Yesterday I ran the Marine Corps Marathon 10K. It was a frigid morning, but the good news was that the snow and rain from the previous day had stopped. But, it was still COLD for October! I was hanging out with some friends waiting until race start and we were all chattering away even in our long sleeve warm weather gear. But with cold temperatures comes faster times and I ran my best 10K with a time of 51:21 (8:16 pace).
I thought it was neat to run this race because it was essentially a trip down memory lane–the last 6 miles of the marathon that I ran last year. As I began the run I heard the drummers of Batala beating away. My co-worker Liz is in the band and last year I madly was waving my arms trying to get her attention but she did not see me; this year she noticed and did a drum wave of sorts as I flew on past them. Yesterday the band got me excited just to be running on a cold Sunday morning; last year the band literally kept me going as I passed Mile 20 and approached the long bridge that loomed ahead.
As I took on the bridge in the early miles this year, there was an unexpected sheet of ice that startled all of us runners. It was really scary because one moment everyone was happily running and the next everyone was shouting and slipping. If someone was going too fast they may have slipped right over the guard railings into the Potomac River. Now that would have been dramatic!
As I approached Crystal City, I remembered this was the spot where last year I saw my dad and stepmom and my friend Robert who jumped in to keep me some company for a few miles (much like the drumming very much needed during those late miles). Past Crystal City, I was headed into the homestretch. As I passed the marathon start area, “Tonight’s Gonna Be a Good Night” by the Black Eyed Peas was blasting on the speakers and one awesome Marine was so pumped up for us yelling words of encouragement to keep us going. Many Marines were collecting all the clothing remnants that runners stripped off before crossing the start. And there were a lot of bags being filled which is great…the homeless will have many new warm clothes for this winter.
The hill at the end of the race was obviously not so bad as last year and I happily received my medal (and a handshake) by a Marine. Of course I told him, “I ran the marathon last year!”
I found my way through the crowds and met two of the guys in my group who finished before me and our two fans who came to cheer us on. We waited as one-by-one others in our group of eleven crossed the finish line. It was a fun morning and a great race that always makes me feel so patriotic and proud of our men and women in uniform.