Monthly Archives: October 2008

Marine Corps Marathon Race Report

Quick summary: I think the chart with my splits is the easiest way to see what happened


I went after work on Thursday to pick up my packet. This turned out to be a really good choice because the expo was not very crowded. I did have to ride almost the entire orange which took a while but my stops were so far out from downtown I was able to get a seat both ways.

Getting to the race was very uneventful as well and I took the shuttle bus from crystal city parking instead of the metro. The start area was not as crowded as I expected it be which was good, there was hardly any wait for bathrooms. An interestingthings at the race was the Brooks VIP bathroom. You only got access if you had on brooks shoes or gear. The bathroom was lit, with hot/cold water, a mirror, and flushing toilets. It was a funny site to see they had a red carpet with a ‘bouncer’ for the line to use the bathroom.


They had multiple corrals at the start which helped with congestion at the beginning of the race. I made the decision to run with the 3:50 pace group so I went and found the pace group getting ready for the start. They had a V-22 fly by before the race which is always nice to see.  

The start of the race was really crowded and I wound off losing contact with the pace group in the first couple minutes. Instead of wasting energy weaving through the crowd to catch up I decided to keep them in sight and just wait.

First few miles:

The first mile was really crowded with people arm to arm like you see in the picture. I ran the first mile slower then I wanted but that was expected and I was feeling good and excited to be running. The first few miles on the Virginia side were boring scenery wise but a lot of crowd support was out and the general excitement was nice. After the first mile I settled into my pace and was feeling good.

Next segment

The race went across the river into Georgetown and crossing the bridge was neat because there was still kind of dark out a heavy fog was sitting on the Potomac so it was very picturesque. The race went uphill along the river and then back towards Georgetown. The crowds in Georgetown were fantastic the sidewalks were packed with cheering people. I was still holding on to my pace and feeling good.

Haines Point

The race went for an out and back on Haines Point. This stretch was kind of boring without a lot of crowd support but there was one neat section before Hainespoint withthe steps by the river packed with people. Haines Point included the half marathon check point, and I was at 1:52 which was right where I wanted to be.


National Mall

The race then took a turn and made a loop around the National Mall. Again the crowd support was awesome, it was running through a tunnel of cheering people, it really keeps you moving. On the mall at about mile 17 was when I started to not feel so good anymore. I was stillkeeping up my pace but it was getting a lot harder.


14th Street Bridge

This is where things went bad for me. The race goes across the Potomac back into Crystal City. The bridge has almost no spectators along it and is very barren. You are very tired at this point and it messes with you moral. I made it to the mile 21 marker and then had to start doing some walking which I was not excited about.

Crystal City

I made it across the bridge run/walking and had only 10k left in Crystal City. I tried to keep running but was out of gas and it turned in to more run walking. In a cruel twist the finish line is on top of a short steep hill. It was painful to get up but I was able to run up and it and finish strong.    

Post Race

I was exhausted after the race and really wanted to keep moving. I got my medal and picture by the memorial which should be nice. By the way, the medals are gigantic. 

Overall this was my best marathon, not the time I was looking for but I am still happy with it. I was able to hold the pace I wanted a lot on longer in this race then my other two.

Overall this was a fantastic race that was very well run. The crowd support was awesome the entire time and the course was relatively flat. I would definitely do this race again and if you are looking for a good first time marathon I think this would be a great one to start with.

I am going to be writing some posts on a season summary/review and my plans for 2009 in the next couple of weeks so I should have more thoughts about this race and where things went wrong.

Quick Marathon Update

4:06:57, not the result was I looking for. I was exactly on my pace but then fell apart going across the bridge into crystal city at mile 21 and it was a mess getting to the finish line.

Here’s a link to the results with splits every 5K, I’ll post the garmin results later:

Looking at the bright side this was a 25 minute PR over my previous best.

Marine Corps Marathon just a few hours away

The race starts at 8am tomorrow so it’s coming up soon. There is on line tracking you can use, I think you have to sign up for the text messages. I’m number 6441.

