Mission Accomplished: 40th Marine Corps Marathon
Earned Not Given
October 25, 2015
I was so excited when I got into the 40th Marine Corps Marathon through their lottery. I had previously tried getting into the New York City Marathon via lottery and didn’t get in. I’m glad my luck changed with this race. This was to be my second marathon. My first one was only 10 months earlier at Disney’s Marathon.
Training throughout the summer with my coach Michael from Run Nerds Rock, and with races such as the Rock ‘n’ Roll Virginia Beach Half Marathon and the Runner’s World Half Festival, helped me prepare for this marathon.
As race day approached I was getting even more excited and nervous because I heard the Marines know how to make a course challenging. I had previously run the Marine Corps Historic Half where the last mile was all up hill.
The expo was expected to be crowded and it was but it moved along with a casual pace. Many items were picked through since this was the 2nd day they were opened but I was still able to buy the coveted Marine Corps Marathon jacket!
Since this was the 40th anniversary of the Marine Corp Marathon they recommended getting to the start line 2 hours prior to start time. I’m glad I did because it took a really long time to get through security.
In fact it was so long that I was worried I wouldn’t make the gun start and so was everyone else around me. By the time I got through security I realized they had only a few working metal detectors in place and a marine at each one looking through bags. It started to rain so some folks were speculating that the rain was affecting the metal detectors. Once I got through I saw just how empty the runner’s area was compared to the number of people still waiting to get through security. Time was running out so I started to walk towards the corrals.
In a short time the national anthem played, and the Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey flew by. It was an awesome experience to see the skydivers jump out with their parachutes and the American flag waving by their feet.
The gun went off and I started to run. The course took us through parts of DC. I was pleasantly surprised at seeing so many spectators waving at us and encouraging us to keep going. The course had a few hills here and there and too many bottlenecks. As time went on the temperature became warmer and warmer. It was downright hot by mile 10.
At mile 11 I approached the Blue Mile hosted by Wear Blue: Run to Remember. They are an amazing civilian organization that honors our fallen services members at these races by placing a picture of fallen heroes along the mile stretch. It’s a very somber, emotional, and raw experience. I had experienced this for the first time at the Marine Corps Historic Half and it left a lasting impression. I have a few friends that volunteer for them by holding the American flag at this mile. It really puts into perspective why we are running.
By mile 13 I found my groove and the runners around me were running my pace. This felt great and helped me feel at ease as I tried to maintain pace for the second half of the race.
Runners had to “Beat the Bridge” at mile 20 by a certain time (1:20pm). This was on everyone’s minds as we approached this part of the course. It’s a mega milestone because it’s an uphill incline in the heat of the afternoon after running 19 miles.
The next challenge was the final hill up to the Iwo Jima monument. The Marines know exactly how to make a challenge. At mile 26 where you only had .2 miles to go – is this hill. You can see the finish line and yet you have this hill to get up in order to cross that finish line.
I remember feeling like a turtle trying to pull myself up that hill and mentally cursing its inconvenient location of it on the course. My legs were on fire! But the beauty in this pain was that by the time I reached the top, the finish line was right there….I finished with a new PR (4:48:10)!
What an amazing feeling of accomplishment. I ran 26.2 miles through DC, through the heat, through the hills and it was wonderful! I even PR’d!
The bling is amazing! The picture doesn’t do it justice. The weight and feel of this finisher’s medal is very impressive and accurately represents the 26.2 miles you had to run to earn it. I would definitely recommend this race. Enter the lottery for your chance!
I commemorated the experience with this Christmas Ornament from PersonalizationMall.com. I’m thinking of doing this for many of my races. It’s a great gift idea too!
The Best of the Race: The Marines! They were everywhere throughout the course cheering us on, handing out the water cups, cleaning up the cups off the ground, running with us, yelling motivational words to us as we ran by. It was truly amazing!
The Worst of the Race: The Crowds! The finish line was congested and extremely crowded. It was immediately taken over by what felt like thousands of spectators and family members. It took a really long time to shuffle through this mass of people to get out and meet my family. I was so happy to see them!
For this race I wore INKnBURN’s Boston Tech Shirt and Chameleon Sports Skirt, and Newton Running shoes Motion IVs.