Last year I ran the Chicago Marathon, and that was my first one. I think at that time, I thought maybe that would be the only one I’d do. That distance is not a walk in the park. But, as the months went on, I began thinking I might want to try another one. And so here we are, talking about marathon #2, the Marine Corps Marathon (MCM) in Washington, DC. I guess you could say I am doing the “bucket list” races. Here is how it all went down.
Coming off my best training for any race (except one big problem – no speed work and no tempo runs!), I had the least amount of training injuries in the 11 races I have done to date ( 9 Half marathons, 1 Full marathon). Knowing this, I felt like I could beat my Chicago time, even though MCM is a more difficult course. I had better runs and longer runs overall, and I had practiced fueling on long runs a lot more this time.
On race day, I awoke at 4AM and starting drinking some coffee and ate some breakfast around 4:30AM (maybe too early? I don’t know. Some suggest 2-3 hours beforehand). I drank some water, and headed for the Metro around 6AM. The Metro was super packed and the Pentagon stop, where all runners were getting off, was so packed with people that the Metro personnel had to open the exit gates so everyone could get out of the area in timely fashion (free trip on the Metro).
From the Metro, it was a long slow walk to the security line. It was raining and apparently, the rain was causing some of the security metal detectors to malfunction. The wait was well over an hour, but security at races is a very important thing! This was the worst part of the race.
Once I got through security, I realized that the race was starting in about 10-15 minutes (I waited about 1.5 hours in security)! But most people were still stuck in the security lines. The good news was the Port-A-Potties were not crowded at all! I have never seen a race with no bathroom lines. By the time I made it up to the starting area, the race had already started, so I just walked up to the line and began running. The weather was light rain and about 55 degrees F, humid, and cloudy.
The first half of the marathon was a breeze. Mile 12 is called “The Blue Mile”, and it is lined with photo after photo of those Marines that paid the ultimate sacrifice for American freedom. I was so humbled and thankful for their selflessness and sacrifice to our country. I stuck with my race plan for the first half of the race and then sped up a little in the second half. That lasted until about mile 18, when I started developing some abdominal cramps. These cramps continued and eventually as things warmed up to 70 degress F, the sun started shining too and was still humid. I’m not sure what happened, but I definitely hit the wall before mile 20 and the last 8-9 miles were a struggle. I saw other runners battling it too. I think there are things I could have done differently as far prerace prep. It became a mental battle, but I was able to finish this race and set a PR. Afterwards, I had some really bad nausea, and I was so tired. I think the new PR is still not the best I can do, and I will sign up for another marathon next year. I am just not sure which one I will do or when yet.
I do recommend this race! Normally there aren’t problems with security and Metro, and I think this race is worth doing at least one time, if not more. The Marines are a class act.
Rating: 4.3 out of 5.0 stars