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I had signed up for the MCM before i competed in the Paris Marathon in the spring (my first), in hindsight i may have not registered if it was after my first marathon!  I modified my training a little and did high mileage but slow pace.  I ended up running about 1200 miles in 5 months of training, with the first 4 months at a pretty slow 11 minute average monthly pace.   In the last 6 weeks of training my training pace dropped down into the low 10s.   I did my practice half-marathon at 7:55 and the Army Ten Miler (which covers a good portion of the MCM) at 7:23 so i knew i had the speed at the short distances but i had to trust i had the endurance at the long distances.
The race did not setup to be easy, temperature was good in the upper 50s at the start but there was light rain for the first 90 minutes, so had to run the course with wet clothes and damp socks for most of the race.



From my splits, it looks like all those miles paid off.  I was able to run a pretty even split for my halfs, 1:55 and 1:58 and i kept a pretty tight range on my 5K splits.   And unlike my first marathon i didn’t really ‘lose it’ at any point.  I did fight through some moments (especially miles 22-24) but i only lost a few seconds per mile.

The final time is a little misleading as my GPS watch says i ran 26.83 miles with an average moving pace of 8:35.  On a faster, less crowded course i may have broken 3:50. I’m a little surprised at my overall place as it puts me just over the 10th percentile for finishers (only about 23K out of 30K finished).

If you’re reading this and looking for tips.  My original plan was to park in Roslyn and take metro to the Pentagon (same as for the ATM) because the bag drop-off is there and then you walk about a mile to the start.  When i got off I-66 at Roslyn the road i usually take was closed but i was able to drive up Wilson Blvd and found a parking spot between Roslyn and Courthouse.  I followed everyone else walking towards Roslyn and noticed that quite a few people were walking towards Arlington Cemetery.   I followed and found out that you can reach the start from the Finish Line side.   The security line is a little slow because you only have one entry but it was manageable.

What i did not know was that if i wanted to drop off my bag i’d have to walk all the way back to the Pentagon.  I’m not sure but i think some people actually dropped off their bag at the finish instead of the start.  I ended up tossing my bag (just had a long-sleeve shirt for after the race), if i were to do it again i’d figure out if you can drop off the bag at the finish or just skip checking a bag.  There’s plenty of food, gatorade, and water at the finish, so the only thing you’d really need to check is a change of clothes.   The bag-drop snafu aside, it was a pretty good parking plan.  The (slow) twenty minute walk back to my car was easy and i got home pretty quick.

The finisher’s medal is pretty cool.