Tuesday, October 31, 2006

MCM Debriefing #1

You didn't really think my previous post would be my only one about the Marine Corps Marathon, did you? After I'd been preparing for that damn race close to five months?! Oh ye, of little faith.

Let's break this bad boy down in several parts. Before I begin, here's a photo of me, my friend Hallie, Michelle, and David at lunch the day before the race. Looking clean and sparkly and rested.

Pre-race: I was supposed to meet Jeanne, Rich, and David at 7 am near the race start. So I laid out my clothes and and tucked my post-race clothing in a clear plastic bag the night before. I got up in time (5:30 am) to take a shower, eat breakfast, and take care of last-minute stuff. But somehow, I still got out the door 15 minutes late. Sigh.

That 15 minutes was compounded when I got to the Metro station just as a train pulled out - I had to wait another 12 minutes for the next one. Which was packed with other runners. I chatted with a man from Massachussetts and a woman from North Carolina, both of whom were in the second wave of runners (8:40 am), and looked relaxed. Me? Jittery and anxious.

Arriving, it took me forever to move through the crush of excited runners and sign-toting supporters. Once out of the station, I started running towards Charity Village, where I was supposed to meet the RBF'ers and drop off my bag (Jeanne ran for a charity, and said I could leave my gear bag there).

7:49 am: Several men called out as I ran, "Show off! The race hasn't started yet!" We started laughing, although my anxiety ratcheted up a notch when a steady stream of runners walked past me the other way to the race start. Damn.

Tried calling Jeanne but no answer. After dropping off my bag, I jogged the 1/4-mile to the race start. I had already missed the opening ceremonies. My stomach growled. Hungry again. (Though I had eaten buttermilk waffles, eggs and coffee for breakfast.) Grabbed a snack-size power bar from sponsor tent, and gulped it down as the national anthem played.

Totally missed the RBF meet-up. I am a loser.

Moving on: Got to my runner corral (7th out of 32). Lots of skinny, intense people here. Looked for the 3:50 pace group. Saw it waaaay ahead. Huh. Never mind. I would catch it soon enough. Someone tapped me on my shoulder - a friend, L., from my local running club. Relief washed over me. We chatted a bit. It was her first marathon. We also talked to Bill, a genial 60-year old from New Jersey. He's done over 35 marathons. We agreed to pace each other.

Start delayed: The gun was supposed to go off at 8:25 am, but got delayed by about 10 minutes. A murmer went through the crowd that it was for a medical emergency. There's a story in today's Washington Post about a man who collapsed from heart attack and almost died at the race start. But I don't know if that was the cause for the delay.

Mile 1, 10:28: Cannons blasted. We cheered. We crossed the start line after several minutes in a slow shuffle. Bill and I chatted, and within a half-mile, we lost Lauren. Lots of male runners stepped out of the race here to pee by the side of the road. Better now than later, I guess.

Mile 2, 8:04: "Slow down!" said Bill several times in between labored breaths. I was worried to have such a slow start, so I punched up the pace. Plus the 3:50 pace group was still way ahead of me. I looked at the crowds yelling encouragement. I felt elated.

Adrenaline pumped through my veins as I saw the hill ahead. "Here we go," I thought, resisting the urge to yell: "Charge!"

(Stay tuned .....)


  1. edge of my seat!! there were cannons?? I was so far back, they could have set off a nuclear bomb and I wouldn't have heard it! can't wait for part two. and congrats for making it into the Washington Post!

  2. What? Stay tuned??!!! I cry foul! Oh wait.. never mind.... Very exciting start to your story. I have to tell you I had a great time watching your dot race around the live tracker.

    And congrats on the Wasthington Post story from me, too (not that I have seen it. Is it on-line?)

  3. Boy, you should have heard Jeanne talking about you being late! I was nervous because I still needed to meet up with Michelle over with the 31,995 other people at the start.
    But we made it.

  4. Bex, you're an amazing runner! Congratulations on your awesome race! Yelling "Charge!" just before a hill sounds entirely appropriate--I can picture it. :-)

    Don't keep us hanging too long for the rest of the report.

  5. Come on, you can't leave us in suspense like that! We want the rest of the story.

    And Congratulations on the PR. Well Done!

  6. He he ... Jeanne will never let you or I live this down. On the other hand, I don't have to work with her :)