This year, it is part of my challenge, my campaign to raise awareness about the MARSOC Foundation and the Semper Fi Fund, my personal endeavor to reclaim a piece of my life.
We arrived into D.C. on Friday at dinner time and settled into our digs in the East Capitol area; Saturday found us at Ted's Bulletin for breakfast and then the munchkins went to the museum with Savannah, and my buddy, Zack H., and I went to the Armory to retrieve my bib. Following that, it was a quick trip with the munchkins to the grocery store for a few race day items and then over to Alexandria to attend the MARSOC Foundation pre-race dinner.
|Race bib and a smile.|
|Capt Derek Herrera|
Sunday morning was warmer than expected, and I had no need of my ear warmers or gloves and was glad I chose my singlet to race in. I met Zack H. and Zach I. at the Pentagon station and we made our way to the start. After the obligatory pre-race Port-A-John stop, we shed layers and made our way through the tunnel. One last gear shed and then a warm-up jog to the appropriate corral location for our intended race times.
|Heading to security checkpoint.|
|Yes, I slather on the sunscreen.|
|Me and Zach I. at the pre-race staging ground.|
He ran a swift 3:12!
|Through the tunnel. I'm in the green jacket |
running to hit the tree line one last time.
I fell into a nice rhythm around mile two and slid into synchrony with a SFF charity runner who turned out to be LtCol Vincent Ciuccoli, call sign "Dirk", a fellow Phrog pilot, west coast, who is now stationed east. We played six degrees of separation which turned out to be only one degree, and spent the next five miles chatting about our experiences and our fundraising. When we hit Rock Creek park, we got to watch the leaders go by and cheer on Mike Wardian and retired LtCol Alex Hetherington (who was a fellow MCM teammate and is in the MCM Hall of Fame).
At about the eight mile mark, Dirk said, 'Wow, it's pretty great that you haven't gotten injured doing all these races.' Not but six strides later, I felt something go pop-pop in my left calf and a sharp pain shot up to my knee. I thought I cramped and pulled off to stretch which only made it worse. I tried running again but my calf rejected that idea with a searing muscle cramp around the pain site. I waved Dirk on....
I pulled out my phone and called Zack H. to find out where they were and to tell them what had happened. We agreed that we'd convene as planned close to the 10 mile mark. I hobbled along to the right and I have to say I was both grateful for and bemused by all the runners who thought I'd somehow hit a wall and who were encouraging me to keep going.
A couple of really neat things happened on the way to 10 miles which momentarily distracted me from my situation: I had a lovely conversation with another set of Royal Marines who were encouraging me to keep on, so boys, if you read this, email me and we'll make a training plan for next year (but you'll have to run faster) AND, quite randomly, I saw Bart Yasso just hanging out near the Kennedy Center, completely inconspicuous, wearing a green shirt and orange gloves. I confirmed it was him and briefly stopped to chat, reminding him that we'd met a couple years back at the Quintiles Marathon and that we'd had a Twitter conversation earlier in the year regarding the fundraising. If I hadn't gotten hurt, I'd have missed those fun moments.
At about 10 miles, I greeted the munchkins, taped the calf, changed my shoes and endeavored to press. I agreed to meet Zack H. and Savannah at the 15 mile mark and proceed.
|Training shoes on, tape secured with the Bubbaloo watching|
and the Pumpkin Noodle behind the sign.
|Breaking the news (IT band tape was pre-race)|
|The Mommy part always comes first|
After that it was just a slow walk back to the Metro, then the Blue Line back to East Capitol and a shower, Arnica, more ice, ibuprofen and a compression sock. A couple hours later we were back on the road and headed south toward home.
For the record, my splits through mile 8: