I woke up Saturday Morning wishing that I hadn’t signed up for this race. The weather called for rain on Saturday all week, so I was pretty happy to see that it was in fact not raining, but sunny outside. This was the first good thing I had seen that day. I got out of bed, hobbled downstairs, as my calves were like “NOPE. We aren’t going to work right for you.” This is why stretching after exercising, and in general is a good idea folks. I took care of the dogs and then made it back upstairs to where Jason was about to jump in the shower.
Me: I was going to shower
Me: Because I need to shave my legs.
Me: Because I am wearing capris to the race.
Jason: You do know it’s freezing outside, right? Literally freezing.
I did not know this. I found a pair of my Old Navy Active Capris because I figured my under armor cold gear ones would be “too much” for the race, and then threw my sports bra and Tech Shirt for the race on. I figured I’d be good with my Northface jacket until I started the race.
This was mistake 1.
We traveled down to Quantico Marine Corps Base – where the race is – and then I realized half way there that we were going to be super early, because I thought the race started at 8, when it didn’t start till 8:45 am. Jason was not amused. We stopped at Panera to get him breakfast and I simply sat and drank my coffee, trying not to be nervous. We arrived and I immediately ran to the bins that they have at this race with old MCM shirts. I found my size and pulled it over me. It was a Marine Corps Marathon Finisher shirt from 2011. I did not run this race, nor did I finish it. I immediately remembered what another runner told me about wearing shirts of races you didn’t do, and how it’s bad luck. Well that was enough for me. Plus I didn’t want any race photos showing me in that shirt, so I took it off. Behind the porto johns with Jason blocking the view as I disrobed. Fun morning.
We waited – me freezing, Jason smartly in layers, and the kids fun mile started. The child that finished first did it in 5’32″ or some crazy number like that. Way to make me feel slow, kid.
Then it was our turn. I begrudgingly handed Jason my Northface Jacket, after many minutes of going back and forth as to whether I would just run with it or not, and then moved to center of the pack. I was sure I would get trampled, even though I was kind of toward the end, so I braced myself for that. The two women behind me seemed like they were out for blood, as they were both trying to PR. The men in front of me, just wanted to finish. I just wanted to live through the start line as it funneled a bit at the timing board because the MCM thinks that’s funny, apparently. Let’s see how many people get trampled having to go from 16 feet of width, down to 8 feet.
“HAHAHAHA” – The Marines.
I got through with minor incident of being elbowed by one of the bloodthirsty women and then started my trot. I was first thinking about the Marines who give their lives and limbs to protect us on a daily basis, and how this race is not hard in comparison. I let that thought travel with me to Mile Two. We hit a water station just before, which I promised myself I would walk through, because I wasn’t carrying water, and there was no chance in hell I was planning on winning this race, or my age group.
Jesus passed us going back towards the finish area at this point. I say he is Jesus because a.) I predicted when seeing him at the start, that he would in fact win the race, and that he was the Son of God because he fit the Americanized version of Jesus (Beard, Long hair, Lean Muscular Body) – I was strangely attracted to him, which made me feel bad, but I am sure Jesus was a hot dude. I am comfortable in my religion saying that.
I made it to mile three and was kind of surprised. Nothing hurt, but I was tired, and I pushed too hard and my breathing was off. So I took a walk break and texted Jason.
Me: I just passed mile 3
Jason: You’re Making Great Time
I had started running again and wasn’t sure what I actually texted back, but I believe the aforementioned text was accurate. mile 4 came up quick and I just kept going, but a slowed my pace. I remember from last year there being a killer gravel hill around mile 5 – but that never happened, so I think they either changed the course, or they built something there that we had to run by as opposed to around. Mile 5 came and I was like “WAHOOO” because that meant we were almost done.
I get that way around the last mile, even if it’s like a 5K.
Then the side stitch. Stupid side stitch had to happen right when I was running by a group of cheering marines, and I swear they were all judging me. I had my music up loud so I could hear them say things like “WEAK” and “WHY AREN’T YOU RUNNING?” I have no confirmation that these words were uttered but I believe they were.
This is when I texted Jason with “I think I’m dying.” I needed something to push me through. According to my Garmin I had 0.60 miles left, give or take, and I knew I had to run through the finish to not feel like and idiot, so I took a walk break up the last hill. An Officer in the Marine Corps was at the top, and he high fived me when I got there and said “I walk up this hill too.” That made me feel better, even though he was most likely a big fat liar. Except not big, or fat.
Then I saw it. They use the arches from the Marine Corps Marathon so it, for a brief moment, felt like I had finished the marathon – But not really. It was dehydration and pain that made me think that. I kept running, and decided I would not go in an all out sprint like I usually do at the end of races, because at that point my mind was on the Turkeys. The Turkeys that give their lives (have them taken, actually) every year for us at Thanksgiving. How brave (scared) they are and how we never actually thank them.
Thank you, Turkeys. Thank you so much.
I passed the finish and immediately started looking for Jason. I was handed a ‘Warrior Chip” with the race logo on it and a bottle of water. I then was handed gatorade. I love those volunteers and how they just know what we need.
I was then handed a bag with random food in it, and then I was released into the family area where Jason found me and was smiling.
“I just want to leave” – Me
We walked to the car, and I wondered if I had actually PR’d or not, but really I didn’t care.
But I did. By a whole 1 minute and 23 seconds.
It was a great race, which the Marine Corps always puts on. They are organized, friendly, amazing, and give us major praise for completing things that seriously aren’t as hard as the sacrifices they make on a daily basis.
Thank you, Marine Corps. Thank you so much.