November 29, 2010

Run to Feed the Hungry 10k (Race Report)

Hello friends! I'm a little late getting to this, but better late than never, right? I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving and holiday weekend : )

My Thanksgiving started out early and cold! It was just below freezing so I made sure to layer up - capris, long sleeve race shirt, Nike jacket, and earwarmer headband. Since the race starts so close to us we biked there to avoid the traffic that comes with a race of 25,000+ people. As we rode along the bike trail the ground was covered in frost, but luckily the ride helped us warm up. We got there with enough time to spare, locked up our bikes, and made our way to the start. The 10k started about a half hour earlier than the 5k, and although I wasn't sure if we'd signed up for the right race, we had no problems lining up at the start line. We tried to find a spot in the sun without much luck, but before we new it the gun sounded and we were off!
 oh hey, giant turkey
 crowded start
smiling, despite the cold

My dad has been training for this distance and was expecting to finish in just over an hour. The first couple miles were ridiculously crowded so it was hard to find a rhythm. Eventually we decided to hop on the sidewalk which was much clearer. We made our way into East Sac and when we hit mile 1 I noticed we were a little ahead of the expected pace. We felt good so we just continued on, enjoying the clear, crisp morning. Eventually the crowd thinned a bit and we were able to run on the street. It was starting to warm up, especially in the direct sun, and I was beginning to wish I could ditch my jacket. The course took us past McKinley park and into shady midtown which felt great. We reached mile 3 with a sub 10:00 average pace and my dad was feeling good!
 so many people!
McKinley Park
ohhhh we're halfway there!

Halfway done we headed away from midtown back toward East Sac. The fall foliage on the course was absolutely gorgeous. With the clear blue sky as a backdrop the colors really popped : ) With about a mile to go we emerged back on the street where we had started and merged with the 5kers. As soon as I saw the finish I picked it up a bit and my dad put on a final surge as well. I glanced at my watch and saw that we were going to be close to breaking an hour, but there were a lot of people to dodge. We crossed the line and immediately were stopped in our tracked by a wall of runners. I glanced down at my watch - 59:36. Unofficial, of course, but still counts in my book!
simply gorgeous
ahhh shade
 looking good!
one mile to go...

My dad was pretty thrilled by our results. We ran much faster than he had been training so it was a nice surprise for both of us. I have to say I was a little impressed, too! Great job, dad! We stuck around in the post race area for a while, saw some familiar faces, then realized it was still pretty cold and headed home. I love that I can share running with my dad, and this race is becoming a really fun tradition. I'm already looking forward to next year! The rest of the day was spent relaxing and nibbling on snacks, trying to save room for the main event. We had a few relatives over and kept it nice and low-key. My mom and aunt made a delicious feast that sent me into a food coma, but not before I'd consumed some homemade pumpkin pie : )
me & dad
nom nom nom

Now that Thanksgiving is over, bring on the Christmas music and decorations! I ♥ the holidays : )

November 25, 2010

Something to be Thankful for...

...I finally got back out there. After my 20 mile death march, I knew I was burnt out. But I also think I was a little scared. Scared that some of these nagging aches and pains were something more. Scared that I would lose my fitness. Scared that I have a marathon in 2 weeks. With these fears came a lack of motivation, and so, I didn't run. For seven long days. And remarkably, toward the end of my week off, I found myself itching to hit the pavement. I was jealous when I heard my coworkers chatting about their recent runs. I even tried a couple of mornings. I had the best intentions, but when my alarm went off both times I let the mind games talk me into staying in my warm bed. Part of me knows this rest was much needed, both physically and mentally. But the other half of me, the part that has been training and racing for the better part of the past two years, felt a little guilty. How could I be taking 7 days off when I have a marathon to run soon? How can I run 26.2 miles when I had to hobble through 20? I know that these feelings are normal and will pass, and I know that many of my fellow runners can sympathize, but they still sucked.

This past Monday, I laced up my shoes. I had the day off so I started running in the afternoon when the weather was absolutely perfect - cool and crisp with a nice breeze. Dark rain clouds loomed but kept their distance. I intended to take it easy, but without looking at my Garmin I let my legs do whatever felt good, and good ended up being a little faster : ) I finished up 5 miles in 47 minutes, a little sore, a tad tired, but feeling refreshed at the same time. Afterward I even forced myself to roll out my legs on the Grid, and oh man, that was a good hurt!

