Thursday, October 30, 2014

In Which Jenn Recaps the Marine Corps Marathon

Click here to read my recap of the MCM Expo and the beginning of my marathon adventure. All set? Great! Then we shall proceed. To Marine Corps Marathon Day itself!

I woke to an alarm at 4:45AM and felt surprisingly okay about it; I didn't even use any of my built-in snooze time. Instead, I hopped off the couch, ate, dressed, and did a quick inventory to make sure I had everything I needed.

The magnificent Nicole gave me a bottle of water, pretzels, and Teddy Grahams before graciously walking to the Metro. She sent me off with a "You'll be awesome!" to which I responded "Eh..." There was a Marine stationed outside the turnstiles who promptly informed me that I would definitely be "AWESOME!" so that was a nice start.

I jumped on the first train to show up, which turned out to be the silver line, so I got off at Rosslyn to switch to the orange. Another silver train came through and took off with some MCM participants still on it. Luckily it was so early that I'm sure they had time to figure out their mistake and turn around, but I wonder if anyone missed the marathon start because of train confusion?

An orange line train eventually appeared and carted me and several gazillion other runners and spectators to the start area - which turned out to be one helluva walk. Like getting to your runDisney corral long. No matter; I had plenty of time built in. I ate my Nicole-provided snacks, used the bathroom a couple billion times for safety, and planted myself about a quarter of the way into the 4:30-5:00 hour finish time corral.

 
The pre-race ceremonies were actually a lot less elaborate than I expected, maybe because I was near the back? I mean, there were certainly some interesting moments, including skydivers and a flyby by those weird plane-copter hybrids, and there was of course the national anthem, but that was it.


The corrals began moving forward at precisely 7:55AM, but it was almost fifteen minutes before I hit the start. I took off as I passed under the arch, and to my great relief I felt good! The first mile or two had some hills, but nothing so steep nor so lengthy that I had to stop and walk (looking at you, Marine Corps 17.75K). I briefly pondered ducking into Starbucks as we ran through Georgetown, but ultimately decided against it...


Shortly after that we were running through Rock Creek Park, and it is here that I would like to make an observation. I sincerely believe that I have never seen, nor will I ever see, more men peeing in the woods at one time than I did while on the course. You could say it was a PR in urination.

At this point I was still feeling excessively cheerful about the whole running thing. I was keeping a decent pace, my lungs were cooperating - I was just generally having a good run. My phone decided to play me the Walt Disney World Marching Band's "Disney Medley," so if you at any point saw a runner mouthing "Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah," everything should make perfect sense now.

From there we were running along the river toward the National Mall. Once I hit the mall I spent about three miles attempting to coordinate with my boyfriend who was there to see me, but we missed each other on every attempt. Boo! The good news is that this kept me solidly distracted for those three miles (although this did mean I almost missed Nicole's second Shot Blok hand off; she had to run into the fray to hand them to me. She's the people's champ).

After the mall it was time to Beat the Bridge. I was in plenty of time, so there was no reason to worry about not finishing. Unfortunately, this was when things started to go downhill for me, in the (sadly only) metaphorical sense. The bridge occurs around mile 20, so you could argue that I hit the wall. But I didn't feel sick or exhausted or doubtful of my own abilities. It was more that my hips and legs had started to protest all this work and I was running along boring highway and I just wasn't into it anymore. It wasn't that I didn't think I could. I knew I could. I just didn't feel like it.

So at that point I did stop and walk a little. But I soon picked up the running again and found that, leg discomfort notwithstanding, I could keep running at an okay pace. So I did. Then we hit Crystal City, which reminded me of downtown Georgetown from earlier, and that made the scenery a bit more interesting. Wasn't crazy about being sprayed down with the sprinkler (ELECTRONICS!!!!) but whatever.

