Ready for 26.2!

I can’t believe that in just two short days I’ll be running the Marine Corps Marathon, my third full marathon! On one hand, it seems like I’ve been training FOREVER… but on the other hand it kind of crept up on me. I’m excited but also nervous… it’s been nearly 3 years since I’ve done a full and they are such a different beast from half marathons. Eek!

I hit up the expo this morning shortly after it opened to grab my bib. Makes it seem a lot more real to have that in hand!

I also spent an absurd amount of money on MCM branded Brooks gear at the expo – not only was everything really cute but it also fit well. Worth the hour+ long line to check out (yikes – the expo was a madhouse). I almost didn’t get the 1/2 zip and the second visor, but you guys know those are items I wear alllllll the time and I love the Brooks ones I already own so I figured what the hell. I’m really proud of the fact that I’m running this marathon and I might as well have some fun gear to show it off, especially since I’m not sure I’ll be doing another full anytime soon – I forgot how time intensive and exhausting the training process is! Mad props to those who do full marathons often – you guys are rockstars. This ish is hard.

Speaking of Brooks, as you guys know I’m a Brooks Run Happy Blogger Ambassador and they actually surprised me with a package earlier this week with a long sleeved MCM shirt in it! So nice of them – thanks, guys! They are the main apparel sponsor of the race, which is fun. 🙂

Anyway! Let’s talk race day plans. What is up with this warm weather forecast, btw? High of 79 in late October?! What the heck! Hoping that randomly changes before Sunday but not likely. Good thing most of my training runs were on what felt like the surface of the sun so at least I’ll be prepared…

In terms of clothing for race day, I’m planning to wear my standard uniform that I wore all summer to train in since I know it works well: 2 liter hydration vest, Garmin 910XT, Chaser 5” Running shorts, Ghost racerback tank, UpRise Crossback sports bra, Run Happy visor, midweight ankle socks, compression sleeves, Brooks Ravenna 7 shoes <—all affiliate links. I may swap out the shorts for my old fave Lululemon ruffled running skirt (which I wore during the Richmond Marathon in 2013) but we’ll see. I like wearing a running skirt for races – makes it feel more like a special occasion. 🙂 It’s black too, though, so if you’re out cheering, here’s what I’ll look like! Hopefully that smile will be on my face, too. 🙂

I’m also going to wear a trash bag or something around my legs to keep them warm before we start (although it looks like it won’t be too cold in the morning), and a throw-away sweatshirt or something on top that I’ll ditch before we start, too.

Time Goals

In terms of time goals, I want to beat my time from my first marathon, the Richmond Marathon, which was 3:56:48 (9:01 average pace/mile). (My second full marathon, the LA Marathon, was outrageously hot so that one was a lot slower.) My A goal is to finish under 3:55, so that’s what I’ll be aiming for pacing wise; it’s an 8:57 pace per mile so I think it’s definitely doable. Based on my training I could maybe do a bit faster, but I’d rather start conservative and feel good (good being a relative term here… it is a marathon after all) later on in the race vs. being too aggressive and crashing and burning.

My game plan is to start the race aiming for 9 to 9:05 minute miles, and then start inching that down a little bit by the halfway point. Depending how I feel at the 20 mile mark I might try to inch that down a tiny bit more, or just try to hold on for dear life. We’ll see! I’m going to print out two split calculations (from – one with the mile by mile time breakdown for running a 3:54:55 and one with a 3:56:40. My watch is always off on distance during a long race but accurate on time so that will help make sure I’m where I want to be. 🙂

The Course

There’s a HUGE hill from mile 1 to 2 and my track coach instructed me to just keep it casual and not worry about pace on that – I can make it up on the substantial downhill after it. The rest of the course (besides the steep uphill at mile 4.5) is relatively flat with some slight hills – one around 20.5 and a steep but short uphill at the very end. I’ve ended a bunch of my long runs on it so I’m ready for it!

Knowing this course and having run a lot of it during my training runs is huge because I’m ready for the terrain and know what to expect. Here’s the course map – it starts and ends in Virginia, taking us all over the city in the middle. Very similar to a lot of my long run routes!


I’m planning to do my usual combination of fuel – I’ll start with a mocha Clif shot gel early in the race for some caffeine, then move on to a combination of margarita shot bloks and my homemade nut butter stuffed salty dates.

So there you have it – my game plan! I just got pumped up re-reading my Richmond Marathon recap – that was such a great day. 🙂

Before I go, another huge thank you to the Watermelon Board for hooking me up with a bib for this race as part of our partnership this year! (See also some fun recipes I developed for them: Roasted Salmon with Watermelon Salsa and Watermelon Rosemary Popsicles.) I’m so grateful to them for this amazing opportunity! If you’ll be there on Sunday, be sure to snag some free watermelon after the race – they are one of the sponsors and will have a booth in the finisher’s area. 🙂 I can’t wait for that – love watermelon after I run!

GOOD LUCK and have fun to those of you also running on Sunday, whether the marathon or the 10k! See you out there!

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