Since I essentially took the weekend off from running I was hoping to get a "long" taper run in early on in the week. I am, after all, still in marathon training : ) So I took advantage of another day off on Tuesday and set out in the early afternoon for an easy 10 miles. I went the opposite direction on the bike trail than I usually do for my shorter runs and the change of scenery was just what I needed. I also wore my new Brooks capris and love them! Will have a review coming soon. The weather was, once again, perfect. The trees were a sight with their rainbow-colored leaves and the grasses were bright green thanks to the downpour we had over the weekend. A few miles in I was brought to a standstill when I spotted something moving in the middle of the river. A closer look revealed two deer, one big, one baby, swimming across the river! I almost didn't believe my eyes when they climbed out on the opposite river bank. Simply amazing.

I continued on with a little more pep in my step, passed William Pond Park, crossed over the footbridge, then turned around when my watch chimed 5 miles. I took a Gu and a salt cap when I got back to the park which gave me a needed energy boost for the last few miles. I was keeping up a pretty decent pace, and the time passed smoothly as I rocked out to the new Rihanna CD and some of my favorite Glee songs (most notably from the Rocky Horror episode). At one point I was belting out the lyrics to "Time Warp" while simultaneously gasping for breath! I kicked it up a notch for the final mile and finished with an average pace of 9:44 min/mi. I felt pretty good throughout and afterward, and man did I need a good run to lift my spirits.

brilliant. and such a fun song to run to!

Tomorrow my dad and I will be continuing a Thanksgiving tradition we started last year by running in our local turkey trot, the Run to Feed the Hungry. The race is huge, so it's hard to actually race it, but it's a great way to start off the holiday and have fun. It's a huge family event and benefits a great cause, too. My dad and I have been planning on doing the 10k (we did the 5k last year) but after checking the website tonight it looks like we may have accidentally registered for the wrong race! So we may be doing the 5k again after all. Either way I'm really looking forward to it : ) Anyone else running or racing before stuffing themselves silly tomorrow?
Happy Thanksgiving!

November 22, 2010

Clarksburg Country 20 Miler (Race Report)

It's taken me a while to write this, and truthfully, I just didn't want to. Obviously, this race did not go well. And so, mainly because I don't want to relive my misery, I'm going to make this race report as brief as possible.

Some quick background info first. Clarksburg is a race put on by my store, meaning I could get a comped entry. This year it was offering a 5k, half marathon, and 20 miler. The timing of the race (just 3 weeks before CIM) made the 20 mile race a perfect peak long run substitute. Seeing as I've had to do most of my long runs solo lately, I thought it sounded great to run this one in a race atmosphere with lots of other runners and in a new place on an unfamiliar course. Plus, it was free! Well, in case you've forgotten (I certainly seemed to), I had also run the Marine Corps Marathon just 2 weeks previously. I'd run a couple times since, though, and seemed to feel fine, so I figured 20 would be fine, too. Wrong, oh so wrong I was.
 Clarksburg - cute town, ugly race

We had a late start (9am) so I was able to sleep a little more than usual. I got ready quickly and made my way out to Clarksburg. I actually had never been to, or even heard of, this little farming town before this race, even though it was just a short 20 minutes away, across the Sacramento River. I made it just in time, hopped into a port-o-potty, and just as I got to the start line the gun went off! I had no time to get my bearings or stretch before I was off and running. With the frazzled start I started out way too fast, clocking a couple sub 9:30 miles. The course started out on a nice tree-lined road before spitting us out onto an uncovered straightaway with fields on either side (there would be many more of these over the 20 miles). There wasn't a whole lot to look at so I distracted myself by watching other runners. About 3 miles in we started getting passed by uber fast runners, with a mix of half and 20 mile bibs - spent the next several miles extremely confused by this. I still don't know why they passed us.
 early on when i was still surrounded by other runners
 i made sure to start running when I saw a camera : )

I got to mile 5 and I was done. Toast. I had nothing left energy-wise, and no desire to run the rest of the race. This was definitely a first for me. Not the crash and burn thing, but the lack of motivation to finish a race. For the rest of the race, had there been an official race vehicle patrolling the course I would have hitched a ride back to the start. From mile 5 things only got more miserable. I started to add in walk breaks, but the remaining mileage was overwhelming. I watched my goal time slide away from me, and did not care - I only cared about how the hell I was going to finish this thing. Around mile 7 we headed out on a loop and eventually I made it to the half way turnaround. At this point I just could not wrap my head around the fact that I had to do all that again. My legs also got really bad at this point and continued to get worse with each mile. 
 only halfway. kill me.
 finally, some shade!
this was the most green i saw the entire race

