am – alarm goes off
6:30 am – 40°F – I board the metro to head
for Rossyln where one of my AIDS Marathon Pace Group members lives across
from the Iwo Jima memorial and starting line. I am wearing socks on my
hands, a sweat shirt sleeve on my head and an extra T-shirt to stay warm.
All will be discarded after the start. The Marines rake up all the discarded
clothing and give it to a DC homeless shelter.
7:30 am – Several of us gather at Amy’s apartment
and wander about chattering nervously, fretting about our clothing, visiting
the bathroom and looking for some missing group members.
8:15 am – We line up in the last corral.
All the runners registered with a charity group are in the back, group
K. AIDS Marathoners
and members of Leukemia Team in Training find friends, huddle together
to stay warm and wonder how long it will take us to get across the starting
line. We are all wearing chips on our shoes that will measure the time
between crossing the start and finish lines. There is often a delay of
30 minutes or more before the back of the pack crosses the starting line.
At mile 22.25, runners cross the 14th Street Bridge. That bridge closes
to runners at 2 pm. The AIDS Marathon staff calculated that if we cross
the starting line at 8:45, runners need to maintain at least a 14:30 min/mile
pace in order to make the bridge. The MCM has promised a revised, more
orderly start than in past years but many runners are worried that a late
start might prevent them from even finishing. Even members of my group
which run at a 12:30 min/mile pace are freaked out about the bridge.
8:30 am – After singing the National Anthem, THE
STARTING GUN GOES OFF! No one in corral K moves.
8:47 am – Runners in corral K start moving forward.
8:53 am – We finally cross the starting line!
The MCM was great! The first 20 miles were darn fun!!
After that, it was more of a struggle but I still felt pretty good.
The Marines were awesome. It seemed like there were thousands
of them along the course: pouring water, sweeping up empty cups, directing
traffic and runners, passing out Vaseline, marking the route, . . . but
mostly cheering us on. Some of them would spot a struggling runner and
run a few hundred yards with them – cheering the whole way. I totally
recommend the MCM for the first time marathoner. Even the cops got into
the act and cheered runners at their assigned intersections.
I set out with plan to run the first 10 miles slower than
goal pace and the last 8 faster than goal pace. I stuck to my plan pretty
well and totally ran "within myself" – as Mr. Jeff Galloway
puts it. Other survivors spoke of being delirious, not remembering parts
of the course, seeing spots or vision blacking out – ick. I was just
I was surprised that my cheek muscles were’t more
tired on Monday. I wore the same silly grin the whole way.
After mile 20, the struggle was all mental. I was tired
and my brain kept saying "stop and rest." I did three things
to fight my brain:
1.) I chanted. I refused to think about anything but my
mantra during the running portions. I chanted "I was born to run."
Over and over until the watch beeped and I could walk again.
2.) I reminded myself to "just follow the watch".
The watch beeped to mark 1 minute (walk) and 4 minute (run) intervals.
I just told myself to run for 4 more minutes and follow the instructions
of the watch.
And 3.) I didn’t let Mary loose me. Our pace group
broke up gradually over the first 16 miles as people settled into their
most natural pace for the day. Another AIDS marathon runner, Mary, and
I discovered over the last 6 months that our natural paces are well matched.
By mile 18, the two of us were on our own. After we crossed the bridge,
I decided I couldn’t let her loose me. During the last couple of
miles, she’d get about 20-25 feet ahead and then I would concentrate
on catching up. I knew that if I were running alone, it would be much
harder to keep going.
For the last couple of months, I have been sprinting the
last 2 blocks of my mid-week runs to practice finishing strong. I was
pleased that it paid off and I was able to pick up speed when I saw the
Bottom line: I will do it again.
Welcome to the HALL OF SHOES
Ms Jackie K Shute * Gavin Mueller * K E Mueller * Jennifer Errick * W Michael Mueller * Melanie Undem * Amy Floyd * Alliea Group * The Stallings Group Inc * Lexi Shultz * Julia Hutchins * Becky Stanfield * Jeremiah Baumann * Althea Chen * Eric Howard * Kate Abend * Joey Fink * Paul Orum * Sharon Wolfe * Don Mattson * Alex Lerner * Craig Faulks * Jane Frankin * Alexander Short * Jill Kuhlman * Nancy Havlik * John Harris * Alison Cassady * Timothy Green * David Schneider * Rick Trilsch * Ivan Frishberg * Anna Aurilio * Beth Lowell * Rachel Heller * Tiernan Sittenfeld * Rebecca Feldman