Misadventures with wine, weights, and running shoes.

Marine Corps 17.75k

Wednesday, April 16, 2014
If you read my post called "I Love My Running Buddies" you knew that I got into the Marine Corps 17.75k. The entry was bitter sweet considering none of the people I run with were able to get in. As much as I would have liked to have bagged the race, I was encouraged to proceed as planned.

So I did and naturally, it did not go exactly as planned. I encountered a minor bump in the road that lead me to believe that I had missed packet pick up. This set off mass panic resulting in two hours of sleep and a far earlier than planned departure. In the end it all worked out.

Prior to the panic, it was business as usual with my normal pre-race indecisiveness about what to wear.In the end I settled on my school girl Sparkle Skirt, black tech shirt, pink skull Bani Band, Betty Designs hat and arm warmers, and my Virrata Sauconys. The shoes were a poor choice due to the distance and part of the terrain.
On race morning I was up and out the door EXTRA early. That means I ate breakfast just as early. I also failed to pack pre-race snacks - BIG MISTAKE. I was on site and had my packet in hand before 5:30am, was starving by 5:45am, and diving into race fuel at 6:30am. UGH!!! Still, it was a beautiful morning and watching the MCM team pulling things together before the race was worth the early arrival.
Eventually hordes of anxious runners crowded the staging area as the MC started covering the announcements.
While I was waiting for things to start I met Adam, a fellow runner. This was his fifth race running with the flag as a of showing his pride and patriotism. He has never let the flag touch the ground. It was an honor meeting him.
It goes without saying that the race would not be the same with out a shot with one of the mascots.  I love this guy! Oh - your eyes are not fooling you. My bib number was 1111. LOVED IT!

One final note before I get into the actual race itself, Retired Colonel Wesley L. Fox gave some opening words of encouragement before the race start. Hearing him say "Pain is Weakness Leaving the Body" sounds a hell of a lot better coming from him than reading it on a stupid shirt!

As for the race, it was challenging. Honestly, it was the hardest one I ran yet. I am positive that even if I would have taken two hours sleep and poor fueling out of the equation, it would still have been hard. I knew it would be hilly. I had been warned. I was, however, unaware that the first two miles in and two miles out were on a very rocky gravel path. HELLO STABILITY!

The hills were nothing to be taken for granted either and as I hit each new hill I found myself chanting "Blue Ridge, Blue Ridge, Blue Ridge" under my breath. At one point, I saw a fellow runner take one of the hills a little two fast resulting in her reaching the top and then proceeding to get sick. That is bad for me considering that I am a sympathy puker and, while I personally did not get sick, I did have to step off to the side and walk off the desire to join her.
Somewhere around mile six my lack of sleep and proper fueling caught up to me and I started to tank. I could also tell that I wasn't alone. Someone running behind me was mumbling something to the effect of, "gentle rolling hills - they said - there was nothing about damn mountains!" I chuckled and kept going. The last five miles felt like fifteen.

When I reached the last hill, I - YES ME - actually groaned. I had forgotten that I had ran down that thing at the beginning of the race. Then I heard my friend, Cindy, in the back of my head saying, "GET YOUR ASS UP THAT HILL, THERESA." I grumbled a few choice words under my breath, took a deep breath, and cleared the thing.

New Mantra - "Please don't puke! Please don't puke!"

At the top, a small group of people were there cheering us on and a woman was shouting that it was the last hill. It wasn't but it made me feel better any way. I knew the finish was just around the bend.
As completely spent as I was, I sucked it up to sprint to the finish and receive the coveted Access Granted chip from one of the Marines. Finish time: 2:02 - not ideal but could have been worse. I finished and that's what counted.

I hadn't realized just how tired I was until, after having a bag, bottle of water, protein, drink, and a snack box shoved into my arms, a volunteer came up to me and said, "honey, let me help you get that stuff in your bag." Then someone pointed me in the direction of the info tent and gave me a gentle push off so I could get my ticket into MCM.
Back at my car, I placed my 1775 items on the passenger seat and proceeded to stare off into space for about half an hour as I shoved my favorite post race treats in my face. Wish I'd have remembered that I had this before the race. It may have helped. Oh well.

So, lessons learned:

  • Pack pre-race snacks if I know I there will be more than an hour and a half between when I eat and the race start.
  • Consult with race veterans with regards to terrain and course.
  • Pack more race fuel than I anticipate needing - better to be safe than sorry.
I'm already hoping to return in 2015 to PR this thing! 

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