Marine Corps Marathon + Hurricane Sandy = Maracane 2012

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So here we are 9 days post Marine Corps Marathon and Hurricane Sandy and I’m FINALLY getting around to a race recap. Truthfully, I’m on my trainer, sweating all over my ipad, heart rate 70% of it’s max, spinning away blogging, while a Nor’easter dumps snow, wind and tree limbs just outside my door. How’s that for multitasking?

In short: I loved this marathon. Loved it. They don’t call it The People’s Marathon for nothin’. Excellent updates via email and social media. Ridiculously well organized (It’s the freakin’ Marines, not the Girl Scouts for crying out loud.) Gobs of spectators. The most port-a-potties I have EVER seen at ANY race (BRAVO!) Super “spectator friendly” as I was told (cut to my boyfriend jumping out of the crowd waving his arms like a crazy person and running with me around mile 10. ) Excellent course. Wide start (no runner bottleneck!) slightly rolling in the beginning, climb around mile 8 then relatively flat, littered with Monuments, Marines and Munchkins (Yes. Real munchkins. As in donut holes. Not Little People. Jeeze….). The finish culminates with an insanely steep short hill (it may as well have been Everest) lined with Marines cheering you on. OORAH! WINNER! FINISHED! WHERE’S THE BEER? Ahhhhhhhh. {Clink!}

Now for the details (and Sandy): As I clearly stated in my previous posts (See “Sandy. You whore.” and “T-5“), you can’t stress about things you can’t control i.e. a hurricane hitting the morning of your marathon at the very moment you peel off your warm, dry, pre-race gear and place it in the hands of a cheery UPS worker in a down parka. And guess what? I didn’t stress. Sandy wasn’t scheduled to really be a bitch until Sunday afternoon. So come hell or high-water (or gusty head wind) I was running this marathon in 4 hours or so (Mission accomplished!). And Sandy? Oh Sandy didn’t run with me, she ran against me. She was all up in my grill at Haine’s Point. Right in the kisser. It always amazes me how you can essentially run an out and back and have a headwind the ENTIRE time. How is that possible? Seriously? It was exhausting. And I had 11 miles to go. And legs a little more tuckered than I would have liked. Enter dropping temperatures and slight drizzle. Go screw Sandy. I keep running….

Mile 16. “Wheelchair Back!” I scoot. I look. And this is what I see….A tall man running his heart out. Jaw set. Eyes forward. Flying. He is determined. He is focused. He is running pushing a wheelchair. Seated in the wheelchair is a handsome, young Marine in full dress blues. Late 20s. White hat. Navy fitted jacket. Medals I can not make out. White gloves. Saluting. As if he were made of marble. Saluting a salute only a Man of Honor can do. Sitting tall. A handsome, brave, honorable Marine. He sits because he has no legs. And he salutes the whole way. I can’t begin to tell you how hard I cried. I sobbed. A hero running beside me. A wounded warrior. He was an image I will never forget. That Marine was the strongest man out there. Stronger than me. Stronger than the Ethiopian who crossed the line first. And certainly stronger than Sandy. I keep running…

Mile 23. All that separates me from the finish and a cold beer is a 5k. I have this. The mind controls the body I scream at myself as if deaf. Runners around me are coming undone. Their wheels completely off their buses. (Some wheels may have blown out entirely.) An older man is next to me. He is struggling. Ashen. Falling behind. “HEY!!! WE HAVE 5k LEFT. WE EAT 5ks. YOU got this. LET’S DO IT. PUT THIS BITCH TO BED!”

I yell.
In his face.

He is startled. Perplexed at this suddenly peppy maniac in hot pink sneaks, skull and crossbones headband (T-picked up a new band at the expo. Totally. Cute.) He shakes out of his Funk. He looks me dead in the eye and says Yes! Oh ok!

Yes. I reply and nod.

Dead.
Serious.
I keep running…

Mile 25.5. So where the hell is….Oh. There she is. The Hill. Everest. Game. Face. Jaw set. Eyes forward. I think of that Marine. I envision myself pushing him. I will not stop. I see Tim smiling, waving his arms, cheering. He is proud. He said my teeth were gritted. I may have been swearing out loud. I see the finish. I kept running until….

Mile 26.2. The Finish. I stop running. Finally. I smile a huge toothy smile that comes from my core. I did it. All me. Every step my own. I feel elated. A finish line is never the end. The moment you believe you are finished? That’s your new beginning. I can’t wait to see what adventure lies ahead (especially with Tina, my zippy running partner in crime) Running is so much more than miles to me. It’s propulsion- forward movement. I’ve evolved through running both as a woman and as a human being. Each marathon I have run has revealed more of who I am. And I must say that at 40, finally, I like it.

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3 thoughts on “Marine Corps Marathon + Hurricane Sandy = Maracane 2012

  1. Wow. Wow. This recap was well worth the wait. Tears and shivers of emotion and respect for that marine. That image will be with me from now on; thank you for sharing it. Un-freaking-believable how truly blessed my life is. And how strong and brave people can be.
    Thank you for tempering that moving image with humor over yelling at the elderly; I’m sure he was glad in the end that you verbally abused him toward the finish line.
    Sounds like a fabulous race – both the race itelf (not surprised – of couse the marines aren’t going to put on a half-assed show!) and your performance (equally not surprised). I am so, so happy for you that you have this one on your finisher’s list!
    I’m also glad you finally like who you are – I’ve loved you for ages and I pride myself on my good taste!
    xoT

  2. You know. Once upon a time an elderly man yelled in my face at mile 22 of the Philadelphia Marathon, and if I had seen him at the finish, I would have kissed him. (Conversely, if I had seen the asshole running and blowing the green vuvuzela, I would have punched him squarely. True story.) Sometimes all it takes is a little refocusing from someone in your periphery to get your head in the game when you feel as if you can’t go on. A simple holler can make all the difference.

  3. Pingback: Third Time’s A Charm. | It's A Marathon AND A Sprint

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