We’re in!

I am pleased to announce that the entry saga of the Marine Corps Marathon 2014 is over….we are IN!

Honestly, this year’s registration for the MCM was worse than applying for colleges. (Sorry MCM, I love this event, but it was a hassle) As you’ll recall, team BylMiles was planning on getting into the marathon through the 17.75 event that guaranteed you a spot in the big race.  Well, 9 minutes of registration for the 17.75 went by while I was on the phone and BAM – sold out.  9 minutes, no joke.  Then a stream of texts from friends that were also trying to get in confirmed the same thing: none of us were running the 17.75.

Our next order of business was to register for the lottery.  I’m going to be very open and say that I really don’t agree with races that have a lottery for entry.  Not only is it nearly impossible to get your whole team in (even for just two people!) against those odds, but the stress of waiting for your acceptance is unbearable.  Nevertheless, we registered for said lottery about a month ago, and patiently waited…until today.

While refreshing four different tabs on my computer, we waited for the big “yes” emails saying we were into the run.  Quick props to the MCM social media people for keeping their pages updated + letting people know that emails were still being sent out.  About three hours into our wait, my dad gets his email – he’s in! So, at this point we just need the second email to make our 2014 MCM dreams come true.

So we waited.

And refreshed.

And waited.

And tweeted hopefully at the MCM team.

And got nothing.

No lottery entry for me fellow runners, I was bang outta luck. Now, of course, panic sets in.  No lottery entry means that I need to find some other way to get into the race.  Enter Team R4V. I had never heard of this organization before, but they were ready with their posts calling for racers to join their team that hadn’t made it into the lottery drawing.

After a quick scan of their website, I was sold. Team R4V is a non-profit that provides assistance to all branches of military veterans through athletic races/fundraising – how awesome is that?! So, you are looking at the newest member of their team!

I’ll be fundraising as part of my participation, so be on the lookout for more info here on how you can support Team R4V (and of course, my race!).

To everyone who made it into the lottery, congrats! To everyone still looking for a bib, I feel you pain, best of luck in your search!

And now, for the sentence I’ve been waiting to write since we entered the lottery a month ago…Marine Corps Marathon 2014 – HERE WE COME!

As always, run on (marathon) runners.

-Kendall

Marine Corps Marathon 2013

There is nothing like a marathon. Every time we head to DC for the marine corps I am reminded of the dedication, determination and excitement of everyone involved. Runner, volunteer, Marine or spectator, you can feel the energy that this race gives off.

This year, my dad and I queued up again with 30,000 of our closest friends for the gun to sound. As the national anthem blared, we looked up to see about ten parachuters gliding down to us with flags.  They landed in and amongst the runners while the whole crowd cheered.  Honestly, it was one of the coolest sites I’ve ever seen.  Rock on Marine Corps.

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The gun sounded and we waddled our way towards the start. For those of you who haven’t yet experienced the hurry-up-and-wait of a marathon start, your heart is pounding and your bouncing up and down, ready to go, but your surrounded by a mass of people on all sides, and there’s nowhere to go until you officially cross the start line.

In typical marine fashion and as expected as a second-timer, the race was very well-organized, plenty of water stations and bathrooms. My only complaint was that we didn’t get food, oranges, until mile eight (two years ago, we got this two miles earlier, made all the difference!).  Now, it was right around these oranges that my run started to go south.

My feet had started to hurt, so I popped two Tylenol to take the edge off, but the real problem was my stomach.  For those of you who don’t know, I’ve had pretty bad stomach issues for the past month and a half.  Found out that I’m basically having a bad reaction to a naturally occurring bacteria in your body (so not awesome).  So, of course, my stomach decided to put up a fight to all this running.

We ran on, until mile 10, where I literally left my mark on the race course in the most un-attractive way possible, by puking. Shout out to the woman who congratulated me with a spirited “better out than in!!”. I shook it off, and ran, much more slowly, onwards. We hit the next aid station where hero #2 of the race traded me one of my citrus goos (my stomach = no citrus for now) for a chocolate one. At this point, my stomach started throbbing, literally. I won’t go into gory details, but a shirt we saw on our run sums it up nicely: “Nothing can stop us now, we’re champions, going str….wait, hang on, dry heaves!!”.

