Untold Stories from the Marine Corps Marathon – Part 2

This is part two of a bunch of “fluff” stories from the Marine Corps Marathon. If you missed it, you can find part 1 HERE!

Semper Fi, Big Guy!

Part way through the race I figured something out. Typically, if you tell a Marine “Semper Fi!” they will say it back to you. And if you tell them “Oorah!” they will also say it back to you. Now this only works with a male Marine (at least, I never tried it with a female), but if instead you yell “Semper Fi, big guy!” you will get a very enthusiastic “Oorah!” yelled back at you in return. I had a lot of fun with that along the race course once I made that discovery 🙂

Woman on a stick

This story is an odd one. At mile 20, just as we were beginning our trek across the 14th Street Bridge, there was a guy standing on the side of the road with this:

2014 Marine Corps Marathon

He was yelling “Woman on a stick! I’ve got a woman on a stick! Woman on a stick for you!.” I have no idea if it was some kind of inside joke or if he just wanted to make something really bizarre to entertain the runners.

During the race I also saw a lady holding a giant poster of a hot dog, and several people dressed up as Santa Clause, Ninja Turtles, and condiments (ketchup, mustard, and relish). I guess the latter can be justified by Halloween being right around the corner from the race. But that woman on a stick… it certainly was the most bizarre thing I saw along the course!

What happened at mile 20?

So things were going well up until mile 20. I wasn’t running the pace I had hoped to run, but things were still going. I had been fighting for nearly 6 miles at that point to keep running and I kept waiting for a third wind (or was I needing my fourth at that point? I’m not sure). As soon as I crossed the mile 20 mark, I suddenly slowed to a walk. I just couldn’t fight anymore. And once you start taking walk breaks in a race, it’s awfully hard to stop.

Splits from the race. You can see exactly where I started struggling a bit (miles 14-19) and where I fell apart (mile 21).

But here’s the thing. Making it to mile 20 and battling to that point was a really big accomplishment for me. I’ve never actually run 20 miles without stopping before. I had to dig really, really deep and push past barriers I’ve never pushed through to get to that point.

In the days following the race, a small voice in my head kept wondering if I had pushed harder at mile 20, could I have kept running? Could I have finished the race in under 5 hours? I had A, B, and C goals for the race and I missed them all. My A goal was 4:30, B goal was sub-5, and C goal was 5:04 (which would have been a 30 minute PR).

But then another voice says that deep down, I truly feel like I did my best on that day. I had already been fighting for so long, and I’m very proud of that. But now that I’ve had that achievement, I wonder if there’s another wall I can push through and if I can actually run an entire marathon from start to finish…. so is there another full marathon in my future? Absolutely. When will it be? No idea!

Will I run MCM again?

Heck yes, without a doubt! I don’t know if it will be next year or 10 years from now, but I’ll be back.

2014 Marine Corps Marathon

What’s the most bizarre thing you’ve seen during a race?
Do you like to run races multiple times, or are you more one and done?

18 thoughts on “Untold Stories from the Marine Corps Marathon – Part 2”

  1. While following you at the MCM, two runners kept going by. One was dressed as a Banana and the other was wearing a blow up Stay Puft costume (from Ghostbusters). They were running the same pace, or a little ahead of you. When I saw them, I knew you were getting close.

    At the end of the race, I saw two more bananas cheering banana girl on. It looked like husband and baby. What a bunch.


  2. Yikes that girl on a stick is weird.

    There are so many things that go into each run. At the end if the day all we can say is we have it our all and that there will always be more runs. Keep those goals handy, you will be making them if your list in no time.

  3. Okay first of all you got a HUGE PR and you should be proud of that. Secondly, you didn’t exactly have an ideal training cycle with your illness, so I think you did AMAZING!!!

    1. Thanks, Jan! I definitely didn’t mean that section about what happened at mile 20 as a pity party or as me being down on myself. I just wanted to address, for me and for anyone else who wanted to know, what actually happened, why it happened, and how I feel about it. But that in no way means I’m not proud of my race or unhappy with my PR.

  4. Semper Fi, Big Guy! I like it…

    Congrats on doing your best on race day; that is all you can hope for. Time goals are merely numbers.

  5. I am positive you can run the whole thing without stopping! I bet it won’t be too long before you go back for another try 🙂
    I like to do the same race over and over and over…as long as I like the race, and I usually do!

    1. Thank you for the encouragement. I’m always torn between doing a race I loved again the next year, or using my time to check out a new (to me) race. Such a hard choice!

  6. Great observations! My brain was a bit fried to notice some of the “fun stuff” last weekend. Congrats on getting to 20 miles straight! I am torn about next falls lottery – what to choose? I don’t mind running races multiple times! May not be every year but if its ran well I would love to do it again (plus course PRs are fun too)

    1. I think I see so many things during races that I often forget. It was nice to actually remember some of them for once. Hmmm I think you should do MCM – return to the place you ran your first marathon 🙂

  7. I didn’t know about “Semper Fi” vs “Semper Fi, Big Guy!” In fact, I assumed the marines only said that to each other, or only marines said, Semper Fi.” Good to know!

    The strangest thing I ever saw was before the start of one of the MCM’s. In order to keep your blog rate G, I’ll have to wait and tell you about it next time we run together, rather than posting it in this comment!

    1. They probably typically only say it to each other, but they seemed to enjoy it when a race participant would say Oorah or Semper Fi to them. And they were always very amused with my enthusiastic Semper Fi, Big Guy!

      I am intrigued about what you saw before the start of one of your MCM’s. Come run Pandaps with me and tell me all about it!

    1. Do you remember seeing 3 girls in Georgetown dressed up at ketchup, mustard, and relish? They were on the right side of the road right after we turned off of M street and ran downhill, before we made a left turn where there was a fountain with a band playing and the river in the background. They were holding up signs that were a play on words for ketchup, mustard, and relish. They were really funny but I cannot remember now what they said!

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