Tuesday, October 29, 2013

MCM - Recap

At the expo - I am motivated, truly I am
On my travels home with my teammate MAC, we debriefed the, I’ll refrain from calling it a shit show, although I do love that phrase, not as much as I love amazeballs but this wasn't amazeballs so I can’t use it, marathon.

I finished what I started.  I did pace myself in the beginning and knew what I needed to hit to meet my goal, all I wanted was sub 5, 4:59:59 and I’d of been ecstatic.  I am not with 5:26:19.

My body decided that it was done being abused around the 20K mark.  I finished.  I earned that damn medal and that jacket.

This is what MAC wanted to talk about with me. 

MAC:  “How many races have you run this year?”

Me: Consulting Athlinks. “This is my 30th.”

MAC:  “How many marathons have WE run in the last year, the last 365 days, not from January 1st”

Me: “Three MAC, we've run three, your point?”

MAC: “How many competitive miles have you run this year?”

Me:  After adding it all up (not in my head because yeah, even not running I don’t do math in my head, after using the calculator on the iPhone (twice, measure twice cut once a very important adage).  “ 241.2”

MAC: “How many training miles have you logged this year?”

Me:  Consulting Strava for my total miles “876 – 241, so 635.”

MAC:  “How many miles have you biked, since when did you get that, August.”

Me: Consulting Strava “347”

MAC: “Don’t you think all that could have something to do with your performance?”

Me:  “Probably?”

MAC: In her witty brilliant and ever so appropriate New York tone: “YA THINK?”

I think I’m done feeling sorry for myself and beating myself up.

A few things the runner people in my life have said/emailed/texted to me since Sunday (there were more, and ALL appreciated):

Karen “I love your jacket.”  Me: “I earned this.” Karen:  “Absolutely. I watched your splits and I cried a little for you.”

Mike “You have logged a lot of miles in the last month.  GOOD JOB”

Michelle “You didn't quit, so you won!”

I wanted to quit. I wanted to sit right down and have a frothing fit.  I wanted to cut across the parkways post halfway and suffer the DQ just to be done with that damn race. I wanted to get on one of those shuttle buses and say take me to the finish. I wanted to give in to the pain and the humiliation. 

I didn't.

So let’s break this down.  By the 5K because I like how it guides the telling of this story.  (Thanks for your kind words and sending me this Mike)

Once upon a time… oh wait that is a different story…

5K  (11:14) -  Bobbing and weaving in the beginning is expected, the first few miles are warm up and a little slow off my goal of 11 minute pace, enjoyed the view of Georgetown. Enjoying all the people and high 5ing and thanking the Marines.  Whoopiee!!!

10K  (11:02) – This was a new part, the route was re-routed from the hill at mile 7 because the hand cyclists were having trouble making the turn at the bottom.  So we were out and back along Rock Creek and Potomac Parkway.  This was a little bit strange, as we ran out there were runners running back and catching them in my periphery made me a little dizzy and my stomach flipped.  My stomach NEVER flips, I have an iron gut.  Are you kidding me?  I did see Gabe flying by, looking fearless!  Of course more Marine’s to high 5 and thanking, oora!!

15K (11:10) – Running along the Potomic is beautiful, water to the right monuments to the left. A little chilly and my the sun was REALLY starting to get strong.  I wish I brought a water belt, I’m parched.  I spy a couple of Team Lung Love runners, we chat and run along for a mile or so. More Marines, holy cow!!

20K (11:13) – This feels good, my stomach seems to have righted itself, sort of, damn am I going to have to stop at a porta potty, you are kidding me, right?  Oh my splits are going to look good when they post, yeah!  I’m feeling pretty psyched, more high 5ing and thanking!

25K (11:46) – This is the point where the fallen soldiers pictures are.  I always look.  I never want to see one of my friends.  I think of Adam and Dennis "over there" and hope they are well and staying safe.  I think of Brian’s and Lisa’s stories from deployments. I think of Tammy and her brother Steve.  I watch some runners stop and take a moment. I shed a tear, ok quite a few, lives lost so young.   And I hear a familiar voice.  I look over and say “You ran Surftown.”  Michelle looks over and says “OMG!!! This is crazy!!”  She is keeping up a great pace and I wish her well.  This gives me a boost.  Some high 5ing and thanking!

30K (11:48) – The porta potty is inevitable. And I look at my watch and my projected splits and this is completely unrecoverable, I might as well stop.  I’m not even functioning enough to remember to jump up and down at mile 18.5.  Look at the course map.  I never ever completely lose my sense of humor, at that point I remember my friend Heidi saying, whatever you do don’t poop yourself. 

35K  (12:06) – The bridge, finally that damn bridge.  There was some walking, there were some tears, I couldn't even work up anything to spit, my stomach.  Oh would puking help?  Probably not I’ll end up with the dry heaves.  Focus, focus, focus less than a 10K, this can’t go on much more than an hour.  Plus you’ll see Lani and crew at mile 23, you need to have that same happy face you had last year.  I've yet to see the picture…

40K (12:21) – I stopped at mile 23 to talk with Lani and tell her I was never doing this again, and does anyone have a bottle of water?  I smile my big smile and soldier on.  I am running for my mom, and especially for my mom after she found out one of her college buddies passed away after her battle with esophageal cancer.  She found out by googling her friend.  She had called and the phone number was disconnected and up for grabs.  Eventually, she thought well I’ll google her and see what I find.  She finds the obituary, from over a month ago.  I cry a little thinking how horrible to find out that way and remember what I can of Bert, Chuck (he passed in 2008 from Lung Cancer) and their two kids.

Oh and that damn hill at the very end, mile 26, there are Marines encouraging us to “Take the Hill”  Take the hill? Are YOU kidding me? I want to take a seat!  Carry me?

42K (12:26) – The shit show, oops I wasn't going to say that, is over.  A Marine puts the medal around my neck salutes me and I shake his hand and thank him.

Now it is time to find some water, a banana, one of those nifty warming jackets, and the shuttle bus back near the hotel to reunite with my team.

Me, Erwin, MAC, Gabe, Andrea Team MAC

I asked someone standing in a line if this was for the shuttle, they said “Nope for the Metro.”  I found a different line, asked the same question “Yep”.  It moved I moved.  The cop told me a different story.  “Mam this is just a line, I have no idea what these people are waiting for.  Go over there and THAT is the line.”  Oh thank you!  I hobble to that line, downhill.  Yeah, downhill.

Before I got on the shuttle I made sure it was going back to Crystal City.  One never knows where they are going to end up standing in line.  I dated a guy who ended up in the Air Force after standing in line!  True or not the story always makes me smile.

Perspective : 

First - I started, I didn't quit, I didn't cheat, I finished, and that my friends really should be enough.  The time on the clock is the time on the clock.   As Don said on our walk today:  “Age happens quickly; smarts do not.”  This was on one of the many trivets his father brought back to his mother after visiting the PA Dutch country.  I think it is very appropriate. 

Second – I need to run races to race, not just to run, even if it is ‘just a training run’ it isn't it is a race and it takes a lot out of me.  As I figure out what I want to race in 2014, it will be limited.  I've committed to a few races, one I absolutely cannot back out of.  Three others, I may.  I've run each of them two times before. 

Third – Marine Corps was grand the first time, the second, not so much, the reason why?  Partly, I've been there done that.  Partly, I’m exhausted. Partly, my heart wasn't truly in it.  And that my friend is it:  My heart wasn't 100% in this race, period.

Beth, glad she didn't poop herself crawling across the finish line of the marathon (because when people run a marathon, they never forget to add that fact to every sentence they speak for the next month, even if they aren't proud of themselves).


  1. Excellent post. Holy jeez, marathons suck....but are so "fun" at the same time. Be proud! And enjoy every poop you take from here on out, knowing that at least you're not sweat encrusted, cramped, and stuck in a port-o-jon 3/4 way through a marathon!

    1. HA! I will enjoy each and every non sweat encrusted, cramped, port-o-jon poop!! You too!!

  2. Few people I know can articulate and summarize their experience and especially their empathy in a blog the way you can. Outstanding recap! You have much to be proud of and nothing to regret! Ya done good. Maybe it's time for a little BLS time? You certainly deserve it. And the jacket DOES look awesome! :-)

    1. Thanks! I love the jacket and I have to figure out what BLS time entails. I think trail running. Bluff Point tonight was so nice, other than I turned my ankle a bit but all seems OK!

  3. Great job gutting out this race even though it didn't go your way. You did it!

  4. Beth, what a great recap. I felt like I was with you the whole way and I really wish I was. You did a great job despite your difficulties. You work hard and raised a lot of money for such a great cause. You did what you set out to do and you should be proud. I know I am proud of you. And come on, 30 races! Plus all the miles that got you to the start line of MCM. You did fantastic! Give yourself a break, take some time for yourself. Wear that jacket proudly because you earned and it is well deserved. You are my hero!

    1. Thanks! I could barely stand myself during the race, I wouldn't of wanted to subject anyone to me!! I'm better now, whining is done and over and on ward I go.

  5. Beth, I love this post. I love the honesty of it. I'm so proud of you....you finished and you didn't poop yourself! What more can you ask for??

  6. Great job - great post - I'm rolling on the ground with muddy comments - enjoy your poops

    1. Thanks! I will! And I am still laughing over Muddy's comment, one of the best yet!!

  7. "I didn't quit, I didn't cheat" made me smile. I've been dying in races before and the thought crossed my mind that I could jump a street over and take off like 5 or 6 miles and no one would know, but I would know. I think you're too hard on yourself and your friend is right - you've logged a ton of work this year. From an outsiders point of view, that seems to be the obvious reason for not hitting your sub 5. But I know when you're going through it, you don't need "at-a-boys" from the peanut gallery. But you really should be proud. Congrats again for earning the medal!

    1. Thanks! I am my worst critic, we all are. I also use A LOT of self depreciating humor! This was my big whine fest over the race and as I reflect back on it, and actually opened the link of the race photos, it wasn't THAT horrible in the beginning... Yes, totally 'over trained' which is kind of hard to believe. The Bourbon Chase (which I wouldn't of passed up for ANYTHING) probably wasn't very helpful. Live and learn, right? I'll be staying tuned for your CT/RI appearance! I think I'll be volunteering and spectating the majority of races THIS year!!

  8. Way to hang in there and see the marathon to the finish, Beth! I've had marathons where I ended up walking a fair distance and just wanted to drop out. It's definitely a mental game to keep going the last 5-10 miles.

    1. Thanks Jeff! Mental is it, that internal fight / discussion / negotiation is wild. I'd love to have someone tape it and play it back to me later. See you at Lil' Rhody if not before!