TITLE: This One Was 26.2 Miles, Too — Trust Me
AUTHOR: Eugene Wallingford
DATE: October 28, 2007 7:03 PM
First, I'll cut to the chase: 3:47:01.
I feel good about my result. The most meaningful measure
of success for me is that I ran the race I planned: a
careful first 20 miles, paying special attention to the
uphill and downhill stretches, followed by a faster last
6 miles, with some strength. The only deviation from
plan was that most of my miles were a bit slower than
planned. I never really found my groove and saw mile
splits that were all over the board. The hills early in
the course had a lot to do with that, too.
But Miles 20-24 went very well, which allowed me to feel
something I had not felt in at least three years: strong
down the stretch. The last hill came at about 25.5, as
we climbed from a highway down near the river up to the
Marine Corps War Memorial.
That made a fast finish impossible for me, but I ran
hard and felt proud.
As a result, though, I did run my tank empty, and so the
hour after the race was a little uneasy. But some rest
on the metro, a shower, and several pieces of dandy pizza
have refreshed me! My legs are still complaining, but
that I can take.
This race had fewer novelty runners and humorous shirts
and signs than my previous mega-race, in Chicago. My
two favorite inspiration along the way were:
Of course, the inspiration in this race comes from the
men and women of our armed forces. Many ran this race in
honor of fallen comrades. Spouses ran in honor of active
personnel in Iraq. Veterans ran, including some who had
lost legs and so competed in the wheelchair division.
Some ran with backpacks that made my load seem cheap.
Many Marines did not run and instead served us, from the
bag check before the race, through water stops along the
course, to the recently-minted second lieutenants draping
medals over our necks and honoring our effort. All I
could say to them was "thank you" and think how much
greater their efforts are every day, whether here or
serving in harm's way. Oo-rah.
This was my second best time ever, just 77 seconds slower
But that was three years ago, and I have had much better
years. I think this is another positive I can take from
this year -- a good run in what was not the best health and
training year I have had.
But I won't be running tomorrow.
- In a wide open stretch between the halfway point and
the 14-mile marker, a van was playing music and
and advertising its wares. The side of the van read
"3:16 — Your Race Number for Life!" I thought
that was a creative twist on the usual "John 3:16"
one sees at most sporting events.
- Somewhere around Mile 19, a spectator was holding a
sign that featured a young woman eating an ice cream
cone, um, suggestively. The sign read, "You Can Lick
This Marathon". This made me smile as I entered my