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Inspired Living

I'm In Love With the Marines (and other lessons I learned while running Marine Corps Marathon)

Sarah Stanley

I'm in love. With the men (and women) that serve our country. Who will protect me and you from harm, danger and are willing to risk their own life for us. I don't know about you, but just writing those words brings chills to me. I am grateful for each & every one of them. October 31, 2010 was the 35th running of the Marine Corps Marathon. This would be my 3rd time running this race. Personally, I feel this is a pretty challenging course. I know most people say Boston is. And yes I've run Boston. (Note: after finishing the race, I was talking with a gentleman who has run MCM 14 times as well as Boston & he too said this race course is much harder).

Back to the recap.

It was about 39 degrees at 6 am. Perfect running weather. I love the chill in the air. As I was driving to the start, I saw hundreds of Marines setting up for us. I couldn't have been more proud to know that I was in good great hands. I posted on Twitter this: Ah, seeing a few hundred Marines setting up for #MCM makes me SO thankful I live in America. Thank you to each service branch!!!

I parked at a nearby hotel. The Achilles athletes were getting ready to head to the start. Seeing wounded warriors right in front of your eyes makes you realize that no matter how bad your life seems, it doesn't even pale in comparison to what they have been through.

I LOVE running in cold weather. However my ears are sensitive (earaches). I was torn as to what to wear on my noggin. I went for a hat. Lesson #1, leave the hat at home!

For some reason my race bib tore off one side, thankfully I always carry safety pins with me, so I quickly pinned both sides of the bib to my race belt. Lesson #2, always be prepared!

I wanted to meet up with Sam, aka, @operationJack, so I started walking over to the start. Along the way I ran (walked?) into friends. The great thing about running a hometown race year after year, is that it's like a big, happy (sweaty) reunion. 27 seconds later we were all caught up on each other's life. Lesson #3, always run a local race year after year!

After the world's quickest face to face meeting with Sam, I headed down to the start line. And took this photo:

Thank you God for an amazing race day!

I decided to use the porta potty on the way down the hill. Lesson #4) never pass up a empty bathroom line!

Walking to the start is amazing. This race is FILLED with patriotism, honor and pride. And lots of uniforms :) To be honest, I wasn't really thinking about the 26.2 mile journey ahead, I was thankful I live in America. For my freedom. For the honor of getting to run.

Walking underneath the bridge, MCM had images of the race beamed onto the side of the wall. Very cool.

Oorah!

The Color Guard

The national anthem & color guard presented. The jets flew. I will NEVER get tired of that sound. I absolutely love hearing & seeing them. Yes, my heart melted I think.  Then the wheelchair race began. Lesson #5, the power of the heart to do incredible things is amazing.

The start!

I had a four digit race bib. Which meant I was close to the front. I hopped into the corral and took in the sights, sounds and smells (don't ask) around me. Each of us wondering what the day ahead would bring. PR's? Cramps? Fun? Misery? We would soon find out. Race day was about to start in 3. 2. 1.

To be continued.......

Photo by: zhurnaly