I didn't sleep very well the night before the race, but I was expecting that. I woke up at 2:30 AM (meaning I got about 4 hours of sleep). I guess my brain thought I was supposed to get up "Disney early". Since I was meeting my ROTE friends at their hotel, I didn't actually have to get going as early as I would have if I had to go through the Pentagon entrance. So I lay in bed for about another hour or so, then I heard my aunt up and decided to go ahead and get up. I did my rolling and some gentle yoga and then made my oatmeal and ate it while talking with my aunt. It was raining (as it had been most of the night) and that was disappointing. But it wasn't cold. I can handle rain or cold, but prefer not to have both.
I finished breakfast, got dressed, finished packing up my stuff, and posed for a pre-race picture!
|Not too bad for 4:15 AM!|
|Not too bad for 4:35 AM!|
I arrived at the hotel room and thankfully I checked the room number on my text because I had the wrong room number in my head - wouldn't have been nice to wake up the wrong people! I hit the bathroom and dropped off my bag in the room. We checked weather one last time and saw nothing on the radar so I left my poncho. I would regret that decision later.
Met up with the crew in the lobby and walked towards the start line. We got to the entrance for the military base (and I knew this from my aunt's tour the day before) and we stopped. Huge crowds and nobody was moving. This was different according to my friends who run MCM year in and year out. But we weren't moving. And the rain was starting to really come down. And it was dark. My nerves were a bit on edge and I'm glad I had friends around me!
The line was caused by security checking bags and having to walk through the metal detectors - and there were only 4 or 5. But apparently we had it good compared to folks coming through the Pentagon side who were in line for an hour or more. Lots of racers missed the start completely. We made it through, hit the potties, and then went to the start line. And before I knew what was happening, it was time to start.
|The start as seen by my aunt and uncle on the hill!|
As a result of all of the mind games, the details of the race are a bit fuzzy. It's a shame, but it is what it is. The course was fantastic and Jill is wonderful to run with! I had told her - and everyone that would listen - that I wanted to come in under 5 hours for my finish time. I'm not exactly why I chose 5 hours, but I did. I knew that it wouldn't be the end of the world if I didn't come in under 5 hours but I was hopeful! Jill stuck with me all through the race and really pushed me towards the end. She wasn't ugly about it at all, but she said that we were close to making my time goal! So for many of the end miles, I just settled in behind her and focused on her feet and her turnover. It really helped!
I felt pretty good through the majority of the race! My right ITB started to make noise around the 16th mile but it wasn't horrible. However, after the bridge while we were running through Crystal City, my left knee started to feel like it was giving out. I tried to keep up with Jill but lost her when the course turned around. I had to walk because it hurt so badly. But once I started to walk, it felt fine! So we switched from our regular intervals and I would run until it started to twinge and then we would walk! I was thinking of the next race I had coming up in two weeks and the reminder from Jeff Galloway that I needed to keep under the threshold of irritation. During the run intervals I would focus on keeping good form, and the walking felt very good. Once we hit that mile 24 marker, I knew that we would make it and that I would finish running! I can't even begin to describe that feeling! There is no way on earth I would have been able to do that without Jill's support and encouragement!
I will always remember as we started to run up the hill to the finish, she called out, "Remember, this hill isn't any worse that what we run at home!" and she was right! I pushed out the last bit of energy I had and watched my Garmin tick away the seconds to the finish to make sure that I came in under 5 hours! And I did - with 35 seconds to spare!! Incredible!!
|Happy Runner Girl!|
|Finisher!! I did it!!|
|Official time was 4:59:25! So excited!|
|Jill is a Titanium Marathon Maniac and my personal marathon angel! :)|
|Hugs from my aunt!|
The Metro ride home was crazy - saw someone being carried out of the crowds at the Roslyn station by medics! We ended up getting on the first train that was going in the right direction and getting off at a station closer to home to switch to the correct line, just to get out of the scary crowds! It was worth it for sure! We actually ended up making it home in good time. And I was physically feeling good but was completely emotionally drained. My original plan had been to stay in the finish line area and cheer my other friends across the finish line, and have my aunt pick me up at the metro station later, but I was so emotionally spent that I just needed to get back to their house and decompress.
As the night went on and we went out for dinner, my knees were definitely hurting a lot worse. But then I came home and took an epsom salts and felt much better, and the next morning I felt surprisingly very good! My aunt had to work on Monday so we went in late and she took me around to see the 9-11 memorial at the Pentagon and then I got on the metro and went sight seeing! I ended up doing a lot more walking than I had intended to do but I felt fine throughout. I was a bit nervous about sitting in the plane for 2 hours, but I stood up after my flight and felt really good!
It's now a week since the race and it has been a very busy week for me and my family. I have 6 more days until my Marathon Maniac Qualifier! I have had 2 runs in this last week, a 3 miler and a 6 miler. The 3 miler was first and was horrific! It was as if I had never run before! Yesterday the 6 miler felt MUCH better, but then my left knee hurt afterwards. I think despite doing a 2/1 intervals, I was doing the actual running too fast because it felt better. I have to remember that I am still in recovery mode and any runs that I am doing need to be very easy! It's not like I'm trying to maintain fitness! I stretched and rolled frequently yesterday, and this morning I woke up feeling just fine. I will do epsom salts bath again tonight (didn't have time to yesterday with the whole Halloween thing) and I'm sure that will help.
My only goals for Saturday's race are to get to the finish line. I have NO time goal and I do not mind going slowly and walking a lot! I guess if I had ANY goal, it will be to see if I can actually run a marathon and finish feeling good. I was able to do that the Disney marathon but that was mostly walking. I would like to discover if I have a "sweet spot" pace that will allow me to run the marathon and not feel pain at any point!
Sorry it took so long to get this posted - and I apologize for the lack of details! Oh! I remember something: I was quite disappointed in Rock Creek Park! I had been wanting to run there because it's on NCIS and it was not very exciting. LOL But now when Gibbs says, "Dead Marine found in Rock Creek Park" I can say, "I ran there!" :)
Anyway, sorry for the delays! Hopefully I'll have more details next week after the Soldier Marathon where I qualify - FINALLY - for the Marathon Maniacs! :D