August 3, 2015

Gearing up for MCM

I really struggled to get on board with marathon training. When I threw my name in the Marine Corps Marathon lottery, I wasn’t engaged nor did I have any expectation that I might plan a wedding 4 months later. And then Adam dropped to one knee on March 28th and everything changed. I found myself highly frustrated and filled with angst about the fall race. More than once I thought about deferring. But one thing always kept me coming back…the fact that I had already started fundraising and had committed to run for Team Fisher House.

I can’t tell you how many tearful discussions I had with Adam about whether or not I would race. At one point, he volunteered to take my bib since Fisher House is an organization that he supports as well. He was supportive but also provided a bit of tough love. One night when I was feeling particularly overwhelmed by training for another marathon when my heart and brain were screaming “Don’t do it!”, he pulled out his yearbook (he attended a service academy). He spent a minute flipping the pages and then stopped on some photos. Our conversation went something like this…

“You see that guy? He had a wedding planned. And this guy? He was engaged.”

I whispered, “are they dead?”

He didn’t answer my question but continued, “And this girl? They found out she was pregnant when they did an autopsy.”

I sat there quiet. I simply didn’t have any words that would do the conversation justice.  These men and women died so young and quickly, according to Adam. There was no opportunity for medical intervention back in the states at a medical treatment facility. Their families didn’t have a chance to fly in to hold their hand while they sat in a hospital room. In these cases, there simply was no need for Fisher House. But for so many service members, it provides an incredible service for their families during a time of medical need. And once again, I was reminded why I was running. Not for me, but for uniformed service members and their families who need Fisher House.

I also finally came to grips with the fact that Marine Corps Marathon will not be a PR attempt for me. Sure, I’ll work hard so that I’m well prepared for the race.  This is the shortest marathon training cycle I’ll undertake and also the most aggressively that I will ramp up my mileage.  I need to focus on staying healthy, rather than speed both for my sanity and to avoid injury.  I also decided that I would transition back to run-walk, which provided an enormous mental relief. All of a sudden, the long runs were palatable and I’ve had one or two that felt incredible.

Last weekend, I committed to build a training plan that would get me enough miles but not burn me out. I included hill and speed work on alternating weeks with a few tempo and progression runs thrown in. I’ve done two consecutive weeks of hill work on the treadmill and it feels great. It’s hard but I know my legs need that workout to be prepared for the hills of Rosslyn, Rock Creek parkway, and Crystal City.
If you're interested in contributing to my fundraising effort, check out my fundraising page here:


  1. Pure respect for you and your dedication, as well as to those who serve (d). Sometimes the challenge is just to get the race done, and to finish. Go you!

  2. Kudos to you for not giving up, even when you've wanted to. I'm glad to hear that you've had a couple of runs that felt great. That should hopefully help fuel your motivation to train. Sometimes just getting out there on race day and remembering the meaning behind why you're racing is more important than going after a goal finish time.

  3. Girl I am in tears! What an amazing charity to run for! And knowing the stress is off is such a relief. You can run this one for Fisher House and not yourself! You can do it girl! And I know you will have a great training and race!!!

  4. A few things have changed in my life as well that has made me reconsider running my marathon in January. That is great that you are running for a charity. In a way it helps keep you accountable and you know all the "good" you are doing. Hang in there. I bet having this support from Adam during this training cycle will make training a bit easier. -M

  5. Even though you aren't attempting a PR, I think you will feel as satisfied after this race as if you had earned a huge PR. This is a wonderful charity to be running for!

  6. Good luck with your training Christine. You have so much going on with being a newlywed and marathon training is no easy undertaking for anyone, but you have a real reason that's close to your heart for doing it and that's what matters. Any time I run for a purpose or do a race and dedicate it to someone, I always do so much better.

    The #1 goal is to ALWAYS be conservative with mileage and speed and stay injury free- marathon or any distance. Just making it through marathon training is a big victory already.

  7. It might not be a PR, but it will still be an amazing race!!!

  8. I think it is awesome you're doing this for a cause!
    Life gets so hectic, it makes marathon training super difficult for many! One thing, MCM is an amazing race, just the experience in itself is so well worth it, so no worries about a PR, just go for fun, and go to enjoy something totally new and one of the best race experiences you may ever have:)
    I mean how many races do you get to be pat down by a cute marine near the start to check for weapons:) LOL Okay, maybe don't tell the hubby that part:) But I won't lie, I didn't mind it, LOL

  9. Awesome, Christine! It really helps when things are put into perspective sometimes! You're going to have an awesome race and a ton of fun at the same time! Happy training!!

  10. So glad you decided to go forward with it. As you know MCM is really so much the experience in itself that I think you would be sad if you missed out!!

  11. proud of you for sticking with it for a greater good. and WE ARE GOING TO MEET at MCM - it is simply a must! i've missed you in too many races (although i did see and holler for your mom during MCM last year!) :)

  12. Ok, I was looking back through old posts to find your donation link and I realized I never commented on this post (or maybe I commented to you via text??), but this was an incredibly moving post and made me so proud to be joining you for this marathon (again!). I don't care if we run fast or slow, it's about the experience and this time we both get to experience it supporting amazing causes - can't wait to see you! (Oh, and this post also confirms Adam is awesome. But I knew that.)