MCM 2019: Death March in the DC Triangle

Got up at 0500. Breakfast of English muffin and a banana with peanut butter. No yogurt (just thinking of this almost twelve hours later).

Out the door at 0600. Wait, do we have to take the Metro down there??? Actually, I walked down to the check-in site as usual. I did get close to where the Metro dropped off runners, when I dropped of my bag at UPS. I put my Marine Corps olive drab sweats and a pair of compression socks for my post race cool down. Not sure if I want to do the UPS thing again, though; that was a lot of pre-race and post-race hiking for my cool-down gear.

The rain was there almost all morning. I was soaked by the time I finished the Blue Mile (Mile 12), and that impacted my Kodak mini-camera and my smartphone. My phone is taken apart (battery removed and cover off) in hopes that drying will solve its problems.

Because of the staggered start this year (by expected finish times), the starting howitzer was fired at 0755, but I didn’t get started until 0815~0820. MapMyRun actually worked for a little while. However, I grabbed my phone at Mile 16 and pressed the home button…and got nothing. I assumed that between MMR and my weak battery, the smartphone had been quickly bled dry. Sadly that was just one of the problems I had sixteen miles into today’s 44th Marine Corps Marathon.

I did follow my strategy of not going out overly hard the first eight miles, and gradually pushing the pace over the final two-thirds of the race. After Mile 8 I checked my pace: 11:57, not bad!

Unfortunately, Mile 16 was where it all fell apart. I got my Mile 16 picture, but when I went to do a pace check, my smartphone was dead (or so I thought). My 20-oz. bottle of water, with Tailwind and pickle juice, apparently sprung a leak somewhere after Mile 12 because it was empty. Also, the rain had stopped and the sun came on strong. I had my cotton base layer on over my compression shirt, so it was getting pretty warm. At Mile 17, I took of my base layer and put my bib on the compression shirt, hoping that the new Chafe Defender roll-on would protect my nipples over the last nine or so miles.

I don’t know what it is about the Gauntlet (Miles 16-19, in and around the National Mall in DC), but every year I end up struggling here. By Mile 17, I was implementing Plan B: marching for a quarter-mile or so and pick up enough to at least try running again. I did make the Fourteenth Street Bridge, but it was more of a relief that a feeling of accomplishment from years’ past.

Mile 22: Rosslyn. Let the party begin, right? I doubt this had anything to do with what happened, but…I grabbed a shot of beer and a fireball shot. Normally I stay away from the hard stuff while running, but I figured my Personal Record day was already shot to pieces, and I would be lucky to finish in under seven hours. At Mile 23, my calves seized up. I couldn’t even Marine Corps Shuffle  (slightly faster than a jog) let alone run. I was forced to march until Mile 25.

I had decided at Mile 17, after a few minutes of soul=searching about 2019 (training and life in general) that I was not going to do anything less than FINISH…no excuses or bullshit. I ground out the Gauntlet, the Bridge, and Crystal City, so I decided that i would march until the last half mile…where I passed the same starting corrals that I had passed only six hours earlier. From there, just run as hard as I could until the end.

6 hours, 7 minutes, 52 seconds. Twenty minutes worse than last year, and an hour better than my Sore Knee Shuffle of 2016.

Post-mortem/observations:

  1. I’m too fat right now. Next year I plan to be under 205 when I come to Arlington.
  2. Too many DNFs and missed runs, none of them due to injury. Bulshit. If I’m going to run the MCM (or any marathon) I need to take this seriously.
  3. #2 above includes a better diet. Running and biking can’t burn off every calorie.
  4. Famous Dave’s BBQ: RIB SHACKS DON’T PLAY JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE ON THE FRIGGIN’ RADIO.
  5. Loved the St; Louis ribs and fries, tho’.
  6. As the rain poured down and I saw the Marine lieutenants lining the MCM course in the rain: “Hey, Brooks Running: People will pay a good chunk of their disposable income for a Gore-Tex running tech shirt. Especially if they’re in fluorescent (night/low-light visible) colors. Y’all need to get on that.”
  7. Back of the pack (anticipated 6 hours or so finishing corral): Business in the front, party in the back…what party? If everybody was anywhere near as sore as I was, didn’t see a lot of Toby Keith-type action.

 

Song of the Day: 44th Marine Corps Marathon Special Guest: TOM PETTY AND THE HEARTBREAKERS!!!

Running Down a Dream: Otherwise known as my first fifteen miles. Genius ain’t shit, and don’t even ask me about the video.

Refugee: When I discovered Tom and Co. on The Video Music Channel/Night Flight/or the other pre-MTV stuff in the late seventies, early eighties.

Mary Jane’s Last Dance: I ALWAYS hear this song near the end, to in the beginning when I have to go park the car. The video is to creepy, so…lyrics. Also, not necessarily a song about drugs (oh, hey…thanks, Genius!).

Won’t Back Down: This song wasn’t necessarily in my head after Mile 17, but I wouldn’t have banished such a thought from my head.

 

 

 

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