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Marine Corps Marathon

I won't bury the lede: I spanked my PR from 2005 (my last road marathon) by 42 minutes! 

I'm really happy about that.

The only photo in which I don't look like death
My race report in a nutshell: Crowded. Shuffling. Accelerating. Weaving. Jostling. Slowing. Avoiding. Tripping on gloves and random discarded clothing for the first eleven miles. 

PEOPLE EVERYWHERE.

I kept expecting, any moment, that the crowd would thin. But it didn't, much. It was tough to execute form and maintain a consistent pace when you're more focused on avoiding collisions with other runners (and spectators). It was completely mentally and physically exhausting. 

Deep in the Pain Cave.
How it all went down    
Apparently, I've become a trail curmudgeon. Give me a 50 miler on trails, any day!


A huge thanks to fellow WUS member Brian G for jumping in around mile 16 and pumping me up with encouragement and positive talk. It really made a difference in my race. I'd have walked a lot more without him at my shoulder.

I missed my "A goal" by quite a few minutes. Honestly, I felt it was overly optimistic. Perhaps that became a self-fulfilling prophecy, but I'd had trouble holding my pace on tempo runs most of this training cycle.

As Hubz would say, "in police work that's called a clue."

I'll admit to feeling disappointed when I hit the wall and my pace fell apart. But after a day to reflect on it, I can't be anything but overjoyed with my big PR.

At one point I seriously considered lying down on the side of the road for just a few minutes. I can't remember the last time I ran that hard. 

I know that I gave everything I had that day. I left it all on the course. 

I think that's the best one can ever hope to do.

A broader question: Are we ever truly, completely satisfied with our time in a race?

If we were, would we keep coming back for more?

I have no recollection of posing for this photo.


25 comments:

  1. Nice work on the 42 minute PR - found you & your blog via twitter! I did my first trail run this summer and totally loved it. Will probably do some more next year. Don't know if I'll ever get up to ultra distance (marathons are hard enough mentally let alone anything longer!!).

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  2. Nice race and congrats on a 42 min PR! That is awesome! As for your question, I think if we were ever truly satisfied with our times we wouldn't run races anymore! No matter how fast you go it always quickly turns into "I could go faster!" Anyway, great job!

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  3. I think if you're ever totally satisfied, it may be time to move to another sport.

    Very nice job on the PR, though!

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  4. Nice job on the PR. Almost every race leaves us with a few coulda,shoulda,wouldas. Just enjoy a successful race run!

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  5. Congratulations on the new, huge PR!!

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  6. Congrats on the big PR! I'm still picking apart my MCM experience and it was my first full. You'd think I could just be happy to have done one. Runners, we are never satisfied, are we?

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  7. Wonderful race report about a terrific run! I obviously share the feeling that we just aren't ever going to be happy with our race times—as soon as we net a PR, we're wondering where we could have gone faster, or whether our fast marathon will yield a PR in a 10K, too. Where does that leave us? All I know is we could do worse than to strive for that feeling that we just haven't run that hard for a while—that, more so than time, indicates a good race!

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  8. 42 minute PR?!?!? Damn girl that is awesome!!! It was so great meeting you this weekend and I'm so happy you were able to have a great race after taking a hiatus from the roads for so long! :)

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  9. Way to crush it! Cool insights here, too. Oh so proud of you, bud. (FUNNY line from TC, too! :)

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  10. Congrats on the huge PR! You looked strong right before 26 despite the fact that you were in the pain cave! I'm hoping that in a few weeks I can also say that I left everything I had out on the course. :)

    Also, it was very nice to actually meet you on Saturday!

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  11. Congrats on your new PR!! That's awesome! (and I agree with what Darkwave said)

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  12. That question at the end says it all - we would definitely Not come back, if we weren't totally satisfied. Each time the limits are pushed and barriers are broken, we start to wonder what ELSE we can do.

    Congrats on the HUGE PR! Always something to be proud of. :)

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  13. Congratulations Kirstin on setting your PR!!

    My Big Sister :)

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  14. Wow, you blew your PR out of the water! I had many of the same feelings about the crowded of the race and endlessly complained about them in my race recap, haha.

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  15. Congrats on the HUGE PR! Thinking "I could have done that better..." is how you know you're really a runner! Hitting the wall isn't a failure, it means that you left EVERYTHING out there. Well done!

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  16. You are such a stud. Congrats, Kirstin! That's a tremendous PR. And way to be disciplined with your taper last week.

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  17. Great post!!! Brings me back to 2009, maybe next year I will come back to DC!!!

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  18. Congratulations on your PR. 42 min. is a steep improvement. Looking at your splits, I don't think it was the wall. I ran in a group and it happened to all of us. There were highway ramps and a strong headwind the last 2 miles.

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  19. Rockstar! Love it. Congrats on the huge PR, lady. See you on the trails soon!

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  20. you are so cute in those pics! and you were hilarious when i jumped in, cussing about stupid road races. congrats on a HUGE PR, my friend!

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  21. Awesome achievement on your PR and a fantastic race report. Thanks for sharing.

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  22. I read this on my phone last week and forgot to come by and comment. Congrats on a HUGE pr! I agree with the sentiment that as a runner it's hard to not want to come back for more and do even better (even though you did amazing)

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  23. Finally get to see all three pics! I already commented on DM, but wanted to say again what an awesome race! I have a blog of my own now and a links page where I would be happy to link to yours. Mine is www.michael-selmer.com/blog if you would like to do the same. I call it The Symbiosis of Writing and Running.

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  24. The only crowded race I've ran was the Pat Tillman run in Tempe, AZ last spring. LOVED it, but yeah, avoiding collisions was tough. 30,000 people. :/ I'm sure my half in January will be even worse, Rock n' Roll.

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