Sunday, October 30, 2011

It Doesn’t Hurt to Laugh

It hurts a little to cough, though. More about that below. The Marine Corps Marathon is a huge production, and well run, though this one may have been a bit unusual. A hard rain the day and night before the race, even snow, then temps below 32, made bridges treacherous both going to the race and early in the race itself. I slipped and nearly fell on an icy bridge in the pre-dawn darkness. I’m sure a few others were less lucky. The rain also turned lawns into 2-inch-deep mud, and some of the start-area essentials (porta-potties, charity tents) were on lawns. Nevertheless, the race committee and runners prevailed, and the race started on time and went well.

My Race:

  • I shot for 6:00 hours and finished in 5:55:56, 26th of 42 in the age group 70-74. Imagine 42 old farts out there! Actually, quite a few guys were even older, including a 90-year-old. That’s my dream, one of several. This was marathon number 58, state number 40 (Virginia, because the race starts and ends there).
  • I had a LOT of fun. This marathon was as much fun as the Hartford Marathon two weeks ago. Furthermore, I had energy left at the end. I didn’t try to spend too much of that, with another marathon next Sunday, but it felt great to be passing almost everyone in the last six miles. To do that, you really only have to keep a constant pace.
  • I walk/ran with a four to 1 ratio, changing that to 3 to 1 later in the race. 90 seconds walk, 30 seconds run.
  • I have never had the opportunity to thank so many Team in Training (TNT) runners, who raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS). Dozens. I also thanked one MMRF runner, but didn’t see any others.
  • In contrast to the pre-dawn weather, the race weather was beautiful. From about 35, I suppose, to at least 50 degrees. I started with three shirts and makeshift leggings pinned to my shorts, and jettisoned the leggings and a shirt at mile four. The second shirt went at mile 17, so then I was in a T-shirt and shorts. Perfect.
  • I took a lot of video again, and my sweeties did too. I met them twice along the course. Also, several times, I handed my video camera to a trustworthy-looking person, then went back a little and ran past again while they taped, and then back again for the camera. The reason will be explained in a future blog. Anyway it cost a little time.
  • I high-fived a LOT of people, especially kids. I love to see the grin on a short person’s face.

The MCM:
  • Lots and lots of enthusiastic volunteers.
  • Roads are all CLOSED to traffic. We never had to dodge cars. In fact, some of the people of Washington are not fans of the MCM because the road closures tie up the town. Tsk.
  • Marines are everywhere, of course. Many of them are young guys, fresh crewcuts, some of them could be my grandchildren. They called me “sir.”
  • It’s SO COOL running through the nation’s capital, over the tidal basin, past the Washington and Lincoln monuments, down the mall, past the capitol building and the reflecting pool, on and on. I did love that. Got the video, too! It’s surprising how quickly that part goes by.
  • The course is hilly in the beginning, but quite level later on. The finish is uphill, but happily quite short.
  • I have some suggestions for the race committee, but they’re trivial things in a race of this magnitude and I doubt they’ll call.
  • I was surprised how many runners were with me at my glacial pace. Lots! In fact, almost 2000 runners finished after I did.


  • The only significant pain was the “sports hernia,” abdominal strain. That’s what still hurts just a little.
  • During the race I heard from the left hamstrings left hip flexors, but those signals went away with the miles.
  • Every muscle is sore now, as always after a marathon. That’s a good thing.

Splits: 12:29, 13:39, 13:21, 13:09, 15:37, 12:43, 14:02, 13:08, 13:18, 26:35 (2 mi), 12:51, 12:46, 13:58, 13:15, 32:00 (2 mi w potty stop), 27:15 (2 mi), 13:27, 13:24, 13:02, 12:19, 13:34, 14:03, 16:11 (1.2 mi). Total 5:55:56, pace 13:34. OK for today.

Sunshine and Sweetpea’s home-cooked meatloaf, made tonight on the range in the hotel. Everything in the photo is organic:


Beth said...

Don, it was great to see you getting off the plane! Congratulations on yet another great race. I loved it and would recommend it to anyone, although it was pretty crowded for me. Good luck this weekend!

Running Librarian said...

Congrats on a great run! I went and cheered the runners all did a great job and were so inspiring!!

peter said...

Mmmm, does that look good for a hotel meal. Good job Don at the MCM! It's fantastic to run by all those memorials in our nation's capital, and tread down the streets where so many heroes have paraded in grand reviews, after the Civil War, after the 1st Gulf War and at other times. The People's Marathon is well named.