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.

1 comment:

  1. Great recap. Congrats on the finish and not giving up!