Ready for 26.2!

I can’t believe that in just two short days I’ll be running the Marine Corps Marathon, my third full marathon! On one hand, it seems like I’ve been training FOREVER… but on the other hand it kind of crept up on me. I’m excited but also nervous… it’s been nearly 3 years since I’ve done a full and they are such a different beast from half marathons. Eek!

marine corps marathon health fitness expo 2016

I hit up the expo this morning shortly after it opened to grab my bib. Makes it seem a lot more real to have that in hand!

marine corps marathon 2016 expo 2

I also spent an absurd amount of money on MCM branded Brooks gear at the expo – not only was everything really cute but it also fit well. Worth the hour+ long line to check out (yikes – the expo was a madhouse). I almost didn’t get the 1/2 zip and the second visor, but you guys know those are items I wear alllllll the time and I love the Brooks ones I already own so I figured what the hell. I’m really proud of the fact that I’m running this marathon and I might as well have some fun gear to show it off, especially since I’m not sure I’ll be doing another full anytime soon – I forgot how time intensive and exhausting the training process is! Mad props to those who do full marathons often – you guys are rockstars. This ish is hard.

brooks marine corps marathon branded gear 2016

Speaking of Brooks, as you guys know I’m a Brooks Run Happy Blogger Ambassador and they actually surprised me with a package earlier this week with a long sleeved MCM shirt in it! So nice of them – thanks, guys! They are the main apparel sponsor of the race, which is fun. :)


Anyway! Let’s talk race day plans. What is up with this warm weather forecast, btw? High of 79 in late October?! What the heck! Hoping that randomly changes before Sunday but not likely. Good thing most of my training runs were on what felt like the surface of the sun so at least I’ll be prepared…


In terms of clothing for race day, I’m planning to wear my standard uniform that I wore all summer to train in since I know it works well: 2 liter hydration vest, Garmin 910XT, Chaser 5” Running shorts, Ghost racerback tank, UpRise Crossback sports bra, Run Happy visor, midweight ankle socks, compression sleeves, Brooks Ravenna 7 shoes <—all affiliate links. I may swap out the shorts for my old fave Lululemon ruffled running skirt (which I wore during the Richmond Marathon in 2013) but we’ll see. I like wearing a running skirt for races – makes it feel more like a special occasion. :) It’s black too, though, so if you’re out cheering, here’s what I’ll look like! Hopefully that smile will be on my face, too. :)

marathon training 20 mile long run

I’m also going to wear a trash bag or something around my legs to keep them warm before we start (although it looks like it won’t be too cold in the morning), and a throw-away sweatshirt or something on top that I’ll ditch before we start, too.

Time Goals

In terms of time goals, I want to beat my time from my first marathon, the Richmond Marathon, which was 3:56:48 (9:01 average pace/mile). (My second full marathon, the LA Marathon, was outrageously hot so that one was a lot slower.) My A goal is to finish under 3:55, so that’s what I’ll be aiming for pacing wise; it’s an 8:57 pace per mile so I think it’s definitely doable. Based on my training I could maybe do a bit faster, but I’d rather start conservative and feel good (good being a relative term here… it is a marathon after all) later on in the race vs. being too aggressive and crashing and burning.

My game plan is to start the race aiming for 9 to 9:05 minute miles, and then start inching that down a little bit by the halfway point. Depending how I feel at the 20 mile mark I might try to inch that down a tiny bit more, or just try to hold on for dear life. We’ll see! I’m going to print out two split calculations (from – one with the mile by mile time breakdown for running a 3:54:55 and one with a 3:56:40. My watch is always off on distance during a long race but accurate on time so that will help make sure I’m where I want to be. :)

The Course

There’s a HUGE hill from mile 1 to 2 and my track coach instructed me to just keep it casual and not worry about pace on that – I can make it up on the substantial downhill after it. The rest of the course (besides the steep uphill at mile 4.5) is relatively flat with some slight hills – one around 20.5 and a steep but short uphill at the very end. I’ve ended a bunch of my long runs on it so I’m ready for it!


