Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Marine Corps Marathon Race Report 2013


My only goal for this race was not to give up (Spoiler alert: I didn’t). I encountered the pain I was afraid of: both of the insides of my ankles were filled with sharp pain if I ran on them starting at about mile 14. I did my best to power walk to the end. I got diverted at mile 17 and lost a few miles off the whole “marathon” so technically I haven’t finished the marathon distance. I am 100% okay with this. I’ll have a chance to tackle it in the future. I am happy with my performance because I may have stopped running, but I didn’t stop moving. What would I have gained by stopping? Nothing. Why would I be allowed to stop? I committed myself to keep going until I was told to stop. There’s nothing else I could have done.

Miles 1-6?

I was running fine, even kept up with the pace group for a mile or so. I met friends on the course. I was going to run with one of them for a the race, but we couldn't find each other at the start. By the time I knew where she was, she was 3 miles ahead of me! go her!

I ran with one friend for a while and it was really nice, but eventually I just couldn’t keep up and had to slow down. We had nice conversation and she told me about the area. I suppose that the pain started around this time and that's why I needed a longer walk break.

I don't know where along the course this is, but I'm so pretty, right?

Miles 7-16

I met another woman named Trish (“so, I didn’t catch your name”“It’s trish”“But my name is Trish”) and I ran with her for a few miles. She definitely pushed me to keep going. She was maintaining a run/walk thing and I managed it up until the half marathon.

Most people say they were bored along this part of the course, but I found it very peaceful. I think it is called Haine’s point? It was really nice. Many of the signs were witty and encouraging. There was one part of this stretch that was lined with members of a group with Run to Remember. They were standing, each holding flags. Maybe 30 people?

On the other side of the point, I met a woman named Christine. She helped me, too. She could see that I was clearly in pain, and she pushed me to do little stretches of running. “From lampost to lampost”. I lost her after the aide station at mile 16…I really hope she met her goal!

Mile 16- 17 ish

This is where I completely lost it. Crying like crazy. Another woman running with the luekemia/lymphoma group told me why she ran: for her niece, who died. She said that she couldn’t stop because her niece had to be strong through so much more. My face was just a waterfall at this point. This is where I told myself that I have to just keep going until I can’t go any longer. There’s one quote from Firefly that’s very apt to bring up here: “If you can’t run, crawl, and if you can’t do that, find someone to carry you”. I never had anyone physically carry me, but so many people helped carry me mentally. I never did find why I was running, but I did know that I couldn’t stop. I just couldn’t. 
This is me in pain! oh joy!
I was too slow to beat the cutoff after mile 17 and they redirected me to join in again at mile 20. I saw another friend here. She was very sweet and asked if I’d like to run with them but I knew I just couldn’t run anymore lest my feet crack in two.

Miles 20- 26.2
I think about half of this was over a bridge and then in Crystal City where there were no porta potties for about 5 miles. I don’t even know. It felt like I was going to explode for over an hour. Oh, and some random weirdo spectator tried to ask me out for a glass of wine. Like, No. I finally found my porta potty at the dunkin' donuts food station.

On the last mile, I met a man named Ray. He was very interesting. He carried a flag the entire marathon. I’m pretty sure he stuck around in the last miles to encourage people before he crossed the finish line. He told me a very good piece of advice. If you don’t want to tell people your finish time, all you have to say when they ask you is “It was timed?” and they will never ask you again. And then he asked me, very kindly, “Do you think you can go a little faster to the end? you’re almost done and it might be a good idea to go just a little faster” (it was a couple minutes to the official close of the race). I found a little bit more strength to climb up that little hill right at the end. 
This is Ray

The marines at the end were super encouraging. It was very surreal to be at the end, I swear. Even though I didn’t get to finish the whole thing, I would have. I was gonna keep going until I was forced to stop.

I didn’t give up, and I met my goals. I did the best I could have given my circumstances. 
This is me almost done

This is me not stopping

Thank you for reading. And, as ever, thank you for your continued support.

I learned a few things about myself… like, now I know I won’t give up. It’s weird I didn’t know that before.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

"Will Run For Food" Trail Half Marathon Race Recap

September 28, 2013
"Will Run For Food" Trail half marathon
 (actually 13.3 according to the race director)
Mt Pleasant, MI

That was a well-fought run, especially for someone who sees a hill and cries.


  • Everyone said "good job" to me, and I assume they did for everyone else they passed. So friendly!
  • Walking up the hills (big fucking hill #1 and big fucking hill #2) felt like more work than running the straightaways.
  • The sandy hills were also quite annoying. 
  • It was a small race...Around 8 people in my age group, I think. 40 racers total. The only downside is that I pretty much ran the entire thing by myself, since I was much slower than everyone. Which isn't to say I ran slow. I ran my goal pace that was about the same as what would be an easy pace on the road. I think that it was about 2 min/mile under my easy trail pace. There was still a lot of walking involved.
  • I ate two clif shots and 3 oreos. That's less than I intended to eat but I didn't need the rest of the food.
  • Big fucking hill #2 was a pain... it was super steep and sandy, which makes for very hard goings. I had to do it 3 times. I didn't want to at all. 
  • At one point, near the end, I thought "Isn't it nice I haven't fallen at all?" and 2 seconds later I tripped and fell. 
  • And two miles later I crossed the finish line in laaaaast place.

I assume all the hard work pays off eventually, even though I am kind of lonely now. I'm sure it won't be the last time I ran fast by myself. I should get used to it, considering I signed up for an even longer trail race next year. It is funny that I don't mind being by myself when I train, but I just feel sort of pointless when I'm in last place running by myself.

It is a small race and there were really yummy cookies at the finish line... monster oatmeal cookies! and fresh apples! Instead of t-shirts, everyone got water bottles. I've been using mine since Saturday.

I finished in 2:56:26. Technically a personal record since it's my first trail half. I'll take it. 

There's a good chance I twisted my ankle without realizing it, since the next time I ran, I found the pain. I can't tell if it's going to hurt on my next run, but I'm RICE-ing as much as I can. I have a marathon in 24 days and I do intend to finish the damn thing. For that, I need to shuffle some of my training schedule around and be patient with the foot. Prayers for the dumb ankle are being said. Here's hoping.