My dad, the most awesome running companion you could ever ask for, started walking with me during mile 14.  I won’t lie, the tears were flowing, I was crushed. It was taking everything I had to keep going, but all I could think was, just keep moving.

We came around a bend and found the American University pep band cheering us on.  When they saw my alumni shirt, they started going nuts, yelling at my dad and I to just keep going!  But, at this point, both my dad and I knew there was no way I was going to make it the last 10 miles to the finish.  In true solidarity, he ran with me the last mile (no matter how much it hurt, I refused to stop my race on a walk), to where our friends and family were waiting at mile 16, our finish line.

I’ve never not finished before. Slow, tired, hurting, I’ve been all of these things, but I’ve always pushed through and made it across the line. To say that I was devastated was an understatement.  After months of prepping and getting excited, ending everything early felt like a cop out.  Admitting that I had failed felt even worse.

And then, after the love + encouragement from my friends and family had finally gotten under my thick skin, I decided to quit feeling bad. Sure, I didn’t make it to the finish, I don’t have a medal to prove it, but I ran my heart out.  A marathon is just a distance, that’s all. I ran 16 of those 26 miles, and know that I left everything out on the pavement, there weren’t any miles left in me.

Now, I’m picking myself up, dusting off a rough run and getting my head in the game for the next one. The best part of all this? I have even more motivation for next year. MCM 2014 is going to be the race to end all races (and even if it isn’t, I’ll know that I did everything I could).   Congratulations to all of my friends that completed the MCM 2013, so proud to have run with you!! Can’t wait until next year!!

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As always, run on runners.

-Kendall

 

Race Review: MCM 10k

As the countdown to the Marine Corps Marathon ticks on (and the threat of the gov shutdown canceling the race looms) I’m reminded of last year’s MCM 10K.  For some quick backstory, I hadn’t trained nearly enough for the marathon and decided to postpone my run until this year and ran the 10k instead.

I had a group of family & friends running with me in the MCM 10k last year which made for a hilarious start line. We danced on the balls of our feet out in the cold and rain on the National Mall until the gun sounded and we took off.  If your looking for a great view on your run, this is the race for you. You kick off running towards the Capitol building and continue to follow the National Mall.  The course is actually part of the Marine Corps Marathon run, which is great because you get the gorgeous tour of DC monuments during the event. Also as per the marathon, the race was extremely well organized, filled with spectators and hosted by our favorite men + women in uniform.

The course is pretty flat, and has plenty of sites to see (including a drum line!) along the way. Would highly recommend to any first timer or repeat 10k runners. You even get to cross the finish line at the Marine Corps memorial and receive your medal from a marine!  Post race, there is plenty to eat/drink and of course, you’ll want to stick around to watch the winners of the marathon cross the finish line about an hour later.

A quick tip for 10k runners (also applicable to marathoners): be ready to walk a ways to get to the start and also when you finish the race. Even though there is plenty of public transportation, you’re one of over 30,000 runners + spectators that are trying to use the same few stations. Much easier in my experience to get off the public transport a few stops away from the main ones and walk to wherever you need to be.

Shout-out to all of my friends that will be running the 10k this year again, have a blast!  In the meantime, fingers crossed that the MCM 10k and MCM can still happen in just 12 days time. As always, run on runners.

– Kendall

MCM 10k(some of my fellow 10k runners and I before the start. note my purple parrot halloween shirt!)

Marine Corps Marathon Times Two

It’s official, the Byl Miles team is registered for the 2012 Marine Corps Marathon!  Despite the slowness of the website and the awkward timing of registration, my dad and I made the list, and just in time too!  Apparently this year’s registration was sold out the fastest in running history, at 2 hours and forty-one minutes.   Clearly the marathon madness has already begun.

The next step?  My new running schedule.  Currently in the middle of midterms, but as soon as I have it laid out, you can bet it will be on here, so stay tuned.  Also on my pre-marathon list of things to do is decide on our Byl Miles team outfits!  Last year we sported some pretty sweet and slightly ridiculous animals hats that I’m sure will make some sort of a reappearance.

My goal for this year’s marathon is to shave off some time, have fun and cross the finish line with a smile on my face.  Anyone else going to be there this year?  Can’t wait! As always, run on runners.

-Kendall