The weather couldn’t have been better for the 31st running of the Marine Corps Marathon this past sunday. Ok – that’s a lie – for the average Joe, the wind that picked up in the third hour and stuck around really sucked. But aside from that, it was a great day.
I woke up on Thursday with a stomach bug. Tammy did not know exactly how sick I was – it was get away day and I just wanted to get up to D.C. so I could salvage as much of my pre-race plan as possible. Not much hiding of illnesses in a hotel room though. I’m pretty sure my neighbors wondered what the hell was wrong with me, too. In retrospect, I’m amazed I made it up there at all.
Over those 3 days, I probably took in a total of 3000 calories. I needed to be taking in around 3000 each day. My friend Laura showed up on Friday and we went to the expo to get our numbers, chips, shirts, and swag. Good times, but by dinner she too could tell that I wasn’t feeling that great.
Saturday, we did some walking on the National Mall. I told Tammy it wasn’t “that kind of mall”, but she still found a way to do over $100 worth of shopping. We walked a good bit, but as I said before, I just wasn’t up for eating.
Sunday I woke up and while I didn’t feel like I did Thursday morning, there were still indications of looming problems. I took an Imodium and prayed.
Two Tens and a Ten-K
Our original plan was to run 2 10 milers with a 10k on the end. We would warm up over the first 3 miles at around an 11 minute pace. We stuck to that plan, and actually ran it a little slower. It felt like the swim start of a triathlon, with people I didn’t know elbowing me and hitting my heels. We were then going to pick it up to a 10:45. I decided to hold it at 11 through the first 10 miles.
As we made our way past the lincoln memorial (mile 10), I began to feel some discomfort at the water stops. Nothing major – it went away after a couple of minutes. Unless I picked up the pace, then it got worse. I told Laura I needed to stick to 11 for a while.
By mile 15, I knew that I was going to be walking more than just the water stations at some point and gave Laura the heads up.
Pain is temporary, pride is forever
At water stop 9 (somewhere around 18, I think – I just remember seeing the signs in the Wal-Mart rig), the reality of the pain set in. It took more than a few minutes to go away. But I had to drink. Dehydration would have been much worse. I was still moving, though. Walk a couple of minutes past the water break and then run.
As we came up to the bridge at mile 20, I knew my running was about over. My stomach, or is that my bowels, I have no idea, hurt with every pounding step. Walking didn’t bother it as much, though. Of course, Laura’s foot only bothered her when she walked, not when running. This was nothing new. I marveled at it a few weeks ago at the end of a training run when she said walking from the end of the run to the car hurt more than running. Time for an executive decision -> go on and get your medal, I’ll be 15 to 20 minutes behind.
As a testament to our 7 months of training and our race day pacing plan, Laura’s fresh legs ran on to the finish. Our original pact was to finish together, but it was time for me to renegotiate. Walking was killing her and running was killing me. I think we would’ve finished around the 4 hr 50 min mark if my pains hadn’t have set in.
If it were easy, everyone would do it
Remember the scene in Alien when the alien is busting out of the guy’s stomach? Yeah – it kinda felt like that. I mostly walked the last 5 miles. I did run some, including some of the last mile – especially the .2. The crowds helped me forget the pain. My splits are below. The first 15 miles were textbook. The next 5 on the splits look ok. But then it was all downhill. Oh well. I have my medal, and a story to tell. I don’t think many people would have made it to the starting line after being dealt the hand I got on Thursday. Fewer would’ve made it to the finish.
Rule #76 – No excuses.
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||Unofficial Race Results
|9:07:16 AM EST
|| Chip Time: 05:28:35
|| Clock: 05:33:49
|| Overall: 16918
|| Gender: 10866
|| Division: 1707