mcm x2

November 8, 2013 at 10:29 pm 4 comments

the first time i ran the marine corp marathon was a life altering experience. running through my childhood home and seeing it from that completely unique vantage point was like running through the story of my life and i didn’t dream i could duplicate it so i fully expected this time around to be more about the physical side of the run versus the emotional.

there wasn’t even any time in the weekend added in for fun. with a late afternoon friday flight up and a monday morning flight home, there was just enough time to do packet pickup and the expo saturday followed by a quick shakeout run along the canal, capped off with a pre-race dinner with the charity team i was running for. thankfully my friend RH had offered up his house to me and emC regardless of his being out of town so in between the running around i had space and time to relax and mentally prep. i’d given up on the BQ dream and even the sub-4 had been dashed given my knee issue while training. but i still wanted a PR. anything sub 4:15:10.

sunday morning emC and i met up with the attorney and hitched a ride with a friend to as close as we could get to the start. we were left with about a mile walk in 45 degree weather ~ perfect for the run but hard for us florida girls! but that walk was amazing. the groups of marines we passed ~ some working hard to setup others simply welcoming us with words of strength and encouragement. the washington monument lit up in the distance reminding me i was home. the emotion i thought wasn’t going to be there was starting to surface and it was invigorating!

home is where the heart is

home is where the heart is

we met up with others from the group ~ about 20 of the 40 or so we knew up from florida. a little shit chat and pats on the back and then we all drifted off to our own points along the start. i found myself with emC and littleL at the 4:15 pace flag. i figured that was the safe place to be. thousands of runners bundled together to find what warmth we could and i more than once caught myself with a tear running down my face from the emotional anthem and pre-race show. i was ready to run.



it took about 10 minutes from gun to start and i lost emC and L almost immediately but when i race, i race alone. the first couple miles were rough. 30,000 runners trying to find a space and pace of their own. my garmin suggested i was too slow. near a 10 minute mile but busting through was a challenge and i didn’t want to adrenaline dump trying to fight the crowd. so i went with it until the course naturally thinned on its own.


this year there was a course change. more of rock creek park which happens to be my childhood backyard and they started again. the memories. the images. the ghosts. me as a young girl visiting the saw mill. the graveyard where we made up stories about the stone never righted from the lean. that odd modern architecture house my father rented up the street. i got lost in it all and before i knew it we were running out to haines point. i hit the half split at 2:06:40. within grasp to PR but barely and with no margin for error or exhaustion. for a second i found myself calculating splits and numbers and i felt myself tensing up. it was at that point i decided it was what it was. there would be no pressure. no push. my run is in my heart not in the watch around my wrist or the runners surrounding me. i knew i wanted to simply run how i felt.

from there on i stopped looking at the garmin. i might as well have not had it on. i caught the occasional mile marker clock but refused to let the numbers sink in. i just ran. there were moments of frustration. the huge crowd participation and field left areas of bottleneck that cramped my pace style and more than once i narrowly avoided catastrophe of tripping over someone who cut me off or stopped short in front of me. but the beauty of the city that raised me kept me entranced.

anyone who has run mcm knows and fears the bridge. physically it’s nothing really. mentally it’s brutal. mile 20. desolate. highway. no lack of signs reminding you it’s there and it’s ugly. last time i ran mcm it got me. i succumbed to the walk as the self-doubt won. this time i was determined to beat to. i was ready to fight. but as i got part way across i realized there no need to fight. i felt great. maybe 50 miles in the woods prepares you for a mile stretch of lonely.

as i neared the mile 25 marker i decided it was time and i stole a glance at my watch. i wasn’t surprised at what i saw. i felt it all along. but regardless i knew i wanted to finish strong and i pushed hard and when i hit that final hill at mile 26. the one that so many stop to walk. i leaned in and took it in stride never once slowing the pace. i crossed the finish line with a negative split and an easy PR.

marine corp marathon 2013 ~ 4:10:41. ooh-rah!



Entry filed under: racing, running. Tags: , , , .

sprinting through time Tx6

4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Joey  |  November 9, 2013 at 7:33 am

    Shit chat?…haha! Congrats on the finish

    • 2. becelisa  |  November 9, 2013 at 7:42 am

      that started as a typo but when i went to change it i realized it was exactly what i meant ~ that stupid almost obligatory idle chit chat ~ so i went with it! 🙂

      • 3. Joey  |  November 9, 2013 at 9:55 am

        Well it gave me a good laugh

  • 4. kitkat1126  |  November 11, 2013 at 10:12 am

    I cannot imagine running a race with 30 *thousand* people. Emotional, yes, crowded…YES.

    It was really interesting to read this post and imagine your race and post recap cut in two, just like your negative splits. Starting out stuck in crowds at the beginning, working your way through and fighting past memory lane, emotions and self-doubt…and then getting to a point where you’re past that, you get yourself across that bridge, you stop looking at your watch, let go, and you *just run*.

    Congrats on the PR 🙂


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Trackback this post  |  Subscribe to the comments via RSS Feed

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts.

Join 150 other followers

the best of times

5k pr ~ 24:23
10k pr ~ 52:49
half marathon pr ~ 1:55:10
marathon pr ~ 4:10:41
half ironman pr ~ 5:57:50
50k pr ~ 5:33:23
50-mile pr ~ 11:32:39



%d bloggers like this: