CAN’T STOP! WON’T STOP!
It was Friday. A beautiful Friday, at that. The sun was shining, the temperature was in the upper 70’s, and there was a perfect breeze going on. Nothing gets me more excited and motivated than perfect weather outside. Maybe a little too much; it was the kind of day that makes me want to do something crazy like, oh, I don’t know, randomly decide to sign up for the Marine Corps 17.75k (that’s about 11 miles for us non-metric system using folks) which is at 7 am on Saturday – yes, the next day. I say “crazy” because lately I haven’t run more than 6 miles, so to jump at 11 miles seems a little irresponsible, but what’s another 5 miles?? Luckily, I was able to find somebody to sell me their bib. JOY!!
I’ve done the 17.75k before, but this was going to be a new course that I haven’t done. I couldn’t imagine it was going to be that much different – hills are hills. Where there’s an uphill, there’s a downhill and I can live with that. So, Saturday morning, I get up bright and early to get my rear into gear. I’m going solo, which I haven’t done….ever. I usually take someone to races with me or I do them with someone – I like to bring my own cheerleaders, I guess, but I didn’t mind. There was something liberating about going by myself and being by myself.
The beginning of the course was torture! Not only was it a gravel path with plenty of rocks and uneven ground, especially considering the hundreds of people around you, but the hills weren’t just up and down – oh no! They were looooong and unending. That lasted for maybe 3 quad-busting miles!! After that you were on a paved road, mostly flat, but there were some hills that annoyed the dickens outta me. The wooded area in Prince William was actually very pretty and made it easy to jog through. I was looking around and taking it all in – aaaaaah!!!
Since we all know a “run” just didn’t happen unless it was tracked by Nike+, I had it going so I could have an idea of how much further I had to go; you know, just in case the mile markers weren’t enough of a clue. So around mile 8 or 9 i’m thinking that the rest is gonna be such a breeze! But noooooo, no breeze! That’s when you’re back on the original gravel trail to get back to the finish and it’s all gravel and hills again. Man, I totally thought I was going to improve my pace and jog all the way to the finish; I thought I would catch my 2nd or 3rd wind.
Alas, I crossed the finish line to my own satisfaction and received my finishers coin along with the coveted “access granted ticket”, or “golden ticket” as it used to be called, which guarantees my entry into the Marine Corps Marathon. I still don’t know if I want to run THAT much at one time. I survived the 11 miles and maintained a nice 10:30/mile pace. That isn’t fast to most but, for me, it surprised me that I could maintain that pace, all things considered.
I booked it home as soon as humanly possible, and within the speed limit, only to get out of the car as if I were the tin man in desperate need of some WD-40, starting with my knees! UGH! The mileage wasn’t the tough part, but I probably wouldn’t sign up for another race like that with just one day’s notice if I don’t have everything I need to care for my body once I’m home. Lesson kinda learned….i’m sure this won’t be the last time I do something like this. 😉