Two Badass Mother Runners take on the Marine Corps Marathon – Q&A

If you spend time regularly reading our antics on this blog, you’ve seen us mention our running club, Stroller Warriors, from time to time. We are regularly surrounded by women far more inspirational and athletically inclined than we will ever be. Proof of that is two of our fellow Badass Mother Runners who had the opportunity to run the Marine Corps Marathon last weekend.

Meet Kristan C. (left) and Andie C. (right)!

We were wondering all about it, so asked them to share their experience with us:

Q: How long have you been a runner?

KC: I started running just over a year ago.

AC: I’ve been running since the age of 26 so 16 years.

Q: What was the longest distance you had run before doing the MCM?

KC: My longest distance was 16 miles before the marathon. I was very under-trained! Ha!

AC: I’ve run four previous marathons but the longest distance leading up to this race was 20 miles.

Q: What was your motivation for running MCM?

KC: Our flight out of DC was about 10.5 hours after the start of the race! We needed to get home for Halloween and trick or treating with the kiddos. And we flew stand by so there was a very strong chance we would get bumped on our flights. That was my initial motivation because there’s always such a time crunch when you spend any time away from your kids.

But when you dig deeper, you find other motivation was running for those who can’t run. Who have lost their lives serving our country or can’t physically run. I run because I can.

AC: The MCM has always been a bucket list marathon of mine.  I keep saying no more marathons but when the chance to be a part of this one came up, I went for it.  I’ve always heard from friends who have run that it is hands down their favorite and I would always be sad on race day watching other friends post about it so I wanted to see for myself.

Q: Was it easy to sign up for the race? Was there a lottery?

KC: There was a lottery, I was the only Stroller Warrior from Miramar who got in which originally made me think…..what have I done?!

AC: I actually ended up transferring my husband’s bib to me.  Originally, we had thought we would both go out and run it and active duty has a chance to sign up prior to the lottery.  However, after signing him up, he quickly realized he had no desire to ever run a marathon 🙂

Q: Did you have any goals for the race? (PR? Finish?)

KC: To finish!

AC: My goals for this race were different than any marathon prior.  I really wanted to go into this race to enjoy it.  I know that sounds crazy but I wanted to enjoy the sights and sounds and not worry about time when stopping to take pictures or staying with a person that you start a conversation with.  My other goal was to help Kristan finish her first marathon!!

Q: What was your training plan like leading up to MCM? Did you stick to a strict plan or just kind of go with the flow?

KC: I created a plan and wasn’t able to stick to it. With work and my son having soccer and school, and hubby being gone made any type of training incredibly tough. I didn’t run for 2+ weeks leading up to MCM.

AC: For this one the training was a bit tough.  I wasn’t sure that I was running for it until 6 weeks prior to the race.  But luckily I had been training for a Ragnar Trail Relay so my mileage was already up in the double digits and training on hills really does help with the road running.

Q: What kind of pace did you keep at MCM? Was this the plan? Over or under?

KC: I wanted to keep under a 12 minute pace and was able to for about the first 10-ish miles. I finished with a 13 something pace and I’m still happy with it. I had so many obstacles leading up to this race. Plus I stopped at every water stop, I walked when I had food, we took pictures and took our time through the Wear Blue mile to honor our fallen service members.

AC: I honestly have no idea.  I haven’t looked at our time.  Plan was to make sure we made the time cutoffs for The Gauntlet and The Bridge and we did that 🙂

Q: Did you hit “the wall” at any point during the race? If so, what mile and how did you overcome it?

KC: I don’t know about a wall, but I was just done running at like mile 22 or 23. There were no spectators for the last 5-ish miles and that made it very tough. The majority of people were walking and looked broken in one fashion or another. Andie and I had a great time running into other Stroller Warriors from other chapters and that was very motivating. You also get your inspiration from the course. There were two legacy runners who have run every single MCM and that is absolutely impressive. There are Ainsley’s Angels our there pushing people with disabilities for an entire 26.2 miles. There are people who are running for the fallen or running for a family member or friend lost to PTSD. That’s what keeps you going.

AC: No 🙂

Q: Did you have any injuries going into or coming out of the race? If so, how did you deal with them?

KC: No injuries.

AC: Knock on wood but luckily no injuries to speak of.

Making memories!

Q: What were some of the memorable things you saw while running on the course? What was your favorite part about the MCM event as a whole?

KC: So many memories! This entire weekend will forever be in my heart. I literally had a village behind me. On the course though, seeing the legacy runners (2 older gentleman who have run all 41 MCMs), Ainsley’s Angels, all the Wear Blue supporters, all the SWs from all over the world. I used the bathroom at mile 8 I think and there was quite the line. Someone yelled out, “Stroller Warrior, there’s at free bathroom here!” It’s impossible to pick a single moment. The Marines were incredible. The spectators were outstanding. Maybe if I had to choose, having Andie by my side was the most memorable. Running 26.2 miles solo was intimidating. But when Andie was absolutely running with me, it gave me that much more confidence.

AC: Double amputee running the course was amazing as were the legacy runners who have run all 41 years of the marathon.  Talk about no excuses!!  The wear blue mile was the most emotional part of the race.  Seeing the pictures of those that we have lost so young and pictures of them with their kids was absolutely heartbreaking.

The “Wear Blue” Mile

Q: You spent the weekend on the opposite side of the country! Was it easy or hard leaving your kids?

KC: It was so hard. My childcare plans changed 2-3 times in the last couple weeks leading up to MCM. And with my husband being gone all the time, I didn’t want my son to see me as another person who has to leave. He cried every time we talked on the phone so I tried not to call often but I missed him like crazy.

AC: It was hard because they had a lot of fun events that weekend, and I knew that I was missing those events but to be honest, doing a race like that makes me a better mom.  It’s a time for me to remember, reflect and appreciate all that I and my family have.

Q: How do you feel now that you’ve completed the MCM?

KC: Amazing. Like it was our village’s accomplishment. Not just my own. There were dozens of people who contributed to me getting across that finish line and I will forever be grateful. I have no desire to do another marathon because nothing will ever live up to that experience.

AC: Still have a huge grin on  my face every time I talk and/or think about it!

Q: Will you run this race again? Do you recommend this race to others?

KC: I have no desire to do another marathon again. But if I ever get the marathon bug….this would be THE only one I’d want to do. The Marines know how to put on an event!

AC: In an instant!  I would tell people that if you even have the slightest chance to do it, grab that chance with both hands and go for it.  The slogan on the race bib is “Run with purpose…finish with pride” and I think absolutely everyone out there at that race did exactly that.  And the medal that opens up is pretty cool too!!


By Claire

Runs: Half-marathons at most. Prefers relays.
Mom to: 3 boys - no more, no less.
Wine: I'll take a cab.

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