Marine Corps Marathon 2016: Race Recap

On Sunday October 30th, 2016, I ran my first marathon. A few days later my mind is still swirling with so many emotions from that day, and from the whole weekend. The experience of my first marathon, the Marine Corps marathon is something I’m not sure I can put into words, but I’ll sure try to. It’s going to be a long one, so buckle in for the ride.

Friday – Shakeout run + Expo day

After picking up my mom at BWI after a crazy week at work (as a first year SLP, they’re all crazy) I was excited to run on Friday. The taper crazies hit me earlier in the week and I was incredibly moody. I ran two super easy miles and almost fell on my face as I was turning into my complex. Running felt harder than it should have at first, but I felt great by the time I was done.


By mid-morning we were headed to Alexandria, VA, where we were staying. After a quick lunch we took an Uber to the Expo, which was in National Harbor. While the area was beautiful and everything was new, I don’t get why the expo was there. It was a hassle to get there as it wasn’t accessible by the metro. Uber worked well on the way in, but took forever because of the traffic and the water taxi was a nice way back, but was a little pricey and then we had to wait over half an hour for the hotel shuttle to get back to our hotel.

Bib + shirt pick-up went smoothly. The Marines who gave me my bib eased my nerves by talking about Forrest Gump, my favorite. After picking out goodies at the Brooks store, my mom and I waited in line for almost an hour to check out. Remind me to get my jacket online next time. We spent another hour or so exploring the expo, stopping by the Balega/Fleet Feet, Nuun, Sweaty Bands, and BeeCause Charms booths. I had been saving my pennies, but my mom seriously spoiled me. I can’t thank her enough! I would have stayed and browsed longer, but the more crowded it got, the more overwhelmed I felt and I had to get out of there!


Saturday: Pre-race prep

Saturday morning we slept in, then made our way on the metro to Clarendon. My mom’s birthday was a couple of weeks prior, and all she wanted was to eat at the Cheesecake Factory. I was happy to show her how to use the metro for the next day, so it worked out well. On the way back to Alexandria, we stopped in Rosslyn to explore the finish area. It was calming to see how the finisher’s area was laid out, and to see how far I would have to walk after running for 5+ hours. We also took some time to appreciate the Iwo Jima memorial, as it would be crowded the next day. My father was a Marine, and my cousin was in the Marines for 26 years – it was a great way to reflect and appreciate their service as the marathon grew closer. We were also privileged to see some Honor Flights of veterans at the memorial, which was a cool experience.



We arrived back to the hotel to have Ben waiting for us. Another friend, Laura, joined us for some cards and take-out italian food before it was time to get ready and head to bed. I was in bed by 10 and surprisingly slept like a rock!

Sunday morning: Race day!

I woke up at 4:10, shortly before my alarm. Ben and I were out the door by 4:50. Since the metro wasn’t opening until 7, we had to take two differerent shuttles, then walk almost a mile to the runner’s village. It was already pretty warm, so I left my throwaways in the room, aside from some socks turned arm warmers. After about an hour, I dropped my bag at the UPS bag drop, and we made our way to the start. It was a beautiful sight as the sun came up and we could see Rosslyn in front of us, and the Washington Monument in the distance to our right. After a couple of porta-jon trips, a November Project bounce, and settling into our corral, we were ready to go.

The morning wasn’t complete without a picture with a Marine!

Miles 1-3: Rosslyn – Elevation wise, these were the hardest miles of the race. It started all uphill. I really didn’t mind, as I planned to start slow and knew the hills would help with that. We ended up starting faster than I planned, and I felt bad when I kept telling Ben to slow down. I was feeling good, but I really didn’t want to regret it later on. My watch was already ahead by .2 miles at the 3 mile mark. (11:57, 12:03, 12:32).

