As I boarded the flight to Washington DC, I was excited for a new race but also a bit sad that I was traveling all alone without anyone to share it with. I was going to meet Ingo and Katie (who I’d met while training for Augusta 70.3) at some point during the weekend, but plans were still up in the air. It was the best surprise when they called and offered to pick me up to go to the expo together. And so started an awesome MCM weekend.
I met Tina and Naomi and Shawna and Angie for a brief moment before the start for a quick hug.
You read about “Running with the Marines” but you are still not prepared for the experience that awaits you. The marines, the crowd support, the runners, everyone helped setup a great race.
Passing through the blue mile, an eerie silence descended on the crowd. There was no chatter, no music (I just don’t get why people run with loud music in races. Headphones were invented for a reason!), just solemn silence.
In the first half of the blue mile, I was running by just looking at the fallen marine’s photos. At some point I started reading their names and ages. That was my breaking point and I started sobbing. The number of marines lost between ages 19-23 were heartbreaking and even more so on realizing that the blue mile tribute is only a tiny fraction of the casualties of war . I thought back to some of my friends in the Indian armed forces and sent all my prayers for their safety there.
I came across Meredith pushing Logan and took over for a very brief 50 yards. I offered to stay with her, but she shooed me on. That was one tough challenge, lady!
There was a long line of funny signs on the course here one of which said “Stop reading the signs. It’s a race.”
The sun was already up in the cloudless sky around mile 8-10. It didn’t mess with my head but I think it messed with my body. The miles were hard but what made it harder was the lack of water. I carried water in a 8oz bottle in my fuel belt and it’s always been more than enough at races, not this time. I was out of water way before we’d hit the aid stations.
I struck up a conversation with this guy next to me running in compression shorts and asked if he was a triathlete (never seen any guys other than triathletes wear compression shorts while running). We were both feeling the race and decided to run together.
The countdown to the finish line was on and it was done! Even though there was scaffolding around the IwoJima monument, being medaled by a marine for nothing more than going 26.2 miles was humbling. My marine saluted me, medaled me and let my sweaty self hug him.
- Warm fuzzies after a wonderful weekend with Katie and Ingo.
- Smiles every time I see texts over the race
- Blister the size of *insert something dramatic* on my second toe (first ever race blister)
- No soreness (did I really run a marathon yesterday?)
- Zero hunger after eating 5400calories at the one meal post race yesterday
So I guess I’ll see you next year, Marines!
(If anyone wants to read the lengthy mile by mile, PM me and I’ll share.)