Reston Area Triathletes RATS.net Logo

Race Result

Racer: Rob Weitzel
Race: Marine Corps Marathon
Date: Sunday, October 31, 2004
Location: Arlington, VA
Race Type: Run - Marathon
Age Group: Male 35 - 39
Time: 3:14:00
Overall Place: 217 / 18000
Comment: Great Spectators and Great Support - What a fun day!

Race Report:

I decided after ChessieMan that I wanted to do "something". I felt that I had not used up all of my energies that I had stored from my training. After a lackluster performance at Chessieman I had thought about doing another Ironman, and when that did not workout, it looked like the Marine Corps Marathon might be a good fit. I was able to find a bib from a friend of mine who has been injured.

Well this was technically NOT my first marathon, but my first time that 1) I had actually trained for a marathon and ran one, and 2) It had not been after swimming 2.4 miles and biking 112 miles.

After Chessieman I had not done a lot of stuff, mainly recovery period the week after, and a couple of workouts per week. I found it was hard to gt in anything that was high intensity and my body was not responding well. I decided to try to fit in a few key workouts and rest and continue my recovery in hopes that I would not be to flat for a marathon.

Race morning the weather was great, but you could tell that it was going to be warm and humid. The sun god came out. I met up with Dan Frost before the gun went off and discussed our goals. We were both near the 3-3:15 corral, he was shooting for a 3:20, and my wildest hopes would be to hit 3 hours, or slightly under only time would tell. I do not run well in heat so I had a fera that it might be a problem late in the race.

As the cannon went off the huge mass of people slowly moved forward, fortunately I was positioned far enough in front to quickly get into smooth running territory. I won;t go into a lot of details about the course itself, it is mostly flat, but had a couple of key inclines mstly at the beginning of the race, the rest of the course is mostly flat. I was going to base my pace on my performance at the LAWs 1/2 marathon back in September. However I was not going to jump out to such a torrid pace, but simply try to run consistent splits. I wanted to run around a 6:48 pace. The 10K point was my first indicator, I was @ 41 minutes and feeling good on the uphill of Rock Creek Park. I felt that I could really gain some ground on the downhill out of Rock Creek. This was my first indicator that I was not in peak form. I was not able to get the quick turnover, and speed that I had had, and I was not running as smoothly as I should have been I was laboring a bit. At roughly the 12 mile marker the guy who passed me at LAWS comes runnig side by side with me. We run together and chat briefly, and he encourages me to try to keep pace with him, but at this point he again is running much strnger than I am so I do not try to keep pace and let him go. At the 1/2 way point I'm happy that my time is 1:28:37, but I'm thinking that it is getting hotter, I'm getting fatigued and I probably can not maintain this pace for 13 more miles. Every chance I got I aimed to run in the shade as I was getting cooked. We turned into the infamous Haines Point, the crowds going in were loud and awesome, but there wer not many spectators once you began running inside the park. This is also notorious because this is where you hit the 17-20 mile point and "the wall". This is where my breakdown began. I had to stop and walk several times going around this loop. My quads were becoming tighter and tighter and heavy, and I was starting to get a pretty thick salt buildup. About this point I was running with the 9th or 10th place overall women. I hung back and paced off one for a few miles before I dropped back. I checked my 20 mile split @ 2:20, and knew that I would have to run a super fast 10K to go sub 3 but that in reallity I was going to have to dig hard to keep it in the low 3 hour range. Coming out of Haines Point you make a nice hard right hand turn over a bridge over the Potomac. This is the longest bridge I have ever run across, and it was very hot. I simply chugged across it as fast as I cold because I knew the finish was not that far off. WHen I hit mile 23 I was in the middle of a coughing fit, but sucked it up, walked a bit, and shuffled along. By mile 24 I was urting pretty good, and my left calf began to seize up along with the inside of my quads. Coming up the final stretch is amazing! The crowds are enormous, and the spectator support throughout the race is tremendous unlike anything I have experienced in an Ironman race, it really gives you a huge boost. I picked up my pace the last 1/2 mile and pushed it as hard as I could up the hill to the finish through a huge throng of spectators in bleachers. This hill, after 26 miles of running is like adding insult to injury, it is tough. I passed a cluster of runners struggling up the hill, and made a "sprint" to the finish line. I was totally cooked literally. I was sunburned from head to toe.

If for any reason to do this race do it because the specator support is phenomenal, and the race support from the Marines is precision. They put on one hell of an event. After a few thousand people began filtering in to the finish the back area turned into what looked like a war zone with people crashed out all over with some in not so good shape. This race took a worse toll on my legs than the Ironman I did 3 weeks ago took on me. Congrats to any RATS and Reston Runners that were out there.

I do not know what my agegroup place is but I finshed in 3:14 199th male and 217th overall. I think my agegroup would have put me in the top 40 of the 35-39.