Monday, October 28, 2013

TMI, and a race report

Dear Diary,

Right now, at this moment, go to where your training plan is posted. On a post-it note, write the following:

  • Dear self: the day after your marathon, you may wake up as much as 7 pounds heavier than before you started the marathon. You'll be puffy and bloated. DO NOT PANIC. This is NOT from that wood-fired pizza you ate the night after the race. The fourth day after the marathon, you'll start pissing like a racehorse and by the end of that day, things will be normal. So will your weight.

It never fails, no matter now many marathons I've run (Fifty-one, but who's counting?) I'm despondent, especially after this last go-round where I was at 166.4 on race day. I've achieved an eight pound loss. I've given myself to WeightWatchers the way other people give themselves over to Jesus...and I woke up the next day at 174 lbs.


I tried googling this, and all I got was message forums, subject: "I'm up two pounds! What's wrong?" Complaints from tiny bird people for whom one or two pounds is a freaking tragedy and results in their size 2 jeans being a bit snug, instead of the difference between my waking and retiring weight on any given day.

Anyway. So, the Marine Corps marathon was my third marathon in fifteen days, and my eleventh for the year. I wish I could tell you that after the handsome young marine put the medal around my neck and shook my hand that I immediately went out and made the world a better place, but I can't. That would be a lie, and lying is wrong, even more wrong than a stocky, exhausted woman sitting in a tub of tepid water eating food with her fingers.

That's quite a picture I've painted, isn't it?

Such a hot-water post-race endeavor, by the way, inevitably leads one to discover that:

1) I should have used more body glide because, I'm chafed there, there, and there.

2) I somehow sustained several long scratches, mysteriously, on this urban road marathon.

Yes, it looks like that to me, too.

I seeded myself behind the 5:30 pace group, and the pacer was a talker. She introduced herself to us. And then started asking people to put their hand up in response to how many marathons people had done, and she went higher how about more than twenty? More than thirty? All hands went down except mine until she said more than fifty? The small crowd of 5:30 hopefuls turned to look at me and I explained that this was 51, to which people oohed and awed and clapped and I SWEAR it was the closest thing ever that I've had to being a celebrity. Then the pacer mentioned that she had done 106, and there was polite applause but nobody seemed as surprised by the thin, petite, youngish, energetic woman who had done 106 marathons as they were by the stocky, middle-aged woman who had done 51.

There was a cool display before the race where jumpers parachuted in, some with large American flag. Then a howitzer blew, and the race started.

I've never run with a pace group. She was a great pace leader. It was fun. At each half mile we would all throw our hands up WHOOOOO! And walk one minute. By the half marathon mark, though, I knew. I could no longer keep that pace and I dropped back, but just a bit. I finished behind them in 5:38:59. Ish.

What you need to know:

  • At packet pickup, if you bring a bag, you'll be in a long line to get in to get your shirt. Use pockets instead. Then you get to walk right in. Also, no drinks.
  • You will start near the Pentagon, pass the White House, Washington monument, Smithsonian, Arlington Cementery, and Capital. Somehow--and this is unbelievable--I missed passing the capital. I had no idea that it was there, and it DOMINATES the view heading north on that part of the map that looks like a penis. I was just too busy dodging people.
  • While this marathon holds great promise for running a PR, it's unlikely. There's just too many people and too many turns.
  • You may also pass a long line of pictures of fallen Marines from OIF/OEF that shows a picture, name, and age. It was the single most sobering moment in the marathon..
  • There is a cutoff at mile 20 of 4:40. I'm not sure if that's gun time or chip time.
  • After making the cutoff, everyone that I could see just stopped running and started walking. I passed a shitton of people.
  • Several long rollers in the first fifteen miles. Practice long up hills and downhills.
  • Right before the finish line there is a sharp uphill that's the final 1/10 of a mile. Save something for this. (Gaa)
  • The local support is fantastic. The marines on the course are 100% encouraging.
  • If you tire quickly of American Patriotism, this is not your race.
  • If you don't like crowds it's definitely not your race. It's easily the most crowded one I've done. By the end of the day, I was more than a little cranky from dodging and weaving.
  • There were lots of potties, more so than any other race other than the Air Force race.
  • After you finish, your family is NOT allowed in the finishing area. However, there is a family link-up area that is a bit of a walk from the finishing area, and you can meet there.

The race runs through Virginia and DC. I'm counting it for Virginia.

These are all borrowed pictures.

The end.

How did I miss this? ADHD, that's how.












His and Hers.



  1. My favorite marathon! If I ever do another marathon, I'm going back to this one. (Unlike you I am still in single digits when it comes to marathons and I'm pretty sure I'll never get out.) I heard they are going back to a lottery system next year so it's going to be harder to get in. Still, I love how they've kept this "The People's Marathon." And of course, as you found out, the support on the course is fab and you just can't beat running through our country's history.

  2. Even though I know it's coming, I still hate weighing myself after a long run or ride. It's so depressing to ride 100 miles or run 14 (which these days is a long run to me) and then wake up heavier. I know the answer is to just not weigh myself until a couple days later, but I can't help myself.

  3. This was high on my list of Marathons To Do, but I've decided that for the moment I'm going to stick to trails for anything longer than a half marathon. My legs and feet are happier. Unless my 65 year old mother talks me into doing another road marathon with her, which is always possible, because she's a badass.

  4. Which actually leads me to a question for you: It seems like you do most of your long run training on trails. Do you find it difficult to do 26.2 on roads after that? (Although you do lots of road marathons, which I guess are an excellent way to train for road marathons...)

  5. Actually, most of my long runs are on road. My short runs are on trail. My short runs tend to be rocky, lots of climbing, and my long runs flat on pavement.

    1. Thanks for the info! Kind of the opposite for me. I'm envious of your rocky steep paths right out the door :-)

  6. 51 marathons is quite an accomplishment. I'm glad you got your moment of pseudo-fame for it while you were there.

    I don't know if I can run even a half-marathon anymore due to my knee, but this one (the half though) and the Nike women's marathon (again the half) are races I'd like to do


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