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Race Result

Racer: Jamie Roberson
Race: Marine Corps Marathon
Date: Sunday, October 30, 2005
Location: Arlington, VA
Race Type: Run - Marathon
Age Group: Female 40 - 44
Time: (DNF)
Comment: A Happy Nine Miles

Race Report:

Nine miles into the Marine Corps Marathon, I decided to stop. Odd, though: it didn’t feel like a defeat, just an “okay, that’s enough for today.” I could have gone a few more miles, but I was running 17 minutes slower than the pace needed to beat the bus. Though my splits were negative, it still wasn’t going to be enough to make up the deficit. So when the bands were packing up, the streets were being swept up, and the Marines who were pulling up cones passed and shouted, “Good luck, ma’am!” I ran a bit farther and decided that I had indeed had good luck and that it was time to stop.

Given my performances in races leading up to the marathon, I knew that I was in trouble. I had completely failed to maintain my goal pace of 15:00 per mile in a half-marathon, and had been close-but-no-cigar in a 10-miler. In the weeks leading up to the MCM, I felt extremely guilty about holding on to my bib. I knew that I was taking a spot from someone who had prepared and who was ready to run the race. So I seriously thought about giving away the bib and running the 8k. But Coach Debi encouraged me to just get out there and do what I could, then start getting ready for next year. So – I did.

Since then, I haven’t slid into a two-month-long “Why Am I Even Trying To Do This” funk like I did last year after I bombed out at Reston. Instead, I spent the 2:00-plus that I was on the course reflecting on the past year and preparing for the next. I thought about the smartest thing I’d done all year (hire Coach Debi), the dumbest (do long runs on treadmills, drink only one bottle of water on the Reston course), the most fun that I’d had (MulletMan), and what I was most proud of (finishing Reston, closely followed by the Jim McDonnell Lake Swim). I overcame ankle pain that threatened to stop me from running and learned how to deal with swim panic. Along the way, I’ve also met some outstanding people.

I’ll sign up for the 2006 MCM, and, just as with Reston, I’ll be faster.

As an aside: One memorable moment: as I mentioned before, I was a band geek way before I was an athlete, so I was excited that the marathon featured a number of bands, including the USMC band from Quantico, as entertainment along the race route. I really gotta hand it to these kids - they get up at 0-Dark-Thirty on a Sunday morning to play and cheer us on, and they have no idea how much it means to us runners. I was so slow that day that I didn't expect the kids to be playing when I passed, but at Mile 5, I saw a group of flag-corps kids twirling flag. As I approached, I saw drums on the ground and glints of light off brass instruments carried by milling-about teenagers. I realized that the musicians were Done For The Day and that I wasn't going to be hearing a pride-inspiring drum cadence to propel me further. So I turned the corner past said milling-about bandies, summoned up my best Former Drum Major voice and bellowed out as I ran past:


Momentarily taken aback, the kids roared back "YEEEAAAHHH!!!!", amplified by the fact that we were under an overpass. Those echoes of band-geek luv carried me forward a little faster, with an extra spring in my step and a definite lump in my throat.

Can't wait till next year. :D