I can't believe its been a week since the Marine Corps Marathon! It feels like race day was so long ago. This was my second time running this race, my third full marathon this year, and my sixteenth full marathon ever. Its been a busy few years!
Heading Out to DC
Since I've been burning through my PTO like crazy this year and I'm trying to preserve some days off for the holidays, I decided to work a full day last Friday and then take a redeye out to DC Friday night, arriving at 9am the next morning. Worst. Idea. Ever. I don't think I slept for more than 20 minutes at a time on the flight and I was so exhausted all of Saturday.
Left Beautiful San Diego Friday
Landed in Rainy DC Saturday
David picked me up from the airport, and after having lunch we headed over to the race expo. It was raining at the start of our drive to the expo and by the time we got there the rain had turned to hail. Awesome. AHHH! I have to admit there were several negative thoughts circulating in my mind at this time. "Why did I sign up for this stupid race? Why does the East Coast weather suck all the time? Why do I leave California for races?? Why are non-California races always cold?! Am I really going to run in this?" Sigh.
Freezing Outside the Expo
I forgot about the crappy weather outside though once we entered the expo. I love race expos! Well actually, I just love shopping. Shopping just for running stuff? Why not! I actually have curbed my expo-shopaholic tendencies for the most part and usually only allow myself to pick up a few necessities. I ended up letting myself buy a neon yellow Marine Corps Marathon shirt (safety first!), an iFitness belt (I forgot my Spibelt at home), and a neck buff from Bondi Bands.
Resisted Buying This Shirt
Gave Into Buying This Shirt
David's sister was meeting us at the expo but hadn't arrived yet even by the time we were done walking down every single aisle. We went over to an empty area to sit and wait for her and just enjoyed the fact that we weren't outside. Once Kelli arrived we walked around the expo a bit more and helped her pick out her own neck buff. ( Maybe I'm trendsetting?)
At the Expo With Kelli & David
Wrote a Good Luck Note to David
Race Eve Prep
After leaving the expo our next stop was REI where we loaded up on some race fuel and some hand warmers. I was so freaked out by the cold that I went a little crazy with the hand warmers. I bought the family max pack with several pairs hand, feet, and body warmers. I wanted to make sure I did all I could to stay warm the next day!
Race Day Fuel (We only needed half of that)
We decided on Noodles & Co for our carbo loading dinner which has a great variety of varying 'ethnic' noodles. I got udon of course (so Asian!) and David got mac and cheese (so American!). After dinner we laid out our race outfits and made Metro drop-off plans with David's brother Ken who was kind enough to host us for the night at his place in Arlington. We agreed that Ken would drop us off at the Metro two stops away from the race start on his way to a different Metro stop where he was meeting his girlfriend who he'd be running the 10K with.
Race Outfit Ready to Go!
We only had about 6 hours to sleep Saturday night which normally is fine for me, but I was still tired from barely sleeping the night before. Oh well, what can you do? I made some coffee, prepared our breakfast, and got dressed and ready to go. The drop off and Metro ride went by in a flash, and suddenly we were headed towards the start line in the freezing cold. We had about an hour to kill and I was not happy at all to be outside in the cold for that long.
Trying to Stay Warm in the Metro Station
We waited in line for the portapotties which passed a decent chunk of time, but we still had 1/2 hour to go before race start. We ended up making another loop through the bathroom line (I have a nervous bladder before a race!) and after that we were only about 15 minutes from the race start and I finally accepted that we'd have to peel off some layers to bag check and strip down to the clothing we were going to race in. It was about 35F at the start which felt like 10 below zero to this California girl. I managed to make it through the last 15 minutes before we started with minimal complaining on my part. I was dying to get going so we could warm up!
Long Lines in the Cold
Excited to Just Get Running!
Finally the race started! Yay! We could run! We started to run with the crowd and I waited for my body to warm up after a mile or two. Standing still I'm usually cold ,but the second I get moving my body turns into a furnace. I blame my defunct endocrine system. I almost always end up peeling off layers during cold races until I'm just wearing a short-sleeved shirt and shorts. Well, not this time. I had my neck buff, fleece headband, and gloves on for the whole first half of the race. Even with the hand warmers in my gloves my fingers were still numb! I tried taking my arm warmers off a couple times when my arms started to feel warm, but soon after doing that an icy gust of wind would blow by and I'd have to roll the arm warmers back up. I don't think I finally got rid of most of the extra items (gloves, headband, arm warmers, neck buff) until mile 16 or 18! By then the sun was up but it was so windy and I was so sweaty that I constantly felt cold if the wind hit just right. Ugh!
