Marine Corps Marathon Recap

Absolutely incredible.

If I had to sum it up, there it is.

For those that dislike long, drawn out recaps (because this is what this is πŸ™‚ ), I finished in 4:57:58. Not a PR unfortunately.

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And for those who don’t mind details….

THE EXPO

We arrived in D.C. Friday afternoon, and we immediately went to our hotel, dropped off our stuff, and got on the metro to the expo.

I walked up to it slowly as I knew that my marathon weekend was just about to begin! To say I was excited is an understatement!

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Eeep!

Once inside, we were met with tons of vendors. We decided to get my bib first and then look around.

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Cheesin’ real hard!

Bib in hand, we made our way to the Brooks gear. There were so many super cute t-shirts, jackets, hats, socks, shorts, you name it! I wanted EVERYTHING. My husband decided I had to have this jacket

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Oh just me and my jacket in front of the White House…nbd.

and then I also got a few things for my family–and of course a shirt for my ex-Marine dad

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Port-a-Potty VIP: All this means is that I spent too much money at the Expo.

We walked around a bit more just kinda relishing it all in. I did see the big poster challenging runners to “beat Oprah!” Lol! In 1994, Oprah finished MCM in 4:29! I’ve been coveting a 4:30 marathon since running my first–(I’m gonnna get you Oprah. Someday. But I’m gunnin’ for you.)

Afterwards, we went back to the hotel and got our rest on. The next day, Saturday, would be spent touring D.C. I knew I should save my legs and not walk too much but I was in our nation’s capitol! There is so much to see! I ended up walking about 4 miles going to different monuments and museums (more about this in another post) but managed to get back to the hotel relatively early to rest.

RACE DAY

I had been debating what to wear as it was chillier in D.C. than what I was used here in the desert. But ultimately I decided to stick with what I had trained in: shorts and a cap sleeve. I threw on some arm sleeves to help with the cold.

Except, it was freezing that morning. Like holy cold freezing temperatures freezing. Now I know you’ll probably read other recaps and people might not comment on the weather that morning, but for this Arizonan, it was freaking cold. I was a grumpy, shivering runner up until the start. I kept cursing myself for not being prepared with a warm throwaway. And it seemed like eternity for the race to near its start time.

When it finally came, I positioned myself in the 4:30-5:00 estimated finish corral and finally allowed myself to soak the atmosphere in. The National Anthem was sung and the tears began to well. Aircrafts flew overhead and the tears began to fall. Parachuters dropped with huge American flags and by then I was mess. All before the gun had even shot off.

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Where’s Helly?!? πŸ™‚

My husband kissed me good luck and then it was go time.

I had studied the map and knew the first part was going to be hilly. I made sure to not start out fast and just maintain a steady pace. I was pleased to see the first mile tick off 10:30something. The next two miles were around the same and then there was a crazy 9:19 mile four that I think was on a downhill. I regrouped and by mile 6 I was riding a steady 10:15ish minute/mile pace.

I kept it that way through miles 7, 8, 9, all the way to mile 13.

My husband had met me a few times along the way and praised me for keeping pace and told me to keep it going, I was doing great.

And then I got to mile 16.

It was like dejavu from my first marathon. Mile 16 I started feeling a cramp in my quad the size of a golf ball. It really felt like a hard ball was in my quad. I had prepared myself for this to happen; it was like I knew that at mile 16 shit would start to hit the fan.

But I kept telling myself, “Become one with the pain. Become one with the pain.” Do you have a mantra you repeat? This is the craziness that I was telling myself at mile 16 lol!

I kept running and hoping that it would go way but it didn’t. I started to see my pace slow down. Considerably.

The goal was to get to mile 20 without stopping. If I could just get myself there and then see that I only had 6.2 miles left, maybe somehow I could convince myself I could keep going.

I made it to mile 19. I texted my husband that I had stopped as I knew he’d be waiting for me at mile 20. When I caught up to him, he reassured me that I was fine. But I was fighting tears and trying to keep myself together and keep going but I just couldn’t. I felt like such a failure.

I saw the 4:45 pace group run by and then I just let myself cry. Any chance of a PR was fleeing right before my eyes.

But my husband reminded me what this race was all about. Definitely not me. He told me to look around–I was in Washington freaking D.C. running the Marine Corps Marathon! He said he’d be at mile 24 and to keep going til we met again.

So I mustered up whatever energy I had and started running. I could feel the cramps, by this time they were everywhere–quads, hamstrings, calves, and each step I took was extremely painful. I decided to walk/run it the rest of the way; the last thing I wanted was to injure myself or even worse, DNF.

When I reached mile 24, I took off my water pack and handed it my husband. He said to finish strong, only 2.2 left.

Nearing the end, the crowd was getting louder. I could hear Mary J. Blige blasting from a speaker and I sang along as I ran/chugged along. The last small bit was an uphill battle, literally, but as I ran to the finish the emotions came rushing back, this time not from disappointment at lost time goals, but from pride and happiness at having been able to cross that line. A Marine put a medal over my head, saluted, and thanked me and I sobbed , “No, thank you!”

It was over.

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Looking back, even now just 3 days later, I don’t remember so much the pain or the frustration of time goals. All that I recall are things that make this race so special, the things that made me want to run this race so bad in the first place. The people being so kind; the awesomeness that is running past places like Arlington Cemetery, Lincoln Memorial, The White House; the mile stretch where you ran past pictures of fallen soldiers (I was bawling through it); the seemingly non-stop crowd support; the faces of Marines and volunteers at aid/water stations so encouraging–those are the memories that I’m choosing to keep.

The race was most definitely hard; it was the most challenging I’ve faced yet, but the Marine Corps Marathon is more than just a course– it’s 26.2 miles of transfiguration, of renewal, of gratitude to those who experience pain beyond what one may ever experience during a race.

