Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Marine Corps Marathon Race Weekend Report

The Marine Corps Marathon Weekend was AWESOME! My parents and I headed down in Friday morning and checked into our hotel. We quickly got ready and headed over to the Expo to pick up my packet and Bib! I was so freaking excited! There was plenty “eye candy” (code for cute men in uniforms!!!)!
After picking up my bib we headed into the rest of the Expo and the shopping began! I got lots of cute MCM gear….I’m a serial shopper!

After that we headed back to the hotel for dinner. The restaurant at the hotel (Finn and Porter) was excellent! From there we headed up to our rooms and before I knew it was asleep! Next thing I knew I woke up around 7am…yipppeeee I actually slept through the night!!!
Saturday morning we headed off to Georgetown to some shopping! Back when I lived in Maryland I used to love going to Gtown on the weekends, it was so nice to be there again. I did some SERIOUS damage and this great store called “Cusp” (it’s a boutique-y store by Neiman Marcus), absolutely fabulous! Next door was Juicy where I picked up the cutest freaking boots….love them!
Keep in mind, all day it was POURING down rain….but the forecast kept calling for “clear sunny skies” on Sunday, thank GOD!
I headed back to the hotel to wait for the rest of my friends to arrive. Once everyone was there and settled in we got ready and headed to the Team in Training Pasta Party over at the Crystal Gateway Marriott. Before we left I got a call from our TNT leader letting me know that she had special shirts for all my 7 “guests” (aka my Posse!) to wear. Once we arrived they all pulled on their white TNT T-shirts, and we got new Gray TNT shirts to wear, very cool!
We took the escalators up to the ballroom, we were then greeted with a crowd of TNT volunteers with cowbells, whistles and clapping! They formed a “tunnel” that we went through, it was so amazing, totally gave me chills, and of course got me all teary eyed!

From there we got our food (which was amazing) and headed into the ballroom. The guest speakers were amazing, we even got to hear “The Penguin” speak, he was great!
After the dinner I headed up to my room and hoped to get some sleep….

Thankfully I drifted right off to sleep and the next thing I knew the alarm was going off at 4:50am!!!! I hopped up and started getting ready. My friend from Maryland, Charlene, stayed with me that night, so she helped with getting me ready (and keeping me calm)!!! Our team met in the lobby at 5:45 and headed for the metro station and off to the race!

It was all so exciting, there we all were, we each had raised at least $2,600 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, we had trained together almost every weekend over the course of the past 6 months, for many of us it was our first marathon, but for all of us we were on our way to an unforgettable experience. Walking from the metro to the race was very surreal….it was dark and cold, we were walking down a road that was blocked off, and there were so many people….it looked like a scene out of a movie. Once we were there we had time for the porta-johns and then made our way to the start!

I started out in shorts with sweats over them, my TNT tank, the Adidas socks on my arms, and a sweatshirt that a teammate gave to me (seriously, totally saved my ass from freezing!!!). I ended up ditching the sweatpants just before we got into our corrals. It was so exciting!!!!
The coaches went over our strategies with us the night before the race. I decided I was going to start in the 4:30 or 4:45 corral, hoping that would allow me to get started at a decent pace.
Once the gun went off it took me about 6 minutes to cross the start line, and from there I would say that it took about 2 miles before you could even get a chance to work on your pace.
I was really worried about starting out too fast, but that was never even an option! That was fine by me though, I really enjoyed taking in everything in!
Around mile 3 I ran into Coach Mike, we ran up the GW Parkway and crossed over the Key Bridge into DC.

We stayed together until about mile 8, from there I ran with Coach Chris all the way through Georgetown which was AMAZING!!!! Here I was running in the Marine Corps Marathon down the same streets that I was shopping on the day before! The crowds were awesome!!! We headed down M Street and then turned onto Wisconsin, then onto K Street. There were oranges right after Mile 9, they were great! Then right after we passed the 10 Mile Marker I saw my friends and family!!!