Covered Up Trying to Stay Warm
David's parents came out to watch the race and we first saw them around mile 16. We saw them two more times on the course and each time they had new signs. Best course support ever! There is nothing better than seeing the smiling faces of loved ones when you're cold, tired, and weary. David's brother and sister had joined his parents after finishing up with the 10K and in the final few miles when we passed his family for the last time Kelli actually ran with us for a mile or so towards the finish.
Running Past the Capital
Running Past the Washington Monument
I was amazed that David and I had stuck to together for the whole race and as each mile ticked by I became happier that my goal of us finishing this race side by side was coming closer and closer to becoming true. (More on my blog Running For Love.) Along the course we saw several runners in costumes (my favorites were a couple dressed as Where's Waldo), on the sidelines we saw dozens of spectators in costume (my favorites were the two sock monkeys of course!), and throughout the course we saw a lot of funny spectator signs. My three favorite signs were 1 - "Worst Parade Ever", 2 - "Chuck Norris Never Ran a Marathon", and 3 - "Honey Badger Can't Run a Marathon". (If you haven't heard of Honey Badger, you have to watch this video!)
David's Parents' Sign #1
David's Parents' Sign #2
David's Parents' Sign #3
The greatest thing about doing a race that you've done before is knowing what to expect along the way. I knew the race was almost dead flat from mile 7 on, but that there was a hill at the very end towards the finish line. Cruel if you ask me. We were doing pretty good as we ran through the final miles, and we kept strong right up the hill to the finish. I've joked with David before that I've wanted to be one of those couples who crosses the finish line hand in hand. In previous races he's turned me down maybe thinking I was joking. For this race I stuck my hand out when we were about 20 yards away from the finish .... and David took it and we crossed the finish line hand in hand. :) Aww!
Finish Line/Wall of People
BUT ... we crossed the finish line and ran almost smack into a wall of runners. I mean we literally had to push forward a bit to make sure our chip registered over the finish line. Eek what a mess! We then shuffled slow motion ahead towards the place where we'd get our solar blanket, get our medal, and take our finisher's pictures.
2011 Finisher's Photo
Flashback - 2009 Finisher's Photo
After making our way through the mob scene, we finally got to the bag check and then the family reunion area where we were meeting the rest of David's family. By then it was about 1pm and we were all starving. We ended up going straight from the race to my favorite post-marathon eatery - Chevy's!
Race Shirt - Cotton Mock Turtleneck??
2011 Marine Corps Marathon Finisher's Medal
Its a Spinner!
Day After the Marathon
The next day I had the extreme luck of getting to "work from home" since I was staying in the area for a couple more days and taking a class with my boss on Tuesday and Wednesday in DC. I spent Monday in my compression socks and comfy clothes answering emails and catching up on some work. The day went by really quickly and soon we were heading over to David's other brother's house to go trick-or-treating with his three little nieces.
Doras & Blueberry Muffin
After a couple hours with two Dora the Explorers and one Blueberry Muffin (and way too much candy grazing on my part), we were headed back to DC where I was checking into my hotel to switch back into serious work mode.
Allen Kids 2011
Flashback - Allen Kids 2009
They Grow So Fast! Little Marathon "Finisher" 2009 vs 2011
Working in DC
The course started Tuesday morning and I was silly enough to try to get up early and hit the gym before class. I did 20 minutes on the elliptical before hopping onto the treadmill to see if I could run one mile. I could! And the next day I ran three! Yipee! I was a bit sore but nothing compared to how I've felt in the past.
Working on my Fitness
Loving the Residence Inn Free Breakfast
My course wrapped up Wednesday afternoon and soon I was back at the airport getting ready to head home. I got home close to midnight Wednesday night and sadly had to be up early for a marathon work and post-work day the next day. I went from work, to coaching Girls on the Run, to going to a 5K planning and Marketing meeting for Girls on the Run, to coming home and laying out our next month's newsletter. O M G I was exhausted by the time I went to bed Thursday night. At midnight again! Ack! Luckily I was able to catch up on some sleep this weekend. What great timing for Daylight Saving.
Drinks With my Boss at the Lincoln Room
This is the "Gettysburg" - red from beet extract
This is the "Gettysburg" - red from beet extract
My next race is this coming weekend! I'll be running the Santa Barbara Half Marathon. After that I have two races over Thanksgiving weekend (The Nitro Turkey 10K Thanksgiving morning and the Quarry Turkey Half Marathon that Saturday), and then finally my last big race of the year - the California International Marathon! In addition to my two trips for races I have two or three more trips for work in the next month or so. The end of this year is going to go by in a blur!