For the race I decided to take the conservative approach and run with the 3:50:00 pace group and then around mile 22-23 I will see how I feel and possibly pick up the pace.

It has been pouring rain all day but it is suppose to blow over tonight and should be clear and in the 60s on Sunday.

Damn You Barack Obama


Because of you my drive home yesterday took two and half hours.

Just so you know the infrastructure in Leesburg is not designed to support 30,000 people. And a 5:00 start time? That only made things worse because the people that weren’t going got stuck behind the rally traffic.

But really, it was good that he stopped by, I wanted to go and see him talk but couldn’t get out of work early enough.


After work today I rode the metro over to the armory and picked up my packet for  the marine corps marathon. I haven’t been to excited about this race the last few weeks but as it gets closer I am starting to get excited. The weather looks like it should be in the mid 60s and if things go well I should be able to run between 3:45:00 and 3:50:00.


In more random thoughts, I have been listening to CSPAN at work and some of the finical hearings that have been going on. Greenspan was there today and raised a couple of interesting points about regulation.

  • He made the point that a lot of what regulators do is trying to predict how things are going to turn, and in a best case scenario they are right 60% of the time.
  • The people at the hearing also argued about the role of more regulation and if regulators already had  the tools in place to prevent the ‘crisis’.
  •  Then it totally devolved into name calling and which party is at fault for the ‘crisis’. They included golden parachute references and who broke laws and should be going to jail.

Here is an analogy between the financial and highway driving I thought of.

The government has decided the speed limit is 55 mph. Everyone starts out going 55 mph until someone decides to take a risk and go a little faster then the speed limit. Nobody sees anything bad happen to the speeder, he just got where he was going faster (more risk, more profits). Now everyone decides it is a good idea to drive 65 mph. Next thing you know everyone is driving 75 mph, then 85 mph ….

There are a couple of ways to handle this problem

  • Ignore it until everyone is going 150 mph and one day there is a horrible crash because someone wasn’t paying attention/ couldn’t handle the speed and everyone else couldn’t reach in the time and the highway is closed and backed up for hours. (This is what happened)
  • Or you could throw an enormous amount of resources at the issue and punish everyone who goes 1 mph over the speed limit. (That’s what it seems like most people in the government want to do)
  • Use resources wisely and catch the excess speeders, making everyone aware that the cops are out there and mean business. (This is what I think they should do)

The analogy doesn’t work exactly because speeding is breaking law but I haven’t seen the convincing evidence yet that laws were broken in this fiasco, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they are coming.

Giant Acorn Sprint Triathlon Race Report

Giant Acorn Sprint Triathlon Race Report

Summary:  1:12:40, 46/339 male and 5/25 age group

Pre Race:

I drove down to the event at the Lake Anna Marina on Friday afternoon, picked up the packet and drove the course. We were able to stay with my uncle who lives in Spotsylvania about 45 minutes from the race site. I had not see their new house yet and it was fun to play with their little kid and see the dogs (Scottish Deer Hounds).

Race morning was nice because the race did not start until 10 which meant I got to sleep in a little bit. We still got there early so that we could park at the marina because parking was going to be tight. I got everything set up and just hung around until it was time to warm up. The only problem with the venue was the transition area and the walk from the car to transition area had a lot of sand and when I walked my bike through there a lot of sand got on the tires, and because the clearance between the back tire and frame is small the back wheel was getting stuck. I was lucky I found that out when I was going to warm up instead of the start of the bike leg. I had to take the back wheel  off and clean the sand off the frame. I made the decision to carry my bike out of transition to try and minimize the problem.


Swim (750 meters 15:31 (2:05 per 100m, 10th age group, 101 males)

To show how prepared I was for the swim I went swimming Friday morning just to make sure I remembered how to swim! I have been really lazy about getting to pool, no excuses I just haven’t felt like doing it. I plan on getting back into swimming four times a week in November.

The swim was unique because the course went around a peninsula so spectators had a good view of the entire swim. I was able to get a good warm up in before the start and seeded myself on the outside about a three rows back. The start was rough but it thinned about after a hundred yards.

