My 5:30 am text to Kelly so she’d know what I was wearing.
We had the luxury of being picked up at our hotels by Cousin Bud’s dad, who dropped us off right at the Runners Village in one of the Pentagon parking lots. Runners Village was a huge, wide open fenced in area to wait before the short walk to the start. Way better than waiting in corrals forever with this freaked out face….
They didn’t have a corral system per se, but there were clearly marked signs to direct you to pace groups and your estimated finish time. Ryan (sadly) made his final decision at this point that he was not going to try to keep up with either of us due to his injury, but would instead attempt to jog/walk.
So the rest went a little something like this….
Bud and I decided to keep the 4:00 pacer in sight, and then pass them in the final miles. This did involve some obsessive split checking each mile. The first few miles had some uphills but nothing unmanageable (it was early after all). It was definitely windy, but the weather, thankfully, was holding out. If it hadn’t, there could’ve been a very different ending to this story. Saw Kelly between miles 9 and 10. The crowd support was amazing. Although I had music with me, I ended up running the entire race without it.
We hit the half at 1:59. Although I was feeling good, I did begin to have some doubts at that point time goal-wise. The race was very, very crowded. Water stations were difficult to navigate, but there were plenty of them, therefore I can’t complain. This race sold out to 30,000 people, so I guess that’s expected.
What my children were doing while I was grinding out the early miles.
I’m not sure about Bud, but I hit the wall at about 23.5. Which is not too bad of a place for that to happen. But this was where I just by chance saw my family, and I knew that sub-4:00 was in reach.
The last hill was BAD. But fortunately it was also short. And we finished. Bud just a little ahead of me (he’s more hill-proficient than I), a 12 minute PR for him. A 24 minute PR for me. 26.2 in 3:58:38.
At the finish at the Iwo Jima Memorial, we individually received our medals and a salute from a Marine. It was an emotional ending to what was truly a once in a lifetime experience.
And yes, Ryan “Beat the Bridge”.
Since I didn’t want to run with my phone, I don’t have any pictures at the end. I’m hoping for some decent race photos.
In review, this race was extremely well executed (it is the Marines, after all). A challenging but scenic course. Unbelievable Marine/crowd support. Little (but big) details like the hoodies at the finish. We also used the live runner tracking which was great. I can’t wait for Kelly to experience this next year!
Speaking of which, I NEVER would have even thought of doing this if Kelly wouldn’t have talked me into/signed me up for it in the first place. Thank you for believing I could reach my goal. Next year is YOUR year! I am also grateful to Ryan, who pushed me (hard) the countless miles we ran together on the Trail of Snakes. Because of that I was so much more prepared this time around.
And to Cousin Bud….thank you for helping me get the PR of all PRs. You rock dude! Could not have done it without you.
To the Marines who serve our country, you have my utmost respect and appreciation.
I still can’t believe I did it.
So what is next? Some relaxation and family time. They were all so tolerant of “Mommy’s weekend long runs”.
34.2 total miles for the week.
621.4 total miles training for this race.
Time for some new shoes.