Miles 4-14: Nice and steady – After leaving Rosslyn, we eventually got into a rhythm with 90:30 run/walk intervals. I could tell Ben pretty much hated me for holding him back, but he agreed to run with me and that was my race plan :P. These miles flew by and I really enjoyed myself. The Blue Mile at mile 10.5-11.5 was moving and emotional; it took all I had not to cry. Around mile 12, I got bored running around Haines Point and the heat started to get to me. Besideds a slight side stitch, I felt pretty good, aside from the mental struggle. (miles consistent between 11:12-11:50)


Miles 15-18: Overheating – After returning to the National Mall, the sun was starting to shine and the heat started to take a toll on me. Not only that, but I could start feeling my right ITB starting to tighten up. I looked everywhere for my mom, called her, and she was nowhere to be found. My saving grace was getting a text from Jake saying he was at mile 18 (right before the bridge) and knowing that the NP cheer station was coming up. I ran so hard to Jake when I finally saw him, gave him my (really gross) hat, and tried to mentally prepare myself for “the bridge”. (12:47, 12:26, 12:37, 13:02, watch now .25 ahead).

A “I’m smiling but I really hate this” face. Running or walking? Who knows.

Miles 18-20: THE BRIDGE – Oh, how “Beat the Bridge” earned a new meaning. I knew that runners had to “Beat the Bridge”, however pace wise I wasn’t worried about the time cut off so I didn’t really think about it. It was seriously the worst. No protection from the sun. No water. Going from thousands of spectators and bands, to nothing. As we ascended the bridge, my right knee locked up from the ITB tightness. I tried to stop and stretch, but I knew it wasn’t going to help. I had 8 miles left, was on pace to run around 5:15, and my ITB was going to ruin my day. These miles were so miserable, and I was so happy to be done with it just a bit after mile 20. (13:02, 12:43, 12:48).

Miles 21-26: The death march – While in terms of my heart and lungs I felt great but I was in so much physical pain from my knee that I mentally started to give up. I was frustrated, and kept telling Ben to leave me so I could just finish slowly, alone. There was no way I was giving up, but I knew I couldn’t speed back up. Running around the Pentagon the first time was so boring, and while coming into Crystal City to water, music, spectators, and people giving out ICE (I LOVE YOU), I just couldn’t get my mojo back. Eventually, I changed my stride a bit to compensate for my right leg, but it didn’t help much.  I did have one lady tell me that I was a good “rabbit” and she had been trying to catch me for 14 miles, so that did make me feel a little better. Heading back onto the highway for the last two miles made for a lonely “death march”. I was over heated, beginning to feel some dehydration creeping in, and really didn’t want to run on my hurting leg any more. Walk break selfies became a thing to make Ben let me walk more, and I stopped more often to try to stretch out my ITB. (Miles between 12:48-14:40). (Fun note: we ran alongside Jeff Galloway for a whole like, half a mile! We passed him around mile 8, but he caught up. Run/walk works!)

“My watch says 26.2! But I haven’t gotten to the 26 mile marker yet! I can’t bend my knee!” smile

Mile 26-end: I did it! While I walked more than I wanted to in the last half mile or so, I felt renewed energy knowing I did it, and I persevered through the unexpected happenings of the day. I saw a great friend of mine before the last hill. After walking a few steps half-way up the hill, I saw my boyfriend and his goofy wave in the grandstands. Despite the pain I was in, I gave it my all and finished with a smile. I finished my first marathon! Official time: 5:32:17.


This is getting pretty long, so I’ll save you the post-race details. In short, there were so many people that finding anyone was chaotic. Someone told me I couldn’t leave the beer tent with my drink, so I poured it in my Nathan bottle and went on my way. Almost 3 hours later I finally had a meal, dropped my mom off at the airport, and was home to watch the Walking Dead with Jake. (But actually, I napped while he watched)

Thank you so much for all of your support, despite my sporadic presence on here lately. I felt it so much! I’m not sure where to go from here, but I for sure know there are many more marathons in my future.



Marine Corps Marathon: Initial Thoughts

On Sunday I ran my first marathon. How is it already over? While it felt like it took so long, it was over in the blink of an eye.


I ran my heart out. I ran great for 15 miles. I ran the race I was training for. Then my ITB started hating me and my knee locked up. My evenly paced race turned into a run/walk/walk some more struggle. But I finished.


In my frustration I find some solace that in terms of my heart and breathing, I felt fantastic. I could have kept moving faster if my knee didn’t feel so horrible. I don’t think I physically “hit the wall”, but mentally it got tough about half way over “the bridge” and when going around the pentagon again and again (or, what felt like it).

I’ll be sharing more soon in a recap, but thanks for everyone who supported me in this journey, and especially to my best friend for staying with me when I kept telling him to go on. He’s lucky enough that he’ll get a GIANT PR next time he runs a marathon!



Marine Corps Marathon Training: 10/1 – 10/16/16

I can’t believe that Marathon day is now less than two weeks away! After the Baltimore Half Marathon this weekend, I’m seriously in “taper town” now and am trying to make it through the next two weeks without doing any harm to myself.

As I mentioned in my last post, my training got derailed when I started my job. It threw my training off to the point where I eventually had the goal of simply being on my feet 4-5 days a week, and that’s how it’s been through the first half of this month.

October 2nd (Sunday): 15 miles at home in New Hampshire. It was supposed to be 18, but forgetting to bring UCan, a change in elevation and temps, and poor eating the day(s) before threw me off.


October 3rd – 9th: 4 runs – 2 at easy effort, 1 at super easy effort, 1 long run for 35.11 miles. My long run was my second 20 miler and it went great. 3:54:07 for an average pace of 11:42 and 9:18 faster than my first 20 miler! I felt great after and was ready to start tapering.

October 10th – 16th: 3 runs – 1 at easy effort, 1 NP double workout (run + strength), 1 at race effort for 20.13 miles. I finished the week with the Baltimore Half Marathon, which I ran much harder than I should have, but with no regrets. I ended up taking Sunday off with some foot soreness that’s flared up over the past few days and being a little over-conscious.

Jake and I also ran .05K race – a whopping 164 feet!

These next two weeks I’m looking forward to many easy runs, a “race” with friends (that I truly will take it easy during), and of course PR Day at November Project. No PR will be happening for me, but it will give me a mental boost going into race day!

How has your October running been faring? Are you gearing up, or tapering down for any races?

I’m Back! + 3.5 weeks out

Surprise, I’m back! Actually, it was a surprise I left the blog (and insta. and twitter. and basically facebook too). It wasn’t quite purposeful, but in some ways it was needed. Let’s run through a few things, Thinking out Loud style (thanks, Amanda!).

Running truly healthy for the first time since I started 2.5 years ago helped me build a greater relationship with running, and with myself. I was happy to keep my running to myself and my close friends.

I began growing a relationship with an amazing guy which took/takes up a lot of my “free time” and certainly makes it hard to get out of bed to run on a weekend morning. He now forces me out of bed on the weekends, but he always wins over technology.


Over the summer I worked at a running store. 35-40 hours a week of “running”, on top of actual running. More running at home and on my phone? No thanks.

Goodbye weekends at the store, hello weekends of long runs, races, and FUN.

I started a job that I worked so hard to get. I love it but it’s demanding and I work a lot outside of school. The last thing I wanted to do after planning and paperwork was to open my other computer to write more.

Meeting day –> running with a friend –> trivia. So worth it.

I’ve been wanting to write again for a couple of weeks now. I’m ready to share my love of running again. I’ve missed being in contact with other runners who endless inspire me and educate me about running. The writers block faded, the desire to put my emotions into words struck again.

I can’t believe that the Marine Corps Marathon is just 24 days away! Some days I am nervous about whether or not my body will stay together until then, but mostly I just feel excited.


I started having never run more than a half marathon, and this weekend I’ll run my second 20-miler.

I began training totally afraid of running 5 days a week, and did so strongly until my job (and social life) made that slightly more difficult.

I used to think that walking meant that I was weak, and not a real runner. I ran every run at the same effort. I’ve learned that strategic walking will help me run further and stay healthier – at least at this point in my life.

I never would have imagined how this marathon journey would change me – and I haven’t even run the race yet. While I wish that I would have shared it as it happened, I’m happy I still have this space to share some highs and lows!

Since when do I smile this big during/after long runs? Oh that’s right, when I’m NOT hurt.

What is new with you in the past 3.5 months? Tell me one thing you’re looking forward to!

Marine Corps Marathon Training: 7/18-7/24/16

Another Monday means the beginning of another training week and it’s time to process the week that just ended. I’d say “this week was a big week for me”, but I have a feeling most weeks between now and October 30th are going to be big weeks.


Monday: Rest

Tuesday: 6.2 miles, easy effort on the hills around my house.

Wednesday: AM: November Project – 1.9 miles run (workout and run to my car), but mostly strength work

So happy! Today was a partner day and I ran with a friend that I made through NP and work!

PM: 2.9 miles “run date” at a monthly running group for a local animal shelter. We ran around Federal Hill and Baltimore’s Inner Harbor before ending at a happy hour. Let’s just say that there was another date after this, so it must have gone well 😉

Thursday: 2.75 miles at super easy effort on the treadmill. It was way too hot to go outside after work!

Friday: Rest

Saturday: 4.75 miles super easy effort. Lower temps in the morning helped this be my fastest “super easy effort” pace in the past month. I felt great and like I could go forever! I also ran in my new Hoka One One Clifton 3’s which I surprisingly loved! (#workperks)


Sunday: 14 miles!!! The first 4 miles were rough (I was coming down with a cold, no fun), but after that I felt much better. Around mile 10 the heat started to set in so that was challenging, but I was happy to bust it out feeling I could have gone at least 2 more miles.

Earned the last medal of the One HRC Marathon for the Hogwarts Running Club. 21K = 13.1 miles

Weekly total: 32.5 miles

MCM Training so far: 172.7 miles

In all honesty, this week really was a big week for me and I’m not afraid to shout it from the rooftops. It was my second 30+ mile week, I ran my longest run ever, and hit 100+ miles for the month <– this goal has been haunting me for a year. I ran a few less miles than planned thanks to the #rundate, but it was so worth it.

The week wasn’t all sunshine and daisies though – there were moments of struggling to get out of bed, failing to take care of my body, and sheer exhaustion. There were also feelings of progress and improvement, self-love, and even some connection to the greater world.

What were a high and low of your week?

Connect with me! Find me on facebook, instagram, twitter, garmin connect & strava!

Marine Corps Marathon Training: 7/11 – 7/17/16

Week 2 of my MCM training plan is complete! As with the first week, this week brought new mileage territory for me. It was slightly less intimidating, but I still spent a fair amount of time wondering how I would make it through. The theme of this week was definitely hot and humid.


Monday: Rest

Tuesday: 6.15 miles at an easy effort on a hilly route around my house.



Wednesday: AM – 2.5 miles at November Project, 1.5 of those miles being stairs. I loved it and I was the sweatiest I’ve been in my entire life.

PM – 3 miles super easy effort on the treadmill. I didn’t miss the treadmill at all, but it is nice to have free access to one when it’s disgustingly hot out.


Thursday: 5 miles easy effort with 30ish second bursts. The run was alright until the last mile, when the heat rose. It felt like a death march back to my car!

Friday: Rest

Saturday: 4.5 miles super easy effort. This was horribly boring, as most of my super easy runs are. I ended up playing games based on my heart rate to keep me from just walking back to my car.

Sunday: 12 mile long run. This run was just what I needed. Started out slow and it was a perfect progression run. It was nice and cool when I started (the ice in my hydration pack helped) but by the time I finished it was 20 degrees hotter.



Weekly mileage: 32.9

MCM Training total (including “base” weeks): 140.2 miles!!

Reaching 30+ miles in a week has been a seemingly unreachable goal of mine for a very long time, so I’m happy that I made it through and am still excited about running after it! There have been days where I’ve struggled getting up and out the door, but I attribute it to being so busy in my social life that I’m just exhausted. This week brings another big goal of mine – hitting 100 miles for the month. So many big things are happening!

