Tuesday, November 01, 2011
WOW... just.. wow. It was even more amazing than I thought, and I actually felt even better than I thought I would afterwards!
The weekend started out on Saturday in the 30s, with a dreary drizzle. Little man was signed up for the Kids Fun Run, so off we went. We must be the world's worst parents.. or at least the worst-prepared! We did not pack rain coats, and the golf umbrella that I normally keep in the Jeep somehow ended up at home...leaving us with my purse umbrella, big enough to cover our heads and 1 shoulder apiece!
With the weather the way it was, the Marines in charge pretty much let you run in whatever wave you wanted to, instead of making people wait around for their scheduled wave. James hopped into one about 20-30 mins after we got there. I have never seen that boy run so fast! His form was amazing, and he beat about 2/3 of the other kids, running the entire time. It was a cool race, there were Pentagon motorcycle copes with sirens and lights to lead the racers. There was confetti canon to start them off... and then there was a lot of rain! At the end, they got their medals (well-earned, I say!), a sack of snacks, and he was ready to go! My son has now run in worse conditions than I ever have!
The morning of the marathon was a different story. Clear skies, just really damned cold! I walked about 1/2 mile from the hotel with some other runners to get to the Pentagon. I then waited by the metro for Running Buddy, who washed in on a wave of about 20,000 other people (seriously, I have never in my life seen that many people pour out of a Metro station!). We made our way to Runner's Village to drop off our bags, use the facilities, and make our way to the starting corral.. about another 1/2 mile down the road!
The sun started to rise, Ospreys flew directly overhead, and there was much rejoicing! It was an amazing way to greet the day! Fair warning, I am going to use the word "amazing" alot in this post!
We started off near Arlington Cemetary, then made our way down Route 110 towards Roslyn. People were lined up along the entire route, there were fewer spots during this race without spectators than there were with. The first hill was in Roslyn. Not a bad one, really, and there were two cranes that had been left on either side of the road, with an American flag hanging between them, low enough that you could run under it and touch it as you passed.. so of course everyone did! At the top of the hill, we turned and headed down Spout Run Parkway, a really pretty stretch of road that ended facing the Potomac, with all of DC laid out in front of us!
We turned and ran alongside the river, then over the bridge into Georgetown. There was another very picturesque stretch along the river before heading up another hill that took us through some neighborhoods. By now we were at about mile 8, where I lost approx 10 mins waiting for a damned porta-potty (note to self, scope out more ideal locations in the future or just pee in the friggin' woods like the hundreds of other people!). Anyhoo, downhill from here into downtown Georgetown.
This was where I started to get a little choked up. There were bands, singers, spectators high-fiving everyone, and this was where it hit me.. I was running my marathon! The big day that I'd been training for since Feb was here, and I was in it right now.. and feeling great! I choked it down so that I didn't lose it, and on we went. Another little downhill run, then left along the Potomac some more and under the Kennedy Center.
Next we passed the Lincoln memorial, and hubby and boy missed me by about 10 minutes (I was too fast!). We hooked up on the phone and made plans for them to see me at mile 16, which went past the LM again. There was a long stretch along the National Harbor which got pretty chilly again! We headed back to the mall, and passed the new WWII and MLKJr memorials, as well as Mr. Lincoln. There were my boys! I did stop for minute or two to hug and kiss (James asked, "now can we go, mommy?"), and RB took a quick pic. After bidding them farewell, I once again got a little verklempt!
Now we ran the Mall... we passed just about every museum in the Smithsonian! We circled past the Capitol, and as we started back down, there were race photographers sitting in the path of the runners, catching shots of us with the Capitol in the background... how cool is that?! Back down the Mall, then on to Beat the Bridge!! We did, but it was at this point that RB's tank was running low. He'd made it clear during training that if he could beat the bridge, there was a chance he'd walk the last 6, or do a 50/50 run/walk. We crossed the bridge together, and parted ways right after that.
I was still loaded with energy, and took off! Through Crystal City, where the streets were packed with spectators and music, the a turnaround back towards the Pentagon. I started passing people left and right, as I think alot of people took it easier once they beat the bridge. From there it was a short hop over to Route 11o, and the final stretch. That last mile lasted forever!!! I was just so excited at that point that it seemed to take ages to see the finish line, but there it was.
The crowd of runners veered left up the hill to Iwo Jima. I plowed up with them, and about halfway, I started to get a little choked up again, and that made my throat close up. I could not believe I was that close to the finish line and wheezing! I made myself calm down so that I could, ya know, keep breathing and such! I crossed it strong, and started getting emotional.. again! I was afraid they were going to think I was having a medical emergency if I didn't tamp it down, so I did! I got my space blanket, got in line for my medal, and a very nice Marine asked me how my race went! I told him it was great, he congratulated me, and gave me the best looking medal I've ever seen!
RB came in about 20 minutes later, we got our finisher pics in front of the Iwo Jima memorial, and went to go find our families.
Two days later, I am still grinning my face off! I loved every minute of it, my training paid off, I stuck to my plan, and I couldn't have enjoyed it more!
Will past another entry later with what worked really well for me, and what others might want to think about if doing this race in the future. Til then, I'm off to stick my 26.2 sticker on the Jeep!