MCM Trifecta 2021: It Begins

Friday:

“Traditionally,” I like to open my Marine Corps Marathon training program with a “Ceremonial” run of the old Marine Physical Fitness Test course, located at Naval Air Station Pax River, MD. This was the last PFT course that I ran before I retired in 2008, so it ties in with the Marine part of my training (“Honor, Courage, and Commitment”), which says that I am going to max out my MCM training to the best of my ability and finish the Marathon for this year.

About 45 minutes before the run, I officially registered for the 2021 MCM Trifecta. This consists of not only running the 26.1 mile Marine Corps Marathon, but the MCM10K (6.1 miles) and the MCM50K (31.2 miles). I took the option of running the 10K onsite at the MCM course in Arlington, VA and running the regular MCM as well as the 50K as virtual races. I won’t run either at Arlington, but I will be running them locally (Lexington Park, MD) on courses of my choosing.

The 10K will be a much shorter MCM Weekend than usual, which means I plan on driving up on Race Day, running the 10K, then hanging around long enough to get much at the Finisher’s Festival before driving home. The virtual MCM I will run the same course as last year, probably a week before the 10K. The 50K I would like to run up MD-5 North from my home in Lexington Park to (probably) Leonardtown, Md and back. As soon as MapMyRun allows me to properly chart a course, that is.

But I digress. The Ceremonial is meant to be a run to reflect on what it means to be a Marine and how it relates to committing to train for the race (or races) this year. Usually, though, my head is somewhere else, and usually I never think about maintaining a good pace. Technically it’s more “fun run” than training run.

The weather was not great out, but the heavens didn’t fully open out during my late morning run. I did remember to get my “official” post-run selfie with the sign of the Marine Aviation Detachment (my last command when I retired, so long ago). The run was pleasant, considering I had not run since my 10 mile trek on the Capital Crescent a month ago.

Quick aside: I planned to take a week of running to “take care of business” so i could have a clear head before I started training for real. That week, unfortunately stretched into a month. On top of that, I planned to start P90X Lean next Monday, but I’m going to be doing that very, very cold. I have not done any cross training or gym work since my aborted attempt at P90X last June.

Yikes. ‘Nuff said.

Sunday/Independence Day:

I also attempt to uphold the tradition of running the five-mile circuit of the National Mall in Washington, DC. This year was not about pace, but yet another commitment to train and to run.

Although I set my alarm for 0400, I was already up an about at 0315. Got dressed for the run and made a last minute check on where to park my car and where to start. I decided on the National Gallery of the Arts.

At 0430, I headed out to the parking garage for the 10 minute drive to the Mall. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get my car out of the parking garage (what do you mean, “Failed to check-in???”). I decided that this was an issue to take up with my hotel front desk, and made the twelve minute walk down 6th Street to the Gallery.

When I run the National Mall, I try to run the whole Mall. Start at a landmark on Constitution Avenue (i.e., the Gallery), then run all the way around the Lincoln Memorial, as much as traffic and safety allows me. Then down Independence Avenue up to and around the US Capitol Building, then back to the start-finish point…plus a block or so to hit five miles on the dot.

Running down Independence Avenue, the run turned into a bit more of an adventure than I had planned. Apparently, the National Mall was fenced off, especially around Independence. The Wall was still fenced off to the point where pedestrians/runners/bikers/tourists could not use the sidewalks adjacent to the Mall. Halfway down Independence, I encountered a female runner who asked me “Can I run around the Lincoln?”

“Yes, ma’am, it’s not fenced in.”

“Isn’t this crazy though? I’m adding about fifteen minutes to my run!” Felt your pain, ma’am. There’s a difference between running on the sidewalk than on the grass.

I did make it to the Capitol Building, but it woo was fenced off. I was tempted to try and run around the back of the building, But i was in no mood to get lost and run any extra miles that I didn’t have to. In hindsight, I could have taken Indy-First St-Constitution back to the Gallery, but I’ll just save that for next year. After my usual awkwardness about looking for the turn back onto Constitution, I found my way back to the Gallery.

Only 4.95 mi? I ran to corner of 7th to get my “full five.”

A couple of pictures (way too much flash for the FB selfie!), and then the cool down stroll back up 6th Street and my hotel. Who needs parking?

Epilogue:

I am typing this from Room 706 at the Motto by Hilton. Designed as a “traveler’s hotel,” this is the smallest hotel room I have ever been in! I have had bigger rooms at cheaper hotel chains! However, the Motto has a rooftop bar that serves very good bar food (though pricey, as per DC standards). Still, I plan to head to the Rooftop Bar in hopes of catching the National Capitol Fireworks Show…along with the other guests of the Motto.

Song of the Day (yup…It’s Back!)

Roxy Music/”Virginia Plain:”  From Genius: “In 1964, when (lead singer/pianist) Bryan Ferry was an art student (Newcastle University), he painted a picture called ‘Virginia Plain.’ It was reportedly a packet of cigarettes with a woman portrayed on a plain background. Three images, one song title: “What’s her name?/Virginia Plain.” Brian Ferry wrote this song via stream of conscuisness as a potential hit single; Roxy Music’s debut album was a surprise success, but “the A&R man said ‘I don’t hear a single (thx Tom Petty!).” Also, great synth solo by Brian Eno!

Rachid Taha/”Barra Barra:” This song was selected as part of the soundtrack for the movie, Blackhawk Down about the US Special Forces’ mission in Mogadishu, Somalia in 1993. You’ll get more information about the song and the late, great artist on the actual linked YouTube video (lyrics translation included!) and Rachid’s own YouTube channel than Genius.

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