When’s the last time you reached a long-awaited running goal? The PRs don’t happen often for me, to these mileage goals are great lately.

Connect with me! Find me on facebook, instagram, twitter, garmin connect & strava!

Marine Corps Marathon Training: 7/4 – 7/10/16

My second official “week 1” came to a close on Sunday! This was my first week with the plan that my coach made for me, which brought many changes. The truly hot/humid Maryland weather also made its first summer appearance this week. I was nervous about making it through this week at first, but I felt so good when I conquered my highest mileage week ever!


Monday: 4 miles at the Towson 4 on the 4th – Recap coming soon!


Tuesday: Rest

Wednesday: 2.25 miles super easy effort, 2 miles during November Project (and running back to my car). 4.25 miles total.

This 6:15 AM weather though…

Thursday: 5 miles easy effort w/ 30 second bursts. My legs felt heavy after Monday’s race and NP on Wednesday, but they felt better after the run was done.


Friday: Rest

Saturday: 4.5 miles at a super easy effort. The weather was rediculous for this one – 75* with 98% humidity when I started, 83* with the humidity when I finished. It was rough.

This heart rate training thing is working, but dang, it’s boring.

Sunday: 10 miles with Ben! While I know running at my pace kills him, I love running with him, especially knowing he’ll be at my side come Marathon day.


Week total: 27.75 miles

MCM Training total (including “base” weeks): 107.3 miles!! <– In just a little over a month. While not a “calendar” month, this is the most I’ve run in 30 days since high school!

While I was apprehensive about this week at first, it turned out pretty great. I dealt with some top of foot pain at the beginning of the week, but after wearing my Asics Gel-Kayanos on Sunday that dissipated. My coach has me running in “minutes” but I still associate everything with miles. I also started drinking half a pouch (about a “scoop”) of Gen U Can before my runs instead of eating a banana, and it helped a lot. I was able to sleep a little longer before getting up and wasn’t starving after my run! This definitely makes morning running a bit easier.

Did you race on/for the 4th?

What was your best run of the week?

Connect with me! Find me on facebook, instagram, twitter, garmin connect & strava!



Marine Corps Marathon Training: 6/27 – 7/3/16

My first “official” week of MCM training is complete! I should have a training plan in my hands soon, but for now I’m winging it. I’ve learned over the last month what’s been working well for me. This is the first month in a very long time I haven’t had any skipped/missed runs due to pain/injury and I seriously couldn’t be happier.


Monday: Rest. Had way too much fun at the wedding the night before to run!

Tuesday: 5 miles around the hills of the neighborhood. It was ridiculously muggy and I don’t think I’ve ever returned from a run so soaked before! It was slow, but my heart rate was controlled (my goal for many runs lately).


Wednesday:  2.5 miles at November Project PR day! I PR’d by .7 points, which in reality is almost a whole lap of running/stairs. I met the goal I set for myself last month and almost hit my “out there” goal. I went from 5.0 to 5.7 and hope to hit 6.1 next month!

I was the "social lap leader" until everyone passed me LOL
I was the “social lap leader” until everyone passed me LOL (thanks to my new friend in orange for sticking with me!)

Thursday: 6 miles easy on the trail. I finished with a fast mile, where I was in my max HR zone almost the whole time and basically felt like I was dying. I’m “racing” again on Monday so I just wanted to get my legs turning over a bit. I ran into my favorite undergrad professor and it totally made my day!

Friday: Rest

Saturday: 9 miles on the trail, again. This run was all over the place, thanks to some tummy troubles and realizing I left my car unlocked, leading me to turn around and lock it. The last three miles were the fastest of the morning, which is a challenge I’m enjoying lately.

Working on my Hogwarts Running Club marathon. More info on the HRC coming this week!
Working on my Hogwarts Running Club marathon. More info on the HRC coming this week!


Sunday: Rest and 4th of July festivities. I have a 4 mile race tomorrow!

Total weekly mileage: 22.5 miles

Have a great weekend! Do you have any fun 4th of July plans? Any Races?