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Marine Corp Marathon - part two

Diamond Dave After The Race


I ran the Marine Corp Marathon this past Sunday in Washington D.C. I had four goals when I set out…

1) have fun
2) finish the race
3) run it within 4 hours or a 9 minute pace
4) don’t die

I made three of those four goals since my final time was 4 hours 48 minutes and an 11 minute pace. So instead of a 9 minute mile, I ended up with an 11 minute mile. Big deal. I finished, which is something important, considering I am not the best when it comes to eating right and am slightly out of shape.

The race was both fun and awful, but definitely rewarding and once I am out of this really sore period, I will think about the next one I want to do. It was a great overall experience, more on that later.

More below the fold…

The race was both fun and awful, but definitely rewarding and once I am out of this really sore period, I will think about the next one I want to do. It was a great overall experience, more on that later.

Click here to read more…

Patti and I flew down to DC on Friday without the children. We stayed with my sister Dora who took off from work to pick us up and spend time with us on Friday, which was nice. We don’t get to see her that often. Patti’s mother watched our three kids back home.

Friday we stopped at the DC Armory and picked up my race stuff, bought some neat things and went back to my sister’s house to have lunch. The rest of the day was awesome, with a nap thrown in, quiet time reading and early to bed. My sister has a really beautiful and large house and without the noise of our kids, without the cramped confines of our small home, and without the need to do work around the house or yard, it was like a little vacation. We rented Evan Almighty Friday night to watch. I’ll explain why that is meaningful in a little while.

Saturday we all slept in, and then I hung around the house in the morning doing nothing. Zip. I stayed on the couch reading the latest Harry Potter book. If you haven’t read it yet, I won’t give away the ending, especially since I haven’t finished it yet and don’t know the ending.

Later, my sister, Patti and I went to see a movie at noon (Dan in Real Life), then went home to have lunch, and saw another movie at 2:30 (Gone Baby Gone). In one afternoon, all before 5PM, Patti and I doubled the amount of movies we’ve been to over the past 5 years. It was great. The two days before the race I wanted to stay off my feet, so it was a good excuse to go to the movies. So with Evan Almighty and the two movies we saw in the theater, we got our fill of Steve Carell and Morgan Freeman.

Diedre, Bill, Patti, Dora, Dave - Bill and Diedre's girls were taking the pictures


We went to dinner on Saturday night with friends from Boston who moved to Virginia a couple of years ago and who know my sister as well. It was my pre-race pasta dinner. Fun. I ate very basic pasta and didn’t drink. No desert either. So I went to dinner and ate what I would normally turn down at home. The sacrifices you make for the game.

Saturday night, less than 12 hours before the start of a race where 30 thousand people will run 26.2 miles, which humans are not meant to run. I had my war face on. Let me see your war face. Sir? You've got a war face? Aaaaaaaagh! That's a war face. Now let me see your war face! AAAARRGGHHHH!! You didn't convince me! Let me see your real war face! Sorry, I love Full Metal Jacket.

Sunday morning I got up at 5AM to get ready and leave the house by 6. I had my specially designed Patti made dry fit running shirt, long sleeve dry fit t shirt for warmth, fuel belt with gu, gloves, hat, bib pinned to my shirt, running shoes with chip tied to laces, small bandaides place over my nipples to prevent nipple bleeding, and a lot of butterflies in my stomach. At this point, there was no going back.

Since this past weekend was, pre Energy Policy Act of 2005, the time change from Daylight Saving Time, any clock built before 2005 automatically turned back one hour during the night. But unbeknownst to the really smart clocks, times were suppose to change one week later in the first weekend of November per the Act. So my sister’s clock, apparently smarter than my cell phone, turned back during the night. So at 5:45 am, 15 minutes before departure, my sister’s room was dark and quiet. I opened the door at 6AM to find her sitting up in bed from a deep sleep. Stupid clocks, trying to thrown us off our schedule. Now that I think about it, it was kind of like the Terminator, where technology has cognitive thought and maybe it did it on purpose. Anyway, we were out the door within 10 minutes thanks to my sister moving at light speed.

We parked in Crystal City and I took a bus to the starting area, near the Pentagon. It was mid 50s, dry with a breeze. Kind of cold wild standing around, but perfect for running.

The staging area for runners was insane. There were more porta-potties than I had ever seen before in my life. Marines, who volunteer for this, were taking bags from runners to hold and drop off at the end of the race. UPS trucks were lined up to transport the bags. There were a ton of people.

Runners, if hydrated properly, will have to pee right before the race and usually within the first two miles. So while I was walking from the bus to the starting area, off to the side in the woods I saw a ton of people, both men and women, drop trau to pee. Pretty funny.

I stretched, lined up in my projected finish time area, and the gun went off at 8AM. I was starting my first marathon, marching to death or glory.

The first thing I noticed was the level of excitement and cheering from the crowd as I passed the starting line. My special dry fit shirt had two things imprinted on it. On the top left, just above my heart, was “Dave”. I was told if you put your name on something, people will cheer for you. On the back of my shirt was “Proud son of Larry Dobrindt, USMC, 1956-1959”.

Poor Quality Image of Me Running

So as I passed any crowds along the race, they yelled for me. They screamed my name. It was a freakin blast. I heard Diamond Dave, Go Dave, Looking Good Dave, DAVE!!! In fact, it was usually college aged girls and young men who would start yelling, and every time they did I would raise my fist into the air, and others would join in. The best was the last shoot at the end of the race, because the way people were cheering made me feel like I was about the win the damn thing.

I hate to admit this, but I wore a white Boston Red Sox hat, the kind with a B in red and blue coloring. I wear the hat all the time running and like the way it fits, and the way it feels. Its kind of like a good luck charm for me. Strange since I have a website called RedSoxStink.com. Since later that night the Red Sox were going to win the final game of the World Series, there were a lot of Red Sox fans in the crowd. So I got a lot of Red Sox cheering as well. I played along…and gave them the finger. Joking.

I felt good for about 5 miles. Then right after the five mile marker, I got a really sharp pain in my side. Or a stitch as we call it. The night before I ate later than I wanted, and went to bed as soon as I got home. So I thought the food was just sitting in my stomach. So I pretended to tie my shoe and the pain went away. I ran on.

Around mile 7 the pain started to come back but not so bad. I could deal with it. I ran and ran.

Around mile 15 the pain was awful. At mile 17, I had to stop and walk, which because of the pain in my stomach, my running speed was almost a walk anyway. At this point I knew my goal of 4 hours was shot. In all my training runs, I have never ever had this kind of issue. It was disappointing.

From 17 to 22 miles, I alternated between running and walking, but always with a sharp pain in my side. When I ran, I would clench my stomach but I would feel nauseous after a while. It was really painful. I drank a ton of water and tried to eat a gel pack, but the gu made it worse.

Finally at mile 22 I sucked it up and ran.

At certain points along the race, there were more people than others. At these points, I would get the huge crowds cheering my name. It was fun. And probably 60% of the people running were military or associated with the military, so it was neat to watch that aspect of it.

By mile 24, I knew I was going to finish. My legs were shot, my stomach was killing me, my back hurt from clenching, my shoulders were kind of sore, but I was going to finish.

Then I turned into the last mile. There were more people there than at any other spot. Thousands. And when they saw my name on my shirt, they started yelling. And as I raised my fist and smiled, more people would yell. It was incredibly motivating.

As I rounded a turn on the last mile, I slowed and walked so I could run up a hill at the very end. As I stopped to walk, a young woman passed by me, gently touched me on my back, and quietly said “you can do it”. She was right, I had half a mile to go, I could run the final clip. I kicked it back into a jog, I could do it.

The last 100 yards were for some cruel reason, up a sharp incline. I trained on hills around the Boston area so I had no problem, and probably ran faster than I had over the past 13 miles. I then cut to the right, and just as I hit level ground and got in front of the finishing stands, the announcer said “RUNNERS!! Raise your hands if this is your first time”. I raised my hand, and as he yelled out about pride and pain and accomplishment, I raised both hands, shed a small tear, and ran under the ‘Marathon Finish’ sign.

I finished the race. I did it.

Not in great time. Not as strong as I had hoped. But I finished 26.2 miles.

Unfortunately I didn’t get to see Patti or my sister Dora on the race. They were at mile 22 with signs for me, and I was looking, but must have passed them in a crowd. After I finished, my parents who were tracking me on the computer back home in Atlanta, called Patti to let them know I was done.

Patti and Dave After The Race

I got my MCM medal, a space blanket, some water, a banana, and headed to the finishers village. As I moved like a cow in the crowd of finishers, I kept saying to myself “I finished, I’m done”. It was much harder than I thought. During my training, I ran 4 times over 20 miles, with one being 24.5. But for some reason the actual race was much more difficult than any of my training runs. I think because while training, I break it up with loops around the town and stopping at lights and slowing down for traffic and stuff. The marathon was a steady pounding for almost 5 hours. And I had that stomach pain for some reason.

But I did it.

AT&T had a free phone call tent set up, so I called Patti to find out where they were. They were looking for a Metro stop to head to the finishing area, so I knew I had about half an hour to cool my heals. The marathon organizers set up a Family Section so people can find their loved ones, and I would meet Dora and Patti there in a little bit. But for now, I wanted to get free food and my two complimentary Michelob Ultra beers that I read about.

I walked around the huge Finishers Village. Got some free coffee, free peanuts, free BenGay patches, free poster, free Tylenol, more water, some PowerAid, and had my two beers. I tried to sit for a while but when I bent down on the ground, my abdominal muscles cramped up bad and I would have to stand to relieve the tension. Over the course of the afternoon and evening, my arm muscles would cramp up, my back muscles would cramp, and my stomach would cramp. But my legs were fine for the moment.

I met up with my sister and Patti, and we took the free shuttle bus back to the parking garage. The line for the bus was an hour and a half, which is painful when your legs are tired and you are cold and want to sit down and relax, but we kept each other company and the time passed quickly.

We got back to my sister’s house in Northern Virginia at 5, I showered and we relaxed around the TV. We had plans on heading to our friends house that evening, but I was shot from running and Dora and Patti were shot from standing the cold all day cheering on runners.

Monday morning my sister took us to the airport and we headed back home.

Monday I was really really sore, especially going down stairs. Tuesday, still sore but a tiny bit less. The stitch in my side is still there which is a little strange. I looked up possible reasons and it could be a stretch diaphragm or something, I don’t know, WebMD is not a real doctor, so I will give it another day or two and then see my doc if something seems wrong.

Overall, a great experience. Some coaching from Tim and Rich, as well as Steve from the neighborhood and countless others who I met along the way, really helped. I am happy I finished and can’t wait to let my parts heal and get back to short, less intense runs to keep my weight down. Marine Corp Marathon, you tried to kill me but I won. I have a metal to prove it and some very expensive pictures I can buy to show others that I really was on the course.

Dave out.


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