Healthy Mind, Healthy Body

Inside/Out Strong. 267-341-7216.

Competition vs. Camaraderie: The Marine Corp. Marathon

on October 30, 2013

racepicOn Sunday, October 27th at 7:55 AM in Washington, D.C., 30,000+ runners took to the streets to participate in what is known as “The People’s Marathon”: The Marine Corp. Marathon. I was one of them (#25912, to be exact!).  This was my second marathon, to date (and in the same year as my first one – sorry, legs!!) but, while Disney was absolutely “magical” back in January, this race brought a whole new humbling, inspiring, and straight-up tearjerking experience. I’ve been in all kinds of races since the beginning of my running days, but have never witnessed the camaraderie among athletes quite like what I saw on Sunday.

Let’s first have a quick English lesson: Merriam-Webster defines “camaraderie” as a.) a feeling of good friendship among people in a group, and b.) a spirit of friendly good-fellowhsip. It’s synonymous with “comradery” which had it’s first (known) use in 1879 to describe the spirit of brotherhood that existed among soldiers in combat. Hmmmm, kind of sounds fitting for a race honoring Marines, don’t you think?

Next, I’ll note that I’ve been in athletic events where competition was prevalent. Heck, three or four Sundays prior to MCM, I busted my butt to try and be #1 female finisher in a 5K. I’ve also been elbowed out of the way in races by people who seem to think getting ahead in the pack is more important than enjoying the ride (ummmm, sorry Mr. 9:00 min/mile pacer, do you really think scooting me out of the way is going to help you catch up with all the Usain Bolts in the front?). And, “Marine Corp” Marathon sounds pretty hardcore, right?

Talk about people giving off positive energy – this race was oozing with it. I’m a firm believer, as you know, of the power of positive support when it comes to athletic feats. Many people (primarily female) asked me if there would be hot marines cheering us on as we ran the course, saying things like, “Woooo! That would be my motivation!!!” (Yes, and there were ;)) But the title of this blog post isn’t “Why Hot Marines Make You Run Faster” (maybe tune in next week?)

As soon as the starting gun went off, I was met with cheers, hoots & hollers, claps, and words of encouragement from fellow athletes. I passed family members wearing pictures of lost soldiers, ran alongside wheelchair participants, and people with shirts on that said things like “Feel free to chat with me!” or “If I can do this, so can you”. At mile 13, halfway there, just when my random calve cramp decided to kick in (and the course was in a particularly spectator-free zone), one man yelled out “We’ve got this! Can we do this? Let me hear you!” and EVERYBODY cheered. I don’t think I can recall a time, short of maybe watching Ironman Lake Placid back in July, that I felt so inspired by the people around me (and somehow my cramp felt less apparent)… And let’s not forget the row upon row of servicemen dolling out high-fives and you-can-do-its. OH and the SPECTATORS were flat-out AMAZING!

The race almost didn’t happen due to government shutdown, and my training regiment this time left me knowing more about my leg muscles (and how much they can hurt) than I ever wanted to know. The night before, I was filled with anxiety that something would happen causing me to not cross that finish line. The marathon itself, however, made you forget about everything painful and difficult along the way. From taking in the sights of the nation’s capitol, to honoring our military, to witnessing how many first-time marathoners came out to tackle 26.2, the day ws nothing short of amazing. If anybody out there is considering running their first marathon and is nervous about the mental-toughness to do so, I highly, highly recommend registering for MCM 2014 (but be warned – it sells out in like, 2 seconds… now I can see why).  It’s true that sometimes competition drives us, and I’m no stranger to that, but I’m 99% positive the spirit of camaraderie was a huge component driving my legs and heart to finish the marathon that day.

Oh…. and this happened at the end:



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

It doesn't have to be paleo - just has to be worth sharing

%d bloggers like this: