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The Journey to the MCM
See How Fellow Runners Prepare for 26.2 Miles!
Meet MCM Runners Club member Lauren Kitchen, 28, from Columbia, MO, an avid runner and experiencedroad race timer training for her sixth MCM; Aetna sponsor representative Jennifer Plasse, 29, from Agawam,MA returning for her third MCM; experienced marathoner and LAPD officer Thomas Davoren, 45, fromSegundo, CA, training for his first MCM; reality TV contestant Lauren Lee, 27, recent competitor on “TheBiggest Loser,” training for her first full marathon; and deployed Marine MSgt Ed Holloway, 43, former All-Marine Track and Field and Marathon team member now training to compete in the MCM Forward at CampLeatherneck, Afghanistan. See how they all cope with race preparation and share their journeys as they trainfor the 37th annual Marine Corps Marathon.
MCM: Why did you choose to participate in the 2012 MCM?
Jennifer: For me, it’s not about running a marathon – it’s about everything the MCM stands for.Having experienced the weekend as a sponsor for the past five years only makes it that muchmore rewarding. I continue to volunteer to lead Aetna’s sponsorship outside of my day to dayresponsibilities because I truly believe it is an honor and a privilege to be involved in an event like theMCM.
Thomas: I am a Police Officer for the City of Los Angeles and we have had two of our officers killedwhile serving in the military in Iraq. So I am running to honor them.
Ed: Well, I enjoy running, and I wanted to get back into it and wanted to run one more MCM beforeI retired. I would have like to have done it there at the original home of the MCM in D.C. finishing atthe Iwo Jima Memorial with friends, but being able to run one of the few MCMs that will ever be ranon Camp Leatherneck will have its own special memories and stories as well.
MCM: How has training been going?
Lauren K.: Training has been going pretty well. Missouri has been hot- we had 15 days in July over100 degrees Fahrenheit- and I've been doing a lousy job of waking up early to beat the heat, so I'vedone some of my short runs inside instead.
Thomas: Training is going well, no problems or injuries to report.
Lauren L.: It’s been difficult but I'm pushing through. It's been a super hot summer and sometimesmy knees just don't want to work. But I always find a way around the obstacles and push through. Ithink it's because I love to run so much.
Jennifer: I just recently competed in the 2012 Ironman competition in Lake Placid, NY. After twoweeks of recovery, I am ready to switch gears and set my sites on a new goal, finishing my thirdMCM!!
MCM: What, if any, training plan are you following?
Thomas: My training is based on Crossfit Endurance, a blend of running and Crossfit workouts. I amhoping to run around a 3:50 minute marathon. My best time so far is a 4:21.
Lauren L.: I have a great group that has been helping me train for the half marathon which is calledRun Farther & Faster. These girls that own this running group have been awesome in helping me train.They have helped me knock off over 30 minutes from my first half marathon to my second. Amazing.
Lauren K: I use a rough version of Hal Higdon’s 18-week plan, trying to hit at least the long runmilestones.
MCM: What is your furthest distance so far?
Lauren K.: My longest run so far has been 13 miles, and I plan to get up to 16 in August.Thomas: I do my long runs on Sunday and so far 11 miles is my longest run.
Lauren L.: My longest distance is 13 miles so far.
MCM: What are your “must have” items for long runs?
Lauren K.: I am really low maintenance on long runs. It's so much easier to just get dressed and go.Nothing fancy, no music, no fuel belts! I'll keep ID in my pocket and carry a water bottle.Thomas: So far just water to keep me hydrated. Once I hit the 15 mile runs I will use Power Bar gels.
Lauren L.: Water to stay cool and hydrated; energy gels for the energy to push through the last coupleof miles; my iPod, because it’s nice to have some tunes while I'm running; a running buddy or group,if I can find someone as crazy as me to run with; and I have become super-good at taking pictures andsometimes talking on the phone while running!!
Jennifer: I can’t live without my Camelback and Clif Bloks.
MCM: What will be your biggest challenges throughout training?
Jennifer: Injury maintenance and prevention is the top thing on my mind while training. About twoyears ago I suffered a serious injury to my left foot, which caused plantar fasciitis, and secondary kneeissues leading me down a long road to recovery. While the pain is manageable, it is always present,and serves as a reminder that training and racing will never be easy.
Lauren L.: Finding time. Now working full time I am going to need to set time aside just for me.Running is always something I love to do but now I am going to need to take care of my body andwork hard to train for my first full marathon. But Run Farther & Faster will help me with my trainingschedule so I’ll have no excuses!
MCM: Ed, what specific challenges will you face while training in-country?
Ed: My biggest challenge will be getting up earlier before work so it is not hot yet or after workrunning at night when it has cooled down. I also expect to be traveling a little more within theater inthe coming months.
MCM: Jennifer, besides race day, what is the biggest MCM Weekend highlight for you as asponsor?
Jennifer: It’s seeing all of the hard work that’s been put into the event come to life. I love getting achance to meet the people who come out to be part of team Aetna and hear them share their storiesof training and what the 10K accomplishment will mean to them. It really makes everything we doto prepare worth it, and it’s also why I will continue to be involved for as long as Aetna is fortunateenough to have a role in the weekend.
MCM: Lauren L., how will your experience on “The Biggest Loser” help you throughout yourtraining?
Lauren L.: On “The Biggest Loser” they taught me how to believe in myself. I have done more inthe last six months than I have in my life. When I have a goal in mind I will do anything to achieveit. Knowing that in October I will be running 26.2 miles, I will be training very hard to not let anyonedown, including myself.
MCM: What are you looking forward to the most about the MCM?
Lauren K.: The race day adrenaline rush.
Jennifer: I love the complete feeling that you get the moment you step through those Armory doorsto pick up your race bib. It’s a sense of community that overwhelms you right away. To see thethousands of eager faces from all walks of life and from all over the world anticipating race day isincredible. What’s unique about the MCM is that it’s not just runners wanting to say they ran “ThePeople’s Marathon,” rather there is a much bigger connection to the people that serve our country –this sense of closeness and patriotism sets the MCM apart from other marathons and is the biggestreason I devote my training to this event.
Thomas: This is my first MCM. I am running it with my wife-her first marathon- and seven otherfamily members. All of us are flying back to D.C. and making it a family vacation for a week.Lauren L.: Checking one more thing off my bucket list. This race will let me know that I CAN doanything. 26.2 miles is a long ways but when you work hard you can do anything.
Ed: The training, helping others to train, encouraging others to do their best, and reliving the greatmemories I had with so many fellow All-Marine Team runners. They will all be with me on the courseout there. This is the bell lap- a long one, but nonetheless, the bell lap.