It was a great feeling to hear them all yelling my name!!! Coach Chris stayed with me until about mile 12 or so, then he headed off to meet up with 1 of our teammates that was hoping to qualify for Boston (and she did!!!!).
I was feeling great through 13, but somewhere between 13 and 15 I started to get major pain in my knee. This was pretty new to me, so I wasn’t sure what was going on. Up to this point my running 2 songs walking for 1 minute had been working great. I was able to make up for the slow start and stay on track for a sub 5 finish. Once the knee thing started I had to stretch and walk a little more. While I was stretching at one point I saw 2 of my teammates coming up behind me, I was so glad to see them! I picked up and started running with them, they asked if I was ok and I told them about the knee thing, thankfully they had Tylenol with them, so I chewed up a Milky Way and wedged the Tylenol in there and swallowed it down. YUMMY! I knew I would be seeing my “posse” around Mile 16, so I knew they were coming up soon. When I finally saw my parents on the left side of the road I was so happy!!!! I ran over and gave them a hug!! They told me the rest of the group was across the road, then I could hear them screaming!!!! As you’ll see in this video, they were AWESOME!!!! It was like a NASCAR pit crew!!! They hooked me up with Bio Freeze on the knee, Propel, Jelly Beans and a Milky Way stuffed in my top!Don't be scared by the "painful" face below...not sure why that's the still image for the video...can't get it to change!

Miles 17, 18, 19 were pretty much the same….run, walk, run, walk, stretch, walk, walk, walk, run, run, walk, stretch, drink powerade, eat anything that anyone was giving away, walk, run, stretch, run past my friends again and grab a handful of oranges out of the baggie! Obviously somewhere along these miles I realized that sub 5 wasn’t happening, and that was totally fine by me! In addition to it feeling like someone was trying to steal my knee cap off of my left leg, it now felt like someone else was trying to steal my right ankle! But then I saw someone with little Snickers bars….and I smiled!
During all of our training for the MCM you hear a lot about “Beating The Bridge”. “The Bridge” is shortly after mile 20 and you have to maintain a 14min mile and get across the bridge by a certain time, if you don’t….you’re out. They open the bridge up to traffic and your race is over. Don’t worry, that didn’t happen to me, just needed to throw that info in there because The Bridge was coming up next.
So, around mile 19 as I switched from running to walking this nice older man on the side of the road made eye contact with me, I’m sure he could tell I was struggling, he looked right at me and so convincingly said “In less than 3 miles YOU WILL BE ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE BRIDGE, JUST 3 MILES AND YOU’LL BE OVER IT”, I started to run again. I made it over part of the bridge and seriously felt like I no longer had an ankle, just a bone coming out of my knee that went straight into my foot, it was time to stretch….again. So I pulled over on the bridge and stretched and these 2 girls were there cheering everyone on, they were awesome. The one girl saw that I was struggling and poured me a cup of Gatorade, seriously, talk about crowd support! There was a lady holding a sign that said “This Bridge Sucks But You Rock”…it was classic!
Once I was over the bridge we made our way into Crystal City. I met up with Coach Chris again and ran with him for a little while. At about Mile 23 I told him that I was fine, and to head on out to round up some others. I was pretty confident that I knew what I needed to do (run, walk, walk, run, walk, walk, run)! There were great crowds in Crystal City, so that was pretty cool. 24-25 felt like they took forever, but I was getting so excited because I knew I was almost there and I knew that without a doubt pretty soon, I was going to finish my first marathon! Coach Mike ran with me for bit through there and told me that one of the mentors, Dave, was “catching us” at 26 and seeing us through to the finish line. As I got closer to the 26 mile marker I could hear the crowds, my heart started racing, I just wanted to be able to finish the race running. Then I saw Dave and we headed up “THE HILL” to the finish, it was the most amazing experience ever! Just as I was getting closer to the finish line I saw my parents and friends in the front row of the bleachers on the left, my eyes started to tear up and my smile was beyond huge! Before I knew it I was crossing the finish line, and I was a Marathoner!



