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Race Result

Racer: Jen Tallman
Race: Marine Corps Marathon
Date: Sunday, October 28, 2007
Location: Arlington, VA
Race Type: Run - Marathon
Age Group: Female 30 - 34
Time: 6:16:41
Overall Place: 19628 / 20667
Age Group Place: 1287 / 1379
Comment: I did it anyway!

Race Report:

This is a little long and detailed, because it's the same report I posted to my blog on Myspace, where a bunch of people don't race...

Well, I finished! I went in injured with my left IT band (big tendon running betewwn hip and knee) giving me hell every time I tried to run more than three miles. I was also undertrained due to the fact that running more than three miles at a time was AGONY!

I actually considered giving up the spot to someone who could actually run the race, but when I found out that the bib transfer period had passed, I decieed that meant I was meant to go out and do it!

So, I started the day by forgetting to set the alarm. Luckily, I am used to getting up at 4, so when I naturally woke at 5:20, I was ok. I had to throw clothes in the dryer, so my charity shirt would be dry, so I could race in it. I drank my strawberry banana and almond/brazilnut milk smoothie while waiting on the dryer.

I opted to run in leggings, and start with a jacket, since the weather report said high 50s and wind. I thought the clothing chioces ended up being right on. I was cool and comfy the whole time. I ditched the jacket about 8 miles in, but was glad to have the pockets, because I put my gloves (ditched them at mile 3) in one and my emergency kit (band aids, moleskin, kleenex - for TP, and hand gel) in the other pocket.

After hearing about the water shortages at the Army Ten Miler, I decided to bring my hydration belt. I am glad I had it as well, so I could drink when I wanted to, and because it has a spot for my gel flask, a pocket for my Endurolytes, and an elastic thingy to hold the jacket when I was done wearing it.

So, I took Metro to the race, stopping at Pentagon station and walking a nice little warm up distance to the bag check and start line. I intended to get on my TP rollers before the race, but all I ended up having time for was a short stretch session.

My mom was there, which was really great, since she had to work till 0030 the previous night and she was going back to work at 1500 later in the day. She walked with me as the race started and the crowd slowly moved forward in the corrals. I gave her a hug and started running to the cheers of the crowd as I crossed the start line and heard the timing mats beeping frantically as each chip registered the beginning of its 26.2 mile journey.

My race plan was to run for four mins and walk for four mins for the entire course. I knew from training that I would have to walk to keep my knee in the race, and I had it on good authority that the four minute plan was a good one, because it would keep my heart rate up some on the walk and would result in me running more of the race than I walked. I liked that, since the original goal was to actually RUN the race!

I felt great going out, and I was soooooo tempted to just run till it hurt really bad and then run till I was carted off on a medical golf cart thingy, but I stuck with the plan.

It was a beautiful morning, and I tried to keep myself in the moment by feeling the breeze on my skin, my feet on the pavement, and noticing the beauty of the world around me. I started feeling the ache in my knee about 5 miles in, but it was mild, and as luck would have it, I got to walk all the big downhills in the early parts of the race! (downhill is evil when you have IT band issues.) I just focused on the plan and kept moving.

I scanned the crowd for Eileen, my bestest bud from kindergarten. I was afraid I'd miss her. The crowd was great though! They were always really enthusiastic right where you needed them most! I loved the guy wearing all black with "hi 5 me!" on his shirt in duct tape! His hand looked so sore, I almost thought he might be in more pain than I was!

I took water at all the water stops, refilling my bottle at one. I had one oz of gel, and it didn't sit well, so I stuck with Endurolytes and water, one cup of Powerade, which also didn't sit well, and a handful of oranges (finally calories that didn't make me feel icky)!

I made it to mile 18 on the race plan, at which point, I had no more run in me... well not 4 mins worth anyway. I ended up speed walking with a girl who finished Ironman FL last year. We talked triathlon, bikes, wheels, and such, until I had to run to change the motion of my legs. I tried to get back on plan but I couldn't hang for the 4 mins.

My revised race plan at that point was move forward; don't stop. I made the cutoff at the bridge and almost cried! I KNEW I would finish. I came into Crystal City, which was one big party! People were handing us food (didn't take any, because I wasn't sure it was vegan, and I had issues with food).

I was hurting. It wasn't my knee. My knee had merged into the mass of pain that had become my lower body. I focused on moving forward. I focused on experiencing the world at that moment. I tried not to think about the miles to go.

I needed to pee, but I was afraid to stop moving forward, because I wasn't sure I could start again, so I passed the johns, and kept heading for the finish.

Just when I thought I was mentally out of steam, I saw a sign that said Jen and another that said Hen with chickens on them! There were Eileen and her daughter Erin yelling wildly for me! Eileen wore a rubber chicken strung around her neck, in honor of a typo I made years ago that resulted in me signing my name Hen to an email!

I saw them again when I came back down Crystal Drive and when I came to the bottom of the final hill. They climbed the hill with me, as I was walking very slowly at that point. As the terrain leveled, I mustered the last of my energy and ran for the finish! Crossing in 06:37:26? by the clock time. I knew my chip time was better than the clock time, as I was surely not starting with the fast people at 0800!

I got my medal and blanket, but I just wanted my bag, so that I could take my shoes off! My hands and feet were swollen, and I wanted my SANDALS!!! I also wanted an ice bath and to put my feet up. I found out that bag claim was a nice hike up a hill and down the road in Rosslyn. OUCH!

As much as my legs protested, we walked to buy finishers stuff, pick up my bag, and then hiked to Irelands Four Courts, where the RATS were meeting. I arrived and discovered that they had already gone, so we got on the metro and went home.

Eileen and Erin took care of my dogs, since by this point, I was limping and I had developed a very sore spot on the side my right foot near my heel and ankle. I was scared it might be a stress fracture, but it feels pretty good this morning... more bruise like than anything.

I bought us all dinner, since there was NO WAY I was going to go to a cookout for the charity I ran for. I was not standing up any more than I absolutely had to. Eileen's husband, Bart picked up the food and we ate at my house after I had showered and ice bathed. Veggie fajitas were just what I needed.

So, I finished my first marathon, put my 26.2 sticker on the Jeeper alongside my 70.3 sitcker, and am recovering so I can train for the Ironman in July! Running this race undertrained and Injured made me realize exactly how much work I have ahead of me to get to the finish line in Lake Placid.

Thanks mom for dragging yourself out of bed to see me off on my journey! Thanks Eileen and Erin for being right where I REALLY needed you, and for all the help getting home and getting situated at home. Thanks Bart for picking up the food! Thanks 25:40 for selling me the spot and for giving me the opportunity to raise money for the AIDS orphans in Africa. You all ROCK!