That’s what I’ll never forget.

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Thank you guys SO much for your words of encouragement. I was truly overwhelmed by your kindness via my Instagram and Facebook page before, during, and after the race. I’m so thankful to be a part of a community that is so supportive and so positive.

There were some other major highlights of my Marine Corps Marathon weekend that I’ll be sharing with you in the next couple of days. Here’s a teaser–I got to meet a certain somebody in person! πŸ˜€

❀ helly

 

Why taking a racecation is the way to go {a Guest Post}

Hi guys! I’m having a local blogger buddy/runner guest today. She’s been on some pretty neat race-cations and I have to say, I’m quite jealous on some of them. I’m a visitor on her blog, The Sunny Side, so if you’re itching for some Helly, head on over to her page πŸ™‚ I hope you all have a fabulous Friday!

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Hi! I’m Emily and I’m a runner in the Phoenix area who loves to travel, eat, drink and RUN!

I must admit, I’ve always had the travel bug, ever since I was a little girl. We took plenty of family vacations growing up, and I have never gotten tired of it.

When I decided to do my first full marathon back in 2000, I will totally admit that the reason I did it is because it was in HAWAII! That was all the motivation I needed to get me through 26.2 miles. I fundraised over $3,200 for the Leukemia Society with their Team In Training Program.

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Of course I had been bitten by the marathon bug, so the next marathon I chose was in Cozumel, Mexico. That was a unique experience for sure. Not one I would recommend, but it was still very cool to be down in Mexico for a race. I even got my hair done in braids (like Bo Derek in 10) so the beads in my hair were making a lot of noise while I ran. Then my next marathons were back in Honolulu and Rock n Roll San Diego.

I frequently travel back to my home state of Michigan for some of my favorite races (Charlevoix Marathon and the Crim 10 mile). Great excuse to experience cooler weather and see family.

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I decided that the combination of running a race and traveling was the perfect marriage. I will take ANY excuse to travel just about anywhere. Luckily I have a partner in crime who will go with me on some of these adventures. Our next one together will be in Hilton Head, SC in February. Woo-hoo!

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The only downside of being in a beautiful resort town and running a marathon is having to act like a saint the day before. No drinking, not too much walking, no sunburn, and watching what you eat. Aside from that, it’s really ideal.

Next up is the Detroit Marathon next month where I get to meet up with one of my new buds, @jennvoss.

 

Keep Calm and Travel On!

Follow Emily on her travel and running adventures:
Blog: http://azsungoddess.weebly.com
Twitter: @azsungoddess1
Instagram: @azsungoddess
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/emilysattlerwhite

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Thanks for visiting Emily!

–What’s been your favorite race-cation?

–Where in the world would you like to run?

Friday Five: Fave Race Memories

Hooking up again today with the DC Trifecta girls Mar on the Run, You Signed Up For What!?, and Eat Pray Run DC for this week’s topic of “Favorite Races”.

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This is a tough one.

But, if I had to narrow things down, here are my top 5 so far:

1. Bisbee 1000

My husband and I did the Bisbee 1000 Ultimate Stairclimb race a couple of Octobers ago. Bisbee is 25 minutes away from where we grew up and we actually had never heard of the race til a few months prior! Once we did, we knew we had to do it. It was actually my husbands first race ever!! What a way to start–with a 1000 stairs to climb lol! The steps weren’t consecutive, but they totaled 1000 once all was said and done. The course ended up being a little over 4 miles and it was definitely a challenge but sooo much fun.

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2. Rock n Roll Arizona 2014

This was my first big race post baby #2 and I had the ambitious goal of getting a 1/2 marathon sub 2 hour finish.

And I did it!!!

I trained so hard for this race and knew that I was putting maybe too much pressure on myself considering I had given birth to my second child 6 months prior. But I really wanted to challenge myself and I really wanted to work towards something. My husband also ran this race and the feeling I had when I finished and fell into his arms is something I’ll never forget. 1:58:11!!!

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3. Rock n Roll 1/2 Marathon–Madrid, Spain

It’s Spain, need I say more? πŸ™‚ This was another fun race my husband and I did. Actually, I’m noticing a trend. All my faves so far I’ve run with my husband πŸ™‚
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Screen Shot 2014-05-05 at 10.25.47 PMIt was a hilly couse and definitley different in a lot of ways compared to American races but I was extremely pleased with my 2:08 finish.

4. Grand Canyon Rim 2 Rim 2 Rim

Doing R2R2R is something I will NEVER forget. By far the most challenging and most exciting thing I’ve ever done.

Over 45 miles in two days. 100+ degree temps. Insane elevation changes.

It was simply amazing.

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at the finish line of the Canyon :)

at the finish line of the Canyon πŸ™‚

5. Phoenix Marathon

My first. You’ll never forget your first.

Again, I was ambitous attempting this 7 months after having my son, but I wanted to do it. I didn’t have any “real” goals. I had a time I was shooting for but wouldn’t be devastated not getting (I didn’t get it)–I just wanted to cross that finish line.

And I did in 4:44:12 πŸ™‚

My husband didn’t officially run the race but he might as well have as he carried my the last 6.2 miles. When I hit the wall, I thought I was done and I was frustrated I couldn’t keep going. He kept pushing me though and ran/walked with me those last miles. And I’ll never forget his words when we saw the “final mile” sign: “This is the last mile of the first marathon of your life. Finish strong.” I ran that entire last mile.

Crossing that finish line=best feeling ever

Crossing that finish line=best feeling ever (my husband took this pick πŸ™‚ )

Yep, I'm a finisher!

Yep, I’m a finisher!

–What would say is your favorite race or race memory?

Have a great weekend amigos!!