23 December 2013

Marine Corp Marathon Recap

OMG! I cannot tell you how excited I was for this weekend.  It all started back in the spring, when I spent 75 minutes getting myself registered for Marine Corp Marathon - dealing with the insanity of Active.com - and then another 45 minutes getting Marcia and Christine registered so we could all enjoy the awesomeness of running in my favorite city.  On the Climate Ride, I had met another Virginian who lived right near the start line for the race, and offered to let Marcia and I stay at their house!  Such wonderful generosity, not to mention an AMAZING home.

Together again!
So, Saturday morning rolled around and I was at the airport to pick up my friend Marcia.  It was so great to see each other again, even though it had only been two weeks since we'd seen each other at Chicago, and would see each other again in another two weeks at Wine & Dine.  We headed straight to the expo so she could get her bib and check in with the 26.2 with Donna folks and help out at the expo as the official Social Media Butterfly!  Yeah, I know some pretty awesome people.

Leaving my mark on the wall
We soaked up all the awesome expo-ness that we could, help avoid a mild catastrophe at a booth, and then were off for the rest of our fun.

We were famous - made it on the official photo feed!
It was off to the official pasta dinner, with Runner's World CEO David Willey as the keynote speaker for the evening.  Before his talk we had some fun entertainment from "the wait staff" who were actually professional singers.  Quite entertaining seeing the Italian and French guys have a sing off!  David's talk was about the most inspirational runners he's met in his role with Runner's World, and it was great to hear about runners I knew and some that I didn't - I can't wait to finally start receiving my own copy of the magazine every month!  Dinner was yummy, and afterwards when Marcia went over to say hi to the Runner's World gang we even got a personal invite to their post-race party!  But soon enough it was time to head to be so we could be ready for our big morning - 26.2 miles of blissful running in our nation's capital.

The alarm went off early - but not runDisney early since we were so conveniently located near the start.  We bundled up before heading out to the start, and decided to take the metro down to the Pentagon station, instead of trying to walk.  It was really about the same either way.  It was chilly, and we got to the start as the paratroopers were jumping in with some gigantic American flags.  We unfortunately missed the National Anthem, but we parted ways once we finished breakfast and dropped off our bags at bag check, since we were each running our own race that morning.

I spy the start line!
I found my pace group and tried to warm up before I discarded my clothes to donate to local charities.  I broke all the rules and wore my new Newton Gravity for the race - I'd run a few times in them, but of course hadn't gotten any "major" miles in them.  But they were spectacular!!

In Chicago, I had forgotten my headphones, so I had a tough time keeping on my intervals.  This time I made sure I had my headphones, and did my best to stick to my 4/1 intervals.  I did start getting sore, so I slowed down and stretched some, and was able to get back in the groove.

The course took us through Arlington, out and across I-66 (I think that's technically the Crystal City area... I'm not totally up on my geography around DC), back down and along Rock Creek Parkway, into the District, around the Mall, across the 14th Street Bridge, through Pentegon City and back in for the finish near the Marine Memorial!  If you haven't seen my multiple Runkeeper posts in DC - I absolutely LOVE running in this city.  This race was fantastic because it took me through so many different parts of town.  For 2014 the Marine Corp Marathon is going to a lottery, and I highly recommend this race to ANYONE, whether it's your 1st or 1000th marathon.

I did it!
After I crossed that finish line, I soaked in all the amazingness of completing my third marathon in a year, and especially of conquering this race.  I tried to thank every single marine I passed along the course, but I definitely made sure to look the marine in the eye and thank him when he handed me my medal!  The freedoms we enjoy every single day are thanks to the men and women that serve in our military and there is nothing I can ever do to repay them for that service.  If you are a service member reading this - THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR ALL YOU DAY!  And thank you also to your family, that makes the sacrifice of sending you off to defend our country.

I finally made it to the finish village and met up with Marcia.  We tried really hard to make it to the Runner's World party, but we just couldn't manuever our way back to where it was, so we gave up and headed to our pad for the weekend, got a shower and a recommendation for a burger joint, and headed off for some yummy post-race goodness.  It was another early bedtime, as we were both worn out from our early wake up call and - oh yeah - we ran 26.2 miles!

Here's my confession: I actually got sick around midnight that night.  As I was laying on the bathroom floor I started thinking back to the day I got sick on the ride, and I realized that for both instances, more than likely, my problem was dehydration.  While I didn't actually throw up that night on the ride, I did this night, so maybe it wasn't the same, but who knows (and sorry to share so much).  But once I threw up I felt much better and went back to bed.  And I'm pretty sure this is the first time Marcia is hearing of this... sorry I didn't tell you!

The next morning she was flying back to Florida, but before I dropped her off at the airport, we made another trip in to the District for some sight seeing.  We hadn't really had a chance to do this Saturday or Sunday, and even though we had run 26.2 miles the day before, we still conquered the steps of the Lincoln Memorial!  It was an all around fantastic weekend - even with the midnight sickness - and I was so glad to share it with one of my #CorralG sisters :)

We conquered those stairs!
I'm a superhero!!

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