I picked Rachel up early on Saturday morning at her husband's apartment in Pentagon City. There was no traffic getting there and I arrived at his place at around 6:30 a.m. I texted Rachel and said she had to gather a few more things and would be down in a few minutes. I was feeling good that morning. I had followed my training schedule pretty well and was feeling confident about finishing in good time.
Once Rachel came down, we were on our way to Quantico and chatted incessantly for the 45 minute trip to the start of the race. It's nice running with my little sister. I feel like it's brought us close together again and we are working toward a common goal. I really like having the support of someone who has known me for practically my whole life through this physical endeavor.
Parking was a bit of a drama, but we eventually found a place to park and took the shuttle bus to the start of the race. Once the race started, Rachel and I ran together for about the first six miles. We talked about time and how it quickly it passes. We talked about life, relationships, marriage, and family. I can't really remember the specifics; just sister chatter. I also tried to get her to call cadence from basic training. She didn't really remember any, but it was fun getting her to think of them. A gentleman passed us, who was clearly an older Marine, and commented that we needed to get a CD of cadence calls. I think we'll need something like that to keep us busy during the Marine Corps Marathon, at least for part of it.
At about almost mile 7, I broke away from Rachel and the trail became quite steep with lots of hills. Because of the hills' steepness going up and down the hills was very difficult. I hadn't run on hills quite like that and was really feeling it in my legs and thighs. The scenery helped keep my mind off the physical difficulty I was experiencing. In fact, it was quite beautiful in the Prince William Forest Park. I think I'd like to camp there over the summer or maybe in the fall.
There were great signs throughout the race challenging my endurance (see picture below). You know typical macho Marine stuff, but very funny and clever. This sign was just one of many of the slogans that I saw throughout the 11 mile race. There were phrases like: "Keep going, you just started" and of course "Pain is fear leaving the body." I really liked seeing those signs because they were motivating.
I finished in under 2 hours. My official time was 1 hour and 49 minutes, which I was pleased with. Rachel came in just a few minutes behind me, in under two hours. I was glad that we were both able to finish in under two hours. That was really exciting!
The picture below is just after Rachel finished the race. We had so much fun collecting our free goodies. We drank our free Michelob Ultras (I may have had a couple) and walked around snagging food, drinks, and other things to take back to Rachel's kids and my nieces who were all in town. We also collected our chip and pass: now we were guaranteed entry into MCM 2013. All we needed to do was register over the weekend with our code. We were in...Next challenge: 1/2 Marathon in Delaware.