My walk breaks were now far more frequent and my walking looked more like hobbling. My hips ached like never before and I had a new pain in the back of my left knee (guessing an unhappy hamstring). For the rest of the race I leap frogged the same runners, all of us struggling, many limping, but all moving forward, albeit slowly. Even in the worst of times, running still has that element of camaraderie : ) The next few miles wound through a shady road alongside a creek and were mostly downhill (mercifully). The road was also pretty cambered, though, which really sucked for my legs. I somehow made it to mile 15 and was back on the first part of the course which we would follow back to the start/finish. Those last 5 miles were painful and ugly. The long straight stretches between farm fields made them that much more brutal. I would not wish them on anyone. Thankfully at mile 18.5 I spotted my coworker, Jeff, who walked a bit with me and offered me some words of encouragement before sending me on my way for the final miles. Seeing a friendly face gave me a little boost and I actually picked up my pace a bit.
 miserable and just focused on finishing
 the scenery for most of 20 miles
the final miles

I've never wanted to finish a race more than I did at Clarksburg. My time of 3:53:12 was no where near my goal, but I was so over the race I barely cared. I collected my medal unenthusiastically before collapsing on the grass for a few minutes while my legs throbbed. I finally dragged myself up and hobbled back to my car. I just wanted to get out of Clarksburg and be done with it completely.
coming into the finish. thank god.
finally done

Although I've tried to put this race behind me, I have reflected on why I crashed and burned so badly. Probably the biggest (and most obvious) factor was MCM. I just wasn't as recovered, mentally or physically, as I thought I was. Plus, I've raced a lot this past year, especially the longer distances, and I think I may finally be experiencing a little burn out. Some other things that I think played a role, too,  were my nagging hip pain and warmer than usual weather (mad worse by the late start). In the days after I talked to a couple other people who did the 20 miler and had a rough day so at least I wasn't alone. I know we've all had those horrible runs and/or races, and I've been trying to put it behind me, but it's been easier said than done. 

I took an entire week off from running. My legs really needed the break and mentally I just couldn't get out there. This would be perfectly fine and expected except that I'm supposed to be running CIM in a couple weeks : / I did a little hot yoga to try and stretch my muscles out, which felt great, and today I finally got out and ran. More on that tomorrow. Clarksburg, consider yourself done and done.

November 13, 2010

Christmas Come Early!

Upon moving back home 5 months ago I was lucky enough to snag a job at my local running store, Fleet Feet. I get to talk about running all day, work with an awesome staff, and get to help all sorts of runners on a daily basis. On top of this, my job has also turned out to have other perks in the way of free stuff! Most of the brands we carry will periodically seed us (aka give us) some of their products, mainly so that we can test them out and then (hopefully) have some positive feedback to pass on to our customers. Anyway, this past Thursday ended up being like Christmas come early. Some of us newer folks got a couple pieces of Brooks apparel. I absolutely love mine - I got a pair of the Infiniti Capri Tights (which I will be testing very soon) and the Essential Run 1/2 Zip (which I've already worn twice - love!). Then later that day our Nike rep came by with huge boxes full of goods for us! Inside I found some new Lunar Eclipse shoes, a just-released sports bra, an amazingly light jacket, and a simple and soft t-shirt! I'll hopefully have some reviews of my new loot coming in the near future : ) Can I just say I have a pretty sweet job?

On another note, I have the Clarksburg Country 20 Miler in the morning. Since my store is putting the race on I was able to get a comped entry (yet another job perk!) and it just happened to work perfectly with my training schedule for CIM. I'd much rather run my 20 miles in a race setting on a new course with other people than solo on my usual stomping grounds. Since I've only run a handful of times since MCM I'm not sure what to expect of my body. If I'm feeling good I'd like to try and finish in about 3:20 (10:00 min/mi, my goal pace from MCM). If I'm not feeling it I'll just take it easy and enjoy what looks to be a beautiful day for a run. Will be back soon with a race report!

November 11, 2010

Go Big or Go Home

Allow me to fill you in on a few things before I get to the big news that the title of this post refers to.