I know what you're all really wondering: did I eat the Dunkin Donuts Munchkins at mile 24? I hate to disappoint you all, but I did not. I just plain was not hungry as I passed. In retrospect, however, I think I made a mistake. What I SHOULD have done is accepted the cup of Munchkins, run about a mile with them, passed them off to my boyfriend, and told me to save me some. Ah well. I know for next time.

Which reminds me! My boyfriend texted me about that point that he had taken up a position about a quarter mile from the finish, and this time as I passed I had no trouble locating him. I gave him a giant hug and quick kiss before taking off again. ALMOST THERE!

Hey, you know that legendary hill right before the finish? It was mean, no question, and I did not enjoy it, even less of a question, but it wasn't nearly as bad as I had imagined. Yeah, the tilt was kind of steep, but the duration wasn't too terrible and there was so much motivation at that point - the route is lined with Marines and the finish is RIGHT THERE. I powered right up that hill because, let's face it, it was barely a bump next to the crap I put up with during the 17.75K NO I WILL NOT LET THAT GO.

And then I finished! How fast did I finish? Well. My goal time going in was five hours. My final time was 4 hours, 59 minutes, 42 seconds. How's that for accuracy? I was a little sad I hadn't been faster, but ultimately I made my goal. Not bad for a first marathon ever.

I got in line for my medal and thoroughly discombobulated the poor Marine who gave it to me. It went like this:
ME: When you give me my medal, can you say, "This is your medal?"
MARINE: Um, okay. This is your medal.
ME: There are many like it, but this one is mine!
MARINE: Yes, it is...
ME: Thanks for humoring me.
MARINE: Sure...
Look, I wanted my own rifleman's creed or whatever, okay? SHUT UP.

I got my photo taken in front of the Iwo Jima statue, then proceeded through the finisher's line collecting the usual bags, beverages, food box (unimpressive selection, guys), space blanket, etc. From there I headed to the post-race festival area and briefly considered attempting to buy a shirt or something, but it was so crowded I decided to scrap everything in favor of going home.


I located my boyfriend and we decided to eschew the ridiculously overrun Metro system in favor of just straight up walking back to Nicole's place to get my stuff. This may sound insane after running a marathon, but ultimately I think it was a good call. Sure, I added a couple miles to the day's total, but I also kept my muscles moving. Besides, it was such a beautiful day that the walk was lovely.

We found Nicole near the Metro where she handed me a CUPCAKE. This girl gets me. And let me just take a moment here to say how truly grateful I am to her for being the greatest race support system I could have ever asked for. She housed me, she fed me, she pumped me up, she cheered me on, she made sure I had what I needed, and then she brought me a cupcake. Honestly, what more could you possibly ask for? Basically what I'm getting at here is: GO NICOLE DU LANCRET!

So yeah. I got my stuff from Nicole's place, then my boyfriend and I took the red line Metro home, which was still a little crowded but nowhere NEAR as bad as it was near the race finish. I went home, took a shower, went to dinner, fell asleep, woke up, went back to sleep, and then got up in the morning feeling SO STIFF but basically okay. I even went to ballet that night (although I opted out of the jumping portion).

There you have it: my first marathon. I think it went okay. I didn't hurt myself, I didn't get sick, and I felt pretty okay afterward. I'm sure you're sick of hearing about it after I've spent the past few weeks obsessing, but I want to do one more post of marathon takeaways next week. After that we won't have to talk about it anymore. I mean, how could we? We won't have time. Because next up: THE WINE AND DINE HALF MARATHON!

Or in other words: "Jenn, you just ran a marathon. What are you going to do next?" "I'M GOING TO DISNEY WORLD!!!!"

Duh.

(Oh, one last thing. If for some reason you want to see me finish, you can! The video didn't want to embed so click here - I show up around 3:06. Yellow v-neck shirt with a black sleeve, hair in braids. Haven't decided if I'm gonna buy any photos; they're SOOOOO expensive...)

Don't forget, you can follow us on Twitter @fairestrunofall. To see how our training is going, check out Jenn's dailymile here and Moon's dailymile here. If you have any questions for us, leave a comment or email us at fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

In Which Jenn Recaps the Marine Corps Marathon Expo

And now - my recap of the Marine Corps Marathon experience! Yay!

