Monday, October 28, 2013

Marine Corps Marathon: Never trust a box of Wheaties and the damnjuggler is back

So yesterday was my first full marathon.  I was a bit nervous.  You never know what is going to happen on race day.  Was my training enough?  Would I beat the bridge at 20 miles or get pulled from the course? Would I remember all of my stuff?  All of these questions and more are just circling around in my head in the morning.

I got up at 4:30 to start to get ready.  I was meeting Megan at the lot at 5:45.  I had my stuff together the night before to try and make my morning a bit more calm.  I had to get my food for the race.  I had the rest of last weeks sweedish fish from Army 10 miler  along with one shot block.  I was planning on more than one shot block but I forgot to get the package that I purchased at the expo out of my bag.  I wouldn't figure this out till I was waiting for the race to start.

I taped my one knee and headed out the door.  Megan and I headed to the metro and found we were one of maybe 4 people waiting for the metro..ummm it is race day right??  More started to show I am guessing we just missed a train.

We ended up arriving at the Pentagon after switching and squeezing into a new train.  The line to exit the metro was crazy long.  We head out and trekked the 2 miles to the start.  Our friend Brad is there with his friend from out of town.  He is not running it but wants to wish us good luck.  We head over to the bag check.  No problems here.  Nice and easy no lines..
While we were headed to the portapotties we saw some Marines parachute out of a plane and show the American Flag.

We checked our bag and headed to a portapotty.

What you can't see is how nice my throw away jacket is.  Lovely velour with rhinestones around the pocket. Yeah I always go fancy before a race! Somebody is so lucky to get that jacket.  On a side note I was standing beside a man who was wearing a little girl's robe with pink duckies on it..Loved it!  

While were were standing in line one group of guys had their own roll of tp.  They were passing it around.  I of course had to comment that I would like some please.  They were very kind and spared some squares to Megan and myself.  Genius!  But considering that I couldn't remember shot blocks I am not sure if I could remember to bring a roll of  tp to a race.  

We headed over to our corrals and quickly found Brad.  As we we were standing around who should find us??  That's right Gary!  It is amazing the crowds that we stand in and Gary always is able to find us.  We had marathonfoto take our pic along with Brad.

Amazing that you are in a crowd of 30,000 plus and you can run into people you know.  We also ran into Matt from run club as we were heading to our corrals.  We haven't seen him in ages, so it was nice wishing him good luck.  Megan and I wished each other luck and went to our corrals.  I really had no idea what I was going to run this full in.  I just wanted to beat the bridge and finish.  So I lined up with the 5:30 crowd.  It took us thirty minutes and we were crossing the start line.  

I was feeling pretty good for the first half of the race.  I found a group of guys with a sign that they were offering free advice.  The advice they were giving when I ran by was to always tip your waitress.  Sound advice guys.  They were also handing out some candy.  Since I figured out that I didn't really have more than some sweedish fish I figured I should turn and head the few steps back to pick up a mini snickers bar.  Ah it was yummy.  Just an FYI - if you are handing out snickers and it is in the 40's no need to freeze them.  It makes it a bit hard to chomp on them as you run.  I thought I was going to choke to death because I was trying to chew a frozen snickers and breath out of my mouth (I can't breath out of my nose when I run..not enough air.)  I could see the headlines girl dies from choking on a snickers at her first marathon.  

After the snickers was all eaten and I was sure that I wasn't going to die in a tragic snickers death, I got myself behind the 5:30 pace group.  They ended up being the Galloway run walk pace group.  So all of sudden some woman would throw her hands in the air and about 40 people would just stop and start walking.  It was so annoying.  I am fine with the run/walkers if you only take up half of the road.  When you are taking up the entire road and not letting anyone else are annoying.  I almost got tripped up by a girl that was darting in and out of people trying to escape the run/walkers too.  

I finally escaped the madness  of 5:30 and was much happier.  We headed up Rock Creek Park and we started to see other runners coming down Rock Creek.  I was on the lookout for Megan.  That kept me busy for a few miles.  I did see her smiling face as I shouted out and we exchanged waves.  She was looking pretty good and I thought I was feeling pretty good so all was well.  Then as I was coming down Rock Creek I saw him.  The damn juggler!  This time he was dressed as RGIII from the Redskins, he even wore a mask to look like RGII!  Instead of juggling regular balls he was juggling footballs! Such a show off!

