On the eve of the Marine Corps Marathon…

Walking in the pool as part of my recovery from a bulging disc in my back.

Walking in the pool as part of my recovery from a bulging disc in my back.

This week has been very tumultuous, to say the least. From hurting my back on Tuesday morning and not being able to walk, to going through physio and many exercises the days that followed, to flying into DC, picking up my bib at the expo and now writing this, I am drained. I’ve gone through every scenario of what I should/could/want to do since finding out I have a bulging disc in my back. Ever. Single. Possibility. My doctor and physio understood what this race meant to me, and didn’t outright say ‘no.’ In fact, my doctor told me specifically that she would do everything possible to get me to the start line. The physio said the same thing. And I didn’t believe them at first because the pain was unbearable. I was in despair.

Taking all my stuff...just in case.

Taking all my stuff…just in case.

Everyday, I woke up hoping that it was all a bad dream. Then I tried to move and was reminded that it wasn’t a dream. It was real, and my goal of running a strong race was gone. The best I could do is hope that I might be better enough to get to the start line and attempt the race. The Marine Corps Marathon has a strict cut-off. In fact, there are two cut-off points. The first is at Mile 20 and is famously called ‘Beat the Bridge.’ Runners must make it to the bridge by 1:15pm, before it is opened to traffic again. If you don’t make it, they pick you up. Plain and simple. You have to finish the whole thing in 6.5 hrs. This means you have to maintain a 14-min per mile pace throughout, which is just a bit more than 4mph speed.

I can’t cross the finish line if I don’t start. So, I have decided that I WILL be starting the race on Sunday morning. I may not finish, but at least I will have given it a go. I will have to run some of it, which is an unknown factor at this point, but I can speed walk. I hate that this is how I will have to participate, but this is the way it will be. I’ll be a back of the packer, and if I am able to finish, I may very well be the last person across the finish line. All I know is that I will forever feel regret if I didn’t attempt to finish this journey.

I have my bib!

I have my bib!

Because I’ll be taking it ‘easy’ by mostly walking, I’ll do my best to get lots of pictures on the way. I’m sure I’ll be able to talk to a lot of people, too, which is something I haven’t done in other races because I’m too focused on running. I’m hoping to start by running for up to five miles at a slower jog than I usually go, then switching to run/walk intervals. I want to honour all those who are on my list. I want to honour myself with this victory lap of 26.2 miles after all the long, lonely, hot miles of training through the Cayman summer. I’m not sure I really can run much, but I will try my best without making bad decisions for my body.

My back is taped for extra support.

My back is taped for extra support.

That said, if you want to track me during the race (Sunday, October 25th, start time 7:55am Eastern), you can download the Marine Corps Marathon app to your smart phone (search ‘Marine Corps Marathon’ in your app store).

Search for the Marine Corps Marathon app in the app store.

Search for the Marine Corps Marathon app in the app store.

It’s a free download, and you can delete it after the race, of course. Once it’s downloaded, click on the app to open it. It will look like this (below). Find the icon for ‘Track a Runner’ and tap on it.

App home screen find track a runner

When you do this, you will see two options: 1) you can ‘Track Runner on Map, which won’t be active until the race starts or 2) ‘Receive Messages.’ *If you track me on the map, I believe it will register my location every 5K, so it’s not 100% immediate, but you’ll have a fairly good idea of where I am on the course. You would tap on that option and would have to enter my bib number where indicated.

The more likely scenario is that you would be interested in the message updates, which I believe are sent when I cross the start line, every 10K mark (6.2 miles) and then the finish line. For this, tap on the option to ‘Receive Messages.’ You will then see the screen below. This is where you can enter my last name (Larkin). It will pull up my name, and you tap on it to confirm this is the runner you are looking for.

enter my bib number, last name

Finally, you can choose how you want to receive these messages: Facebook, email, text or Twitter. Please keep in mind, if you choose Facebook or Twitter, it posts to your timeline, and then everyone can see it. You may not want to have everyone checking out my race progress. ๐Ÿ™‚ Simply tap on the option(s) you want and enter the requested information. And if all goes well, my updates will finish by 1pm Eastern time! Thanks again for cheering me on to the Marine Corps Memorial finish.

Select how you want to trackThanks again for your support and kind words during this difficult week. I hope to be able to post a picture of me with the finisher’s medal, smiling because I just completed the Marine Corps Marathon!

9 thoughts on “On the eve of the Marine Corps Marathon…

  1. I believe the big man upstairs wants you to take your time and enjoy this event! wishing you a pain free day, I’ll gladly take your pain today.

    stop and smell the roses today ๐ŸŒบ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒป๐ŸŒท๐ŸŒธ๐ŸŒผ

    Liked by 1 person

  2. big up girl!!! you are a star nomatterwhat!! i won’t be able to track you since i have a shitty phone but please send news as soon as you can on how it goes! you’ll be in my thoughts!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Great to hear that you made it to the race and are going to be able to participate…regardless of how it all goes, it is still a tremendous accomplishment…best of luck for tomorrow!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Not many people would toe the line in your condition so good for you for fighting til the end!! And it’s like you said, you are closer to getting it by just showing up and starting. I hope your back gives you a break and lets you do this! Good luck tomorrow!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I hope that I am not being foolish by running. My doctor and physio said they would get me to the start, and I feel that I can get that far – then the rest is truly up to me. I’ve been getting better every day and after a 2-miler today, I feel like this is possible. Yes, I’ll be walking some of it. But I’m going to do my best to finish!


      • Walk it if you need to! I know I will! I met a guy on the metro today who finished 9th from the very last finisher one year. Finishing is finishing! I have the same fears – should I be doing this? Is it wise on this injury? But you know what? We’ll go for it and if it’s not good we stop. Let’s negotiate every mile that we can!


  5. Pingback: Marine Corps Marathon: I DID IT! | Robyn Runs the World

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