Marine Corps 17.75k 2013

QUANTICO, Virginia, March 23 2013

Ambitious goal – 1:30:00
Fallback goal – Didn’t really have one

Not much to say about this race. It was the “golden ticket” race for this year’s Marine Corps Marathon – all finishers get guaranteed early entry. Given that the MCM sold out in under three hours last year, this was a pretty big perk. Of course, the 2,500 slots available in this race sold out in like 90 minutes, so it’s hard to say if this path to MCM registration was really any easier.

I was interested in the 17.75k for its own sake; I am not planning to run the MCM this year. I had a great time the previous time it was held, in the Fall of 2011. There were only some 600-odd entrants, and they had this diminutive female DI on the course just lighting us up: “You suck, you’re slow, move your butt!” We saw her near the beginning of the race and again at the end. I had almost given up on catching the string of three or four runners I’d been trying to reel in for the last mile or so, but then she was up in my face: “You suck, you can catch that guy, he’s slow, move, move, move!” I was like “…OK…”, and wound up dusting the entire string. The 2011 edition also featured an inspirational finish at the Museum of the Marine Corps.

This year was a let-down. No feisty female DIs; more paved roads and less trail; finish line just at some random place in Prince William Forest Park.

We arrived a little late and I got stuck in the back of the starting corral. The very first section of the course was in a shopping center parking lot and so was fairly wide. As soon as I crossed the starting mat I zigged left and started sprinting, trying to get around as many dawdlers as possible before the course narrowed after turning onto Dumfries road. I must have passed a few hundred people during that short sprint, and I didn’t have to do too much picking through slower runners. I was pretty much out in the open after half a mile or so.

I did have trouble recovering from that initial sprint, though. I was only 6 days removed from a PR effort at the Tobacco Road Marathon, and my legs were still a little tight. I had hoped to maybe stay a little under 8:00/mile, but most of the 11 mile splits were at least a little over that. The course was unremarkable – a few hills, mostly paved road, about a mile of gravel road, and the last half mile or so on double-track trail.

I wound up 200th out of 2,175 finishers, 1:29:42.

Miles this race – 11.03
Miles raced in 2013 – 53.43