36th Marine Corps Marathon

22 Nov

I came.  I saw.  I didn’t beat Oprah.

I wasn’t ready for my second marathon.  Not by a long shot.  A summer of oppressive heat and one work disaster after another had cut into my training schedule to the point where I’d only managed one 18-miler, and a near 20-miler.

(Okay, there was opportunity for a second 20-miler, but when a bird poos on your shoulder a mile into the run, you just know it’s not going to be your day.)

Needless to say, I was already nervous going into the weekend. More than once, I’d considered deferring until 2012, but something kept telling me not to.  No, I was going to start the race.  If I was plucked of the course by a Marine, so be it.  But there was no way, no how, I was ever going to see a DNS in the Filz history of athletic results.

Then, Saturday, the weather rolled in.  Once again, I considered deferring.  I mean, who in their right mind would want to run a marathon while the first measurable snow DC has seen in over 30 years is on the ground?  By then, though,  I was in line to pick up my number.  If I was going to make the call, I was going to have to do it in a matter of seconds.

I didn’t do it.  I went to the expo, bought another layer of clothes, and told myself that I still wasn’t going to get a DNS.

Arriving at the start line at 6, I wrapped myself in my car’s emergency blanket and waited two hours for the official kick off.  I decided to join up with the 5:30 Clif pace group, figuring if I just stuck with them until The Bridge, I could be comfortable in the knowledge that I was at least going to be allowed to finish the race.

I stuck with them almost the whole way.  In fact, I did better than the actual pacer.  He was forced to withdraw thanks to an unfortunate stomach issue that’s best left undiscussed.

The tour of DC, though, was magnificent.  With the exception of The White House, we passed all the major landmarks, us locals pointing out the sights to the folks who hadn’t been to DC in quite awhile, or well, ever.

It was fun, it was casual, it was relaxing. I stopped worrying about the time and just decided to enjoy the nice day in DC.  And, yes, it was gorgeous despite the snowstorm the day before.

I don’t know if I’ll do MCM again, honestly. I’ve conquered the city twice, and I’m a little tired of giving up Halloween weekend to do it.  But I’m not done with marathons, not by a long shot.

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