Sunday, November 20, 2016

MCM Recap Part 2 - Finally! (Weekly Wrap-up Edition)

Since I didn't really do anything this past week I thought I'd wrap up my MCM recap.

In case you missed previous posts from the MCM weekend:

So I left off by making the first course cutoff by 50 minutes.  This was very exciting, plus we were entering the mall area where all of the fun monuments and museums are.  Right after the Gauntlet we rounded to the other side of the Washington Monument.  Can't get enough of seeing this thing. :)

Then we came up to the new African American Museum.  I knew it right away by it's unique architecture.  It's one place I want to visit soon.

By this time I was 10 miles from the finish line.  My nausea had passed and I was feeling much better.  My left knee and IT Band were acting up every now and again, but nothing that hindered me at all.  And the temperature was hitting about 70 degrees at this point.  I was starting to feel the heat and kept trying to roll my short sleeves up.  One just would not stay up and it was very annoying cause I was getting warm.

We rounded to the tip of the mall where the Capital is.

The crowds and marines were so much fun in this area.

As I turned the corner of the mall and started heading back to the Washington Monument, I saw Candace.  She was walking with someone that she had met at a previous race.  I stopped and walked with them a little bit.  Her friend was having some cramping issues so Candace was going to stick with her for awhile.  I said good-bye and headed off with my walk/runs again.

We came back down the other side of the mall and saw the Washington Monument again.  I knew we were about to turn to the area where I would Beat the Bridge.  I was almost to a point where I knew I would finish the race no matter what.

As I turned the corner toward the 14th Street Bridge I saw a huge group of people.  They had a fire hydrant open so the water was spraying the runners.  It was nice to get some relief from the heat by being doused in water.

Right past the water was the marker where I officially needed to Beat the Bridge.  I needed to be there by 1:15 PM and I hit it by 12:33 PM.  I felt like I had crossed the finish line. I was so excited.

Then there were people with "Free Hugs" on their shits.  They were from the Free Hugs Project which was started by Ken Nwadike who after the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing wanted to run in 2014 but did not qualify.  He went there anyway to cheer people on with a Free Hugs t-shirt and sign.  I hugged everyone that had a shirt on and the last guy actually picked me up and hugged me.  I'm not the type of girl that guys pick up, so it did surprise me.  After the Beating of the Bridge and all the hugs I was on the top of the world.

And for the last time, we saw the Jefferson Memorial as we got onto the 14th Street Bridge.

People talk a lot about the Walking Dead on the 14th Street Bridge and man were they right.  I don't think I saw one person running.  At this point I did take a break and did walk about half of the bridge.  I wanted to reflect on what I just did, and really wanted a little break.  We passed into Virginia and I knew we were on the backside of the race.

Like many people have reported, the bridge is like a mile or more long.  There also are not any spectators.  I did see a couple of EMS 4x4 vehicles pass with people on stretchers that were being brought to the finish line for one reason or another.  I'm assuming most were heat related.

We turned off of the bridge and headed into the Pentagon parking lot.  And then ran around it.  Out in the sun.  No shade.  No spectators.  So boring.  It was getting into the mid-70's at this point.  The sun was finally fully out.  And I was dragging.  I was still pushing my walk/runs cause I knew if I kept pushing I would be done, and possibly a PR.

As I was exiting the Pentagon parking lot I saw Candace and her friend on the other side.  They looked good.  And then I was heading into Crystal City.  There were a lot more spectators at this point, but I was getting miserable because of the heat.

It seemed that one of the water stops had run out of cups as they were out there pouring water into water bottles and just giving out the gallon jugs to people. They were also offering to dump water over your head or neck if you wanted.  I took them up on that.  I made sure that my water bottles were full at each water station just cause I was drinking that much.

Crystal City was another out and back.  And the longest of the out and backs that we had done all day.  One of the spectators was giving out ice.  I grabbed some and rubbed it on my face. I put what was left down the back of my shirt.  As I moved on I wished I grabbed more ice to put down my shirt.

This out and back kept going on and on.  When we finally reached the end, they had one of those fans that blew mist out.  Another nice touch on such a hot day.  At each water station I would have someone dump water on the back of my neck.  I was so hot but I kept pushing cause I knew I would be done quicker if I kept my walk/runs up.  I would skip a run every so often just for a break.

We made our way out of Crystal City and headed our way to the back side of the Pentagon.  We were getting close and I kept pushing.  I knew if I hit all my running I would PR.  So I kept pushing when all I wanted to do was stop.  You can tell I was struggling as I stopped taking pictures.  Not that there was a lot of exciting stuff to see after you crossed the bridge.

Right before the 26 mile marker were the famous marines out in just their boxers.  I had heard of them but had completely forgotten about them as I was so focused on the finish.  All I have to say is Yummy!

And Yummy!

And then there it was.  Mile 26!  Two more tenths of a mile!

And then there was that hill.  I heard all about the hill but I didn't expect it to be that steep.  It was a very short hill though.  I walked up it and then the course turns right and it is flat to the end.  I stated running.  And then sprinting.  I put everything I had left into the last feet of the race to the finish line.  I think I might have cried a little or screamed or something as I finished.

Once I crossed the finish line I knew I had a PR, but I wasn't sure by how much.  I hugged a bunch of marines that were there cheering for us after we crossed the finish line.  I had put 150% of myself out on that course and I was a tad emotional.

I looked at the lines to get medals and one marine was waving toward me.  I made my way over to him to get my medal from him.  This was the most special part of the whole race.  To have these men and women there cheering for us after everything they have done for our country.  This is what makes this race so special.

I made my way to the Iwo Jima Memorial to get my picture taken.

