My heart goes out to everyone who was affected by Hurricane Sandy. My own family up in NY isn't expected to have power in their house for another 10 days.
Last Monday, October 28th, I woke up and felt "off." By Monday night I realized I was getting a cold. I did what any normal human would do and I started to dope up on DayQuil and NyQuil, took in lots of fluids, and popped vitamin C tablets like they were breath mints. I started to feel better, but I was definitely still drowsy and lethargic all week, which isn't ideal the week leading up to a marathon. Granted, I'd have my normal tapering hyper moments, but they weren't as frequent as they had been in the past.
Race day morning I woke up at 4:40am, toasted a flaxseed whole week muffin, grabbed my stuff, and drove down to the New Carrollton Metro station to meet other members of the Annapolis Strider's Moore's Marines. However, in my rush to get into the metro station I left my bottle of water in the car. I had already downed one bottle of water on my drive to the metro station, so I wasn't overly concerned, but I would have liked that other bottle of water.
The hope was to meet the rest of our Moore's Marines running buddies by the UPS trucks at 7am. Well, we left the NC metro stop at 5:50 and still didn't make it to the UPS trucks by 7am. I think we finally got to bag drop-off at 7:20am. Thankfully, the guy in front of me at bag check at an extra bottle of water and I had zero issues with asking him if I could steal a bottle of water from him.
The craziest thing happened - my core running group all found each other at the port-a-potties near the start line. The lines for the port-a-potties at the Runner's Village were super long and I said we should try the ones near the start line. It was funny because that's where we found our other running buddy who came in from a completely different metro line. 30,000 runners lining up and the four of us found each other - that's awesome!
Even though I had been fighting a cold all week I still had delusions about going for a four hour marathon. Right before the start I left my running buddies with the 4:30 pace group and headed off to see if I could find the 4:00 pace group, which I didn't. So I started the race alone. Looking back I should have listened to my body and ran with my running group and tried to have fun during the race. It probably would have been a lot more enjoyable.
The howitzer went off and I started the 2012 Marine Corps Marathon. I tend to start off fast, so my goal for the first three miles was to actively try to stay slow and not pass people.
Mile 1 - 9:11
Mile 2 - 9:30
Mile 3 - 9:04
First three miles - mission accomplished.
However, I felt like I had sand in the back of my throat at the first water stop. It got bad when every two miles I was looking for water even though I knew there weren't water stops that frequent.
Even though I felt tired and thirsty I was running well. Miles where I didn't have to slow down to fuel or drink water were clicking by in the 8:40 - 8:50 range. Slowing down to take in water and fuel only slowed me down to 9:06 - 9:11 miles and usually I'm much slower than that when it comes to water and fuel.
I definitely noticed there was less crowd support than MCM 2010, but I figured impending Hurricane Sandy might have forced a few people out of town. However, running through Georgetown brought chills down my spine. I can't even describe the euphoria that occurs when I run down a street that is jam packed full of spectators screaming, beating drums, dancing, and just going nuts. I pledge to cheer at just as many races as I run next year so I can give back to other runners in someway.
The wind was definitely stronger in some areas than I remember from two years ago. Again, there was a hurricane coming and if I forgot that for a second the countless signs that proclaimed, "Run faster! Sandy is coming!" definitely reminded me.
I saw the hubs for the first time somewhere around mile 11. It was crazy, I was wearing a hat and definitely had tunnel vision, but somehow I saw him across the road. I immediately cut across the road, stopped, gave him a kiss, and then went on my merry way. We saw each other three more times before mile 20. He left the camera at home because of the weather, but he tried taking a few pictures with his cell phone.
Thanks for the photobomb topless dude! This was just before the dreaded bridge as I saw the hubs one last time before the finish line. I shouted to him, "4:10" because at that point that was the time I thought I was going to beat. I kind of gave up on 4 hours at that point, which maybe I shouldn't have done with that many miles left, but I knew I'd start slowing down soon. I just didn't know how soon and how badly I'd slow down.
Somewhere over the dreaded bridge it happened. My right quad muscle spasmed and badly. It looked like I was having a mini Alien moment because I could see the muscle jumping up through my capris. Ever single time I extended my leg the muscle jumped. I literally had to keep my hand on my quad muscle in order to move forward and it's sad that after the race I had a hand imprint bruise on my leg from pushing down so hard.
I had a great 20.5 mile run and a craptastic 5.7 mile walk. I was just so frustrated because I trained more for this race than I had for my previous marathons combined. I did three separate 20 mile runs and two of them were in intense heat and humidity.
I was just dehydrated on race day. That silly little cold got the best of me and it sucked. Since July I woke up 4 times a week at 5am to go running and then come race week I had a little cold. That's what ticks me off the most. All that training can get wiped out by a tiny cold.
Besties. Still not putting much weight on my right leg.
Screw it. I quasi-ran a marathon and I'm going to smile for a darn picture.
At some point I hope I remember this race not for the quad spasm, but for racing a hurricane.
Mission not accomplished this time around, but I know I'll get to sub 4:00 soon.
Anyone else run Marine Corps? How did you do?