In Which Jenn Lists Marine Corps Marathons Takeaways


I’m going to shut up about the Marine Corps Marathon soon, I promise! Just… not today.

The marathon is now behind me. It was lovely. When I finished, I thought to myself, “I probably don’t need to do that again,” and now I’m thinking I might like to maybe potentially do it again, so that’s all normal and in order.

I have some additional takeaways, though. Here they are!

First off, let’s all take a moment to consider my split times. In short… they’re kinda weird.

The beginning, which was slowish, is easy to account for – the start is always packed and a bit slow until the crowds thin out. And the every-other-mile-takes-a-bit-longer makes sense too, as the water stations were approximately every other mile and I walked those. But I have a bunch of negative splits in the first twenty miles that are completely random. 9:55 thirteen miles in? Where did that even COME FROM?

And naturally my last few miles sucked – I even clocked one a little over 13 minutes, although most were better than that. I did that same thing I did during the Princess Half, my very first half (first race!) – I got close to the end and decided, well, at this point I’m practically there, I’ll definitely finish, and I’m tired so I may as well walk. But then I started running again and found I could in fact run just fine, if not exceptionally speedily. So in the future I need to keep that in the back of my mind: you do NOT need to walk, you just THINK you need to walk.

Related: I was sore and stiff the day after the race, barely sore and stiff two days later, and completely back to normal by the end of the week. At no point did I feel completely spent and/or sick, not even during or right after the race. Which is good. It also means I probably didn’t try as hard as I could.

Tangential: I didn’t use a training plan. Maybe I should consider using one in the future. Sure, I did fine, but perhaps I could have done better? On the other hand, training plans often have goal paces. I don’t do well with goal paces, what with my total lack of fast-twitch muscles. Things to ponder.

Unpaid product endorsement: My Garmin lasted beyond the promised 5 hours of battery time in GPS mode. It was on its last legs, but it didn’t die on me. Impressive!

Important: Take the donut holes. You don’t have to eat them there and you won’t have to carry them far.

Questionable: Some people run completely barefoot. This sounds gravel-intensive and I am frankly dubious.

Thing that worries me: it all went so well. The weather was perfect. I felt good. Sure, I walked a bit, but not until mile 20, well into the race with no morale issues. Yeah, I have what it takes to run a marathon. But do I have what it takes to run a marathon under duress? When you’re old and it’s cold no one cares if you live or you die? When my Garmin dies? When I lose my headphones? When I’m just not feeling it? <- major concern

That’s what worries me more than anything else. Once you’ve tackled a distance, it becomes about the PR. What if I can’t go any faster than I did today? What if it’s all downhill from here? WHAT IF IT ALL WENT TOO WELL?

We’ll find out at Dopey, I suppose…

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