Marine Corps Marathon… OORAH!

November 1, 2011 · 80 comments

Don’t be too impressed by how cool I sound when I say that. I didn’t even know what “OORAH” (the marine corps spirit cry) meant until the night before the marathon. And now we have all decided to say it for the rest of our lives.

You know, wedding toasts, birthings, kids’ soccer games, that kinda stuff. OORAH.

I digress.

After 3 hours and 49 minutes, I crossed the finish line of the Marine Corps Marathon.

26.2 miles. Done.

And man, does it feel GOOD.

Except my legs. They don’t feel so good. Or my toes.

But truly, Sunday was one of the best days of my life.

Flash back to Saturday at the D.C. Armory Expo in the freezing cold rain/snow. That was cool. We stressed over what layers we’d pack on for race day, ate about 16 samples of Clif bars and Gu shots, and my life was made when I stumbled across a pair of the new Brooks Pure Project Connect running shoes.

And as I was picking out my “Some girls chase boys. I pass ’em” headband for race day (it come in pretty handy and kept my ears from icing over), Ericka recognized me and came to say hi!

There was a hydrating/carbo-loading pasta party for 13. We all showed how cool we are and threw on our marathon shirts and took “team pictures.” You know, because we’re 8 years old.

And when 4:30 a.m. rolled around, we were up and at ’em, stressing over how may layers to put on in the 28 degree weather. I decided on the dainty race outfit of singlet and arm sleeves + wunder under leggings + short sleeve target shirt + blue running jacket + sweatpants + sweatshirt.

My partners in crime chose to take the appearance of skiers or criminals about to partake in some sort of heist.

After a two mile walk to the start line (seriously?), we were rarin’ to go.

I wish I could say we hit the ground running and were off like the WB cartoon roadrunner, but the bobbing and weaving in the beginning was unreal. At once point, I looked down at my Garmin and saw we were stuck a 12:30 pace and had a minor freakout. Thankfully, the crowd dispersed around mile 5 and I was able to choose my own speed.

A lot of people have asked if I’m happy with my 3:49 finish time. I say yes, I’m really happy, because I was running my first marathon to finish. I had no idea if I would hit a wall (I never did), how difficult I’d find it (I honestly thought it’d be harder), or how crowded it would be (we were sardines). I’m the tiniest disappointed in my time because I trained much faster than an 8:45 pace, but the pride in my finishing my first marathon and happiness of being with my family and friends won out.

We all got split up around mile 3, so I was on a solo mission by the time I saw my family at mile 7.

Somehow, it was pretty easy to spot them.

I thought I was seeing mirages at mile 7. “Why is there a 4 foot picture of myself from my first half marathon? What is going on?”

Note to all marathon spectators: If you make a life-sized picture of your runner, chances are, they will be able to find you and rip off their layers to give to you.

Note to all runners whose spectators make life-sized pictures of you for the sideline: Everyone will recognize you after the race. Some girls may be right behind you after the finish talking about how embarrassing it is, and those girls will be really embarrassed when you turn around and smile at them and tell them you loved it.

It’s so easy to be proud of yourself when your parents are so proud of you.

And it’s so easy to run a marathon with the knowledge you’ve raised $730 for prostate cancer. I cannot thank those enough who donated to my cause. Natalie, Allie, Kristine, Sara, Amy, Chip, Claire, Lisa-Marie, Rick, Linda, Brent, Cynthia, Maggie, Alyssa, Beth, Maleah, Lee, Linda, Kathy, Andie… you are all so amazing.

And it’s so easy to run a marathon when you do it with your closest friends.

More post-marathon pictures to come tomorrow… I’m still too exhausted, physically and mentally, to throw you guys anything else.

And now I’m off to write a thank-you note to Chris Hoffmann, inventor of the foam roller. The way I’m walking today closely resembles the gait of a flamingo.

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{ 53 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Katelyn @ Chef Katelyn November 1, 2011 at 3:47 pm



2 Allie @ PickyEatingRD November 1, 2011 at 3:56 pm

CONGRATS LOVE!! You rocked it – negative splits an all (i spied this on twitter)!!!!
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3 Angela @ MyPinkyToes November 1, 2011 at 4:08 pm

Wow! You did soooo wonderful!!! Congratulations on your very first marathon and for subbing four hours! You should definitely be so so so proud of yourself! I am and I don’t even know you (beside the from the stalking of your blog!)!!! It makes me want to run another one…tomorrow!!!
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4 Sylvia @ Frolic Through Life November 1, 2011 at 4:10 pm

Congrats on your awesome time in your first marathon. I saw your splits on Twitter and you were kicking ass!
Your parents are so cute with the giant blow up picture.
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5 Tiff @ Love Sweat and Beers November 1, 2011 at 4:10 pm

Congrats! Cheers! Most of all, Wow! Finishing a marathon is such an amazing accomplishment, and you even finished yours fast. Be proud, girl! πŸ™‚

PS – your family rocks
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6 Lindsey @ Happy or Hungry November 1, 2011 at 4:14 pm

Ahh, huge congrats! I was so excited to read this recap.
Your parents are hilarious, and so cute!!! That would make me proud of myself too πŸ™‚
Also, you look pretty dang awesome after running for four hours in the cold, my face would be purple!
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7 Celia November 1, 2011 at 4:14 pm

Just found your blog and I love it! Congrats on your first marathon! An amazing finish time for a first and looks like you had a blast πŸ™‚


8 Amy @ My Life as a Lazy Girl November 1, 2011 at 4:23 pm

Congrats!! So awesome! I was loving the twitter updates and keeping up with how you were doing!

