MCM 2018: Afterburnout

Revile went at just before the 0500 alarm. After a leisurely breakfast of two English muffins with peanut butter and a tub of Chobani Black Cherry Greek yogurt (Lordy what a mouthful), I headed out the door at just after 0600. The trek from my hotel to the actual Marine Corps Marathon took about a half hour. Walked from the hotel to and through the security gates, then a visit to the portapotties, and finally what seemed to be a 1~2 mile trek to the starting corrals.

During the walk, I realized one thin: I really missed Dave, Greg, and Steve not being here this year. I’ve run races alone before, but not having the guys here hurt a bit.

My sore right thigh muscle was still an issue, so I put some Real Time cream and gave it a few minutes with the Roller last night. This morning I stretched for about 45 minutes before the opening cannon (yes, the MCM starts with a cannon being fired). I was so into stretching that I forgot to stand for the National Anthem.

I spent a lot of MCM Day reflecting on a lot of stuff (most of which I won’t go into here for personal reasons). Just before I started stretching, it finally hit me about what and why I was here, that all that running and everything connected to it was all about this day. I even welled up a little bit as the cannon went off promptly at 0755.

First eight miles: I started off behind the 5 hours 30 minutes pace group. I wanted to keep an even, steady pace because of my right thigh. However, as I progressed through the opening hills and valleys in the opening third of the course, I defaulted to my hill strategy: work the hills heads up/eyes up, and stride the downhills.

Blue mile and beyond (Miles 12 thru 19): I left it all on the road in the opening third, and boy, did I pay for it here. After I got through the Blue Mile, I got to the 14 mile marker and promptly hit the wall. The miles up to the Fourteenth Street Bridge, in my humble opt ion, are the “grinder miles,” where you finally realize that you’re running a marathon and you do the work to get to the finish. Unfortunately I never found that extra gear.

Around mile 17 I had to walk,my thighs were making noise, my hamstrings were feeling the strain, and I just couldn’t get that second wind. I was never so glad to see the Bridge; I saw the clock before the bridge and it read 12:18 p.m. and change. Hot damn, I’m gonna make it.

On the Bridge, I had to part walk, part Marine Corps shuffle it. More reflections…on my brother and sister, on absent friends, on my training this year…on everything. So much to do and so much to make right in the next few months.

I was prepared for the Maze of the Minotaur, a.k.a. the road around the Pentagon after mile 21 before entering into downtown Crystal City. Fortunately, we turned right into Crystal City and saving the run around the Pentagon for Mile 24. I always see the Mile 22-23 run into downtown as the celebration of the run; you’ve beaten the bridge, a lot of people are here to cheer you on and even offer you beer and liquor, and you get the sense that you can do this. For some weird reason, Crystal City was a lot quieter this year. Not as big of a crowd, although the offers of alcohol were there (beer, wine, jello shots and fireball shots).

The final two miles and change I found enough pride and a bit of a second wind to finish running. This was no epic day by any means, but it was a nice jolt to hear the announcer call my name in the final stretch to the finish line.

The People’s Marathon: it’s the little things, y’all.

I was done. Collected my nice bright red medal that opened up to reveal a gold piece (Transformers: The Movie:”Now…light our darkest hour!“), got the healthy snack basket, Gatorade and two bananas, collected my complimentary finisher’s beer…and staggered back to the hotel.

Postscript on the hotel: I never found roommates for this weekend, but Residence Inn did have a smaller room available that was about $700 less. In theory, I should have found another, cheaper hotel, especially since I am a Hilton Honors member. That being said, in  my condition I was grateful to only climb a flight of stairs and walk about a half block to the hotel. Stagger to the shuttles for a half-hour ride on the DC MetroRail? Yeah…no.

Medical notes: Note to self: clip your toenails before long runs.

That KT Tape was a good idea: maybe I should apply it to my calves and thighs before 20-miles or longer?

Add pickle juice to your Mio water, so you have some salt to help prevent The Revolt of the Thighs.

BTW: Take a look at the course layout (to include inclines/declines) to better map out your running strategy.

Final time: 5:45.53, 13:12 pace. How I got that time after the day I had…never mind, I’ll take it.

Song of the Day: I have a feeling “Happy”/Pharrell Williams is a duplicate pick, but I heard this song as I was heading on the out-path from Crystal City. I sat through ONE hour of his “24 Hours of Happy.” Assuming Pharrell assembled some real talented dancers, I’m not sure I’d binge watch this for any extended length of time.

“Hurts So Good”/John Cougar Mellencamp: So early MTV 80s but so appropriate for a day like today. Especially when you’re collecting your medal and the post-race goodies/swag afterwards. Yes, I know it’s basically BDSM (google it, don’t ask me).

“Alive”/Pearl Jam. Never mind the subject matter of this classic song, that’s how I felt after finishing the MCM.

“Wish You Were Here”/Pink Floyd. Not the happiest Pink Floyd song ever (much like the album), but like I said: this morning was when it hit me how much I missed being with the guys.

Postscript: With the exception of the St. Mary’s City Turkey Trot the Saturday before Thanksgiving, I am done running for 2018. I am taking the week off before doing some half-assed training for the Turkey Trot.

As for this here blog? Tomorrow will be my last official entry for 2018, and then it goes dark until next spring. I may stop in to bitch about things of a sports or political nature, but life really is calling me right now.

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