The main reason for that was because I swam the course like a drunken sailor and was all over the place, I swam at least 800 yards probably more. I would get in a good rhythm, swim 10 strokes, look and see that I was off line, correct, 10 more strokes and then be off line the other way. I repeat that process most of the swim.  I need to figure out how to figure out to swim in a straight line, other than doing more open water swimming I don’t know how I can improve that.

T1 (1:36, 8th age group,  81 males)

Uneventful, I carried my bike to the mount area so that I wouldn’t get sand on the wheels, and I didn’t have any issues.

Bike (12.4 mile 33:20 , 22 mph, 2nd age group, 38 male)

The bike went perfect for me, and the course was really nice. About a mile into the course you went across and earthen damn to the other side of the lake and it was a nice view. All the roads were void of traffic and it was very fast. I was only passed twice and just pushed hard the entire way.  I started about getting comfortable in miles 1 and 2 passing all the swimmers, and then was able to settle into a grove for miles 3-9. At about mile 7 I caught up to the first place woman and kept her in my sights for a couple of miles and then at mile 9 I picked up the pace and average 25 mph and 26 mph for miles 10 and 11. I settled it down a little bit at the end to get ready for transition and the running.

T2 (0:59, 9th age group, 67 male)

One spot that I am wasting time is on clipping my bike shoes and running into transition with them on. I need to learn how to the “flying” dismount where you slide your feet about of the shoes when you get near the finish, swing one leg over the side and the jump off the side running. I probably lose 20 sec compared to someone that does that. I tried to practice it on Friday I didn’t feel comfortable doing it in a race.

Run (3.1 miles 21:15, 6:55 min/mile, 10th age group, 53 male)


This part was frustrating because coming into the transition area I could see the leaders leaving so I was about 2 minutes behind the overall leaders at the start of my run so I figured I was in a good spot in my age group (I was third). I started running and was feeling fairly good but got passed by someone in my age group about a mile into the race. The course was an out and back course so at the halfway point I could see I was ~1/2 mile behind the leaders now.  At the two mile mark I got passed again by someone else in my age group, and then I just cruised in to the finish line in a good time for me. Looking back I probably should have tried to go with the first kid that passed me because I had a feeling that was it for being on the podium, it turns out he ran an 18 minute 5-k so I couldn’t have kept up very long but it was a short enough race I should have tried.

Post Race

Considering I hadn’t been swimming a lot the swim went well and the race was right on the time I was expecting. I was only a minute behind the third place finisher in my age group, and I still have a lot of room to improve so I think next year should bring even better results. Looking at the splits it’s clear to see where I need to improve to get better, swimming and running. The running has been getting better and once the marathon is over it is going to be all about getting faster (A lot of this is weight; everyone that pasted me on the run was at least 25 pounds lighter than me) I need to be running under 20 minute 5k’s and under 44 minute 10k’s to competitive and I don’t think that is too far off. The swimming has mostly been a product of not swimming at all, I really need to be consistent with my swimming and I think I should start seeing results.


Overall this has been a great first triathlon season and I have surprised myself with some of my results. Once the marathon is over I am going to write up my thoughts about the entire season and how things went, both good and bad.      

What Do 2,000 Krispy Kremes Look Like?


I now know the answer to this question. It fills the back two rows of mini van about 4-5 boxes high.

I have found a new perk of crossing whites ferry at 6am, the occasional box of free doughnuts. The person in front of me this morning had 2,000 krispy kremes that he was taking to work for a fund raiser. He came around and offered everyone a glazed doughnut. I hadn’t had anything to eat yet so I was very excited with that. Then about half way across the river he came back with an entire box and said they had given him five extra boxes so everyone on the ferry got a free dozen doughnuts. Unfortunately I have still never had a “fresh” krispy kreme, the ones in the store that have just finished baking, I hear it’s fantastic. 


This evening the weather was perfect for running, low 60s and a slight breeze. I had an awesome 8 mile tempo run today and feel really good about my running heading into the marathon. And that krispy kreme tasted great after my run.   

Maybe I should save the rest of the box and start practicing for the Krisp Kreme Challenge it could be my first race of 2009.