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Marine Corps Historic Half Marathon Recap: Or how I learned to stop worrying and rest the IT band

May 17, 2011

Last weekend I ran my second half-marathon – the Marine Corps Historic Half in Fredericksburg, VA!

I decided to run this half in October, when I noticed that I had gained a little weight and realized I’d been feeling like crap for a while. I started a new job at the end of last June, and even though it’s pretty damn awesome, it involves a lot of long hours and traveling. Which equaled me eating a lot of Chik-fil-A (we don’t have Chik-fil-A in the Great White North, so I’m fascinated by it) and not exercising. 

So to beat the blubber, I started running again. I ran a half-marathon last March to raise money for Leukemia & Lymphoma research and treatment, and actually started to love running somewhere along the way. But a combination of me being totally burnt out after the race, and the fact that it was 90 degrees or higher 64 days last summer and I didn’t have freaking air conditioning lead to an end to my running. Mostly last summer I just wanted to sprawl on my bed like a beached whale with at least three fans pointing directly at my face. Or kill myself.

But anyways, I started training in November (loosely) and I dragged Brett into it with me, because this is what I do. I started to incorporate some sweaty-ass speedwork into my training this time around, and saw my ability to run at higher speeds exponentially increase.

In March, Brett and I did the St. Patrick’s Day 8K here in DC, and had a great time. I was able to run under 10 min miles the whole time, which was amazing to me because I was hoping just to stay under 11 min miles. I started to really feel like everything was really paying off at that race. 

A few weeks ago, I went to buy new jeans and realized that I fit into a size six. WTF? I’ve been a size ten for years. I haven’t been a size six since my freshman year of college, when I refused to eat anything but waffles in my dorm cafeteria (side note: make your kids eat lots of different foods growing up so that their college dorms don’t scare and repulse them).

Anyways, the last month and half, as I’d been racking the mileage up to 9 and 10 mile long runs on the weekend, I’d started to feel some IT band pain along the outside of my right knee. I’d had some tweakage there while training for my last half, so I though if I rested a little bit and stretched better, it would work itself out.

But about a month ago, I was running on the NCR Trail north of Baltimore, and I felt sudden, incredibly sharp pains in my right knee. I was (stupidly) doing an out-and-back run, which I usually avoid, so I had to run 4.5 miles back to my car in pain. I did the dead man shuffle back to the car, where I decided to take it easy for a week.

However, I have no self-control, so I ended up running 20 miles that next week. Fail. I hurt myself worse, and was doubting myself like crazy and was super worried I wouldn’t be able to run the half. 

Long story short, I forced myself to take it easy the last three weeks, and actually couldn’t run the whole week before the half because I was so busy with work.

Apparently that was a great decision, because I ran the half in 2:17:20 with NO PAIN!

I am actually not in pain in this photo, I was just trying to beat the chick next to me without passing out.

My (secret) goal was 2:15, and I know I could’ve made it if I had been better trained to handle the evil hills from mile 10-12 or if I’d just picked a flatter race.

Smiles are for wusses.

But I will take a 2:17 any day, and now I’ve got a new goal to aim for at my next half: SUB 2:15. Bring it. 

Extra bonus of this race: I got to meet some (virtual) friends from DailyMile in real life. I’m pretty sure DailyMile is the greatest thing since sliced bread for people who love to run/bike/train. What a great, supportive, community. You should really check it out, if you haven’t already 🙂 

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