I love the life sized poster! Those girls were def jealous no one made one for them!
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9 Dorsa @ Running Thoughts November 1, 2011 at 4:24 pm

Congrats!!!! wicked fast pace πŸ™‚
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10 Tracy @ Tracy's Treats November 1, 2011 at 4:41 pm

Congrats on your finish and your awesome time!!!
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11 Samantha @ Health, Happiness & Skinny Jeans November 1, 2011 at 4:44 pm

So, so, so awesome!! You’re time is fantstic but what Ilove most is how happy you seem. It radiates through your writing!! Congrats πŸ™‚
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12 Jenn's Adventures November 1, 2011 at 4:45 pm

So proud of you girl!! I busted into tears by the time I got to the life-sized you — so sweet. I love running events that mean something more.


13 Amy @ Livin N Learning November 1, 2011 at 4:45 pm

Congrats on an awesome first FULL marathon!! You are seriously a rock star for taking the time to train and prepare for it AND then kicking butt and taking names during it. And your parents are too awesome to say the least. πŸ™‚
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14 Colleen @ The Lunchbox Diaries November 1, 2011 at 4:47 pm

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15 Kathryn S. November 1, 2011 at 4:58 pm

Congrats!! What an awesome accomplishment!! I’m from Northern VA and I totally recognize where your parents were standing- right in front of the BEST burger place ever, anywhere. Ray’s Hell Burger is a must every time I’m home for a break- you should def check it out next time you’re in the area!


16 Marijke November 1, 2011 at 5:04 pm

Amazing amazing amazing amazing amazing amazing!!!
You are all kinds of awesome, Alyssa!

But can I just say how supremely unfair it is that you look so fresh AFTER running 26.2 miles? If you hadn’t been wearing your medal in those photos then I would be doubting whether you actually ran at all πŸ˜‰
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17 Brittany @ GOtheXtraMile November 1, 2011 at 5:04 pm

Congrats!! That is freaking amazing for your first marathon!! I love that life sized idea, that is too adorable πŸ˜€


18 theAlmostRunner November 1, 2011 at 5:07 pm

You win! YOU WIN!!!
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19 Ericka @ The Sweet Life November 1, 2011 at 5:43 pm

Wow, I didn’t realize that was you in the life size sign when I passed it but seeing it here, I DEFINITELY remember passing it! Ha ha…that’s awesome. I WAS wondering if you had planned to throw away that nice looking pullover you have pictured at the starting line there! Great idea for next marathon! Good recap — thanks for the link! I love your honesty (“I honestly thought it would be harder!”) Recover well!
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20 Diana November 1, 2011 at 5:52 pm

YAYYYY I’ve been looking forward to the re-cap! That is so adorable that your parents made that picture – those girls saying it was “embarrassing” probably also find “puppies,” “rainbows” and “sunshine” embarrassing and I don’t think I like them.

Congrats on your time, you’re such a lil speedster!!
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21 Emily November 1, 2011 at 5:55 pm

Congrats!!! Your parents are just too cute. I would be glad to have a life size cut out of myself held up by my supporters. Hater’s gonna hate;)
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22 LeeAnn November 1, 2011 at 6:04 pm

Congrats!!! I couldnt walk normally for 2 days after my marathon! Enjoy πŸ˜‰
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23 Kailey (SnackFace) November 1, 2011 at 6:21 pm

AHHHHH CONGRATS!!!!!!!!! I am seriously in awe of you and so freakin happy for you! YOU DID IT!!!!!! Can’t wait for the rest of the recap!
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24 Brandi @ The Vitamin Bee November 1, 2011 at 6:22 pm

Congratulations!!! You ran a great race! Amazing time. πŸ™‚

Your parents are all kinds of awesome! A life sized sign? Baller! Those girls were just jealous that no one did that for them!
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25 Sarah OUaL November 1, 2011 at 6:42 pm

You are my idol. I mean really. You’re all, whatever, no bigs, I just ran a marathon and looked like a movie star doing it.

