Have you entered to win a Golden Ticket to be able to register for the sold out Marine Corps Marathon on October 28th? (the fee to enter is $95, the golden ticket gives you guaranteed ability to register) You can do so for just a few more days here
It’s been exactly one week since the Irish Sprint 10k and I realized that I haven’ t done a proper recap yet!
I don’t typically sign up to run 5 or 10ks anymore, just because I like to save my money for longer races like a few half marathons and a marathon per year. But when I saw that this race offered a “golden ticket”, which would give individuals guaranteed entrance into the Marine Corps Marathon, I was all about it. I knew that the MCM has been an extremely popular race so I jumped at the opportunity to make sure I would be able to register just in case I missed out (I didn’t. In fact I was able to register online 5 minutes before the official registration opened). I also acknowledge openly that I am not a trail runner and that trail running is a completely different beast than road running (as my last 10k trail race taught me)
In addition to running for the golden ticket, I just thought it would be fun to run a race on St Patty’s Day near D.C. and then drive up and party all day. You know me, I don’t like to turn down a chance to party. A day full of running and drinking. Drinking and Running. They go together like peas and carrots 🙂
We woke up to get to the race well before any of the aforementioned drinking began. 5:00 am to be exact. Unlike the night before the Colonial Half Marathon, where I slept like a log, I was extremely sleep deprived. We had spent the night at a friend’s house in Alexandria (about 20 minutes North close to D.C.) and I basically got 2 hours of sleep. I was not a happy camper.
The race was held in the Prince William Forest in Quantico, Virginia close to the Marine Corps Base. To get to the starting line, we needed to park our car and take a shuttle. It was somewhat reminiscent of the Boston Marathon where we lined up in the Common, but I was much grumpier. The line for the shuttle was super long
I finally got Mitch, who’s a swimmer not a runner (he used to coach the UVa Club Swim team and has helped me with my swimming), to sign up for and run a race! Although he has come to almost all of my long distance races, he has never really shown an interest in running any of them. So I figured a 10k was a good distance. Not to mention, I knew he would get a Golden Ticket, which we could then give away to someone who really wants to run the Marine Corps Marathon (have you entered to win it yet? You can do so here for a few more days). Here he is at the front of the line ready to board the shuttle and get the show on the road.
The shuttle ride was about 15 minutes. Too short if you asked me because I was absolutely exhausted and wouldn’t have minded a quick nap. It dropped us off in the middle of the forest on a random road. It was an interesting scene for the beginning of a race. ~ 1800 runners dressed in green and St. Patty’s themed gear in the middle of a forest with no buildings or signs of civilization in sight. Just a line of port-a-potties and a huge crowd of runners
I was finally able to wake up a bit once we got off the shuttle and I walked around a bit (and used the port-a-potties, duh) although as you can tell from the picture above I still look half asleep. It wasn’t long before we lined up at the starting line, listened to some bag pipes, and were off. Mitch and I were in wave 1 so we didn’t have to wait long.
The race started out on a hilly road with some climbs that were reminiscent of the last race I did in Williamsburg. Quickly, however (after the first mile), it turned off onto a dirt trail. That’s where the course got really challenging, especially for a road runner like myself (and I’ve even been training and racing on hilly courses!)
And up and down. Over and over until mile 4 when we finally got a short reprieve on a road. But it wasn’t long until we reached another trail and had to cross a bouncy suspension bridge single-file. It’s hard to tell from this picture, but the bridge was literally bouncing up and down. I swear I almost bounced right off of it, haha.
I love how in the picture above I’m smiling while everyone else behind me looks in pain. I get into these zones when I’m running where I just feel happy. Blissful, you know? I think that picture is the perfect example of how I feel sometimes when I am running.
We had to climb–literally climb–a steep dirt hill at mile 6 before the finish line (probably half of the runners were walking) and I pushed myself up and over to the finish. I knew my time was irrelevant (57 minutes) considering the difficulty of the course and I was just happy to have finished under an hour. After I crossed the finish line I saw these signs 🙂
And met up with Mitch, who had finished over 3 minutes earlier (he loves that kind of trail running!)
Overall it was a really fun and challenging course. The marines train on that course so I felt happy that I could just finish with a smile and didn’t completely have my ass handed to me. I would recommend it to anyone in the area next year, although be ready for the steep hills and challenging terrain.
My next races are a bit up in the air now that I have been dealing with the reaction to the Orthovisc over the past week (the official diagnosis is a severe and rare case of pseudosepsis). If I am able to get my knee aspirated (drained) and a cortisone shot on Monday I can maybe, MAYBE, get back on track for my planned races, the Charlottesville 10miler and Glass City Half Marathon. I’ll be sure to give an update on Monday.
Do you like trail running or do you stick to roads?