I wandered around to find some water and while my left leg was the one that bothered me a little during the race, my right one decided to seize up on me at this point.  I asked one of the marines that was handing out water where the medical tent was and it was all the way the other way.  I headed over and got some ice to put on my leg.  I sat in one of their chairs that was out in the sun.  No shade anywhere in the medical area except for their tent, but that's where the more serious cases were.  But this is where I got my favorite picture of the whole race.

I knew I couldn't leave the Iwo Jima area as I would not be able to get back in and I wanted to wait for Candace to finish.  I had to leave the medical tent area cause I had to find some shade.  I went back to where the marines were giving out the medals and sat on some grass there.  Two seconds later I was told to move that no one could sit in that grassy area.  It was 80 degrees out by now and all I wanted to do was sit in the shade.

I moved back some away from that area close to where someone was sitting and sat again.  Another marine came up to me and told us that we had to move.  I couldn't believe it.  I told her that she would have to help me up and asked if I could go sit by the tree.  She seemed OK with that.  So I finally got to sit in the shade for a little bit.  Someone put their feet up the tree and I thought that was such a good idea and joined her.

Candace finished with her friend and we went to get our pictures taken in front of the Iwo Jima.

It was time to get out of there and figure out where the bag check was and how to get an Uber home.  Candace had to sit for a little bit but I had to keep walking and we headed toward the finish party.  And by finish party I mean a beer truck.

The finish party area was really a disappointment and signs to where things were were not very good.  I saw that they were selling finisher shirts and I knew I wanted one.  The one I wanted was already sold out, but the second one that they had left was nice.  I also got to talk to a nice man with a sexy British accent.  Yum.

Candace had been sitting while I was buying my shirt.  We found each other and had to ask around to where the bag check was.  We of course were one of the last people to pick up our bags.  They asked if we were partying and we were like no, we were running.  I was SO HAPPY to be able to put on my flip flops and get out of my running shoes.

Then was the trick of getting an Uber.  At this point I only had 1% of my battery on my phone and I needed to get my payment info into the app so that I could get someone to us.  As I was doing this we walked over to the Uber meeting place.  I got the Uber placed and waited for the call when he was close.  I was getting so nervous as my battery was going to die at any moment.  We got the call and he was slowly making his way to us as traffic was bad with all the closed streets.

We got picked up and it was so nice to be on the way back to the hotel.  The driver was very nice and fun to talk to.  As this was the first time I used Uber, I was very impressed with the whole process.  Their app has a real time map of where the driver is and how far away they are.  They also give a description of the car and license plate which was very useful since there were a lot of people getting picked up by Uber and Lyft.

So that was MCM for me.  The race was great, but with the heat, it made the race very hard.  I loved the course till we crossed the 14th Street Bridge.  After that there was not a lot of shade or crowd support.  But I knew I left everything I had on the course and I was very happy with my finish.

And with that my official finish was 6:48:48, which is a 10 minute PR from my first marathon at Disney.  Looking at my splits, I'm very happy with my consistency.  The first half I averaged 14:30 and the second half 15:30.  I know it is a positive split but with the heat I think I finished really strong.

Mission Accomplished!

Honestly, I don't know if I would do this race again.  Not just because of the heat, but I'm not wanting to do another marathon for awhile.  I like the marathon, but running a fall marathon is hard on the training in the heat of the summer.  If I were more of a marathon runner, I would defiantly consider doing it again, but there are other marathons I want to do before I do this again.

And thanks to all of the marines!!

If you'd like to watch my vlog from the weekend, click here.

Linking up with Holly and Tricia's Weekly Wrap Up.


  1. Great finisher photo! Congrats on your race and a PR! I bet you had such a sense of relief when you saw the clock at the bridge. I'm sure those men at the end really helped push you you to the finish. A great motivator! And that hill at the end. It is so small but after 26 previous miles I thought it felt like Everest....haha.

    1. I swear passing the clock on the bridge felt like a finish to me. Just had to do another 10 more miles.

  2. Congratulations! The weather was so unexpectedly warm, I know that really made it hard. Plus the loop around the Pentagon. Hopefully they can figure out how to eliminate that next year! I love your medal picture.

    1. I think the Pentagon loop was added when they changed the course to allow more time to beat the bridge because of the Metro. Hopefully the Metro fixes will be done by next year and they can get rid of it. It was so boring.

  3. Congratulations on running a great race and earning a 10 minute PR! The last bridge sounds insane. And it just got so hot! Extra kudos on finishing strong. Marines in boxers? Now that's definitely a great photo op! Thanks for linking, Heather!

    1. I'm glad I didn't miss them. They made up for the hard 10 miles in the heat. Thanks!

  4. Congrats on your great MCM finish! I haven't run it since 2010, but ran it ten times total. I love that race and LOVE reading other people's recaps - so thanks!

    My friend Anne was one of the people you hugged wearing the "Free Hugs" shirts!

    1. It is a great race and thanks to your friend Anne as that was one of my highlights of the race and I loved that.

  5. A mile long bridge? I walked from my hotel to the zoo back in August and I thought that bridge was long. It was also in the sun, so I can imagine how you runners felt.

    1. It was the walking dead on that bridge. No one was running at that point.

  6. Congratulations on your race and on your Pr!! Ice on a hot race course is the best thing to see! One has to stuff it everywhere !

    The Iwo Jima Monument is one of the coolest in DC! that picture of you with it is so awesome!!

  7. Oh man, that heat sounds tough! You did an amazing job with that PR in spite of the weather :) The 14th street bridge was like that for the Army 10 Miler too. It just seemed like everyone gave up and walked on the bridge even though it was only like 7 or 8 miles at that point.