I’m Running the Marine Corps Marathon!

Marine Corp Medal 2012

Last night I went to see the special theater-showing on The Spirit of the Marathon II. It did not fail to inspire, make me laugh, bring a tear to my eye, and bring the marathon itch roaring back to me. So, I find it extremely appropriate to announce today my plans for my next running move.

Drum roll please! (Just kidding, you all saw this coming.)

I’m running my second marathon this fall at the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington, D.C. on October 27!

Honestly, I knew it wouldn’t take long for me to become addicted to the marathon distance. I’m kind of type-A when it comes to this stuff and mildly addicted to the adrenaline/endorphin rush you get when you finish a marathon. When I crossed the finish line at Big Sur, the race director told me it would change my life, and it sure did. So when the opportunity to run Marine Corps with the Runner’s World Challenge presented itself, there was no way I could say no.

Runner’s World Challenge

This will be my third race with the Runner’s World Challenge and I honestly couldn’t imagine running a major race without it. This is going to sound like a shameless plug right now (and it totally is) but Runner’s World Challenge is such a good program. Through the Challenge, you get guaranteed race entry to one of our event races- this year it was Disney, Big Sur, and Marine Corps. You also get a customized training plan to meet whatever goal your little running heart desires, as well as direct access to the Runner’s World experts. But the best part of Challenge is the V.I.P. treatment you get on race day. We have our own prerace and postrace tent filled with food and drink for days, and (probably the best part) we have access to our very own port-a-potties, so you can say goodbye to pre-marathon bathroom lines. You also get to run with the editors (like me!) on race day!

MCM Goals

Besides this being my second marathon, me being the type-A person that I am, I want to improve on my finish time. I finished Big Sur in 4:33, which for my first marathon and such a tough course, wasn’t too bad. But I want to do better. So, I’m setting a goal of breaking 4:15 and following a plan to help me do so. This is ambitious because it means PR-ing by more than 15-minutes but I think given the course at MCM and the typical weather, it’s possible.

I’m going to focus much more on maintaining my strength training and speedwork that I’ve become really consistent with during my time off from training. I also want to focus on my diet more during this training cycle. I didn’t have issues with it last time but I think I need to actively add more protein into my daily diet and just focus on trying to eat clean.

All of these goals pale in comparison to the reason I’m really excited to run Marine Corps which is my parents are going to be there! They have been at almost every race I’ve run since I started running in March 2012 but were not able to come out to California to see me finish Big Sur. But my mom has assured me she’s already booked the hotel for MCM and they will be there, on the course, to cheer me on at my second marathon. I’ve also heard MCM is a great race because of the military presence and patriotism throughout the entire weekend. While we don’t have any Marines in my family, my grandfather was a Navy and Coast Guard veteran and my cousin’s boyfriend (who’s basically part of our family) is also a Coast Guard veteran and my dad is in the Air Force auxiliary. The military has always been a part of my family’s life so I think running MCM will be a great way to honor that tradition.

While I will never forget my experience at Big Sur, it was my first after all and you never forget your first, I have a feeling Marine Corps is going to be really special. Training begins on July 8, let’s do this!

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Running the 2013 Big Sur International Marathon

Big SurI’ve had a mix of emotions going into writing this post- I’m terrified, excited, confident, determined but mostly scared. But, I’m putting it out there and it’s happening, I’m running my first full marathon this spring and it will be the Big Sur International Marathon on April 28.

I know- Big Sur is probably not the best first-timer course; it’s extremely hilly, the conditions vary (a few years ago part of the course was wiped out by a landslide) and it’s just plain hard. But, it’s also a destination race, a race that is on thousands, maybe millions of runners’ bucket lists and I have the opportunity of a lifetime to run it with the Runner’s World Challenge, so that’s what I’m going to do. What’s that annoying saying again? Oh yeah, YOLO (you only live once).

Over the last few weeks leading up to the Walt Disney World Marathon weekend (in which I ran the half and PR’d by 17 minutes, cough, cough) many of my co-workers at Runner’s World have been insisting I run Big Sur.

“This is a once in a lifetime opportunity,” they said.

“You may never get this chance again,” they said, trying to guilt-trip me. Thanks, guys.

“You’re running it,” one flat-out said.

My parents think I’m over-doing it and have asked me why I don’t just stick to half-marathons for a while. My dad, a 16-time 26.2 veteran, even said I should wait to run my first marathon. I get it, they are parents, it’s their job to worry.

But in all of this persuading me to run or not run the marathon I realized I’ve only been listening to other people when I should really be listening to myself, to what I want to do. The truth is, my 2013 goal was to run my first marathon, and I just assumed it would be in the fall. But there is no reason I’m not ready now, so I’ve decided, whether people like it or not, I’m running it. What do I have to lose? My goal is to simply finish, no goal time in mind and to enjoy the entire experience.

My friend Lora, who will BQ at the Eugene Marathon on April 28 (same day as Big Sur!), posted an inspiring quote on the interwebs the other day that more or less sealed my decision.

“The truth is, I’m on a mission. And you can support me, or step out of the way, but there’s no standing still. I’m Big Sur-bound.”

Big Sur Medals