Thursday, October 31, 2013

Marine Corps Marathon Weekend

On Sunday, October 27 I completed my third marathon. The Marine Corps Marathon, aka the People's Marathon, was held in Washington DC. We were worried that the marathon would not happen at all due to the government shut down, but two days before the race director planned to make the official decision to either continue with or cancel the marathon, the government shutdown ended. Hallelujah we were on!

I flew to DC on Friday (thanks to a meeting in Baltimore on Tuesday, I was able to get the job to pay for the flight. Win!) to kick off marathon weekend. The crazy thing about this marathon is that I was not very excited about it. I tried updating my status on social media to somehow excite myself by proxy, but it didn't work. I was very laissez-fair about the whole thing, which will likely be reflected in this recap. I experienced some bull a mishap with my lodging and had to scramble at the last minute to find somewhere to stay. I almost called the whole thing off, but luckily a good friend from Coastal helped me out (Chants help each other). 

Thanks Tim!

Tim picked me up from the airport and we drove into DC to attend the expo. Thank goodness we decided to go to the expo early Friday afternoon because I heard there were ridiculous lines and 2-hour plus wait times on Saturday. Even as we left the expo Friday afternoon, there was a line of at least 50 people wrapped around stanchions outside of the packet pick up tent. We went inside a tent to pick up my packet then across the street to the DC Armory for the Expo. Because of increased security measures, there was a line to get inside. They had to do bag and ID checks. Luckily, Tim is military so we were able to use his ID to get into the shorter, military/no bag line.

The expo was electric and here is where I finally felt a glimmer of excitement. Marines were everywhere helping distribute t-shirts, greet runners and offer encouragement. They even encouraged me to try on my race shirt to make sure it fit. He said that it runs a little small. Usually at race expos, runners are tossed whatever t-shirt size we indicated on the registration form. I really appreciated the care they put into making sure I had the best-fitting shirt. After I picked up my shirt and clear, bag-check bag, we decided to check out the Brooks Running Store. They had an amazing display (sorry, I didn't get a picture) with running mannequins and were selling the official MCM gear. I picked up a few things and looked for the check out. The line to purchase items at the Brooks store was - I promise you - longer than the line at Space Mountain. I remember asking a sales associate "Are we at Disney?" Speaking of, I want to run the Disney marathon. Towards the end of the line, Brooks employees were handing out water. They were very apologetic for the long line and were doing all that they could to make it go faster. I guess a lot of us runners wanted to by our gear from Brooks. I was all Katt Williams, "Don't worry, I'll wait ..." After spending $25 more than my allotted budget we decided to take some pics and head out.

My MCM goal was to beat Oprah. How funny is it that they created this banner?

Every MCM runner's goal is to "Beat the Bridge"

After the expo we made our way to PF Chang's for yet another carb-loading session. I ordered the crab fried rice again (I had eaten it earlier in the week in Indy).

Because two nights before is the mort important night for sleep, I made sure to go to bed early. On Saturday, we made our way back to DC to map out our race day route. Tim lives in Frederick, Maryland which is about 45 miles outside of DC so we had to plan our route to a DC metro, then use the metro to get to the start line. We devised a plan to park near the Friendship Heights Metro stop and ride into the city. I timed everything. The time to get to the metro stop, time spent on the metro to the Pentagon stop and time to walk from the Pentagon to the start line. It was actually a mile and a quarter walk from the metro stop to the starting corrals. 

We passed Runners Village
This is the coral I will line up in on race morning.

Wearing the jacket I waited an hour to purchase at the Expo.

I am definitely glad we were able to do that the day before because 1.25 mile walk would have aggravated me on race morning, not knowing that it would be that long. After doing the necessary recon in DC we headed back for more carbs (this time spaghetti from Romano's Macaroni Grill) and some college football.

We had a few games going on his TV and streaming Baylor vs Kansas via the Watch ESPN app on my iPad. Its amazing how fast and effective the Baylor offense is. We laughed at how the Kansas sideline looked stunned after every scoring play. Their fans must have foreseen the impending butt whooping because only a quarter of the stadium was occupied. You're better than that Kansas. But when you are up against the nation's highest-scoring offense, maybe it is best to watch the massacre from the comforts of your own home rather than in the cold Kansas stadium. Baylor's offense finished with 743 yards and 8 of their 9 scoring drives took fewer than 2 minutes. You gotta watch the first few minutes of a Baylor  football game the same way you have to watch the first few minutes of Scandal. You'll miss so much.

I typically don't sleep well the night before a race. I wake up several times throughout the night frantically looking at my watch. I keep thinking I somehow missed the start. One thing I have done to help me is to place a water bottle next to the bed. Every time I wake up, I use it as an opportunity to stay hydrated by taking a sip of water. Yes, I will eventually have to get up and use the restroom, but I'll be up anyway.

Sunday is race day and in the next post I will recap the marathon itself.


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