This morning I completed my seventh marathon, with my third running of the Marine Corps Marathon.
I wish I could say I loved it as much as the first two times. I did still have a good time, but it felt a bit rougher than I would have liked. Perhaps I was still riding high from my fabulous Wineglass Marathon last month thinking I might have a repeat performance …
Anyway, I carpooled with two friends — my regular training buddies — so it was nice having company for the ride and pre-race waiting. We had a bit of a wait at the Metro, so we didn’t have as much downtime before the race than I’ve had in the past. Still plenty of time to hit the port-o-pots and check our bags before the race start, though.
We had a tough time getting to a good spot in the corrals — we were looking for under 4:30 and preferably a little faster. It got quite crowded, but we managed to find a spot. Of course we hopped the fence and then noticed a break just a few feet ahead. D’oh!
It wasn’t long once we got settled, though. Suddenly, we were off!
The three of us stuck together for the first few miles, but K (running her first marathon!) and I were pulling ahead. We tried to keep M in our sights, but eventually lost him. We did speed up a bit, but we had started slow, partly due to the crowd.
I felt myself fading a bit earlier than I would have liked, possibly as early as mile 12, but I hung in there. But eventually, I knew I wasn’t going to be able to keep it up. Around mile 15, the 4:15 pacer caught up to us and I told K to go ahead if she wanted to. I kept them in sight for a mile or so, but then let my pace slow a little. I also started walking through water stops.
I was chugging along, not feeling too badly … and then we hit the bridge. Suddenly, my right knee started locking up — and my knees haven’t bothered me at all this training cycle! I blame DC. I was just reading through my MCM 2010 posts, and I had the exact same knee pain!
Anyway … there were a lot more walk breaks after that point. While the knee did feel better, I still lost my motivation. And when I met up with my Striders coaches for pretzels around mile 23, I told them I had lost my will to live. Yeah, I was pretty done.
I kinda fell apart. Oh well.
So maybe eight events/races in the last 10 weeks was a bit much. (I think I skipped a few write-ups here. I haven’t written about last weekend’s 50-mile bike ride yet, either. Was that not the right way to taper for a marathon? ) My body and mind (running is mostly mental, yes?) were a bit too tired to power through this one. (My friend, K, ran an amazing first marathon and finished in 4:13!)
Not my best time. Not my best MCM. But I’m still happy I eked out a sub-4:30!
It wasn’t my day, but it’s still an amazing race. I love MCM, but may take a break from it next year … TBD