The Wheels on the Bus: Marine Corps Marathon Race Report

“The Wheels on the Bus go round and round, round and round, until they don’t want to turn and the wheels come off the bus and the back of the bus is dragging on the ground.” 

Ok, Ok, that is not how the song really goes but it should go that way because kids need to be taught that things go wrong. Just kidding, sort of.

Below are 26.2 thoughts I had during and after the Marine Corps Marathon (I actually had about 26,200 thoughts like “You have no business running marathons”, “You suck. This sucks. Everything sucks”, “Wow, that guy is really cute”, “Why is that woman running in a jacket it is sooo hot?”, “There are a lot of SWAT team cops out here”, “Hey, those cops are on horses and that seems like a cool job”,  “I wonder if that is Obama flying over the race in Marine One”, “Wow! Georgetown has the best lululemon store – just look at all those gym bags in the window, I wonder if Heather will go shopping after the race”). For those of you who aren’t friends with me on Facebook (and I think that might be about two of you reading this), I had a bad day and ended up in the medical tent getting IV fluids for dehydration. I finished in a horrible time (missed my goal by 24 minutes) but I finished. It took every ounce of grit I had to cross that finish line. 

  1. Marathons suck.
  2. Marines are really young and very polite. Female Marines amaze me.
  3. The infamous 14th Street Bridge between miles 20-22 is a dark mental place.

BF3DDD18-16A5-419E-BF81-55A42E75435FDoesn’t this bridge look fun?

4. Seeing me throw up into a trash can on the National Mall by the carousel in front of the main Smithsonian building is probably a deterrent to most of the people spectating to ever run a marathon. 

5. Quitting is, truly, not an option at mile 21, no matter how badly you feel.

6. Marines are really helpful in a medical situation. I might need to add some to my zombie apocalypse group.

7. The sports medicine doctors from Penn State are super nice. (One was a marathoner and said he suffered a similar fate during a race once. He said marathons make smart people do very stupid things. Truth but, if ever in doubt, go to the medical tent. They are there to help you and they’ll need you to go see them so they’ll have good stories to tell!)

8. When you’ve hit mile 25 of a marathon after 5 and a half hours of running with people whose personal bus also lost its wheels, it looks like a scene from The Walking Dead.

9. When you are dehydrated, it is really hard to get a blood sample and someone will have to stick you in the same vein more than once. It will leave a mark.

10. IVs in your hand hurt but IV fluids are a fabulous invention. This, too, will leave a mark.

11. The Oiselle Volèe is made up of wonderful, kind and compassionate women some of whom run very fast.

IMG_0065My running teammates as photographed by our non-running teammates at the Cowbell Corner at mile 22. They waited for me!

12. Two extremely ripped, tattooed Marines stripped down to their skivvies handing out high fives near mile 25 is a beautiful sight that will make you laugh even when you think you might be dying. They also had a chocolate Lab puppy. It will be the best high five you’ve gotten all day.

13. I don’t care who you are and what race you are running, if there is a Wear Blue, Run to Remember Blue Mile with pictures of servicemen and women killed in action lining the road, you will tear up. If that Blue Mile is at the Marine Corps Marathon and the canopy of American flags is the longest you’ve ever seen and those flags are held by family members of dead servicemen, you will sob and want to hug every flag holding person. Every Marine you see after that you will want to tell them to stay safe.

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14. Having your medal hung around your neck by a newly minted Marine Lieutenant who salutes YOU will make you feel proud even if you have to lean on said Marine and ask for medical assistance.

15.Yellow Gatorade is really good when you feel like shit even though it reminds you of being a kid in the 70s when there were no other flavors and you were sick and also felt like shit.

16. If you are spectating a race, please for the love of all that is kind in this world, do NOT try to cross in front of the runners to get to the other side of the street! If you must, do NOT lollygag your way across. High knees, people. Runners are in a forward motion and cannot stop. Stopping means death (OK, not death but it feels like it when you move as slowly as I do). Do not get in the way!

17. Runners are really nice people. Suffering is universal. ‘Merica is great.

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18. People make very creative signs, many about the sorry state of our government.

18F6A290-F84E-4A53-90F9-3315BAC00A19These people speak my language.

19. Some parts of DC are beautiful, like Georgetown and Rock Creek Park. Some places suck, like the parking lot of the Pentagon, the seemingly all uphill Rosslyn section of Arlington and that horrible, horrible bridge.

20. Always high five the kids and touch their “Touch here for power” signs. Also, I don’t care if it is not your kid holding the sign, “Go Mommy” signs inspire all mommies. 

21. I can make it through 26.2 miles without suffering permanent injury so Smruti is the World’s Best Physical therapist for helping to keep my parts fixed. Although I felt pain in muscles I didn’t even know one used to run, none of them are damaged.

22. Half marathons are the shizz.

23. I have a lot of wonderful friends who all supported me from afar through social media or texts. Thank you to every single one of you.

24. Oofahs are the ugliest flip flops ever invented but they feel amazing on your feet after a race. Putting them in my checked bag was a stroke of genius.

25. Heather is a badass and I’m so happy that we did this together. I’m also very proud of her for never stopping. I’m sorry we didn’t finish together but I didn’t want to drag her down for her first marathon.

5F103B2A-62D5-4609-8E18-569CABAEAE4FBefore I sent Heather on her way.

26. The song that was playing on my iPod when I finished was “You Don’t Know You’re Beautiful” by One Direction. So disappointing! I needed better inspiration.

26.1 Marathons are fun until they aren’t.

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26.2 Am I ever going to do this, again? Maybe. Maybe not. I do have to run a half marathon in less than two weeks.