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Monday, October 29, 2007

2007 Marine Corps Marathon

We got down to DC on Saturday around 1pm or so and checked into our hotel. Our hotel was right on the race course and directly across from the Pentagon (great view!). We headed to the Expo right away to get our packets and ran into Kristy, Sue, Dianne & Natalie while we were walking around. Todd bought a new singlet for our Disney Marathon coming up.

Back to the room, where I practiced using my new watch. Then, we went to dinner at Cafe Italia in Crystal City. It was very nice, thank you for the recommendation, NickF!! WN and WoWN joined us there. We were a big group and dinner was very nice. Then, it was back to the hotel room where I suddenly got very sick to my stomach. I'd decided not to bring my iPod, but then Todd convinced me to take it with me on Sunday to the race, so I occupied myself by putting a playlist together - and I bought an audiobook - Jon Stewart's America, which I'd already read. I didn't end up listening to the audio book during the race, though.

We were up at 5:30 to start getting ready and had bagels in our room before the race. Then, we met everyone in the lobby and headed across the Pentagon parking lot to the starting line. The mood was good and happy.

Days before, I'd spoken to Jeff Galloway over email and he'd suggested that I do 1-1 intervals for the race. Karen later suggested that I do 1:30-1s and since Kathy (down from Vermont for the race) wanted to do 1:30-1s, Kristy and I decided to run with her at that interval, rather than the 2-1 that we're used to.

We started out great and on pace, although it was hard to tell because the mile 1 marker was definitely in the wrong spot. The early part of the race was hilly, but we were maintaining between a 13:30 and 13:50 pace, which was our target. Parts of the beginning of the race sucked - they changed the course this year and threw in an additional large hill around mile 6. Kristy and Kathy were actually speeding up and I spent a large portion of miles 5-10 following just behind them.

The UMBC Gang was out around mile 9/10 at the Kennedy Center and I waived to them, but really couldn't stop to say hello because I was trying so hard to stay on pace and I had no idea what would happen with the potty breaks. Their sign said "KLETCO!" this year so that I could distinguish that from all of the other Kims that are out there :) I love you guys!!

Around the mall, I was realizing that Kathy and Kristy were going to continue to go a little faster than I wanted to, so I finally fell behind and let them go. This happened around mile 11. My mom, Vic, Bo and Bo's 2 kids were out on the course at miles 12 and 14. They had brought canned orange sections in baggies that were REALLY REALLY REALLY good. And, they brought me my baggie of saltines. I saw the UMBC gang again at mile 14, and then headed on towards Hains Point.

So, at about this point - mile 14/15, heading into the toughest part of the race, I was tired. I was trying to maintain my goal pace of 13:50, but it was tough. I was feeling great mentally, and in a weird twist from last year, I was actually ok with being alone and looking forward to the solitary feeling of Hains Point. I was getting tired of people cheering and I wanted to focus on myself for a while.

As I passed through Hains Point, I focused on myself, and tried with desperation to figure out what I could do to recover properly. I added a few walk breaks and pretty much right at the point of Hains Point, I switched down to 1-1s. Pace had slowed to 14-15 minutes per mile, but after I passed mile 19, I tried to do some math and figured I could keep up a 14-15 minute pace and still PR... but it's hard to do math at that point.

... and on to the bridge. I knew I'd beat the bridge this year, I had no doubt I would get across so that really wasn't even a worry for me. I can't even really say that there was something satisfying about making it on to the bridge. I did get to see Davida though, who I cried to. I'd been crying on and off for a while.

Once I was on the bridge, I decided to start the iPod. I'd made a separate playlist of only songs that I felt that I could tolerate during the race, since a lot of times when running with music I skip a lot of songs. Well, that worked out, I never skipped a song at all and the playlist lasted me from the bridge all the way to mile 26 where I took off the headphones... maybe sometime I'll share the list, but there are quite a few embarrassing songs on the list.... I didn't care. No one could hear them but me and what did I care if anyone knew I was listening to the Spice Girls??

From this point - Mile 20 (after seeing Davida) into Crystal City, about mile 23, I fell into a pretty good groove of doing 1-1s and being able to keep a 14-15 minute pace. It was working for me. I saw my family again in Crystal City and also the UMBC Gang.

23-26.2 was a different sort of thing. My feet - and the arthritis in them - could not be ignored again. I was exhausted and my 1 minute of walking was not enough to get me to recover. I knew Todd had finished, which was a comfort, but the text message service was going crazy and I was getting like 50 text messages (LITERALLY!) every time I looked at my phone. I was throwing in extra walk breaks all over the place and walked most of mile 25. Then, as I could see the finish area in the distance, a couple of songs on my iPod gave me new energy and I manged about 4 runs... but no more. Everything hurt and my feet were so sore. There were a couple little hills toward the end, I saw Debra heading towards the finish. I was both happy to have the finish line soon and incredibly angry at myself for being unable to keep up with things to get a PR.

As I headed up the hill, there was Dianne, so I knew that she hadn't finished. I looked at my watch and saw 6:25... A PR would have to be better than 6:23. I shrugged and ran it in, but I was emotional and unhappy at the finish line.

I mean, one thing is good - I fought the inability to run alone and I was actually fine on my own. There were no mental issues on this run. It was just physical. And I curse the fact that I have this problem with my feet that is essentially the source of all of my other problems with running.

So, I guess I'm angry that I have this issue. I'm both disappointed and proud at the same time. And I'm very consistent. I didn't know my finish time, but Sandra called and let me know that it was 6:25 (I wasn't sure if I'd actually crossed during that minute or not). I can assure you that this was my last Marine Corps Marathon and I am relatively certain that Disney will be my last marathon for quite some time. I've already promised Karen from fleet feet that I'll be leading a half marathon group next year.

A HUGE thank you to my cheering section: Mary, NickF, Dustin, WN, Davida, Maria, Mom, Vic, Bo, Dylan and Drew. And thanks to Sharon for the encouragement during the race. Thank you and congratulations to my fellow MCM runners - Kristy, Dianne, Debra, Karin R, Sue, Nancy, Tom, Natalie, Kathy, Jack, WoWN, and most of all thank you to Todd for being a constant source of support, even when he's hurting also. :) I love you all.

Here are some photos... Some of them are from Davida. I didn't take a lot of pictures (only one on the course) because I was staying so focused on my running. Weird... it was just a completely different race for me, and I am still reflecting.

Marine Corps Marathon 2007

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