Race Recap: MCM 46, Virtually!
I told y’all a couple of weeks ago that I was going to run a virtual marathon in conjunction with my team’s 20 miler. Again, I’m so grateful to the head coach of the Sports Backers Marathon Training Team for making this happen! She created 3 mile add-on routes to the beginning and the end of our team’s regular route. There were quite a few of us who took advantage of this!
When the Marine Corps Marathon in person race was canceled due to safety concerns, this opened up numerous virtual slots for this race, and I decided to take advantage of this. This is now my 4th MCM, and one more will get me into the runner’s club, which means I can run this marathon without having to win a slot through the lottery or run with a charity. It’s the closest big marathon to Richmond, so that is worth it to me. Instead of running Richmond virtually, which was my original plan, I did MCM, running most of the Richmond marathon route!
Race morning was full of my usual pre long run rituals. My gear was laid out, my routes were printed (separated by front loaded miles route and 20 miler, so I could ditch some paper later!), usual coffee and breakfast. I walked out the door after double and triple checking that I had my fuel packed, and it was raining! Who ordered this weather? It was supposed to be sunny!
Going into this day, I was mostly anxious about my watch dying. I knew I would have at least a 15-20 minute break between my front-loaded miles and the beginning of the 20 mile route. I thought I might forget to override powersave on my Garmin and lose my data. Which meant I was extra anxious to hit the road for the bulk of this run. I had good reason for this anxiety, because this watch actually did die during my 2019 MCM live race!
We had planned staggered starts to simulate the wave starts of race day, but my partner and I took off early for the 20. I’m glad we did. I’m super slow!
Anyway, it was beautiful to run all the pretty parts of the Richmond course, including the Hugenot bridge, Pony Pasture, and the Lee Bridge. There is a stretch on River Road that is extremely unsafe to run except when the road is closed for the marathon, so our route took us on the trail through the University of Richmond campus. They had goats clearing brush! So fun!
I felt pretty good for most of this run. It stayed cloudy basically until we hit the Lee Bridge, which was about mile 20 for me. I started to feel uncomfortable by mile 17, but it was tolerable and expected. My poor partner got to meet all of my running personalities yesterday. I was positively giddy from about mile 19-21. Runner’s high, anyone? And by the time we were within a mile of the stadium, I was cursing at all the cars. I knew I had to tack on another 2 miles once we returned. I tracked back on our route and got to see a few more of our team getting their 20 milers done!
By this point, I was hurting. This was the all over hurt that tends to take over at some point in every marathon, but the mysterious knee pain that appeared during last week’s long run wasn’t there, thankfully! But there was lots of walking in those last 2 solo miles. And when I got back to the stadium and ran to my “finish line,” I saw my best friend! She had run her own marathon on Saturday, so I was surprised to see her! I may have cried a little. I had to run a bit past my crew to get that final tenth of a mile, and then I screamed with joy when my watch, still participating in this journey, finally rolled to 26.2.
Marathon #9 is done. I can’t wait to get my finisher’s swag! So thankful.
Have you ever run a virtual marathon? Last year’s was terrible, running in a hurricane mostly self-supported. Many of the challenges of running a virtual marathon this time were mitigated by my ability to still run with my team. I had support from fellow runners and our SAG crew. I didn’t have to create my own route. It was much, much better! I’m so grateful to Sports Backers and the Pink Nation!
As always, I hope you all are safe and healthy.