This is one of those once in a life time runs. So I will start from the beginning…
The MCM is a lottery, which means it is luck of the draw if you get to run it. When it opens you put your name in and pray that you get the email welcoming you into the race. This did not happen for me! Many of me running buddies scored places, I did not. SO I went another route and Ran for St.Judes Children’s hospital and Raised money. I had planned on doing this any way. I am so thank full to every single person that donated to this amazing cause! I love running, but I love it even better when I have done it for a cause! I have been trying my best to run for something to help others!
The Race date was set and plans made. Leighann and I had big hopes for this run. We both thought this could be the race to make a new PR. As many of you know, we are back of the pack runners with smiles on our faces. However, this time around we really wanted to see if we could train for something more! It started out well. Training was going good, speed was picking up and I thought for sure we were going to go out chasing the under 4:30! Well..then life got in the way. My training slowed. I ended up sick. I could tell you 500 more excuses but I realized I was not going to make this my race. One problem I have is that I am a very “Social Runner” and this past year I have struggled with the long runs. I don’t like to go run for 2 hours by myself. I left this be one of my excuses. I still was feeling really well about this race and I was trained and then about 4 weeks prior to the race I came down with “the bug from HELL”. I was a mess and I just didn’t recover well. Going into this weekends race I knew I was not going to be able to push myself the way I had hoped. But I was ok with this! One Day I will run that under 4:30 Race…It just was not this time around. Plus I was going to get my time worth! I haven’t ran with Leighann in months!!! We needed all the time we could get to catch up! Once again our plan was to do what we do best..Smile and be Happy and enjoy EVERY SINGLE MILE!
We made the trip up Saturday. Our first stop was the EXPO. It was a little crowed for my liking..I don’t like tight places with lots of people! However, I’m so happy we went! We got to take selfies with “THE JEFF GALLOWAY!!!!” and if you don’t know who the heck I am talking about you need to go spend some time on Google and learn about him and the “Magic Mile”. If it was not for this Man and his ways, we never would of survived our 7 Marathons in 7 Months. Then there was this AWESOME Car that everyone was writing on! Look at all those BAMR Stroller Warriors on there!!!
After the Expo we head into Arlington to find our hotel and get everything dropped off before we got something to eat and headed into see the sights of DC! (We have never been to DC before so this was a pretty exciting day for us!!!) We were able to find an Italian restaurant right around the corner from the hotel! Can’t go wrong with Spaghetti and meatballs the night before a marathon! It was already getting pretty dark by the time we got into DC but I think this made for the perfect way to see everything. The girls loved all of the monuments and the way it was all lit up made it even better. It was then time to head in and get settled for the night! We had a long day ahead of us!
As many of you know, I am streaking still, so I had yet to run this day. So Leighann and I put our shoes on and headed out for a mile! I love being able to drag her out with me! Its always more fun to streak with friends then to streak alone!! Keep in mind..I am talking about Run Streak in Running clothes! After our quick , not so quick mile, we headed back to get everything race ready!!!
Up at Zero Dark 30, Pre race prep begins! This always starts with the “What I am running in” Selfie. Lucky for me I have an Awesome friend who makes wonderful Personalized Tank tops SO I am always able to sport the perfect tank for my running buddy Jacob! The Start was about 2 miles for the hotel so we headed out for the warm up walk. It was a perfect morning. Seeing the course being built up and the streets being closed down is always so neat to see. It’s so Amazing what goes into the process of a marathon on the not running side. Also, this is the Marine Corps Marathon we are talking about so there were Marines everywhere participating in the set up. We passed through Arlington Cemetery to get to the start. Everywhere you looked there were memorials. It was truly an amazing start to the day. Every time I think of Arlington Cemetery I think back to the scene in Remember the Titans of them running through it. Once we finally made it to the Start we made sure to get a good spot next to the port a potties since we were almost 2 hours early! Had to make sure to make it on time! The quiet before the race is such a cool experience. Then we met up with our friend Allyson and her husband plus his friend (it was the friends first marathon so we were pretty excited for him)
Then the race started! The anthem was sang and the fly overs happened, it was time to go! I don’t care how many runs I have done, that anticipation to the start line is like no other feeling. Every ache you thought you had or fear just seems to disappear as you watch everyone in front of you cross the start line. The watches beep, the clock is moving, the timers start! Only 26.2 miles to go! Or in this case 26.60!
The first few miles were full of crowd support!!! Don’t forget the hills!!! Those first few miles were tough. Hills don’t happen often where we live in North Carolina, so I don’t get enough training like I would care to have. After the first few miles the hills were far and between. I was feeling AMAZING till around the 13 mile mark when my foot decided to act up and my left IT Band started yelling at me. Thank fully Allyson brought along some Tiger Balm and I was able to slap some of that on! The miles just passed after this. The most humbling part of the run was the “Wear Blue, Run to Remember” portion. If you have never heard of this take a few moments to read about what it is all about. This portion of the race is a very emotional part for many who run the MCM. I will forever Remember this portion. After we were through here the next thing to do was “Beat the Bridge” at mile 18. This is important in the running of this marathon. You must cross this bridge in time to complete the race. If you do not make the bridge in the allocated time you will not be allowed to finish the course. So for many, that is the main focus and once you are over the bridge you can breath a little easier till the finish. It was right before the bridge that I came across a runner wearing a “Stroller Warriors” Visor and of course I had to stop and chat! I was so excited to see all the other Stroller Warriors from all over the world this day. However, this Warrior was one that I had spoken with many times and now got to meet her!! What better place then right before the bridge! This is a Marathon that for many Stroller Warriors is or has been their first! This wonderful lady is one of the Fearless Leaders and it was so AWESOME to run and chat with her for a few moments!
After the bridge it wasn’t much longer and the finish line would be our next stop! This is when everything hurts but you are so close to the finish it does not matter! This is the time when you have to be thankful for every ache and pain in your body! When you don’t think you can take another step you do and you don’t stop. You push all the negative things in your head and you go forward. You do it because you are blessed to be able to do it. You run for those who can’t. You run to remember those who came before you and made it possible for you to be able to run. You don’t give up and STOPPING is not an option in your vocabulary. Well that is until you see the final HILL of this Marathon. Its like they found the steepest spot they could to finish on. It’s like they say “It’s just a Hill, so get over it”. Then it was over! The 26.50 ish miles was behind us, now just a memory!
Every marathon I run, I always seem to ask myself and yell at Leighann..”Why can’t we just run 10ks or Half Marathons?” Her answer is always ” Because we don’t Half ASS!” When you finish a Marathon, no matter how fast or slow the end time shows, you still conquered 26.2 miles! That is huge! Don’t ever let your self forget it! It is always when I cross the finish line that I am reminded WHY I run the FULL! Plus I don’t know if Jacob would let me start slacking this late into the game! Because at the end of the day I don’t run for my self! I run for him and this day I ran our 13th Marathon and its this picture that gets me through these runs!
Welp…I guess that’s about it! If you ever get the chance to Run this Marathon…Don’t miss it!!! It is an AMAZING EXPERIENCE!!! Now its time to get a few more Races on the books!