For some strange reason after about 18 months, a marathon will sound like a good idea again. And so once again, maybe to prove to myself that I can actually run a marathon, I saddled up again. This time we were running the prestigious Marine Corp Marathon in DC in October. NOT A GOOD THING TO TRAIN FOR A FALL MARATHON! This means ALL the tough training runs are in the oppressive Louisiana summer heat!
I must say it seemed like a good idea at the time! We followed the same training plan without exception. It seemed to be a winner by now. The end of October was the date and this was the 30th Marine Corp Marathon-thus 30,000 runners. THINK ABOUT THIS-THE ENTIRE TOWN OF RUSTON PLUS ANOTHER 50% RUNNING TOGETHER! The entire marathon was like running in a parade. You have someone by your side EVERY step of the way.
Babs was suffering from an injury and could not run much, but ACTUALLY walked almost the entire thing! There were two GREAT things about this marathon-you ran all through downtown DC-by the White House, around the Capitol, down the National Mall, through the monuments, through Georgetown-it was just incredible! Now the next thing made it even better-you ran with Marines or you had Marines manning the support stations, or just generally encouraging you every step of the way. IT WAS AWESOME! (Sorry BC-know you don't like that over-used word-but NONE OTHER describes it). On top of this, there were crowds along every square inch of the path. Now you would expect most to leave after the elites have passed, but this wonderful crowd cheered on one and all.
I can truthfully say that I hit the proverbial Wall in this marathon. Now remember we trained up to 22 miles. I was on track and right on pace through mile 23 and THEN. Between the heat of the day (much hotter than we expected) and exhausted legs and the mental challenge, I found I could barely pick up my legs those last three miles. I ended up having to walk almost every step of the way.
The last .2 mile are up the hill that leads to the "Marine Corp Monument"-UP HILL! Somehow I pulled myself up and managed to run up that hill. It was a matter of Pride! When you crossed the finish line, you were met by a legion of Marines presenting you with your Finisher's Medal, wrapping a warming blanket around you (actually not good to cool down too fast), and bending down to untie your timing chip.
IT WAS WORTH ALL THE AGONY and THEN SOME! I resolved to end my marathoning career once and for all. It just couldn't get any better than this.