Beantown Looks Back: 2017 Marine Corps Marathon

Hey friends, fans, and followers. Quinn David Furness here coming at you hard with another installment of the Beantown Blog. I’m hittin’ you up LIVE from DCA, aka Regan, in Arlington, Virginia. I’ve spent about as much time in airports the past 24 hours as I have out of them due to flight delays, and I have to connect in Cleveland later today, which might be the worst thing of all time, but minus that and the severe jet lag from changing time zones, I’m doing ok. Wait til they end DST this weekend. Combine that with a flight to Seattle and I think I might as well just keel over and die. Maybe that’s extreme.

Anyways walking around Crystal City really brought me back today to exactly 2 years ago, October 2017, when I ran my second-ever marathon, the Marine Corps Marathon, which starts and ends outside of the Pentagon. As a quick aside, I walked to the Pentagon today to maybe try to go undercover there but apparently post-9/11 you’re not allowed to do that anymore. Seems capricious and arbitrary but rules are rules I guess. Probably an Obama-era thing?

The 2017 Marine Corps Marathon was not a pleasant experience for me, so I thought what better way to feel sorry for myself for an extended period of time than to share my pain with you all :))) That’s a triple chin cuz I had fajitas for lunch–Mercy. Ok, so it’s mid to late October 2 years ago. The marathon is on a Sunday. Monday-Thursday the week of, I’m working in Pittsburgh. Then Friday and Saturday I’m working in Philadelphia. And of course the race is in Arlington. So first problem, I really haven’t had time to workout correctly or eat well the week of the race, cuz I’m just out in PA TCBing, you feel me? So rough leadup to the race. It gets a lot worse. With marathons, you have to pickup your packet in person 1 or 2 days before. Here’s the issue: I’m in PA the whole week and the race expo is at National Harbor (in Maryland across the river from DCA). So Friday, I work until about 2pm in downtown Philly, and the expo closes in National Harbor at 8. Now, that’s only about 150 miles, so you’d think hey, not too bad. Wrong. Friday afternoon traffic in the DMV might be Dante’s 5th level of hell. 95 was backed up between Boston and Savannah. Woof. I leave Philly right after 2pm and don’t get to Nat’l Harbor until 7:30 with just enough time to meander through the hellscape that is that area to get my packet. I’m literally at the expo for all of 10 minutes before I turn around and hop right back in the car. I then drive 3 and a half hours BACK to Philadelphia as I have to work there the next morning.

So Saturday comes, I work in the morning and afternoon, then it’s about 5pm and I have to first go to my home in Baltimore to get my marathon stuff before driving down to DCA, where I have to drop my rental car off. I then have to take the train into DC to my friend’s apartment, where I’m crashing on her guest bed (TYSM to Annie and Zach, you all are the real MVPs). All the travel is fine, but that’s a lot of segments, and I don’t get to the apartment until close to midnight. After a short restless sleep (road games can be tough), I wake up at 4am to eat and stretch for the race (I believe start time is about 7am). The plan is to just uber to the pentagon, as I wanted a no fuss morning. Mistake: I hope in the Uber, and we go all of 4 blocks or so before the driver tells me there’s no way he’s taking me down there. He was a very kind man. Eye roll. He then asks me to get out of the Uber. So there I am in the middle of DC at 5:30am with no clue where I am and not a great idea of where I need to go. To top it all off, I’m stuck in a huge crowd of runners who are congregating for a DIFFERENT race. Wow, that was fun. Eventually after asking enough people, I make my way to the train and get to the Pentagon right before start time.

The race itself was awful. It was about 80 degrees without a cloud in the sky (for those of you who aren’t runners, that’s nice for about 1 mile and then it’s miserable for the last 25.2 miles). The route is also fairly hilly at the start, and this really knocked me on my ass. By mile 13, my iPod died (2007 iPod Nano is still going strong but this specific day was not its finest hour). At mile 16, I pulled my hamstring. Lemme tell ya, even with all the adrenaline, a full 10 miles on a gimpy leg is a LONG 10 miles. By somewhere around mile 20 or so, I could tell the heat exhaustion was present and I was headed toward heat stroke. I don’t really know where the distinction between those two are, so I’m not sure which one I ended up with, but it was miserable. Finally, after over 4 hours of more or less utter and complete disaster, the race was over. However, I still had to get to an Enterprise near Georgetown where I was renting a car to then drive back to Baltimore to grab my work stuff before driving to West Virginia for another work trip. Getting there was not easy–On the train, it was terribly hot, and after feeling super light-headed for awhile, my body finally caved and I passed out. After remaining unconscious for what was probably 10-15 minutes (this part of the story is slightly unclear for obvious reasons) , I woke up having missed my stop. Finally, after backtracking a little bit, I got to the Enterprise. While the rest of the day was still challenging, the worst of it was over. By 7pm or so, I made it to West Virginia, where I proceeded to eat a big ole bowl of gumbo (obviously, cuz it was West Virginia) before crashing hard.

So what did we learn from this race: 1) Hate hill running. This was one thing I really struggled with in Baltimore. Maybe it’s ‘better’ for you than regular flat running (AKA Chicago), but man, I really hated it. 2) The Marine Corps Marathon course was cool, but there were a few spots that were awful. Notably the bridge right at the end. You basically go 3 miles (it’s like mile 19-21) on the highway with no water or shade, and when it’s 80 degrees and cloudless and you’ve been running for 3 hours already, it’s not fun. 3) Keeping up your exercise routine while traveling is tough enough. Running a marathon while is really hard.

Just got called for my flight. QD out. Peace yo

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