This morning, Mike’s brother Kevin ran the Marine Corps Marathon so Mike, Matt, Mike’s parents and I watched at several different spots along the course, hoping to catch him. It was interesting to learn about Kevin’s pre-race routine. The day before Kevin drank quite a bit of Gatorade, not just water, the day before. He also had a big dinner of pasta and meatballs pretty early (6 pm) and went to sleep early.
Kevin said a big breakfast works well for him if he eats it well in advance of running. Kevin woke up at 4:30 am and cooked some eggs and bacon. He also had a bagel, banana and a whole Gatorade. I was shocked at the amount of food he’s able to eat prior to running but he said it helps keep him full during the run and doesn’t bother him if he eats early enough.
Kevin headed to the Metro at 5:40 am and got to the Pentagon for the start of the race. He was there early enough to use the portapotty with no wait and also had some water they were handing out. MCM doesn’t assign corrals ahead of the race; you just get in the corral with the time you are aiming for. Kevin got in the 4:00-4:09 corral and said he said people, for the most part, were pretty accurate with their corral choices and stayed at that pace during the race. He had a pack of Jelly Belly Sport Beanz right before the race, while waiting in the corral. Kevin had been having plantar fasciitis issues so was concerned about that pain during the race. He did stop and stretch a few times but was able to keep a consistent pace during the race and finished in 4:01!
Kevin said that there were spectators along the entire route with just a couple bare spots at the point of Hains Point and at one point along Rock Creek Park. He didn’t listen to music but was never bored. I was surprised at how few people were listening to iPods! I’d say less than 50%. Also, Marines were handing out water at the water stops and offering lots of encouragement, Marine-style, throughout the route. Kevin decided not to grab some Dunkin Donuts Munchkins despite how tempting they looked at the Mile 24 “fuel” stop because he wasn’t sure how that would make the last 2 miles feel….
The finish, Kevin said, was well-organized with runners flowing into lines to collect their bag full of food. I love when races give you a bag for food but it’s even better when the bag is already full of food. Mike and his parents drove to pick up Kevin in Rosslyn with the Marriott Courtyard as a meeting spot. He was in really good shape, even though he said everything was pretty sore and tired.
It was really fun to be a spectator during the MCM! I’d never watched a marathon before so it was especially exciting to watch the runners, knowing that will be us in just 3 weeks! We had some trouble spotting Kevin at our 4 stops. There were 35,000 runners! Since Kevin was around the popular 4:00 pace group, it was extra hard to spot him with so many runners around him. He spotted us first at our first and second stops. We saw him just as he ran by us during our third and fourth stops.
Some observations from spectating:
– It’s stressful to be watching so closely to catch a runner run by!
– My high school dorm head ran by (qualified for Boston!) and spotted me – great to see her briefly!
– CEP compression sleeves were the most popular, I’d say
– Interesting outfits included Napoleon, lots of ballerinas, a dinosaur, cows and this Dunkin Donuts coffee
– Lots of people were carrying water bottles like mine.
– Colorful headbands and ones with fun designs were key to help people be easy to spot. I knew Kevin would come shortly after the girl with the polka dot headband.
Overall, it was so exciting to be watching the marathoners! And so inspiring! It’s hard to believe that will be us in a few weeks!