Today's post is the rest of my Marine Corps Marathon race recap. Read Part 1 HERE
The first half went very well. I was going at a comfortable pace and I was right on target for my time goal. I reached 13.1 miles almost exactly at 2 hours. Let me tell you, though, the real halfway mark of a marathon isn't at mile 13.1. It gets exponentially harder after a certain point. My mentality for the race was a 20 mile "warmup" followed by a 10K "race". Meaning, the first 20 miles should feel relatively easy. The hard part is those last 6 miles. That was a seriously tough 10K.
So after about 13 miles, my right quad started to tighten up. I've actually been having some left knee issues, so I think my form was slightly off and I was putting more stress on my right leg. Throughout my training, I haven't really had much leg muscle fatigue like I was experiencing in the race. I don't know whether it's because of all the traveling this pasts month, or my nutrition hasn't been good enough. But both my quads were getting tight by mile 16. It was a bit demoralizing to know that I had to slow down for the last 10 miles, especially when I thought I was being pretty conservative in the first half. I started allowing myself to walk through the water stations. I grabbed two small cups of Gatorade and a cup of water at each one. Miles 18-19ish was up and down the National Mall and with the turn-around at the Capitol building. I saw my parents right near the Smithsonian metro station. My dad ran into the course to greet me and seeing them gave me a boost of energy :)
He wasn't ready with the camera, so I only have some blurry pics of me running by.
My dad got some nice pictures of my brother, though :)
I reached mile 20, the end of my "warm up", and that's when the real pain began. We crossed a long bridge into Virginia, which was pretty boring. The rest of my race went like this:
Mile 21- I don't know how I'm going to run 5 more miles. My legs are f@#$ing killing me.
Mile 22- I'll let myself walk for a few minutes. Running is so painful why am I doing this FML
Mile 23- omg more hills whyyyyyyy (I was walking more and more now)
Mile 24- ooh another water station which means I can rest! noooo those are donuts, not water, DO NOT WANT. Must keep running
Mile 25- LESS THAN 2 MILES MORE TO GO I CAN DO THIS I AM SO CLOSE (at this point I decided to keep running until I got to the finish line)
Mile 26- The steepest hill was RIGHT NEAR THE FINISH. I was like f@#$ it, I'm going to power up this thing even though it was severely painful so I can get it over with ASAP. There were Marines standing along the hill to give us encouragement, and that really motivated me to get my ass up that hill!
Crossing the finish line was SUCH a relief. I walked/hobbled to the finishers area, where a Marine saluted me and placed my medal around my neck. That was so cool, and I thanked them for their service and putting on an awesome race! I grabbed a bunch of food, water, and Gatorade, and had to keep walking about 1/3 mile to the finisher's festival in Rosslyn. Some amazing person was handing out watermelon and I got a small box and it was the most refreshing thing I've ever had.
It took about 30 minutes for me to find my parents, and then another 30 minutes to meet up with my brother. After we were all reunited, we headed over to the UPS trucks to get our bags. It was really quick, no lines at all.
Since we weren't really hungry and all the restaurants in Rossyln were packed anyways, we decided to head home around 2pm. Unfortunately, there was a ridiculously long line to get into the Rossyln metro and an even longer line for the shuttle to Crystal City. Instead of waiting, we walked about a mile to the metro station at Arlington Cemetery. The walk wasn't too bad, and it was good to keep moving to avoid getting really stiff.
I couldn't have asked for a better first marathon experience, and I am honored to have run in the Marine Corps Marathon. There was so much crowd support and Marines everywhere handing out water and high fives. Everything went smoothly, I didn't have any digestive issues, I stayed hydrated, and my mid-race fueling was near-perfect. Although I didn't get a sub-4hr time, I got pretty darn close and am still proud that I finished my first marathon!