Monday, October 29, 2012

Marine Corps Marathon 2012

On October 28th 2012 I completed my first marathon. There are many reasons why this was a life changing experience. Before this year I ran only for myself and the benefits that I could gain from running. Yesterday I ran 26.2 miles for a cause greater than myself. There is NOTHING that I have experienced that compares with this.

I could write pages and pages about this experience but here's the "shorter" version. I'm typing this on my IPOD the morning after the race. We are driving home in the pouring down rain and it is also very windy. I am so thankful that we did not have to deal with the rain for the race.

First, there is a lot I could talk about regarding the inspiration dinner on Saturday night, but what impacted me the most was the attitude of the speaker Josh. He went through so much yet he was able to use running as a way to cope with the stress and to keep himself healthy.

After that we ha our capital team meeting where I got to officially meet my honored teammate Jeff Allen and his wife shared his story. I also received a lot of inspiration when we went around the room and shared the person were were dedicating the run to.

After that I went back io the room to get everything ready for the race. I attempted to sleep but I only slept a few hours. When I woke up I felt slightly nervous, but mostly excited! I got ready and then headed downstairs to meet the team. At this point we were still expecting it to rain at least a little bit.

Fast forward to the point where we already rode the metro and were in runners village. I had a second to ask Coach Barb from The York team where she thought I should line up for the race. She said that even thought I could reasonably expect to run somewhere between 5 and 6 hours that I should line up closer to 4 or 430. I did this it was very helpful as it gave me a little more buffer to make it through the Gauntlet and beat the bridge by the specified times.

It was overwhelming with all the people ahead and behind me. At the start and for the first 10k I was running about an 11:30 pace which was slightly fast fir me. I tried to slow down but had a hard time doing that.

One of the moat surprising things I saw was the amount of people going to the bathroom just on the side of the road in the wood areas... this started as early as 3 miles.

Sone people wore costumes to run in and that made me smile. I saw a lady wearing a fur coat and I thought to myself "that's crazy" but there were people from all 50 states and 50 countries.

A super important point in the race was when I caught up to Amanda who a runner from the Baltimore team who knows my mentor for team in training. It was the first marathon for both of us and we had the same goal an the same pace in mind. Thus was tremendous and we helped each other through the rest of the race.

I felt absolutely amazing for probably the first 16 - 18 miles. I think I can partially attribute I to starting out too fast and not drinking quite enough (however I took 2 cups of water at the water stops).

The last 6-8 miles were all mental for me. Each mike I went above 20 was a milestone.

I distinctly remember to super important parts of the last 5k of the race. First at mile 24 when I was struggling physically/mentally we reminded each other why we were running. I can't remember the name she said but I remember Luke and that he was the primary person I was running for. This helped a lot.

Second before we came to the last mob of people I saw a guy who had a prostatic like the guy who ran in the Olympics. That was inspiring :-).

Third, seeing my friends Mark, Eileen, Jeff (honored teammate) and Wendy. The best part was when Wendy came out onto the course and told me that she was proud of me and that "you got this.". That was the final push I needed.

At this point I was very close to the finish line. The "hill" was more like a ramp. At this point I took off with all the gusto I had left straight to the finish line.

It was different than some other finish lines sine there were so many people there still at the finish line. I did not get a chance to put my hands up in victory, I got my photo with my metal in from of the memorial.

I will never ever forget my first marathon!

There is almost an endless list of people I want to thank. First and foremost Cindy and Emma and all the sacrifices you guys have made. Next my coaches Mike. Larry, Linda, John and Barb. Teammates capital and York and Amanda. All those who were cheering and all those who contributed. I also wanted to specifically give a shout out to the me mentors Mark, Eileen, Shannon, Ally and Cyndi. Thanks for an incredible experience! See you out there soon.

I wanted to thank the coaches from the other TNT teams who offered to help us out and asked if we needed anything.  I really appreciated having both the Maryland team coaches and the Central PA coaches running with us at different times.  It sure does make a huge difference!

The most important thing that I want to communicate through this blog post is that completing my first marathon was the second greatest thing I did yesterday.  The greatest was raising money to help find a cure for blood cancer.  Never will I forget my first marathon.  Thanks again to everyone who made it possible :-).