Recovery after MCM has been slow going. I took the week after off from running completely both out of exhaustion and for other aforementioned reasons. I finally made my return to running this past Sunday, and boy was it epic! It also happened to be World Run Day, which I wasn't about to miss! My coworker, Diane, who is a seasoned ultrarunner and accomplished trail runner took me out for my first trail run. It happened to be raining pretty hard, but that just made everything that much more fun : )

We started from a school up in Granite Bay and followed the trail for an hour up to a point overlooking Folsom Lake with beautiful views, even in that kind of weather. I wish I'd had a camera! It was completely different kind of experience, and I now understand the intense pull trail running has and why so many prefer it over pounding the pavement. Diane and I kept it easy, walking the frequent hills in true ultra fashion. It was so great to just slosh through the mud and take in the views without focusing on miles or pace. So refreshing and freeing! Toward the end my body wasn't so happy, though. I think my lack of adequate recovery (i.e. stretching and rolling) has caused various parts of my body to tighten up and remain so. Running on the trails with their uneven terrain and hills so soon after MCM maybe wasn't the brightest idea. But it sure was a blast! In the end we completed 10 miles in just over 2 hours and I can't wait to go again (more on this in just a moment). My shoes, however, are trashed from the rain and mud. I think it's time I invest in some trail shoes!

Monday was a rest day. After my epic trail run the back of my left knee has been pretty tight so I didn't want to push it. Tuesday morning I found myself back on my usual 4 mile loop along the American River. When I set out I had planned to take it nice and slow and just let my body set the pace, but a couple miles into it I glanced at my Garmin and saw that I was actually running my usual pace! Afterward my knee was kind of tight but walking around at work the rest of the day seemed to help keep it loose. Today I had a day off from work and had planned on going for a run, but then decided to go to yoga instead. I think my body was craving a good stretch session : ) When I moved back home this summer and went through my old room I discovered a gift certificate for 10 yoga classes at Yoga Loka. During my senior year of high school I got pretty into it, but then it got too expensive and I let it go. Anyway, since my foray back into yoga a couple weeks ago I've decided to try and keep it up for cross-training purposes. Plus, there's a reason I feel so sore the day after a class!
sooo sweaty!

Yoga Loka practices Bikram yoga, aka hot yoga. The class runs 90 minutes and consists of a series of 26 poses done twice. The studio is heated to about 107 degrees and the heat facilitates deeper stretching and injury prevention while reducing stress and tension. It also makes for one hell of a workout! I started sweating the moment I entered the room, and within minutes I was dripping. I arrived a little late and the only spot left was behind a hairy and smelly guy who kept doing headstands between poses. Oh, and did I mention he was only wearing skin tight cotton booty shorts? Niiice. I was actually pleased to find that I remembered most of the poses and could actually get into them relatively deeply (aka close to what I used to). By the end I was ready for the class to be over, but I also felt refreshed. Not only does the stretching leave me feeling limber and loose, but all the sweating gives me a detoxifying feeling. I'm looking forward to my next 9 classes!

Now onto the good stuff. A while back I started thinking about my goals and plans for 2011 (I like to get a head start) and had been debating some big challenges. I feel like 2010 for me has been "the year of the marathon". By mid December I'll have run 6 fulls this year, and to be honest they've left me a little burnt out. Plus, plain old road running has become a little too familiar. So what have I set my sights on? Well first, now that I've tackled several 26.2's, I want to go farther. Enter my big goal race of next spring: the American River 50 Miler on April 9th! AR 50 has become the second most popular 50 miler in the country and happens to be run right in my own backyard (well, not literally, but it starts in Sacramento). The first half is run along the American River pathway where do most of my running now, then the second half takes you into the challenging trails in Auburn. My coworker Diane is an AR 50 finisher and has offered to not only take me on training runs on the course (like this past Sunday) but also to pace me for the second half of the race. I'm excited to do more trail running and to push past my comfort zone and really challenge myself. And I love that it's local so my friends and family can come out and see me!

I haven't really begun thinking about my training strategy for AR 50, but I know I want to run at least one 50k on trails. Enter the Way Too Cool 50k in Cool, CA on March 12th. The date is perfect timing for AR 50 and the entire course is run on trails in Cool, about an hour north of Sacramento. In order to run it, however, you have to get picked through a lottery. So I'm crossing my fingers that I can add this to my race schedule as a training run for the main event in April.

As if this wasn't enough of a challenge, I also have big plans in the triathlon world. Over the weekend I took the plunge and put my name in for my first half Ironman - Vineman 70.3 in Sonoma on July 11th! I've recently become fascinated by long course triathlons and the people that do them (I blame live coverage of Kona) and I desperately want to join the ranks of these badass athletes. It's currently sold out so I'm on the waitlist, but last year everyone on the list eventually got in, so I'm crossing my fingers. I figure with my running background and upcoming ultra training I'll have that leg in the bag. I know I can work up to the bike distance relatively easily, too. I'm just gonna have to really focus on the swim. 1.2 miles is no joke people. Maybe I should invest in some swim lessons? I'll have a solid 3 months after AR 50 to devote solely to swimming, biking, and running, plus I plan on incorporating the first two a little earlier for cross-training purposes.

I'm sure I'll throw in a couple shorter races in between the big ones just for fun, too : ) And who knows what the second half of the year will bring! So, it looks like 2011 is going to be an exciting year, full of new challenges and lots of miles. Go big or go home!

November 10, 2010

DC in Pictures

Sights we saw:

* Union Station
* US Capitol
* US Supreme Court
* Library of Congress
* National Mall
* Washington Monument
* Smithsonian Castle
* Old Post Office
* WWII Memorial 
* Lincoln Memorial
* Vietnam Memorial
* White House
* Iwo Jima Memorial
* Arlington National Cemetery

Definitely a trip I'll remember for a lifetime!

November 6, 2010

Marine Corps Marathon (Race Report)

I know I've owed you a race report for nearly a week now...but life sort of got in the way. My mom and I flew into Sacramento late Monday night (after having to completely change flights due to delays) and I literally collapsed into bed, only to be woken a couple hours later to the news that my grandmother had passed in the night. So needless to say, family was priority and running and race reports took a back seat this week. And honestly, I just didn't have the energy to run or even write about it. Things have slowly started to return to normal though and it's time to fill you in on an epic MCM!

The first couple days in DC I wasn't feeling so hot, I think partly due to the traveling, lack of sleep, and time change. I actually felt a little feverish Saturday night, but hoped I'd feel better in the morning. Sunday my mom and I were up at 5am. I had everything laid out so I just went through my usual routine. We headed down to the hotel lobby to grab some breakfast then caught a shuttle to the metro. It was chilly out, but anticipating warmer temps later on I had chosen to wear shorts, a short sleeve with arm warmers, and a jacket to ditch just before the race. The metro was crowded with runners, but luckily we got on the first train. We made it to the Pentagon Station and joined the throngs of runners making their way to the start. It was a bit of a walk from the metro - I'd say almost a mile - then we went through "security" to get to the runners village and start. I made a beeline to the potty and was pleased to see they had a ton of them which made for fast moving lines. With that out of the way my mom and I headed to the start. The runners were organized into self-assigned corrals, so based on my goals I kept walking til I saw the 4:10-4:29 sign. I finally handed over my jacket to my mom and at 8am the cannon signaling the start went off! I was actually relatively close to the start so it only took about 8 minutes before I was crossing the start line of the Marine Corps Marathon : )
 freezing my butt off at the start!
 30,000 runners (!!)
 getting close!

The race started out in the cute little neighborhood of Rosslyn. The first steady hill began immediately and lasted until about mile 3. I managed to keep up a decent pace, but I couldn't help but think how much it sucked to already be tired from hills! Eventually the hill peaked and then we had some nice downhill and flat stretches. During this part in particular we were surrounded by trees aflame with color in true fall fashion - it made for a beautiful sight. Next we crossed over the Potomac River into Georgetown for an out-and-back loop near and another long hill at mile 6 (the last of the course, thankfully). It was around this point that I saw a couple marines helping push one of the handcyclists who was struggling up the hill - definitely brought a tear to my eye and helped me push it up the rest of the hill. Lots of spectators greeted us as we came back through Georgetown. Looking back I'm still amazed, not only by the insane number of runners that were out there, but also by the hordes of spectators! It was a little ridiculous.
first mile through Rosslyn
 i love fall : )
 crossing the Potomac
 mad respect for these guys
 gearing up for the oncoming incline
 haha i love this sign!

Up to this point I was averaging about a 9:45 pace which felt pretty comfortable. A few twinges in my hips, but nothing extreme. As we made our way toward central DC I kept an eye out for my mom. She had planned to be at mile 10 first, but with such huge crowds we weren't able to find each other. The next few miles we ran along the river adjacent to a golf course. At this point I realized I had to pee, which would be a constant nag for the rest of the race, since I refused to stop : / I started to get a little tired around mile 11, and for the first time it started to require some effort to maintain my pace. I made it to mile 13 right on schedule at 2:11 (consistent with my A goal), but from there things started to fall apart. I was just tired, and my hip had started to ache pretty badly. I took my first brief walk breaks, but managed to hang on to my pace until about mile 15.
some shade at mile 9ish
running along the river
about halfway!

