Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Marine Marathon Race review part 2 of 2

Welcome back to another addition of #shlomotrained

This post is part 2 of 2 from the 2014 Marine Marathon, which took place on October 26, 2014.
(See previous post to read about miles 0-13)

As I continue to make my charge towards the finish and try to hit my goal time of 2:50. Let's pick it up at the half-way point.
Miles 13.1-18
After wishing Jeremy good luck on his marathon journey, I continue to keep pushing the pace to stay within reach of my target time of 2:50. You have to remember at this point in the race, the wind really started to pick up, and it felt like it was always in my face.
After getting off of Hains Point (mile 15), we make a quick dash through the tidal basin pass the World War Memorial heading next in the direction of the Washington Monument. This is the first time during the race where I feel the effects of the strong head-wind, making it tough to keep a good pace. Non-the-less, the crowds lining the streets keep cheering us on while I kick it into second gear heading east toward the Capitol Building and mile 18.

Miles 18-22
Continuing along the pancake flat roads along the National Mall and through mile 19.5, I am still believing in myself to hit my target time, until...... (take a deep breath) two other runners double cross me while we are making the left hand turn onto 14th street, not allowing me to take my full-length strides, I feel my left foot land in an awkward position (I didn't completely roll it thank God), enough to raise a "Red Flag" for caution in the final home stretch of 6 miles.
Now let's talk a little bit about wind. The wind can either be your friend or your enemy, and today it was the latter. Heading onto the approach to the 14th street bridge and back into NoVA, the wind was so strong it felt like for every step I took forward, I was being pushed back two. So pumping my arms at my side, head down, and the determination to get to the finish line I finally make it across the bridge and into Crystal City VA.

Miles 22-Finish line 
To tell you the truth I don't remember much of running through Crystal City, but please let me share with you what I do remember.
After getting off the 14th street bridge I remember going under an over-pass and making a left hand turn. The noise of the crowd was so loud I felt like the home team just won a world championship! Guess what, they were all there for me!! (because nobody else was around me)
Being at mile 22, with a "busted" ankle and 4 miles to go it was time to dig deep and see what I what I'm really made of.
Will I give in and walk? or,will I push the envelope and dig deeper?
So this is what I decided to do, I closed my eyes envisioned the finish line and kept telling myself the following few phrases.
"Soft feet, stay relaxed, drive those arms and legs and you will be there in no-time",
"You know you have this",
"This pain is only temporary, and it will pass soon".
After telling myself these phrases over and over, again and again I find myself at the 25 mile mark. Almost there!
The last mile was just really about digging deep. I wanted to stop and shake the hand of each Marine lining the street, but yet wanted to finish before 3:05 (with the wind and busted ankle I lost significant time). The crowd was 3 people deep and some places 5 or more, waving flags, holding banners with all types of quotes and funny marathon sayings, and I was soaking it all in. 
  Then came mile 26 and the final left hand turn to the finish line. What can I say, I was totally drained, I left every bit of energy out there on the course and now I had to run up a "massive" hill to get to the finish at the MCM Memorial.
I kept telling myself, "drive those arms, drive those legs!!" 
    I'm totally out of breath, drained, tired and ready to eat breakfast and all I needed to do was finish. (I'm thinking pasta, and soup at this point)
Next, I look up and I am crossing over the finish line!! 3 hours 4 minutes and 45 seconds! (not the 2:50 which I hoped, but satisfied with my finish)
Mission Accomplished!

   After shaking hands, and saying thank you to each Marine I get my finishers medal and pictures are taken.

Overall I have to say, I have no regrets doing this race and I would totally come back and do it again. The support at each aid station, the Marines, the crowds, the whether, and most of all; every type of runner. 

*I hope you enjoyed reading about my experience at the 39th Marine Corps Marathon.*
*I apologize again for a lack of pictures* 

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