National Marathon, here I come!

I was almost wooed by a flat, fast course in Sacramento at the California International


Me after the National Half-Marathon last year. Hoping the full marathon gives me just as many reasons to grin next year.

Marathon, or a similarly flat course in Miami in January, both of which would let me tackle a marathon again sooner rather than later after a disappointing experience at the Marine Corps Marathon Oct. 25.

But armed with the knowledge that, for me, it seems it’s always better to err on the side of too much rest, I’m officially setting my sights on the SunTrust National Marathon on March 20 instead.

In a post for, I list reasons why this race should be on every Washington-area runner’s list: it follows a District-centric route (as opposed to MCM’s Arlington-heavy one) and boasts an unusually fast, though hilly, course (check that post for elevation charts and specifics). But here’s why I think it’s the race for me:

1. It’s smaller than the major fall marathons. While the spectators along the Marine Corps Marathon course were electrifying, the crowds during the first five miles of the race were harrowing. I made the mistake of trying to run with a pace group the first several miles, and actually got caught in a scuffle of four or five runners that ended in one guy falling, hard, and the rest of us stopping to see if he was OK. It was scary stuff I don’t necessarily care to repeat. I think the National Marathon’s limited field of 4,000 marathoners and 8,000 half-marathoners will prevent that.

2. It’s all in my hometown. Running helps me learn and appreciate the ins and outs of wherever I happen to be living, and I don’t want to miss this opportunity to learn more about this awesome city I get to call home.

3. It’s a race I can train for and run in cool weather. Miami was tempting, but after four years of living and running in Florida, I have a serious aversion to running distance races in the heat. The National Half-Marathon was almost uncomfortably cold at the start last year – my ideal race-day temperature. Please remind me of this fact the first time I have to do a long run in sub-20-degree temps.

4. It lets me tap into my most valuable training resource: my amazing and supportive friends, who I know will come cheer for me if I just ask, and if I promise them some sort of yummy post-race dinner in return (friends: start putting in menu requests now). This one is the clincher for running this race — the Shamrock Marathon is the same weekend in Virginia Beach, and that one apparently has a flat, fast course. But it doesn’t have my own personal cadre of supportive spectators, so National Marathon won out.

I’m going to wait until the end of the year to sign up, to make sure I stay healthy and race-ready. But I’m starting to train for hills now, starting with this hilly monster of a route with Pacers Silver Spring tonight.


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8 responses to “National Marathon, here I come!

  1. Courtney

    i am proud of you. i think that the National Marathon should have on it’s “pro” list also the semi-chance of a do-over. You felt your worst in DC… and now let’s look to the NM to have a chance to show DC your best. after all, you DO own that town. Mostly, I am glad that you are going for it again so I can follow your progress. cheers!

  2. A small marathon close to home is definitely a plus. All your resources are near. There’s less bobbing and weaving through the crowd.

    wow… there was a scuffle in a pace group?! I wouldn’t expect drama like that at a race.

    Good luck with winter training! I’ll be out in the Chicago winter training for a spring marathon too. sub-zero temps + lots of wind + ice = Chicagoland running. 🙂

  3. trialsoftraining

    Yay! You’re in!!!!!! 🙂 I hope to be in that support group – Long Runs in DC? Yes, please! I’ll help remind you why we chose to run in sub 20-temps. Just remember those Crazy-Hot 100* HUMID August days…..ugh. Gross.

    😉 When it’s appropriate to start a countdown, just let me know…..

  4. I knew you were going to set your sights on National… ooh that means we can train for it together!

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  6. there are certainly many pluses for national! it’s always tempting to hop into the next marathon sooner rather than later (especially when you want a little revenge) but i must agree it’s wiser to give yourself more time. i’m gonna admit… you may have talked me into this one! 🙂

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