Posted in fitness, marathon, Marine Corps Marathon, MCM, recap, running, runwiththemarines

2014 Marine Corps Marathon Recap

I had a surprisingly decent sleep the night before the marathon. Granted, I kept waking up about once an hour, but I felt eerily rested. I woke before my 4:30 alarm and located some coffee in my cousin’s apartment (my liquid gold), and my pre-race chow (bagel and EnergyBits). At 5:30, I departed for the Shaw-Howard Univ. Metro station. (which was a 10-second walk from the apartment). The station was empty, save for maybe two or three other travelers. I found a young woman lacing up her sneakers and instantly made a new friend (she told me that the UPS bag sticker was on the back of the bib, which was news to me! <— note to those running in the future).

Once the metro let us off at the Pentagon station, it was about another mile and change walk to the corrals. Tents, UPS trucks and port-a-potties dominated the huge parking lot. I dropped off my stuff, then made a beeline for the potties for the first of about eight pee trips during the day. I walked over to the corrals and realized that 1. I was insanely early, and 2. It was breezy and I had no addditional warm up clothes with me. (BIG mistake…by the time we lined up for pre-race ceremony things, I was shivering and shaking.)

Pre-race anthem was done by United We Sing, and being a veteran anthem singer myself, I absolutely approved this version: it was short, to the point, and done with gorgeous harmonies. The parachuters did a great job with the American flags, and the military aircraft was an impressive touch.



The Howitzer fired and we slowly shuffled to the start line. It took about twenty minutes to get from my spot in the 5:30 corral to the start line. (I had originally shifted near the ClifBar 5:30 pace group, but lost them almost immediately.) I crossed the start and realized that the next 26.2 were mine for the taking.











I had studied the course elevation chart and knew that the first 5K was going to be uphill and arduous. Lee Highway at Mile 2 was steep and hilly. I held back a TON during this, reaching the 5K around 40 minutes in.

The crowd support during this first 5K was fantastic. (And, as always, there were So. Many. PUPPIES!!! :D)



Georgetown University along the Potomac

Miles 4 and 5 went past the waterfront by Georgetown University, across Key Bridge, and provided great scenery and delicious smells as we went down M Street. Restaurants are getting ready for their morning brunch crowds, so be ready for the tease!


Georgetown’s historic M Street



I found two women to run with for a little bit, running with 1:1 Galloway intervals. Running through Potomac Parkway and into Rock Creek Park was wonderful; this was a scenic, tree-lined, forest-y, shady kind of run. The sun had not quite kicked in, but you could tell it was creeping up. At this point, I needed to pee. Again. I also needed to take some EnergyBits. I had a terrible time trying to hold a cup of water in one hand, tear the runner’s bag open with my teeth, and run all at the same time. I had to stop (and thus losing my interval girls), take my Bits, and pee. I lost a ton of time and my groove trying to do this; I’m a person who can’t think straight if I have to go to the bathroom. The world essentially has to stop and restart after I get done.

At this point, the runner grumpies started to get to me. I wasn’t even at the halfway mark and I was pissed off at the world. Mile 12 was dedicated to Team Blue (wear blue to remember those who have fallen) and was lined up with American flags. It was significant and touching, but I didn’t get lost in the sights too much. Halfway came around and I was on Haines point. Humourous signs lined up the sides of the roads and provided much needed giggles and happiness. (One of the best signs was “Run like the person behind you has Ebola.”) I also found a pack of Kappa Sigma brothers cheering, and upon recognizing that they were Greek, I shouted, “Everyone gets a high five!!” and ran down the line for high fives.


1925189_730850596970363_23775239605698309_n10710975_730850573637032_3212737196771477628_nThe race had started to get hot and sunny at this point, and while there was a strong breeze, there were no clouds in sight. Just before the National Mall, I began to observe my watch more and more, determined to Beat the Bridge. (MCM 101: Make it to the 14th St. Bridge by 1:15 PM and you’re safe from being swept.) Once again, I had to lose time by peeing. (Those Marines certainly know how to keep you hydrated!) I took more bits before hitting the Mall. Around Mile 16, I noted that it was around noon. Hour and fifteen minutes to go.


