marathons, races
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Run the Marine Corps Marathon…? Check!

A Marine holding medals at the 2014 Marine Corps Marathon.

A year ago, I never would have imagined that I would complete a marathon. I’ve always thought running 26.2 miles was just too much. From a fitness perspective, it just seemed unnecessary (I mean, a few miles a day is good enough, right??).

For our 25th birthdays, my friends and I each made a list of things we wanted to do/accomplish by the time we turned 30. One friend had run a marathon on her list. But not me. It was just something I really had no desire to do. (My list included things like go skydiving – check, visit all seven continents – fail, pay down debt – check… but then I acquired more debt, so…)

Nope, running a full marathon was definitely not on my list, not in the cards for me. Or so I thought.

Picking up my bib at the Marine Corps Marathon Health and Fitness Expo.

Picking up my bib at the Marine Corps Marathon Health and Fitness Expo.

I’m not sure when the interest came. I guess it kind of just happened. I was running more and getting stronger, and on a whim one day, entered my name in the lottery for the Marine Corps Marathon. I didn’t think my name would get picked. It’s a huge race; super popular.

But then in March, I got an email. I had won the lottery—the MCM lottery! My name was picked.

There was no turning back at that point (otherwise, it would have been a waste of $114!).

So I trained—I ran, did a lot of yoga (to stretch out my muscles), ran some more, and some more. Cross-trained, and ran some more. I meant to document my training on this blog, but honestly, I just couldn’t find the time.

But then race day came. And everything was just awesome—the excitement, crowds, high energy, and of course, all of the Marines cheering us on with the spectators along the entire course.

Between running and working and trying to squeeze in time with family and friends, I was just exhausted. Marathon training is very time-consuming. Long runs on the weekends took up half the day. And by the time I completed my runs on the weekdays after work, there would only be an hour or so left to get a few more things done (like eat and shower) before bedtime.

All throughout training, I kept telling myself that the MCM would be the only marathon I do because training was so tough and time-consuming.

But then race day came. And everything was just awesome—the excitement, crowds, high energy, and of course, all of the Marines cheering us on with the spectators along the entire course. The months of training and commitment were worth it.

It was an amazing feeling to cross the finish line and be awarded my medal by a Marine. I felt grateful to be able to participate in such a tremendous event.

If you were to run one marathon in your life, the Marine Corps Marathon would not be a bad choice.

It’s hard to imagine that just a year ago, running 26.2 miles was something I never thought I’d do, or had any desire to do. I’m not sure if I’ll do it again. But this time around, I’m not ruling it out of the cards.

The Race

If you were to run one marathon in your life, the Marine Corps Marathon would not be a bad choice. In addition to the high energy and great organization, the course itself is fun, going past several memorials and historical sites in the District, and is also mostly flat (my favorite).

My only complaint is that there weren’t enough port-a-potties—yes, I do realize how large this race is, but still. I had to go to the bathroom twice. TWICE! I’ve never had to go to the bathroom during a race ever, and of course, during my first marathon, I had to go twice. Crazy. The lines for the port-a-potties were insane. It probably increased my finish time by 45 minutes. Other than that, the MCM was awesome.

Following are the course sites:

Start:  Arlington National Cemetery, Royal Marine Band

Mile 1:  Downtown Rosslyn

Mile 4:  Key Bridge, Georgetown

Mile 6:  Rock Creek Park

Mile 10:  Kennedy Center, Lincoln Memorial, FDR Memorial, Marine Corps Base Quantico Band

Mile 12:  Wear Blue, Run to Remember

Mie 15:  Jefferson Memorial, Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial

Mile 16:  Lincoln Memorial, Korean War Memorial, World War II Memorial, DC War Memorial

Mile 17:  Washington Monument, National Museum of American History, National Museum of Natural History

Mile18:  National Gallery of Art, U.S. Capitol, National Museum of the American Indian

Mile 19:  National Air and Space Museum, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Miniature Horses, Stardust and Moonshine

Mile 20:  Beat the Bridge, Batala

Mile 22:  Crystal City

Mile 24:  Pentagon

Mile 25:  Arlington National Cemetery

Mile 26:  U.S. Marine Corps War Memorial

Race Details

Name: Marine Corps Marathon
Date: October 26, 2014
Cost: $114

Race day weather: Sunny, breezy, upper 40s-low 50s
Race start time: 7:55 a.m.

Course description: The course starts in Arlington and goes throughout the District. It’s mostly flat and on pavement.

Race organization: This event is really well organized.

Finish time: 5:43 – I usually don’t care about my finish times, but I’m not very happy with this one. I should have been able to complete this in under 5 hours. The bathroom stops killed it.

Other costs: none

Some photos from the race:

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1 Comment

  1. Pingback: Race Recap: 40th Marine Corps Marathon | Running the States

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