Ever since my debut 50 miler at the North Face Endurance Challenge this past April, I have been itching to get back to run the Marine Corps Marathon (MCM) again. The MCM is an extremely exciting course with twists and turns and is not entirely overwhelming. You have the ability to zone out and meander through our nations capital. So the week leading up to MCM the last Sunday of October this year I kicked up my tapering, prepared my marathon strategy, and upped my cross training at the gym.
This year was much different from last year. My parents came out to visit me and cheer me on at the race, found more appropriate running shoes, and more dedication to cross training the week of. Usually for longer runs I have became reliant on my camelbak however I wanted to wean myself off it to see if it will lead to a faster time due to reduced weight. The night before came and I faced a big decision. Marathon day here in DC was to approach the mid 70s. Obviously one who is extremely concerned with hydration I decided to stick to the use of my camelbak to ensure adequate hydration. I just can't run as effectively without it in the heat.
Day of. After a mix up of getting to the start line, honestly getting lost and stuck on the course, I finally made my way to the start. It was a beautiful day and just like last year the start ceremony was awesome filled with Marines, a flyover by Ospreys, and 20,000 of my closest friends.
I was keeping a good pace, on track to hit a massive personal best on the course and a personal record, yet the heat racked up in the past hour and it was now hovering around 70 at mile 20 which drastically slowed me down. Regardless, I was chugging along better than last year where I got a massive charlie horse in my left quad at mile 20. This year was just the heat, not as bad but just enough of a running hindrance.
Some time later I crossed the finish, setting a personal best for the course and personal record by shaving 20+ minutes off my time. Although I certainly am not a super fast runner I am extremely happy that I was able to finish with a faster time on this awesome course.
If you have not considered running the MCM here in Washington, DC you certainly should. It is a beautiful course and the atmosphere is filled with patriotism and pride in our military, specifically the Marine Corps. This is one race I will run again and again for the forceable future.