I have some really exciting news for you guys today – in October I will be running the Marine Corps Marathon, my third full marathon!
Even more exciting: I’ll be running the race sponsored by my friends at the Watermelon Board – AND they are giving away 2 bibs at the end of this post for those of you who also want to run it!
As you guys know, I’ve done a TON of half marathons (18 – whoa – you can see all my races and finish times on my race recaps & PRs page), but I’ve only done 2 full marathons. Before doing my first full, I spent years saying I’d “never” do a full marathon. I thought they were totally insane. “No thanks,” I said. “I’ll stick with halfs and 10 milers.”
But over the years as my running improved and longer distances and half marathons got a bit more comfortable, I started thinking “well, maybe… someday.”
Someday ended up being the fall of 2013. The year before, I had spectated the Marine Corps Marathon and watching all those people cross the finish line, some of them stumbling, some walking, some running – but all of them beaming with pride – it planted a seed in my mind. Maybe I could do a full marathon, I thought. And even more importantly – maybe I actually WANTED to.
And so I rallied my friend Kathleen and her sister-in-law Rachel, and we signed up for the Richmond Marathon.
Then we ran. And ran and ran and ran and ran. And it was as awesome as everyone says it is.
I absolutely loved the Richmond Marathon (<—recap) and had a great experience at it – I felt well trained and strong. Marine Corps was my original goal race that I had in mind when I decided to do my first full, but after looking at schedules and logistics Richmond was a better fit timing-wise for the three of us. I would highly recommend it if you’re looking for a smaller and super well organized race – it was excellent.
Flying high from my first marathon experience, I ended up doing a second full marathon only a few months later – the LA Marathon (<—recap) in March 2014. It was hot. REALLY hot. And I had trained in REALLY cold. So – I dialed down the pace, took in the views, and enjoyed the experience.
After LA, I was totally burned out. My body was ready to go back to the shorter (at least by comparison) distances and I wanted to work on getting my speed back since I wasn’t smart about doing speed work while building my endurance. I took the rest of 2014 to do races “just for fun” and to run happy – and then in January 2015 I joined my track group to start building back my speed. As you guys know, I’m still going to that track group now – although I usually only go once per week now vs. twice a week at first. It’s been a fun way to meet some new running buddies and has been huge in building my speed back so I could set some new PRs!
The Marine Corps Marathon has been on my bucket list for years now – everyone raves about it and it’s right here in my own city! I knew I wanted to do it – I just wasn’t sure when. I considered entering the lottery to run it last fall – but at the end of the day I wasn’t ready, and I wanted to make sure that when I did another full marathon I’d be ready for it mentally.
I was already considering signing up for the MCM lottery this year on my own when the Watermelon Board reached out to me about this partnership a few months ago. I took a few days to really think it over. Was I really ready for another full? I’ve always wanted to do MCM – was this my year? Finally, I emailed them back saying I was all in. My bucket list race fueled by one of my favorite foods? Sign me up – let’s do this! What an amazing opportunity – I would be crazy to turn it down.
The Watermelon Board is an ongoing sponsor of the MCM race series – both the marathon and the 10k. They give out free watermelon after the race – I remember being really excited to see them handing out watermelon when I finished the MCM 10k back in 2014!
Nothing better than cold, juicy watermelon right after a sweaty run. I get excited anytime I see watermelon at a race! Did you know watermelon is 92% water? I’ll be eating a ton of it this summer to rehydrate after my long training runs, that’s for sure! And not only is watermelon delicious and a great way to rehydrate after a run, it’s also very nutritious.
You can learn more on their website via their Watermelon Board Healthy Lifestyle Guide! Their website also has a ton of healthy and delicious sounding watermelon recipes – I’m currently eyeing the Lemony Quinoa and Watermelon Salad and Scallop and Watermelon Kebabs – yum! Stay tuned because I’ll be posting two fun watermelon recipes on the blog this summer as part of this partnership. 🙂
So – it’s happening! My third full marathon and I’m finally going to get to experience the Marine Corps Marathon. I’m really excited – and also nervous!
I’ll be following a similar training plan to the one I used for Richmond (more details here: marathon training plan and marathon training reflections) that has me running 3 days per week and doing 2 to 3 days of cross training (a mix of yoga, swimming, and boot camps). I’m a big fan of the Run Less, Run Faster approach; I find that mixing it up and continuing with the cross training (rather than just running all the time/more days per week) works really well for me, so I’m sticking with it! For Richmond, I never ran more than 35 total miles in a week – I know that’s crazy low volume for some/most people but it’s what works for me. I got in one 20 miler and one 22 miler for Richmond as my longest long runs – planning to do that again this time. The 22 miler is a nice confidence booster!
I’ll be kicking off my training officially next week – thankfully I’m already in good shape from a spring of half marathons. For those interested in following along, I’ll be sharing my training adventures here on the blog as I work to build my mileage back up (with the help of running buddies, of course)!
And now, I’m thrilled to share this giveaway with you guys! The Watermelon Board has very kindly offered to provide 2 of my readers with bibs to run the 41st Marine Corps Marathon on Sunday, October 30, 2016! There are no requirements involved and we won’t have any events or anything that you need to attend that weekend – it’s just a no strings attached bib! That said, I would of course love to hear how the bib winners do – please send me a photo post-race! – and the Watermelon Board would love if you stopped by their booth for a photo at the race expo. That’s it, though!
Enter below – anyone from anywhere can enter to win – you just have to be able to get yourself here for race weekend (no travel stipend is included, just the bib) and obviously train for/run 26.2 miles. 🙂 Good luck, and happy running!
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A huge thank you to the Watermelon Board for sponsoring this post and the giveaway – and for providing me with a bib for the race, too!
Who has run MCM before?! Any tips? I should be ready for some hills, right? Eeee! I assume many of you guys will be out there running in October too – hoping to see some of you on race day! 🙂