Running Like a Marine at The Marine Corps Marathon’17

It hardly seems right that we’re hell-bent on gobbling up November already. With the New York City Marathon on in a couple of days (Sunday!) and having just come off a tough 26.2 myself, I feel incredibly rushed – as if I’m on a spinning wheel of sorts with the only option to keep moving or jump off and crash. But I digress. Two Sundays ago, I felt incredibly honored to run the prestigious and inspiring Marine Corps Marathon with about 25,000 runners. It was a huge accomplishment for me, not because of the medal, or the challenge – and it was that, not even because it was marathon #12, but because it allowed me the opportunity to add meaning to my miles and truly make my running count for others and not myself – at least not this time around.

It was beautiful out in Virginia and had the temperatures stayed in the low sixties/ high fifties as it started out on marathon morning, it would have been as near perfect as it could get I’m sure, but as fate or luck or whatever would have it, that was not meant to be. Marathon Sunday, we woke up to a sunrise that displayed the most gorgeous hues of color against the backdrop of a spotless sky. As we shuffled by the thousands into the Pentagon area in making our way to the start the promise was of a bright and beautiful day though a bit misty at the start. This proved to be too hot with temperatures reaching in the high seventies under brilliantly blue skies by late morning. I recall a runner I passed by wondering aloud,”where are my clouds,” then I thought sadly, not today my friend. With the earlier part of the race, we had some cover running through Rosslyn and suburban VA.

It was pretty, gorgeous actually, and heartening to run with such a wonderful group of runners from varying teams. While team Semper Fi was out in their numbers and I had great support from team members along the way and from the spectators, who were phenomenal in every sense giving everything from water, to beer, to candy, to Vaseline, to ice and fruit and everything in between, there were many other charity groups running awesome that day; however, none were more touching than the marines and others who chose to run pushing the chairs of disabled children and veterans. Then there were the disabled runners themselves, who made my heart beat faster with their determination and passion. These runners inspired and pushed me to stay focused and in the moment and to remember it wasn’t about me. Many times when I was tempted to go faster or push harder those thoughts encouraged me to keep a sane and steady pace. It would later prove to be my saving grace as it got hotter and tougher around mile 19.

Wear Blue: run to remember

It would be remiss of me if I didn’t mention the “Blue Mile:” dedicated to fallen marines. Pictures of deceased service men and women lined both sides of the course as we ran along the Potomac river with a backdrop of Washington, D.C . It was the most silent, tear-jerking and inspirational mile of my running years and one could almost hear a pin drop. I ran thinking of all those, so many young marines, who laid down their lives for this country, willingly or not, and that they will never get the chance to run as I am fortunate to do.

Other memorable moments included running through DC and past all the iconic monuments in the nation’s capital to the amazing cheers of hundreds of spectators and the thousands of marine volunteers who were out there faithfully giving us water, Gatorade, and energy gels and encouraging us on at specific locations. They provided profound support and inspiration. We loved it, fed off it and used it to get us over the bridge, through Crystal City and the crowds, where a friendly face tried to pump me up, however, by then I was having a really hard time with pains in my right knee and ankle and was really looking forward to the finish line. The last mile through the Pentagon and finishing uphill was screaming tough for me and made me what I like to now refer to as “marine tough.” Too happy for words, I limped across the finish line revelling in the fact that I did it. I ran for the marines..for the veterans of this great country and had a blast for the most part.

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Giving Back: The Marine Corps Marathon 2017

Source: military.id.me

On Sunday October 22, 2017 I will be running the Marine Corps Marathon in Arlington, Virginia to support our veteran service members of the armed services. I’ve chosen this cause, and by extension the Semper Fi fund, to raise awareness and contribute to because for far too long so many of us, while well-meaning, offer little, save lip service, to those who put their lives on the line daily to protect the freedom we enjoy. This has never been more true than today. We live in an uncertain and volatile world and where in the past many may have viewed signing up to be a marine, soldier or joining the Air Force, Navy, Coast Guard or Reserve as just a job, and even then I would have begged to differ, today it represents so much more. In fact, I would argue that if anyone goes in with that notion, they are all too soon disabused of the idea when duty calls.

Never before have we, as an American society, been privy to the chaotic and stormy domestic and global political climate as now. Our armed services, true to form with the respect and honor they deserve stand ready and able to defend our inalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. We honor and applaud that every memorial day,  4th of July, veterans day, and flag day to a lesser degree. So much have been said in honor of their fight and of the many who have lost their lives and those who have returned injured and in many ways unable to fend for themselves and/or be a regular contributing member of society anymore.

The Semper Fi fund 501(c)(3) nonprofit and its program America Fund, gives us an opportunity to pay – pun intended -more than lip service and to literally put our money where our thanks are. The fund utilizes charitable donations to provide immediate financial assistance and lifetime support for wounded, critically ill and injured members of the U.S. Armed Forces and their families.

The basic ideal that drives the fund’s efforts is simple: as much as these American heroes have sacrificed, they deserve the best care and support available in their hour of need. Injuries are often severe, and the road to recovery or rehabilitation can be long and costly. We have the remarkable opportunity to improve their circumstances by as much as 50%.

Please consider making a contribution, no matter how small; Individually we cannot achieve as much as what we can do when we come together. My goal of $1500 is a small part of the bigger picture of making sure all our injured veterans & their families in need are cared for.

Click on this link:

https://runsignup.com/Race/14046/Donate/EAgGYJk8jpKxHz5X

Thank you so much. Our injured veterans and their families and I appreciate your support!

Running a Fall Marathon (Part 1)

Bank Of America Chicago Marathon

Bank Of America Chicago Marathon

Sometimes there’s no help for it, you just have to take the proverbial bull by the horns and have faith in your handling. Deciding to run your first marathon or going for a fall goal after some absence away from running or maybe you’re like me, just looking for a good race in cool weather; whatever your reason, let’s pave the way to make it happen with as little pain and pomp as possible. Choosing your run should be among the first set of things you do so here’s a list of some great, local ones. Choose your fancy.

  • The Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon, Minneapolis, St. Paul/Minn.
  • The Bank of America Chicago Marathon
  • Under Armour Baltimore Marathon
  • Detroit Free Press/ Talmer Bank Marathon
  • Nike’s Women Marathon, San Diego, Cal.
  • New York City Marathon
  • Marine Corps Marathon, Washington DC
  • Anthem Richmond Marathon, Virginia
  • Philadelphia Marathon

For some of these races there are pre-conditions to racing or some pre-qualifying standard to be met, so that should be taken into consideration when choosing. For my part, I’ve decided on one not on the list there but part of the Rock n’  Roll series which are always loads of fun,  this one in Denver, Co.

So you’ve signed up..Congratulations! Now what? It’s time to start training. Various training plans exist ranging from 12 to 18 weeks but before taking up one it’s wise to get your body used to running four or five times a week and build some base mileage. This can offset injuries and help you prepare for the longer training runs due in a few months.  There are five parts to a successful marathon training plan says Jason Devaney, writer for Competitor Magazine, 1. Establishing a base. 2.Building core strength 3. Increasing mileage and developing fitness 4. Running a tune-up race and 5. Executing on race day. Next week we’ll cover similar aspects to these according to my experience in tandem with what the experts say. For now, let’s focus on building our base mileage by continuing to put in a few steady runs per week, slowly increasing as we go along.

Happy and focused running!

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