Something I heard quite a lot this weekend was, “I’m just doing the 10K.” I get it. The main event of the weekend was the Marine Corps Marathon, but really? What is with the “just?” Contrary to Nike, I didn’t wake up before dawn to just do anything! I woke up to run a 10K!
With that said, the MCM10K far exceeded my expectations. I broke my PR by a lot and it was, by far, the most inspirational and emotional race I have finished in my short time as a runner.
I headed to the Expo, which was held at the DC Armory, on Thursday after work. Not much to report here. There were lines and booths and it was cold. I got in, walked down all of the aisles and got out.
|Helicopter outside of the DC Armory|
I love the race shirt though! Long-sleeved mock turtle neck in tech fabric! Something I definitely don’t have in my workout clothing collection, and it actually fits me!
I woke up at 5:45 am to get changed, have my usual peanut butter and banana sandwich for breakfast and then headed down to the Metro.
I arrived at the starting line a little after 7 am. Since the start time wasn’t until 7:55, I figured I had plenty of time. I had to snap a shot of the US Capitol before the sun was fully up.
I also spotted this guy: the Marine Corps Bulldog!
Although I didn’t check a bag, I thought the UPS trucks were so cool. Both the 10K and marathon started and ended at different points so runners had to check their bags with a specific UPS truck, which would then drive the bags to the finish line.
I made my way to the porta-johns at this point. And in line for the porta-johns was where I stayed for the next hour. The lines didn’t seem any longer than the lines I had waited in at other races, but it just did not move. I watched the sun rise from the line. I heard the announcer telling us that the race was about to start. I heard the starting gun from the line. I finally was able to get in and out after the race had already began.
By that point, I simply walked to the starting line and joined the last corral to start the race. I was actually less stressed out than I probably should have been.
The rest of the race was a breeze. The first two miles was in the District before we headed over the bridge and into Virginia.
We ran through Crystal City and past the Pentagon and Arlington Cemetery.
At each mile marker, there were Marines, calling out the time over a bullhorn.
There were some many Marines standing along the route, giving high fives and shooting words of support. This definitely kept me pumped up.
The race ended at the Marine Corps Memorial (aka the Iwo Jima Memorial), which meant we had to run up a steep hill for the last 0.2 miles. I usually sprint to the finish, but I am familiar with the terrain and knew what was coming up. There were Marines all along the route shooting for us to “Keep going!” The best thing I heard was one Marine who yelled, “Take the hill!” It was awesome.
This was the first time I ran in a military race, and I realize now that I had no idea of what to expect. Within the first mile, I found myself almost in tears from the emotions of finding myself running next to such inspirational individuals. There were so many people running for fallen Marines as well as Marines who had lost limbs running in the race. It was completely overwhelming to me. This is the part that I didn’t understand when I signed up for this race. It was an unbelievable experience.
In addition to being an great experience, I think all of the emotion contributed to making my time amazing!
After we finished, we got in line to receive our finisher medal, which was presented to us by a Marine. So cool! My Marine told me, “Thanks for the support!” which I thought was a crazy thing for him to say to me. Um, I didn’t do anything really compared to what he does.
|Marines with medals|
We were then corralled over to the memorial, where we could stand in line to get a picture taken. I just asked someone to take one for me so I could continue on.
I collected my refreshments, including banana, Gatorade and water.
|So many boxes of bananas!|
Then I made my way to Rosslyn for the post-race festival. First item on the agenda, massage time! Then off to the Beer Tent to get a sample of gross Michelob Ultra.
For lunch, I had a hearty meal at a recently opened Russian/Uzbek restaurant in Ballston called Rus Uz.
I had the red caviar over puff pastry filled with cream cheese and manti (lamb dumplings). Yum! I would definitely eat here again.