We got on the road at 11:30 and had an easy drive to Washington but for the fact that Mapquest gave us some screwy directions. Checked into the Courtyard Hilton in Arlington by 3:00, then made our way up the street to the Ragtime Pub for a little refreshment. Little did we know it was a WVU hang-out. Mountaineer fans were there in force watching Rutgers get trounced.
This section, in my opinion, is the heart and soul of the Marine Corps Marathon and why it's named the marathon of monuments. You pass them all: Washington, Lincoln, Jefferson, the White House and the Capitol. On a beautiful day like Sunday, you couldn't help feeling national pride. This section is filled with numerous spectators and the time goes quickly; there seems to be a bit more spring in the step when passing through. Around the Smithsonian is the half-way point; at 13.1 I clocked 1:41:03, and my GPS pace was 7:27. I should mention here that my GPS pace, or the pace I was recording on my device, is different than the actual course pace and distance. The course is measured to the inside, and unless you always run tucked into the inside, you are going to run farther than 26.2 miles. At the half marathon point, I was actually 2/10th of a mile farther ahead according to my device.
This section is the lonliest on the course. You have to run around Haines Point. Last year this is where things fell apart for me. I thought this year was going to be different, but because of an early fast pace and strong winds, I again felt the beginnings of cramps in the thighs. I had no choice but to shorten my stride, consequently, my pace fell off. I began to consume gels and sport beans in an effort to stave off full blown cramps. Unlike last year, I held them at bay and around mile marker 19, I began to pick up my pace again. Also around mile marker 19 I began to hear cheers for Miss Utah. She was right behind me, and closing. At a water point, she passed me and I followed her to mile 20. I had a strong tail wind going over the bridge into VA, and I used it to pull ahead. I figured she would beat me hands-down in a beauty contest, but this race was mine. My pace, however, fell to 7:42.
Miles 21 -26.2
I made it over the bridge with a 10k to go. I held off the cramps, but the race wasn't over. There was a large crowd in Crystal City, and Tina had caught up with me. As I passed her the first time, I asked if she had water, and she did. I hit the turn- around, and headed back. I stopped and downed another gel, drank some water, gave Tina a kiss and I was on my way again, but not alone: my old friend the cramps returned to keep me company. I was hurting, but I was detrmined to press on. I tried to pick up my pace a couple of times, but I wasn't strong enough to fight the wind and had to slow constantly. I was determined in the last two miles to not let anyone pass me. In fact, I began to reel a few in including a guy in a cow suit. A woman, however, who appeared to be older than me passed me at mile 25. No problem, a quick burst of speed and she would be broken. Not so, she passed me again. Another burst of speed and I was ahead, but she passed me again. Okay, the finish was only 200 yards away, I decided I was going to sprint home and off I went, but wait, What the hell!!!! They altered the finish, you had to run past it then turn around. I slowed, defeated, I couldn't muster another rally and sure enough, "slow and steady" defeated me. I did, however, have enough left for the grand stand and finished with my head and hands held high.
Final stats: 3:22:55; 835th overall; 737th male; 72nd in my division. And, I qualified for Boston. Sing it Kenny: