10 years ago today I woke up in the apartment I was sharing with my mom.

We gathered our stuff together and headed to the start line of Marine Corps Marathon. It was a morning filled with excitement and angst.

Could I run 26.2 miles?

Could a girl who pretended to hyperventilate to avoid running laps on the soccer field in 9th grade run a marathon?

Could a girl who was not athletic at all and who only played sports when forced to – really do something that most consider to be a challenging feat?

Could I run farther than I drive most days?

I had two goals in mind. Finish and beat Oprah’s time.

518 My first marathon - MCM '03

Today marks the anniversary of that marathon and tomorrow I will be running the same race for the 8th time. Twice I ran the 10k – once 6 weeks after having a baby and once when pregnant. In the past eleven years I have only missed being at Marine Corps Marathon once and that was because I was 37 weeks pregnant with my 3rd child. I ran 3 miles that day with a friend and spent the majority of that run talking about the race that has become a part of me.

It’s a funny thing to feel that a race is “yours” but that’s exactly how I feel.

Yes, countless of other people have run what is considered the People’s Marathon but to me, this race is so much more than a race.

535 MCM

I have found myself numerous times over the course of these 26.2 miles.

I have debated life and what I wanted from it.

I have found out what I am made.

I have over and over again learned that no matter how low I go I can pick myself up again and soar.

I have had some of the roughest moments and most amazing moments.

The 7 Marine Corps Marathons I have run have been 7 of the best days of my life.

Marine Corps Marathon 2011

I’ve said numerous times that the day I crossed the finish line of Marine Corps Marathon I was forever changed, and I stand by that statement.

549 Happy it's over _)

10 years ago I had no idea what the next 10 years would hold but WOW it’s been an amazing ride. Three kids and 24 marathons later it’s one more special than I could have imagined.

529 Maine Corps Marathon - My favorite!

I am SO VERY thankful to that insecure, semi shy, angst filled 21 year old that chose training for a marathon over having a typical post college social life. I am so thankful SHE decided to run a marathon and do something she didn’t think possible. I wish I could go back and give her a hug – tell her that everything will be okay and that running will change her life – to just be patient.

In 2003 I was the 4,790th person to cross the finish line.

In 2012 I was the 512th person to cross the finish line.

It’s been a crazy journey and I couldn’t love it more.

 

556 Boston Here I Come _)

My first BQ

While in Kona I was discussing “life” with one of the guys who worked for Timex. We were walking back from the finish line and saw a man who had prosthetics on both of his legs running towards the finish line that was being dismantled. He had missed the 17 hour cut off but was finishing anyways surrounded by a small crowd. I broke down crying, not tiny tears, but gushing tears. It broke my heart first because he had missed the cut off but also because of the human resolve – he was GOING to finish what he started. It was a mix of happiness and sadness. I’m not sure how this moment segued into not forcing life and just letting it happen as it is supposed to but it did. I talked about how a month earlier I didn’t even know that I was going to Kona, but at that moment I really felt like I was supposed to be there. When I don’t force my life and just live it – it turns out exactly how it’s supposed to. Robin agreed that life happens exactly as it should and it’s our job to just live it.

I am so thankful for this race and can not wait to spend tomorrow running 26.2 miles with so many different family members. I’ll be living life and not worrying or forcing what is to come. I want to finish just as a did last year with a HUGE smile on my face.

 

Here’s to another 10 years MCM!

xoxo Dorothy

 

MCM 2003: 4:20:34 – overall 4790 – gender 1232nd

MCM 2004: 4:56:19 – overall 8504 – gender 2763rd

MCM 2005: 3:59:52 – overall 3380 – gender 779th

MCM 2008: 3:36:41 – overall 1630 – gender 236th

MCM 2009: 3:31:21 – overall 1341 – gender 182nd

MCM 2011: 3:21:46 – overall 720 – gender 91st

MCM 2012: 3:17:14 – overall 512 – gender 58th

 

 

Comments

  1. I’m sitting here in tears after reading this post. MCM is going to be my first marathon and I’m still doubting my ability to complete it, especially since I never did make it to my 20 miler due to a knee sprain on an easy 5 miler the week leading up to it. I’ve spent my long runs fighting the mental battle of whether or not I can really do this only to realize once I’m done that it really wasn’t that bad. Everyone keeps telling me that this is a guaranteed PR–don’t set the bar too high for marathon #2–and your only goal is to finish (and personally beat Oprah and Kate Gosselin). I’ve watched the MCM the last 2 years (even saw you run by me!) and it brings me to tears each race watching all the wounded warriors pushing through each and every mile, and not wanting the help getting up that monster hill at 26.1. I can only hope that MCM has the same effect it does on me–and I hope to persevere and make this race a yearly tradition.

  2. Awesome story … there really isn’t anything like the marathon that made you a marathoner. :)

  3. That is amazing! You see how much hard work you’ve put into this marathon by looking at your awesome times! Next year I plan on running my first full marathon for my 26th birthday. Then hopefully I’ll be able to run one of the best marathons, the Marine Corps! You’re an inspiration!

  4. Karen Haddon says:

    Good luck tomorrow! Even though I havent raced it in several years I have loved just as much being there year after year to spectate and be a part of it with friends! Cheers to 10 years!

  5. Gosh I love your blog. Every post. Pure awesome.

  6. Such a moving post! I just passed it along to some friends running MCM as their first marathon tomorrow for a little night-before-race reading!

  7. I love this post! I admire you so much as a runner and asl person and to see the progress you have made gives me hope that I can do it too! Such a moving post, thank you!
    Karen @karenlovestorun

  8. Have fun today, Dorothy! You are so amazing and inspirational. Huge hugs! Crush it!

  9. Taylor says:

    Awesome post, thank you! And well done this year once again! Your stories inspire me!

  10. Taylor says:

    Awesome post, thank you! And well done this year once again! Your stories inspire me and I am thankful to be able to see your honesty and changes through your running journey!

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