Curses juggler!  My first marathon and you are there too.  I think he might be following me!  I think it took him to mile 20 to pass me.  So that made me feel sort of good. :)

We were at mile 9 and I was feeling pretty good.  I loved seeing all of the Marines out supporting the MCM.  It was so wonderful!  Mile 9 I ate my smashed blueberry jelly half sandwich.  It was so yummy.  

As we headed down Haines Point I saw the Run to Remember people.  Haines Point is a rather lonely stretch of land that not many people trek out to cheer.  Since it is rather lonely you start to read signs.  

It was a line of pictures of fallen soldiers.  Brought some tears to my eyes.  At the end volunteers were lining the road holding American flags.

We headed out of Haines Point and I believe it was mile 14.  My half time was pretty consistent with my normal half marathon time.  I was a bit worried that maybe I went out a bit too fast.  Well I guess I will be finding out shortly.  :)

As I was running I had this girl and her boyfriend or husband beside me. I am guessing he was a Marine because he would randomly yell out someones name to the Marines on the side like he knew them and then head over to shake there hands.  He obviously was not running his first full marathon.  He was a really nice guy and obviously there to support the girlfriend because the entire time he was skipping around her and running ahead to chat with someone and then skipping back to her.  If he didn't offer me a small bottle of water earlier in the run I would  have been giving him the evil eye at some point for being so happy and bouncy.  But I didn't because he offered me a bottle of water and I thought that was nice of him.  I will say I wish I had just a bit of his energy at the end of the race.  It was funny because the girl would just keep on pushing ahead and the boy was just all over the place.  

Around mile 17 I ran into the box of Wheaties, the carton of Milk and a Banana.  I have seen the guy in the Wheaties box before.  I could not imagine running 26.2 miles in a costume.  Anywhoo  I was running and listening to the breakfast people talking and realized that they were talking about beating the bridge.  Now I will tell you all that I didn't look at the cutoff time for the bridge.  I figured I either beat the bridge or get kicked off the course.  I just was hoping that I was maintaining the 14 min. mile pace.  Considering the start I was in 11 min/mile I figured I had some cushioning so I should make it.  Then the Wheaties box and his friend start talking about how they need to get to the bridge in the next 20 or else they won't beat the bridge.  What?!  I don't think I could do 3 miles in 20 mins!  Great I just purchased over 100 dollars of MCM merchandise that I will never be able to wear!  So I was trying to kick it up a bit...not sure it was working, but I tried.  

Mile 18 there were Marine's handing out sports beans.  Since I had my name on my shirt I got lots of Go Pam's!  Looking strong Pam!  during the race and I was loving it.  So as I ran past, not stopping for sports beans, I hear one Marine start yelling at me to dig deeper Pam..Push it Pam..Go faster Pam.  He must think I am in bootcamp!?  Well I wasn't going to make him mad so I did what he said to do..then a few guys down, a different Marine decided to take over the yelling at Pam moment.  Was pretty fun.  I think I would have done well at boot camp.  I was pretty good at following orders. :P

I head over to mile 19 and I see some friends.  Amazing how seeing someone you know just puts a little bit more pep in your step.  I ran over to say hi and offer up sweaty hugs.

Ah to be this happy at mile 19 and not knowing what lies ahead.  The fact that in two miles I will be miserable is unknown to me.  Jen assured me that I had time for the bridge and I was not endanger of getting kicked off the course.  Ah Wheaties lied to me!  Well maybe I shouldn't listen in on people's conversations..because technically they didn't say anything to me..but still.  You don't say 20 mins left until people are done and not allowed to finish.  That is just mean!

I said my byes and was off to beat the bridge.   I made it to the bridge.  My goal was to beat the bridge and I completed that goal.  I saw the 20 mile marker and then I just broke down.  It is almost like I hit my goal and I was done.  I called my mom told her my legs were so sore and I was going to walk the last 6.  That is pretty much what I did too.  I just couldn't lift my leg and foot off of the ground to run forward.  I knew it was going to be along 6.2 miles.  If I didn't fall apart after 20 I could have finished just under 6.  But I had to walk..oh well I am happy I finished.  Crystal City was torture.  I just wanted to be done.  I tried running..what I thought was running but I am sure it looked nothing like running.  I started to ignore anyone saying my name.  At mile 24 my friends were back.  I heard my name a few times and looked up and they were there.  How nice.  Unfortunately I could barely lift my hand to wave.  Ugh...

As I am running mile 25 I see Eileen from run club riding her bike.  How great to see her.  She gave me a big hug and told me I was doing great.  Gary had finished a bit ahead of me.  A nice little boost when I needed it.  It didn't make me run, but it did put a smile on my face :)  

As I crossed the finish line I tried to run across.  Not sure that is what it looked like.  I was feeling so proud!  I can't believe I finished a marathon!  As I head over to the Marines for my medal I hear the one Marine explaining that they ran out of medals and would send me my medal if I emailed the Marines.  I guess they didn't anticipate as many people running and finishing today.  All of sudden I felt tears welling in my eyes.  I was trying not to cry.  I knew it wasn't the Marine in front of me's fault.  They were offering the 10K medal.  The man beside me was super excited that we got extra medals today.  I didn't really want a 10K medal since I didn't run a 10K, I ran a full.  The other Marine just looked at me, I think he could tell I was close to crying, and asked me "Yes? to the 10K?"  I just shook my head.  He saluted me and congratulated me.  I didn't really hear what he said because I was so sad about no medal.  I got my medal and called my mom to tell her I finished and started to cry about my lack of medal.  She told me it is fine they will send me one, I will still get a medal.  I told her I was planning on wearing it to school and I earned it today.  All afternoon I would tear up when I told someone they ran out of medals.  I know they will send me one, but for my first full it was just such a let down.  I felt really proud of what I did and really wanted me medal.  

Megan let me pose with her medal as she photo-bombed me!

I am very proud of my full marathon.  I wish I didn't fall apart the last 6 miles, but I finished, so I didn't completely fall apart :)  I am a marathoner!  And this marathoner is officially a retired marathoner.  The training was tough.  The race tough.  I think half marathons are more of my thing.  I guess I could try another marathon later..who knows but as of right now I am a retired marathoner :)  


Kim said...

First - a huge CONGRATULATIONS!!! You did it - you finished a marathon and you totally rock!!!
I loved reading your recap and I cried with you at the end - I'm so bummed that they ran out of medals!
Way to gut it out!!!
And, I don't think that walking the last 6.2 is falling apart - it is digging deep and doing whatever it takes!!

~*Kimmy*~ said...

Way to go on your very first marathon!! You are a marathoner!! You have inspired me to maybe doing one some day. You are one strong cookie and hanging in there and seeing it through to the very end!! Wow!! I am just totally excited for you!! Way to go!!

Jennifer K. said...

OOO-RAH!!!! So happy for you! You did it! Marathons are emotionally tough enough, but photos of fallen soldiers along the route? That's just harsh! I think if you didn't get to take a medal home, you should have gotten to take a Marine home. I'm really surprised that they ran out of medals. Some organizations, I get it, but the MCM? Well...medal or no, you did it!

From Ice Cream to Marathon said...

Awesome job Pam!! I think you did amazing!! So proud of you!
I think that's awful that they ran out of medals. I can imagine a smaller marathon doing that, but not the MCM! So sad for you about that.
I don't know how people run in costumes, I sure couldn't do that either. Congrats lady!!

Ronya said...

Congratulations Pam!!!! Great work, so proud of you! Your goal was to complete the marathon and you did just that :-)

Janelle @RunWithNoRegrets said...

Congratulations on your first marathon! I'm sure you'll get your medal soon. So funny about the juggler, I remember reading about him before.

BDubbs said...

I am so sorry about the medal issue. I also ran MCM as my first and one of the things you get sold on is the finish have a Marine greet you, place the medal around your neck, and taking you photo in front of Iwo Jima. Feel great about your accomplishment, only 1% of Americans can say they did what you just did.

Anonymous said...

Congrats! I can't imagine finishing a marathon with that ran out of medals! Glad that you got one in the mail though (I read ahead, hehe).

Michael said...

Congrats on finishing your first marathon!!! That is so awesome! It's amazing what happens at mile just gets so crazy after that point, but you pushed through and finished.

I was totally laughing about the Snickers....and your "headline"..not really funny if it happened of course, but funny thinking about your trying to eat a half frozen snickers while running a marathon.

I'm sorry they ran out of medals. That really sucks. You totally deserve the medal the second you cross that finish line, not a week later. Glad you got it though.