Sunday, October 31, 2010

Trying to Beat Oprah at the 2010 Marine Corp Marathon

For the past year, a buzzer and the numbers 5:00 would try to wake me and each time I would slapped the box on my nightstand for another 10 minutes of sleep. So, Thank God that the start of the Marine Corp Marathon was just a stones throw away from the Virginian Suites. I was so happy to request a 7:00am wake up call!

As I prepared my running gear, laced my shoes, and yelled at the kids to get ready, I reviewed what I would do each mile, do I take water, PowerAde and/or GU. Then my thoughts turned to my kids who were still asleep. Emily and Zachary both received a medal for completing a Fun Run the day before. Regardless of the rubber vinyl material that the medal was made of, they were very happy to have it draped over their necks. As usually, I wonder if they would have ever done any kind of running if I didn’t start running myself. Anyway I had so much fun trying to chase them down with my camera, only to catch an image a foot, the pavement or a snapshot of someone else’s child, filled my new digital camera

The MCM Starting Area was unlike the NYC Marathon Starting Area. The runner’s village is locked up on an Island in a Fort. While, the MCM starting area was very open to the spectators. In fact the only thing separating the runners and the supporters was a cement highway barrier. Spectators lined both sides of the highway making the race more intimate.

At 8:00am, Mrs. Biden pulled the trigger to the cannon and with a big boom, off we went, and I slapped chrono to start as I passed through the starting gate! And about 300 yards after the start, dozens of guys ran off to the side of the road to relieve any pee held over from the short wait, including myself. Later on, Emily commented about all the guy’s taking a leak.

We ran through Rosslyn, a small downtown city in Arlington and headed up the first big hill, and it was steeper that I saw from the map. I still did it without stopping!

I finally made it over Key Bridge and made a left towards the 2nd hill of about 125 feet and spanning about ¾ of a mile. I was pretty happy that I charged up both hills running and not walk them. As I booked down the 2nd hill, I saw the “sweep bus” for anyone who could not maintain a 14-minute mile pace. I was very surprised to see many runners/walkers who were being tailed by the bus. I cheered on a lone runner who allowed the bus to pass and was determined to continue! The race officials want to make sure that the gridlock doesn’t continue more that it already has.

The course brought us through Georgetown, and the crowd temporarily grew larger, then dissipated. Now to the Lincoln Memorial, where more people cheered, then disappeared, and I must have missed the Family somewhere. Off to Potomac Park, and the only spectators were some golfers that yelled Fore!

At the halfway point, I yelled out, Looks like I’m still can to beat Oprah’s Time. She finished the MCM in 04:29:15 in 1994. My current time was 02:19:00, just need to step it up!

At mile 16, I kept my eyes peeled to the wife and kids, since I missed them at mile 10. Finally some familiar smiles waved and shot pictures as I trudged along. Little did I know just after that, my left foot really started to bother me and my left knee started to seize up. I still can bet Oprah, but it’s going to be close.

With the Washington Monument on my right, I set my sights on the Capital straight ahead, only to find that my left leg did not want to go any faster. As I approached the big Domed building, I said to myself, “Okay, today will not be the day for a Sub 04:30:00 time, let’s see if we can do it under 05:00:00. At least I know the Sweep Bus would not pick me up at this point!

At the Crystal City turn around, I know I will have a new Personal Record at least. So I made every effort to run to the next light post or over pass or person, and walked for short 30 seconds. I finally made it to the final mile, and I saw Irene and Emily cheering and sitting Zachary cradling a sleeping Elijah on the side of the road as I made my last assent to the Iwo Jima War Memorial. It really is awe inspiring to receive your medal in front of those solders.

Here is the video of me crossing the finish line around 05:26:01

My official time was 05:22:52, a new PR, however an hour tooooo long.
And here are all my stats
Of the 30,000 starters only 22,000 finished the race.

While it was Halloween, only a hand full of runners wore costumes. I did see some Bumble Bees, Superman’s, Batman’s, and Waldo’s. No Borat’s in a one-piece bikini! What I found inspiring were all the Marines cheering us on, the father pushing his son in stroller all 26.2 miles, the retired Marines who carried the American Flag on the course, and the one armed Marine pedaling his hand cycle. Who are we to complain about anything when we have soldiers overseas fighting for us everyday?

I think each race that I do will be so different and I will continue to find inspiration at each race I do. I find that previous sentence funny because it implies more races to come! Now, after doing 3 marathons and then a 4th in about 2 months, who would have thought I’d be doing this? Disney will be the one with a Sub 4 hour performance! Besides, I always feel happy to see Mickey!

Here is a link for some picture of me around the course.

Now it’s off to cheer on Irene in the NYC Marathon this Sunday. Her Bib Number is 63155! So keep an eye out for her.

Lean with your Heart,

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