Around mile 16 we ran right next to the Lincoln Memorial which was pretty amazing. Again I looked for my mom, but the spectators here were three deep so I missed her again. The noise of everyone was incredible, it felt like I was running through a tunnel of cheering fans! As we approached a water spot I discovered a minor setback - my remaining salt caps had completely fallen apart in my pocket! I chose not to panic, and instead simply switched to drinking the course drink, which luckily was Powerade, something my stomach could handle. From here the course took us along the Mall and we passed our second monument, the Washington Memorial. I continued taking little walk breaks when necessary, and my overall pace slowly started to creep up. At mile 17 I finally spotted my mom for the one and only time during the race. Grabbed some water from her quickly then kept moving - it had gotten to the point where it almost hurt more to walk than to keep running. The course looped in front of the US Capitol and came back up the Mall on the opposite side, taking us past the red brick Smithsonian Castle. A little ways further we ran along the Tidal Basin with the Jefferson Memorial on the opposite bank.
 Lincoln Memorial
 Washington Memorial
 passing the Washington Memorial
US Capitol
cool angle!
 Smithsonian Castle
Jefferson Memorial
At mile 20 we came to the infamous bridge that must be "beat" in a certain cutoff time in order to continue with the race. This is where things got really miserable. Whoever thought to include a mile long bridge freeway at this point in a marathon is cruel. You could literally see it stretch on and on in the distance meanwhile there were no water stops along this section. Finally we got off the freeway and found ourselves in the exuberant Crystal City for the final miles. There were tons of people out there to cheer us on and this entire section of the course was lined with colorful flags. At this point my walk breaks had become a little more frequent in response to an increase in hip pain. At mile 22 I saw a girl handing out beer, and as I passed her I seriously considered turning back. It sounded so good at the time. One of life's regrets, I guess : )
"beat the bridge"
 colorful Crystal City

We left Crystal City around mile 24 and the last 2 miles were along a stretch of highway near the Pentagon and adjacent to Arlington Cemetery. I got a little bit of a finishing kick that propelled me those last two miles and I was passing people right and left. The crowds grew thicker as I got closer, I passed the mile 26 marker, then it was a quick turn and straight up a steep hill for the final tenths of a mile to the finish! I crossed the line smiling, then was immediately stopped in my tracks by the traffic jam of runners. We slowly moved forward to receive our medals, given out by the Marines which was pretty cool. I came in at 4:34:52 which met my B goal and was a 15 minute PR. The course was about .25 miles long, too, but with the crowds I wasn't surprised. I'll admit I'm a little disappointed I didn't hit 4:21, and I hate that this has sort of overshadowed my otherwise awesome accomplishment. A few months ago I never would've thought I'd have a 3 in that second place of my finish time. I know I have that 4:21 in me, and there's always CIM : )
 big crowds near the end
finish line in sight!
woot woot!

As soon as I stopped moving my legs immediately began throbbing unbearably so I headed to some grass and collapsed. Now that I wasn't moving the wind and clouds made it a little chilly but thankfully they had space blankets for us. I sat and waited for the throbbing to subside a little then tried to call my mom so we could meet up. I took a few pics in front of the Iwo Jima Memorial, then made my way out of the finisher's area and somehow found my mom among the crowd. We grabbed some food and then made our way to the metro which had a line literally going around the block! It moved pretty fast though and about an hour later I finally hobbled into our hotel. I showered and even took an ice bath, and by then it was late afternoon so we decided to relax in our room before going out to dinner to celebrate.
Iwo Jima Memorial

I was considerably sore that night and Monday, and my toes were particularly sensitive. Unfortunately, it looks like I'll be losing 3 toenails that just grew back : ( We got some last minute sightseeing in Monday morning before heading to Baltimore for our flight home. I will just mention that being cooped up on a plane for like 6 hours after running a marathon is not fun and makes for some very unhappy legs. Due to the circumstances I mentioned at the beginning, I haven't really had the time or energy this week to run so I took it off instead. Between work, family stuff, and lingering soreness and fatigue (I'm quite prone to jet lag it seems), the rest was much needed. I had an awesome time in DC though (I'll post about the sightseeing soon) and really enjoyed the race. Kudos to the MCM for a well organized and fun race, and thanks to all the Marines for volunteering! If you ever have a chance to run this race, do it!!
MCM: marathon #7!

p.s. Congrats to everyone who ran the Santa Barbara Marathon and Half! It seems like such a long time ago I was running my second marathon on that course and barfing my guts out : / Missing sunny Santa Barbara...