We can be running bffs as soon as I learn to be fast like you. Then we’re on.
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26 Jessica @ Stylish Stealthy and Healthy November 1, 2011 at 7:09 pm

so so so proud of you πŸ™‚
And life-sized photos are awesome, duh. Those girls were too lame to understand.
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27 janae November 1, 2011 at 7:31 pm

I have been waiting for this post…it made my day. I love the life size picture of you gorgeous girl!! Your time was incredible and NO wall hitting? You are my hero!! You look so happy! So what’s next ha:)
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28 Lauren November 1, 2011 at 7:35 pm

This post is awesome! And so are you. You look SO good for having just run for almost 4 hours (a time which I happen to find amazing!). You’re parents are too cute! Congrats again, Alyssa!
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29 Caitlin November 1, 2011 at 7:35 pm

AWESOME job again! Will you be posting those post-race eats you told me about?
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30 julie November 1, 2011 at 8:33 pm

AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! i’m like squealing for you mama!
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31 Brittany (A Healthy Slice of Life) November 1, 2011 at 8:49 pm

You. Are. A. Rockstar! I can’t believe it wasn’t as hard as you thought it would be. You have me wanting to get back out there and RUN… orrrrr… maybe I’ll start with wogging πŸ™‚

However, congrats on your first marathon, and OH! Can I please come to the next one… just to hang out with your parents? They look pretty awesome.
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32 Nicole @ Haute Running Mama November 1, 2011 at 8:57 pm

Congratulations!! Can’t wait to see more photos. You are so blessed to have such a supportive family and group of friends. THAT’S HUGE!!!

Again, congratulations!
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33 Chelcie @ Chelcie's Food Files November 1, 2011 at 11:03 pm

congrats on the marathon!
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34 Britton November 1, 2011 at 11:31 pm

Congrats girl!!! That is such an awesome time!!! What an inspiration!!!
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35 Lindsay @ In Sweetness and In Health November 1, 2011 at 11:46 pm

Congrats!!!! You are officially a marathoner :D. That is so AWESOME!
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36 chelsey @ clean eating chelsey November 2, 2011 at 12:32 am

Holy speed! You did awesome! Loved reading the recap!
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37 Karla November 2, 2011 at 1:12 am

Dang Alyssa you look SO good for just running 26.2 miles. I’m worried too about how crowded the beginning of the Country RnR marathon will be [my first] but I’m not out there to shatter any records anyhow!

I love the pictures with your parents. So flippen cute =)
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38 Daner November 2, 2011 at 1:41 am

yayay!!! awesome!!!!


39 Meghan November 2, 2011 at 1:56 am

CONGRATULATIONS!! SO exciting…and I personally love the picture πŸ™‚
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40 Tiffany November 2, 2011 at 1:58 am

LOVE this, congrats on your marathon!! God I love your parents. I’m just noticing now how much alike you and your mom look.
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41 Erika - The Teenage Taste November 2, 2011 at 10:57 am

Congrats on running your first marathon, Alyssa! You did amazing! πŸ˜€
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42 Paula @ Eat: Watch: Run November 2, 2011 at 11:50 am

Congrats on finishing! Your parents are about the most adorable thing I’ve ever seen. I LOVE that they were out there for you. So sweet. Makes me teary. πŸ™‚
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43 Claire @ Live and Love to Eat November 2, 2011 at 1:34 pm

So glad to finally read the recap… congrats! I’m happy I could help support your cause. You look so geniunely thrilled in the photos! πŸ™‚
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44 Caroline November 2, 2011 at 1:57 pm

Congrats on the marathon! Your time is AMAZING for your first marathon (or 50th marathon, really.) You rocked it! Glad you had such a great time. I just ran my first marathon a month ago and I totally agree that I thought it would be harder. Not to say it wasn’t hard! But I was better trained for it than I expected.
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45 Lyndsay @ Thinspiration November 2, 2011 at 2:11 pm

Congratulations!! What an amazing accomplishment. Seeing all your training & reading all your posts has inspired me to start running…and hopefully, one day, I’ll be able to accomplish all the amazing things you have πŸ™‚

Congrats again!!
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46 Sami November 2, 2011 at 6:43 pm

way to go, lady!! (:
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47 jaymee November 3, 2011 at 6:18 am

congrats alyssa! and your parents are the cutest things. like ever. and i just realized about everyone else commented on them too.
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48 Jenn @ Peas and Crayons November 3, 2011 at 2:55 pm

I feel lazy. While you were running the marine marathon I was pop lock and dropping it at the ball. I’m certain your legs hurt more than mine =) haha but mine HURT! <3

OOrah biotch!
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49 Alyssa November 5, 2011 at 12:38 am

I also ran MCM and the weaving was insane! I’m glad you enjoyed it, and your time was incredible! I saw several people with large pictures of their runners (or maybe I saw your parents several times and was delirious – extremely probable). My parents also came to my first marathon and it made it so amazing – you must have loved it! Did you see the miniature horse at mile 13? congrats!
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50 Melissa November 6, 2011 at 4:03 pm

I am still blown away by how fast you ran this marathon, your first! You are so damn speedy! Love the life-sized photo of you that your parents had – definitely an easy way to spot your cheering crew πŸ™‚ The first photo in this post really shows how happy you were when you finished this race – glad you had such an amazing first 26.2 experience! Congrats on a phenomenal race Alyssa. Now give me some of your speediness, please and thank you πŸ˜‰
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51 Shannon [Tropical Eats] November 8, 2011 at 12:36 am

sa-weeet! Great job, MARATHONER!
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52 chelsea November 9, 2011 at 8:46 pm

I just love your energy! You can tell you have so much just by how you write and post! Love it! Way to kick some serious butt at your first marathon!


53 Daryl Pendleton January 10, 2012 at 7:58 am

Totally awesome.


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