Saturday, October 31, 2009

Marine Corps Marathon: A Race Report, Part I

Ahhh, the lure of the marathon. What makes people want to run for hours on end, for 26 point 2+ miles, through cities & states, through pain & blood & sweat & tears....

...I have no idea, because dear lord is that race torturous!

Ok, ok. I do kind of know. People run marathons for the massivecrazy sense of accomplishment you get when you finally cross that finish line.

This marathon for me was a definite test of will. I signed up not long after completing marathon #1, and I think I only signed up because I felt like I could do better. I felt I could perform at a higher level than I did at the NC Marathon. I wanted to train harder, run faster and cross that finish line well under 4:30 the second time around. Honestly, I was a bit embarrassed with myself back in May. Of course I was proud that I had DONE IT but let's be honest here, anyone can do it if they want to. Not everyone can be great at it.

And I wanted to be great.

{Well, great for me. Not great as in superstar elite runner sub six-minute mile great, but great as in, a 150% performance on my end.}

But over the past 5 months or so, running for me has been on the back burner. My life has been crazy busy, full of changes, new beginnings, new stresses...and quite honestly, I was a little burnt out on running.

So when time finally came for me to actually run this marathon, I was more than ready to get it over with. I really didn't know what my time would be, I could only hope that I was prepared enough to hit that sub 4:30 mark that I hoped I could. I had hit almost every long run, and had kept up fine. I had actually noticed an increase in my long run pace from my previous training season. {Increase as in, speedier.} I had taken up yoga and w as working on my strength.

So, all in all, I was prepared. I was ready, come what may. But, I was also very nervous.

Kimi, Matt and I had a long drive to DC {via Raleigh to pick up Meredith}....

Kimi is excited!

Had a busy day Saturday at the expo & running errands... {trying on bridesmaid's dresses for Meredith's upcoming nuptuals! Going to the inspiration dinner..}

But when Sunday morning came around all of that nervousness had faded away and in it's place had come excitement!

Kimi, Katy and I outside of my room getting ready to head for the Metro!

We had written our names on our TNT singlets, attached our flair, written the names of those we were running in honor of on our backs, eaten our breakfast, trained for months, and were ready to RUN!

I was excited to run this race because I had people to run it with. {Instead of the cows like last time.} Plus I knew there would be thousands of spectators to cheer us on!

We headed downstairs to meet the rest of our SC team & then headed on to the Metro. This was quite the experience! There were hundreds (maybe thousands) of runners squishing onto the platforms, into the trains, onto each was packed. Kind of like this...

This was taken later on in the day, during the marathon, when all of the spectators were trying to get to different spots on the course to cheer on their runners. (Taken by LiLu as she was schlepping around town to cheer me on!)

Once we got off at the Arlington Cemetary stop, the 30 ,000 runners spilled out onto the street and we made our way to....the photographers!

First up, me and Katy!

Let's add in Kimi! Now with our numbers....we were definitely hamming it up at the start line!

So after a bit of a chilly wait, we were off! The first 8 miles of the race were supposed to be hilly, as it wound through Alexandria before crossing the bridge into Georgetown, so we were planning on taking it easy. We ended up losing Kimi & other TNT'er Andrew after mile 1. Katy and I both had groups of family and friends on the course, and we saw all of them at the 1 mile mark!

Hmm, my camera was mad at Matt that day I think. Let's try this again.

Ok, so don't have great pics from mile 1. Moving on...Katy and I decided to run the first 6 miles straight through (because it was crowded & hilly) and then after that start the run/walk. We were planning on sticking to what had worked in training - running a mile, walking a minute.

We saw Katy's family again on the bridge over into DC at mile 4!

We were to wind through Georgetown, then head down by the water to Hain's Point for about 4 miles before we made it back up to the monuments.

I think this was around mile 8 somewhere in Georgetown. Katy's family was great at meeting us every few miles. {Note, I have no idea who the other purple TNT'er is there, we're kind of hiding behind.}

We were feeling great! We were having fun, cheering, getting cheered for, slapping hands with little kids on the was so much fun!

But, it was going to start sucking pretty soon...

To be continued!

Monday, October 26, 2009

I finished!

Going to post a full recap soon, but wanted to let you all know I finished the Marine Corps Marathon in 4:47, a PR by 14 minutes!

A little slower than I had hoped, but ended up with some (I think) IT band issues around mile 23...major pain! The pic above is of me and TNT teammate Katy resting at the TNT tent after negotiating the mess that was the finish line. I would never have finished this one without her! THANK YOU KATY!!!

...more to come!


Thursday, October 22, 2009

Marathon time baby!

Marathon #2 is less than three days away now! Don't have much time to post, we're packing tonight and heading up to D.C. in the morning! Wish me luck folks :) The past few weeks of training have been pretty decent, my last really long run went horribly, but when doesn't it?!

If you really wanna, you can track me online here using my first and last name. I think they either send you emails or texts every time I hit a 5k mark! If you wanna track me, just shoot me a comment and I'll let ya know who I am ;)

I am riding up to the race with Matt and my TNT teammate Kimi. We're stopping along the way in Raleigh to pick up my girl Meredith, and we're meeting up with our other teammates Friday night. We're also gonna get in some quality time with my girl LiLu and her boyf at some point. My dad, brother and grandmother are also coming up! (Remember last time?) should be a fun packed weekend.

Look out for a massive recap next week!

You can also follow the play by play on Twitter....that's where I've been hiding the past few months ;)

**Congrats to fellow Charlestonian Amanda on her bun in the oven! So excited for you lady :)

A big THANK YOU to everyone who contributed to my Team in Training fundraising campaign. I exceeded my goal and raised $3, 526.00 for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society! You all rock.