Being near the back of the pack, I kept looking around behind me to see how many runners were still there, and where the pace vehicles were at. At a couple of points, they were on the other side of the road that I was running in the opposite direction on. (If seeing pacers doesn’t motivate a runner to go faster, I don’t know what does.) Passing by the Washington Monument, I proceeded down the National Mall towards the Capitol Building (which I kept mistaking for the White House the entire time I was there). I saw a small group of Alpha Phi Omega brothers that I shared cheers with on Mile 17 ūüôā10685560_730850713637018_7866336727615202433_n

Heading back up on Miles 18 and 19, I began to run with two other women. We were all calling out times to each other and to those around us, encouraging each other that, “We were going to maaaaaaake it!” with regards to the Bridge. 12:55 hit and we were a mile out. We kept scaling the hill that was right before the bridge, wondering, “Is this the spot? Is…*this* the spot? When are we saaaaaafe?!” (Note to race coordinators: there should be blinking signs, balloons, and Hollywood-style spotlights at the “safe zone”.) We saw the Mile 20 marker in the distance and agreed to take pictures of each other when we got there as proof that we Beat the Bridge!


Once pictures were done, we began to trek across the 14th Street Bridge, which is a lot longer than it looks. There was NO cloud cover, the sun was beating down on us, and I could feel my skin frying. It was 1:15 at this point, and knowing that I was safe, I didn’t care about my pace at all. As I slowed down to a steady walk and my big toenails began to feel the strain, the runner grumpies resumed and I knew that the last 10K was going to be the most arduous. Crystal City was beautiful, but a pain in the butt. Being a “turtle”, I could tell that the majority of the crowds had dispersed from earlier. (Even when I was running down the National Mall, the crowds were sparse, and pedestrians were risking walking across the road in front of us, which was highly annoying.) Before Mile 23, there was this humongous water sprayer that cooled us down, but once again, I found it annoying. Between 23 and 24, a spectator called out that even though we were at the back of the pack, we were doing fine and that “you’re almost there!”

{Spectator etiquette: First of all, don’t shout out where our location is in reference to everyone else. Yes, we’re at the back, but don’t make us feel inadequate by pointing out the obvious. Also, unless we are on the last mile, we are not “almost there”.}

10354088_730850736970349_2425747227096470059_nThat last 10K had me counting down the miles. Finally, the final ascent by Arlington National Cemetery was conquered and I crossed the finish line. I could officially call myself a marathoner! 1901705_730850773637012_8415929836316732961_n

My time was 6:51:51. I had improved my 10K and half times by about five minutes for each. (1:21 and 3:01 respectively.)

As I rested on the grass by the Iwo Jima memorial, I told myself that this was a one-and-done deal. As the likes and comments and favorites came flooding through my social media, it didn’t relinquish the pent up tension that had built over the second half of the race. I was grouchy and I knew it. I’m not sure of what this “runner’s high” elation that others experience feels like, but I had the opposite. From now on, I’m definitely sticking with anything below a half.

I am happy that I set out and accomplished this race. With all races, it had its highs and lows. Congrats to those who participated and extra thanks to those who allowed me to run with them.


Next up: Recovery. Then Glass Slipper 2015. Yaaaaaaaay Disney!

Posted in fitness, marathon, Marine Corps Marathon, running, runwiththemarines

I’m a Marathoner! YAAAAAY!


It’s official: yesterday I finished the Marine Corps Marathon and can officially call myself a marathoner! Woohoo!

*happy dance under a shower of confetti and champagne*

I shall have a recap up this week with more pictures. For now, I have to travel back to PA. Congrats to everyone that participated! And a special thanks to everyone who has followed me this weekend on this blog and Twitter and Instagram and all the other social media sites I have going on. It means the world to have so much support!

Posted in fitness, marathon, Marine Corps Marathon, running, runwiththemarines

Marine Corps Marathon: Day 2


(^^^^adorable ornament I found at the Natural History gift shop. Can’t wait to hang it up on the tree this year!)

After 12 hours of melatonin-induced sleep, I got around to having more adventures.

-I finally got to channel my inner Abigail Chase/Ben Gates by going to the National Archives! We weren’t allowed to take pictures inside, but take my word: it is a must-see. The rotunda was the highlight, as it showcases the Bill of Rights, Constitution, and the Declaration of Independence. One of these days the academic in me will have to return to conduct research.