My marathon adventure began with a quick trip on the Metro. I live just outside of DC already, but it would've been a pain getting to the race start from Bethesda, so - SLEEPOVER WITH NICOLE in DC proper! Yay!

Nicole picked me up from Dupont and after a brief stop at her place to drop off some of my stuff we sped off to the Expo.


People. Do not go to the Expo on Saturday. We waited in an ENORMOUS line. I'd say we were in line just to get in for twenty, maybe even thirty minutes. Not unbearable or anything but certainly not ideal. Oh, and if you already have your bib and just want to pop into the expo to look around? Sorry, you have to wait in line too. They had enforcement guards and everything.

Once we made it into the building and past the bag search area, though, it wasn't too bad. We headed into the basement to pick up my bib, then back up for my race shirt. This race shirt was brown and yellow, which is not super attractive by itself, but it also had a MOCK TURTLENECK. Ugh. I cut out the necks of my t-shirts because I hate the feeling of fabric all up on my neck, so you can imagine how I feel about turtlenecks. BLARGH.

Needless to say, I decided to wear the shirt the next morning as my coverup and chuck it at the start. Sacrilegious, maybe, but also fortuitous as the shirt I had originally planned to wear for this purpose had been peed on by my cat. (Thanks Minxie.) So that worked out.

There were some tables set up for "free samples," but we didn't see anything tangible. I'm guessing that's another reason to come earlier in the week.

We breezed on through the Brooks MCM Stuff area because I am trying my darnedest to actually save some money for once (but there were definitely some cute shirts if you were in the market; and none of the excessive merchandise shortages you see at runDisney expos).

From there it was SAMPLE FRENZY. For starters, I hadn't really had lunch yet, so I was crazy hungry. We first hopped in the sample line for Clif, which included various flavors of Bloks, gels, regular bars, and Builder bars. Nothing out of the ordinary but it took the edge off. Clif was also the pace group sponsor, and I grabbed a 5-hour pace band.

We also sampled sorbet from Yonana, gels and waffles from Honey Stinger, and various flavors of nuun, all of which were interesting to try but none of which stood out to me. I've tried Honey Stinger gels before and they didn't seem to do much; the waffles were tasty but felt insubstantial. As for nuun, I hear great things, but cheaper and more generic Ades don't bug me so I don't know it's worth the money for me personally.

The most exciting part was when we stopped by the runDisney kiosk. There was no information there we didn't already know, but it was nice to see the medals AND Nicole and I scored runDisney reusable shopping bags! Yay!

By that time I was kinda all expo-ed out (I know, I'm lame), so I grabbed a soft pretzel from the mini-cafe and we headed out. I'm guessing by that point it was around four in the afternoon and the line to get in STILL wrapped all the way around the building.

We Metro'd back to Nicole's place and dropped off our new acquisitions before heading out to CVS for more supplies. I picked up a Clif bar and a Gatorade for the morning and Nicole grabbed some stuff for sign-making. (Her sign was Phantom Tollbooth-inspired and awesome. You should be so lucky as to see it someday.)

By that time it was 5PM and more the late enough for going-to-bed-early types to be pondering dinner. Nicole put together a magnificent spread of roasted veggie pizza, dumplings, and brussel sprouts for me, all washed down with a sports drink while we watched Mulan (complete with "I'll Make a Man Out of You" singalong because I can't not) and The Princess and the Frog.

And then it was bedtime! I drifted off to sleep to the dulcet tones of somebody in a Lifetime movie positing that a high school girl was possessed by the devil. Can you thinking of anything more auspicious?

Next up: the race itself!

Don't forget, you can follow us on Twitter @fairestrunofall. To see how our training is going, check out Jenn's dailymile here and Moon's dailymile here. If you have any questions for us, leave a comment or email us at fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

The Fairest Week In Review: 10/28

MOON: Soooooo tell me all about the marathon!

