The next journey has begun. I am officially registered for the 2010 Marine Corps Marathon.
While registration opened today, I signed up a week and half ago after finishing the Run to Register 10K in Quantico. My wonderful pals Erica and Kelly come along as my ChEAR squad and were there to help me celebrate a new PR with an 11:30 pace.
When I first started running, I said to myself, one day if I am crazy enough to ever want to run a marathon, this is "the one". For some reason it has always had some kind of mystique for me, perhaps due in part to growing up in the MD/DC area and knowing how big an event it is. I remember going to a chiropractor while in college and up on the wall was his medal. Wow, I thought, this guy's nuts.
Another part of the mystique for me also comes from its association with the Marine Corps. My grandfather served in the Marines during World War II and was a drill sergeant during Korea. During World War II, he served at Iwo Jima and witnessed the famous flag raising, the memorial to which now serves as the finish line for the Marathon. After the War, he put a flag up every day, and carefully folded it each night. He taught his grandchildren, one of whom is now a Marine officer, the ritual and honor in doing this. It wasn't until a few years ago when my father and I watched "Flags of Our Fathers" together that I think I truly understood the impact of this event and his service.
The next 6 months are going to be extremely demanding both physically and mentally, as I push my body harder than ever before in an effort to be in the best condition possible for this race. Then, on October 31st, I will join the ranks of Marine Corps Marathon finishers.