Kelly H. said...

Okay. I'm sad, I cried. I'm so happy for you! You sound like you had an amazing time. Ah! GREAT JOB. Your friends and family are so awesome. I love th go Margo tee shirts, and the video was so fun. CONGRATULATIONS!! :D :D :D

*aron* said...

ohhhhhhh LOVED this report :)

CONGRATS CONGRATS!!! you did SO awesome - what an experience. i loved all the pics and LOVED the videos... esp the one mid race :)

you should be SOOOO proud of yourself - you are amazing! congrats again!

Run Mommy said...

Looks fantastic! I love reading the race reports. I think it is great that you had a "posse". Way to go!

jahowie said...

I'm very proud of you!! Great job!! It looks like the sock idea worked out well too. :-)

Melanie said...

Yay! It sounds like such a great race. I'm glad you had a good experience. I want to run this one someday!

Megan said...

Great story - brought tears to my eyes! Great accomplishment!!

Marci said...

I totally teared up watching your videos. A HUGE CONGRATULATIONS!! Awesome job and well done. That's a great thing you did, raising all of that money. I hope you rest well and I look forward to reading about the next marathon!

The Laminator said...

Wahoo! Wow, that was an amazing report on an amazing race. The videos were totally cool. Congrats, marathoner. I'm glad you had so much fun. Savor the feeling, rock star!

Marathon Maritza said...

Awesome race report! I absolutely loved all the videos, especially the last one...your family looks so proud of you and what awesome t-shirts!

You are a MARATHONER! Congratulations!

BeachRunner said...

Congrats. What a great report (videos and all) that really captured the whole amazing experience. Bravo. Great job. You should be proud!

Anonymous said...

What a great report. Great pictures and vidoes to go along. You did a wonderful job and should be super proud of yourself.

Congratulations, you are a marathoner now!!!

Jason said...


Welcome to the club :)

Less than 1/10 of 1 percent of people complete a marathon. Woohoo!!

RunBubbaRun said...

Congrats on your 1st marathon finish. NIce pics and videos.

You had a great support crew there.

I hope to make it to that marathon next year.

teacherwoman said...

What a wonderful race report, pictures, and videos! You look like you truly enjoyed the whole experience! That is too cool!

Makes me want to train for a full marathon. ...almost... maybe some day!

The Roberts said...

Great job and great race report. I am very very proud of you. Your videos had me tearing up, seriously:)

ThickChick said...

Congrats beauty!!!

You DID IT!!


ncrunner12 said...


Such a great race report, and to add video was amazing. You did such a fantastic job, sounds like an amazing race, I'll have to put it on my to do list.

have a great weekend.

P.O.M. said...

I love this report too! I'm a little chocked up right now. How awesome is your "pit crew!" Lucky girl.

mrjwhit~ said...

Thanks for the excellent report. I have wanted to do MCM since I heard about it. 2009 I will have to meet you there.

Amy said...

Awesome job! and great race report!!

Jess said...

Whoooo you go girl! Awesome job and great report! Sounds like you had some awesome crowd support there! You rock girly!

Laura said...

I'm so behind but CONGRATULATIONS! You did an amazing job and I loved the report :)

Words of Wisdom

"Promise yourself to be so strong that nothing will disturb your peace of mind.
See the sunny side of everything and make your optimism come true.
Think only of the best, work only for the best and expect only the best.
Forget about the mistakes of the past and press on to the greater achievements of the future.
Spend so much time on the improvement of yourself that there is no time to criticize others.
Live in the faith that the whole world is on your side so long as you are true to the best that is in you."
~ Chistian Dior

"Trust yourself. You know more than you think you do."
- Dr. Spock

"Fall in love or fall in hate. Get inspired or be depressed. Ace the test or flunk the class. Make babies or make art. Speak the truth or lie and cheat. Dance on tables or sit in the corner. Life is divine chaos. Embrace it. Forgive yourslef. Breathe. And enjoy the ride. "
- Solbeam