Knowing this course and having run a lot of it during my training runs is huge because I’m ready for the terrain and know what to expect. Here’s the course map – it starts and ends in Virginia, taking us all over the city in the middle. Very similar to a lot of my long run routes!



I’m planning to do my usual combination of fuel – I’ll start with a mocha Clif shot gel early in the race for some caffeine, then move on to a combination of margarita shot bloks and my homemade nut butter stuffed salty dates.

nut butter stuffed salty dates

So there you have it – my game plan! I just got pumped up re-reading my Richmond Marathon recap – that was such a great day. :)

Before I go, another huge thank you to the Watermelon Board for hooking me up with a bib for this race as part of our partnership this year! (See also some fun recipes I developed for them: Roasted Salmon with Watermelon Salsa and Watermelon Rosemary Popsicles.) I’m so grateful to them for this amazing opportunity! If you’ll be there on Sunday, be sure to snag some free watermelon after the race – they are one of the sponsors and will have a booth in the finisher’s area. :) I can’t wait for that – love watermelon after I run!

GOOD LUCK and have fun to those of you also running on Sunday, whether the marathon or the 10k! See you out there!


  1. 1

    Just curious – how early do you plan to get there to get through security, have time to use the bathroom, have a snack, relax a bit, etc.? I’ve been scanning some of the comments on MCM’s Facebook page and people are making me a little anxious about the security line (I tend to be a time-rushed person). Other than the logistics, I’m so looking forward to Sunday, warm temps and all. Good luck to you!

    • 2

      I’m not sure – I’m thinking of trying to arrive by 6:45… hopefully that’s early enough! At least we know we can start anytime between 7:55 and 8:55 – that makes it a bit less stressful. I definitely want to try to start on time/in my corral, though, so I don’t have to do a lot of weaving! Good luck and have fun out there!

  2. 3
    Track Buddy says

    GOOD LUCK!!!!!!!!! Can’t wait to hear all about it!!!!!

  3. 4

    Best of luck to you!!!!!

  4. 5

    Best wishes for a wonderful 26.2 miles!! Could you please tell me what shoes you are wearing in your bib photo? They are awesome!!

  5. 9

    Good luck Anne! I’ll be cheering for you!

  6. 11

    Weakness is Temporary. Courage is Fuel. Belief is Essential! Triumph is Ahead! You Got This, Anne! Thanks for the months of insight and inspiration. Now Go Have Fun! Good Luck to all the MCM Runners!

  7. 13
    Jenny Paxton says

    I bought ALL the Brooks MCM gear too, so you made me feel better! If we were going to wait in that massive line, make it worth it, right?! I wear my past two year’s half zips tons, so they are great investments. :) We’ve got this!

    • 14

      Haha good glad I’m not the only one! Totally agree re the line – I wasn’t waiting an hour to pay for one shirt. 😉 Good luck and see you out there!!

  8. 15

    Have a fantastic race! It has been fun following along with your training. Your fuel plan also sounds tasty!

    Now that it has been almost 3 weeks from my marathon I definitely question training for 2 marathons in a year again! Haha… It feels like the training fog has finally lifted :P

  9. 16

    Good luck Anne! Your paces are exactly what I’m aiming for in my first marathon next weekend. eeek! I’ll be looking forward to hearing about your race. Remember to have fun! :)

  10. 18

    Love the Brooks running swag!! Good luck and have fun :)

  11. 19

    Wooohooo!! Hope you have a great race and feel good out there! based on our time zone difference you’re probably running right now so I hope you’re doing awesome!! :D Sending you good vibes!

  12. 21

    This might be a very silly question, but how do you eat when you run? Do you need to stop or do you literally eat and run?

    • 22

      I literally eat and run! :) It’s not so bad once you’re used to it — and some things are easier to eat than others so start with gels and really easy to consume stuff at first if you’re new to it!

  13. 23

    Here’s hoping it went well; overcast skies, which are good, a bit warm and humid, but not too windy. All in all, decent conditions, though not ideal. Hope you achieve your goal!

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