JENN: Well, I shall do a full recap later this week. But in a nutshell: it went well! I didn't wind up injured or sick or anything.

MOON: Yay! I'm very proud of you, congratulations!

JENN: ^_^

MOON: This is a huge step in your running narrative.

JENN: Indeed. I'm a marathoner and everything!

AND the proud owner of the prettiest cubicle in all the land.
(With space for Wine & Dine underneath MCM!)

MOON:
How did the week of tapering work out? Did you find it efficacious to marathon preparation? 

JENN: Ha. Indubitably!

I guess. It was fine? I probably should've run on Thursday instead of Friday, but it turned out okay.

Sooo when will you be joining me in marathonhood?

MOON: Hopefully within a year. I definitely want to do one.

JENN: Yay! Did you run at all this week?

MOON: This week has been a bit spotty because I've been all over the place for work and other engagements. All in all, I had a pretty stressful week, but I did get some good exercise in for stress relief. Still working on strength and I'm honestly seeing results.

JENN: That's awesome!

MOON: Congrats again my dear! Well done. :)

JENN: <3

Anyway, love fest out of the way, let's move on to the roundup!

- The Runner's Guide to WDW tackles the trials and tribulations of runDisney corrals.
- We Run Disney got to visit the Brooks headquarters. If anyone else gets that opportunity, could you bring me back some new Ravennas?
- Running at Disney knows everything there is to know about the Wine & Dine Half. GUYS IT'S GETTING SO CLOSE AHHHH
- Food Fitness Fantasy gets a Kiss Goodnight. I really want to see that for myself!
- Then The Disney Tourist Blog takes the dessert baton for their Top 5 Disney Bakeries.

Don't forget, you can follow us on Twitter @fairestrunofall. To see how our training is going, check out Jenn's dailymile here and Moon's dailymile here. If you have any questions for us, leave a comment or email us at fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!

Friday, October 24, 2014

In Which Jenn Is Running Her First Marathon THIS SUNDAY

GAAAAAAAAAH.


'K, guys, this is me.


I'm going to wear either a green tank or a yellow and black shirt. If you see me out there, TELL ME I'M FINE.

Don't forget, you can follow us on Twitter @fairestrunofall. To see how our training is going, check out Jenn's dailymile here and Moon's dailymile here. If you have any questions for us, leave a comment or email us at fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

In Which Jenn Continues Marathon Prep

Not that I'm obsessing or anything, but did I mention that the Marine Corps Marathon is this Sunday? And that it's my first marathon ever? I'm totally not freaking out at all. Not remotely. Nope.


Anyway. Like last week, I'd like to take this opportunity to reach out to readers for advice so that I can blame you if anything goes wrong. Below is a listing of everything I will be bringing with me. Am I missing something? WHAT IS IT? Should I leave anything at home? WHAT IS IT???


  • Phone & headphones for music purposes
  • Vitacoco sports drink, to be consumed before the start (and pre-race bathroom break)
  • 2 packs of Clif Shot Bloks, one of which will come with me (and the other of which maybe Nicole can deliver to me halfway through? Hi Nicole du Lancret! We should coordinate!) (Is that enough? Should I bring more fuel? There are a couple fuel stops, right?)
  • Armband for Shot Bloks and/or ID and SmarTrip card
  • Throwaway long-sleeved shirt and potentially sweat pants depending on the temperature
  • Vaseline, to be slathered anywhere chafing has ever occurred or could potentially occur
  • Bib, because not wearing my bib would be a problem 


I'm also going to bring a sweatshirt to leave either with the aforementioned wunderkind Nicole or my boyfriend if he can come. I bet I'll be cold post-race.

The week thus far has been TERRIBLE (non-running related), but that only means that things have to start looking up, right? That means I'll have a fantastic race, right?

Great. Thank you, imaginary Greek chorus in my brain that always agrees with me. Good work all around.

