TITLE: This One Was 26.2 Miles, Too — Trust Me AUTHOR: Eugene Wallingford DATE: October 28, 2007 7:03 PM DESC: ----- BODY: 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: Iwo Jima Memorial 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 than Des Moines. But that was three years ago, and I have had much better preparation the last two 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. -----