-Got word that two Kappa Kappa Psi brothers were in the area! After wandering about for a little while trying to find each other, we met up at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History. Kelly, Doug, and I wandered about and geeked out at the science-y goodness of the place, including the Hope Diamond and butterfly exhibit.

-Got back and ate more carbs and food. Washed my clothes. Pinned my bib. Finally relaxing for a little. I’m so glad I read that the best night’s sleep you can get is TWO days before the marathon…you’re gonna be so excited/nervous/insert emotion that you won’t have much time to sleep!

I would be lying if I didn’t say I was at least a wee bit nervous about this. I’ve never raced more than a half before. This is a full freakin’ marathon….26.2 miles….two half-marathons back-to-back! I’m thrilled for the race course, as it should provide me with enough distractions to keep my mind off the mileage. It was mentioned that the first 20 miles should be run with half your energy, and the last 6.2 with the other 50%. Non-runners/athletes don’t understand what a mental game a race or event is (even musicians are drained after a performance because it’s so mental). The main objective: Beat the Bridge. Get to the 14th St. Bridge by 1:15 and you’re good to go. If not, well, you’re SOL.

I’m ready to make this super fun. D.C. has been good to me. If there is a time to Strive For the Highest, as my fraternity motto says…this is the time. And what better time to do it than running with 30,000 best friends through the streets of D.C., being shadowed by some of the most prolific figures in American history?

The Howitzer firest at 7:55 AM. OORAH!


Posted in Marine Corps Marathon

Marine Corps Marathon: Day 1

Long, long day. Lots of driving. Quickie wrap-up of the day’s adventures before¬†I fall asleep:

-Survived driving all the crazy roads into DC. (I avoided both the PA Turnpike AND the Beltway. Score one for knowing map skills!) Note: it pays to have extra coffee in the car while driving I-695 and I-95.

-Got six degrees of turned around and lost trying to find the expo….but I ran into my cousin’s apartment complex first. So that won.

-Had expo fun time. Plenty of booths (runDisney was there!)¬†and Brooks Running was the official merchandise sponsor with all the MCM2014 stuff. Heavily debating, even now, about one of the official race jackets….but $65-$90 apiece seems a little steep.

-Navigated the Metro with little to no problem. Once you look at the map and physically navigate the system/get a feel for how the stops work, it’s a very efficient way to get around.

-Saw the White House up close and personal. That was pretty sweet.

Day two tomorrow. A couple pictures are below. More to come!

Expo haul. Made it out without spending too much.

White House. It has a fountain that I never knew about!

Sunset selfie. The weather is going to be FANTASTIC this weekend.

Posted in fitness, marathon, Marine Corps Marathon, running, runwiththemarines

It’s Marathon Week!

MCM: 6 days


The big day is almost here! Six more days until 30,000 runners take to the streets of Washington D.C.¬†and run with the Marines! I have a feeling this is going to be Disney World on steroids (with people, attractions, and mileage alike). I’ve been doing rather well with keeping my taper crazies on the downlow, but I keep tricking myself into believing that I’m losing all of my muscle in my legs/quads (which doesn’t help when they look and feel squishy–it’s a girl thing, I’ll admit). I hope to get a decent amount of walking in the next couple of days before I do all the traveling starting on Thursday.

I’m finished with midterms week, and received word that I can substitute a class this semester for an elective for my Conflict Management Certificate. This makes next semester (and officially officially my last)¬†a total breeze. (I’m staying solely for financial aid reasons; having the extra money to save up¬†and put towards my rent and GSC 2015 will be helpful, as well. Any grad students out there can feel my pain when it comes to living off of loans for semesters at a time. #gradschoolproblems). Scheduling happens the 29th¬†for grad students, so we’ll see what kinds of¬†fun classes I’ll be taking.¬†(I’m hoping some science courses!)

Once the MCM is over I can start thinking about my academics more, but when the biggest race of your life is around the corner, you can’t think about anything else!

Posted in challenge, Knock Knock Stuff, runDisneyBelle Review, Social Media, Social Media Blackout Day

runDisneyBelle Review: Social Media Blackout Day!

I survived my 24 hours without touching social media! Woooohoooo! *happy dance*

Watch/listen to my review here!:

Constructive criticism and comments/suggestions are always welcome!