So, did I get into the Marine Corps Marathon?

MCMAs soon as I woke up this morning, I began obsessively checking my email to find out if I had won entry to the Marine Corps Marathon. The lottery was drawn at 12:01 a.m. but officials on the race’s Facebook and Twitter pages insisted it would take all day for the notifications to go out.

A little before 6:30, there was no word but I wasn’t worried yet. But by the time I got to work around 8:15, I started to see Tweets and Facebook messages from people who had gotten in. I kept my personal email open on my work computer all day. I pounced on every email that came in, hoping it would be THE email. I tried to not to get discouraged. The race’s Twitter account reassured followers that it would take until 4 p.m. for all the email notifications to get through. Someone said the race fee would show up on your bank account before you got the email so  I checked my bank account constantly. Aside from some weird pending $2 withdrawal, there was no sign of an entry fee being taken out of my account.

Joe texted me later in the morning that he had gotten in (does any Marine NOT get in?). He was far less excited by the prospect, probably because I had entered him in the lottery against his will. (Joe, that’s called payback for signing me up for Tough Mudder a few years ago.)

Thankfully I had plenty of work to keep me busy, but my heart began to sink as the day wore on. Sure, it would be a relief to not have to run some crazy number of miles. But right now, I feel like I’m in the best place mentally to give a marathon a go. I WANTED that entry.

By 5:30 p.m., the marathon’s Twitter account announced all entrants had been notified. I didn’t get in and I was majorly bummed. This is the second time in recent months I haven’t gotten into a race I really wanted to do (the Nike Women’s Half Marathon being the first).

So what now? For a while I toyed with the idea of the Baltimore Marathon. Honestly though, the Marine Corps Marathon  holds a special place in my heart for obvious reasons. I want the Marine Corps Marathon to be my first marathon.

So I’m doing the next best thing. I’ve joined the Semper Fi Fund Team for the marathon. The Semper Fi Fund  is a nonprofit that provides immediate financial assistance and lifetime support for injured and critically ill members of the U.S. Armed Forces and their families. They maintain an extremely low overhead and have high ratings from charity watch dog groups (trust me, I did some research before I decided which team to join up with).

In some ways, I’m so thankful this happened. Running for a cause other than my own selfish pride can only drive me more. When training get tough, I’ll have those men and women of our armed forces to run for. They’re an inspiration greater than any internal motivation and I’m so honored to get the chance to run with the Semper Fi Fund Team.

BUT FIRST, I have to raise $500 for the Semper Fi Fund before Aug. 1 so that I can officially register for the race. So if you’d like to contribute to my goal, visit http://www.active.com/donate/semperfifundmcm2014/SFFLCarrol. Any little bit helps! And if you make a donation, I promise to buy you a beer and a shot the next time I see you! Spread the word!

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