Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Marine Corps Marathon Weekend Recap

My first ever Marine Corps Marathon is in the books and was a huge success none the less. My results were not nearly as impressive as they could have been but the Marine Corps Marathon is really about the experience rather than the finish time.
FRIDAY October 28th Being a local I went to the MCM Packet Pickup and Expo Friday. That was a ton of FUN. I met so many people... both Marines and runners and volunteers alike. The first two people I came across were Marines of course. We talked for a few minutes then it was picture time. Every time I had to leave the expo I had walk back in through bag check so I saw both these Marines many times. They were very kind and I made sure to thank them for all they do and for their service.
So then I went pick up my shirt and bib and whatever else I was going to get. The shirts are so nice for MCM. This year they were green. Besides the long sleeve mock neck running shirt lined with fleece, I got my bib, and something I wasn't aware of a which was a patch. At first I was like "cool... what am I going to do with this patch". Then later on I stood in a long but not so long line at the merchandise tent and bought a hoodie which is reasonably priced and very comfortable. I maybe should have gotten a women's medium but the women's small fits well. I walked around the expo with several current and new running friends.
SATURDAY October 29th Saturday morning I went to the National Mall in DC for the MCM and MCM 10k Facebook group shake out run. I met so many amazing people on the short and fun two mile run from the Smithsonian Metro down to the Washington Monument up to the Capitol Building and back to the Smithsonian Metro. Don't have any pictures but I know my new friends took pictures. I met new local friends as well as some from outside Cleveland and even Brazil. After the run it was called get home... get ready for the race...eat lunch which I did on my own... eat dinner which was with a friend of mine who used to be my swim coach... then off to bed. It was a sleepless night but I got a few minimal hours before I lay in bed for hours on end before getting up and deciding it was time to go and Execute this Mission.
SUNDAY October 30th So after getting up at what was the middle of the night... I put on my purple running tank... black tri shorts... green sparkle running skirt... white cep compression socks... had some yogurt and left Silver Spring to head to Crystal City. Since Metro with all the safe track work was not opening at 5 am. I ended up driving to Crystal City (right by National or Reagan Airport) parked and took a shuttle over the to the start which was basically at the Pentagon. I was surprised at how not bad at all the lines were to get through bag check. I made some more friends on the shuttle... but are you really surprised by that?
The first Marine I saw after I got off the shuttle and after I got through security got the FIRST Thank You of what was 26 that I would hand out as I Charged The District... Beat The Bridge... and Took The Iwo that morning and early afternoon. The first Marine was clueless I think as of what to do when I handed him the Thank You. I almost feel bad that he almost broke out in tears because he was so humbled by this random Thank You.
The wait for the start was OMG... I just want to get this party started. The handcycle/wheelchair racers started around 7:30 I think. I was too caught up in the moments of the Flyover and the singing of the Star Spangled Banner. The first wave of runners... the Elites went off at 7:55 which left about 20 more minutes till my journey started. Honestly... because I was so caught up in seeing all the sights I run but with so many thousands and I mean thousands of friends I don't remember much about running. The first few miles in Arlington were just crowded and I couldn't move around. Once we made our way over the Key Bridge into Georgetown the crowd thinned out a bit. Dad has cycled down from Bethesda on the Capital Crescent Trail so the first place I saw him was coming out of Georgetown at the bottom of the hill as you turned left on Water Street. I waved and high fived and we talked for a moment. He told me I looked good and strong... that was about mile 6 or 7... I knew that wouldn't last long and I was right. We then went all over Washington DC. Though I run in DC ALL THE TIME... it looked different. Maybe because of the crowds that were out and all the people running MCM. As we arrived at Hains Point... it was time to shed tears at the Blue Mile to honor and remember service member killed in action. Everyone around me was tearing up. I was glad when that was over. It was then time to see if I could find dad at the halfway point again but no sight of him... well that's fine... I need to keep running because it was my duty as how I was going to thank the Marines for what they do. Running on the National Mall was an awesome experience... mostly because I didn't have to run on the sidewalk this time. The crowds were crazy awesome. After the Mall... it was time to run over the Memorial Bridge and Beat the Bridge... which I did with plenty of time. Oh and look... there's dad for the second and final time. He asked me if I was ok. My pace had slowed because (a)it was a bridge and I'm scared of running over bridges and (b) it was now sunny not overcast and HOT HOT HOT. So then it was "thanks for coming and goodbye have a safe ride back to Bethesda Dad" and I was back in Virginia... this time Crystal City. I honestly was so surprised I wasn't one of the many walking at this point. Six miles point two miles left. "I Can and Will Do This" and "OMG when is this hell (referring to the heat and sun that the last day of October brought) going to be over". The crowds came out in full force. They pushed me through to the finish so well... I was still kinda running by the way... there was NO WAY I was walking any steps of this marathon. Then... wait for it... I saw the famous hill... really that... a hill... nah... I can get up that. With the Marines out there encouraging and high fiving the hill was a piece of cake. I then crossed the line. Wow... I had now just finished my THIRD Marathon in 2016 and my SIXTEENTH Marathon since getting addicted in 2006. Throughout those FIVE and almost a HALF HOURS of constant running while handing out Thank You's I still one left. The very sweet Marine who medaled me got the last Thank You. He put the medal around my neck and I just teared up and gave him a super hugetastic hug before we took the selfie. I then went up the small tiny hill to the Iwo Jima Memorial and took my official finisher picture.
OVERALL Experience was excellent. I'm so happy I made the Thank You's and handed all 26 of them out. I really hope I made at least one of the Marines day. Another year... in the future I will come back to Marine Corps. It's an excellent race with an excellent meaningful purpose to run it. Mission Accomplished. Oorah and Thank You to ALL the Marines who serve.

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