Don't forget, you can follow us on Twitter @fairestrunofall. To see how our training is going, check out Jenn's dailymile here and Moon's dailymile here. If you have any questions for us, leave a comment or email us at fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The Fairest Week In Review: 10/21

JENN: So how was the whole running thing last week?

MOON: Pretty gooooood. A rather boring week, but things are steady. How goes the marathon prep?!

JENN: Okay. Since I somehow busted my hip last week, I walked most of my training - over 14 miles of it, in fact. But I did run a ten miler on Thursday and my hip was fine, so I think it'll be okay. This week is serious taper mode; the Marine Corps Marathon is THIS SUNDAY. I SAID THIS SUNDAY. I'm scared!

MOON: Don't be! You'll do just fine. :)

JENN: Ee, I hope so. I think I can do it? OR I COULD DIE. Not that that's any excuse.


MOON: Take your time and hope to the weather gods that it's not freezing. :P

JENN: Right now the forecast is a high of 69 and sunny with 9 mph winds. I think I'd be okay with that.

MOON: That's not too bad! What time does it start?

JENN: I wanna say 8AM? I'll be double/triple/quadruple/quintuple checking that over the course of the week, naturally.

MOON: Sweeeeeet, not too early.

JENN: I'll be texting you the whole time. CLEARLY.

MOON: Haha, I should be awake. I will try my best to keep you amused while running!

JENN: <3

Also amusing - the roundup!

- Running, Loving, Living ponders the long run.
- Run Eat Repeat offers post-marathon tips and specifically Marine Corps Marathon tips.
Pink Elephant on Parade has Marine Corps Marathons suggestions for both runners and cheerleaders.
Will Run for Ears points out that runners can be their own worst enemies.
- Look ahead to the Wine & Dine Half with Just Me and My Running Shoes.
- Mouse on the Mind figures out a Haunted Mansion whodunit.
- Parkeology looks in the windows to the souls... of rides.

Don't forget, you can follow us on Twitter @fairestrunofall. To see how our training is going, check out Jenn's dailymile here and Moon's dailymile here. If you have any questions for us, leave a comment or email us at fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

In Which Jenn Preps for the Marine Corps Marathon

Um... guys? The Marine Corps Marathon is in ten days.

Side note: this would make a great spectator sign.

Soooo... here's what we're gonna do. I'm gonna list out my planned prep work for the week before the race, and you're going to respond with your opinions and experiences, okay? Okay!

  • Assuming all my various sometimes-failing body parts don't rebel (LOOKING AT YOU, HIPS AND KNEES), I'm going to do an 8 miler on Sunday or Monday and a 6 miler on Tuesday. In the PLEASE GOD NO instance of rebellion, I'll walk it.
  • WHAT ABOUT THURSDAY? I was thinking a 3 mile run. But should I just take a brisk walk? Should I move it to Wednesday? SHOULD I MOVE IT TO FRIDAY? (If no one tells me what to do, I'll probably do the Thursday 3 miler.)
  • Planned meals for the week leading up to the race: salad with chicken breast and sweet potato for my lunches, garlic toast and scrambled eggs with spinach for my dinners. Don't worry, I can totally eat the same thing every day for a week, provided that thing is AWESOME. And this is good nutrition, right? Carbs and protein and stuff? RIGHT?
  • As for liquids, I've purchased a Vitacoco sports drink for EVERY DAY the week leading up to the race. SODIUM AND ELECTROLYTES. Plus of course pounding all the water and tea I can manage.
  • WHAT AM I FORGETTING? WHAT ELSE WHAT ELSE?

Whaddya think? I'd love a little advice so I can calm my nerves with a solid plan of action! But of course I recognize that everyone is different.

This would make a pretty random spectator sign, but I'd still laugh.

Don't forget, you can follow us on Twitter @fairestrunofall. To see how our training is going, check out Jenn's dailymile here and Moon's dailymile here. If you have any questions for us, leave a comment or email us at fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!