raisin english muffins with peanut butter and banana) before heading out the door to the starting line a little before 6. We were very lucky to be staying on the same block as the metro, so that made traveling to the start very easy. Once we arrived to the pentagon there was a sea of people waiting to go through security to enter the starting area. We waited for over an hour to get through security. This was the only thing I can say that wasn’t efficient. Perhaps they need more metal detectors. Also, I noticed there were a lot of people waiting to get through security who were not running which I don’t understand. However, I will say they did advise everyone to arrive 2 hours before the start time which was accurate. As we were waiting, we began feeling raindrops steadily increasing in frequency. We were happy to have packed trash bags to use as makeshift rain jackets. We were so happy to have these. The last thing I wanted was to be rained as we waited for the marathon to start.
The good news is, once we got past security, there were a zillion port-a-potties. Even better news is that they did not have long lines either! This is a runners dream. We used the port-a-potty then headed to the corrals to line up. It’s interesting how Marine Corps manages the corrals. They leave it up to you to decide where to begin the marathon based upon your expected finish time. There are no numbered or colored corrals like most races.
As we approached our corral, the announcer (who was ridiculously motivational and should be at the beginning of every race!) directed our attention to the team of parachuters who were skydiving with American Flags and landing at the starting area. It was very inspiring and amazing to see.
The marathon was one to remember for ever and one that I definitely want to do again in my lifetime. Everything was done right. It was incredibly organized and very detail oriented. The marines were incredible and made all of this possible. They manned the water and fuel stations and every station was organized with plenty of hands out offering gatorade/water (this isn’t always the case). At one water station, I guess a runner wanted a drink but did not get one and a marine must have realized this because I saw him chasing a runner down to bring him cup of gatorade. That is someone who truly cares and goes above and beyond their duty.
During the last mile of the race, a spectator was handing out small American flags. Christina and I both got one and crossed the finish line waving the flag above our heads. Crossing the finish line on Sunday was a very happy moment. Running makes me happy, no matter how fast or slow. This was the first marathon I ran purposefully slower and also one of the most enjoyable marathons I ran. Shortly after crossing the finish line we were saluted by a marine and our medals were placed around our necks. They had plenty of food, gatorade, water, and even loads of watermelon (which is one of my favorite things to eat after a run)! They were also handing out plastic bags to carry all of our stuff in which was definitely needed! It’s the little things.