Thousands of runners from around the world swarmed the nations capitol last week for what would be the start of an incredible weekend, this would be my first time running with the Marines and I'm glad I made the trek from CT.
I hit the road early Saturday morning and headed straight to the Armory for to pick up my bib but, no one mentioned the line. Oh my gawd it was insane, to pass the time I played name those kicks.
I've become pretty adept at this silent mind game while engaging in cordial conversations with fellow runners, 30 minutes seemed like some pressed fast forward and the pace especially picked up when a street vendor asked a random stranger to watch their cart while they ran an errand-once the vendor walked away in chorus we all said "free food"!!
Lucky for him no one raided his cart, we waited patiently to get in. Security was tight and we had to pass through a check point once we crossed the threshold we entered an Armory filled with Marines vendors runners and charged with excitement of participation in the people's marathon thoughts of waiting in line were instantly flushed from our minds.
I didn't spend a lot of time at the Expo but, I did manage to hit up a few food sample booths which made the experience reminecent of shopping on a Saturday in a Costco. The Alaskan Salmon squares and pasta salad rocked!! They were located adjacent to Salming booth.
I popped in to bring them greetings from Stefan who's a Salming Ambassador from NJ. David and his team were great I was able to scoup up additional info about the brand in preparation for my upcoming review of the Salming Distance!!! Stay tuned!!!
Even with all the commotion and excitement in the Armory these folks seemed mild mannered and unimpressed. Lol.. For my shake out run the plan was to jog to the start from my hotel, which according to the advertisement on their web site was only a mile away. I laid out my gear for the race and it was at that point I realized I didn't have anything to run in. Duh😁😁😁!!
Fortunately expos usually carry cheapo gear that would fit the build and it was only 10min from where I was staying dwnt DC. Before heading to the Expo I downed to slices of pizza and when I reached the Armory the line dwindled to a trickling of runners. My second trip was missioned focused the plan was to get in/out in record time and return to the hotel change clothes, run, take an Epsom salts bath then sleep.
I found a great deal on a pair of running tights and top for $30 and headed back to the hotel to change and run. I checked with a local hotel staff member for directions and thats when I realized the start was more like 3 miles away... Sugar!! False advertisement, I'm not doing that, so I just ran around dwnt DC. A lavender Epsom Salts Bath with dim lights and music was soothing-afterwards I headed to bed where I tossed/turned a bit before finally falling asleep and beating the alarm up Sunday morning.
This kiosk right here was driving me crazy it was too early in the morning to try and figure out how to get a metro card, fortunalty a fellow runner rescued me and I was able to catch the train with my fellow runners.
Not just any runners, this was a special group of Zombie Runners marching single file in the dark to run with the Marines. Before getting to runners village for baggage drop off there was security check point. The line moved quickly. Now it was a question of hurrying up and wait for God to turn on the lights.
I took care of my bathroom needs prior to leaving the hotel which was a good thing because I'm not really a fan of the porta potties but, they certainly come in handy in a pinch. One of the blessings of getting up early was being able to christen the porta potty-full ceremony.
As the curtains in the sky opened and sun rays burst through the darkness we made our way to the corrals for the opening ceremony. The Marines really know how to put on a show. While I'm standing in the corral I feel a tap on my shoulder and a woman's voice in my ear, "hey you're wearing our favorite shoe".
When I turned around it was a husband and wife team rocking Adidas, she had on the Boston Boost and he was wearing the Adios Boost-he wasn't sure what he was wearing and had to be reminded by his wife. Lol!!! We exchanged a few pleasantries and a good laugh especially when she told me I was going to win the race. She was a BEAST and if I had to bet, my money would be on the wife beating her husband not that he wasn't fit. She just seemed alert energetic you know beastmode-I will beat you up a hill pushing my twins in a stroller look.. What?
Who else would be able to arrange for paratroopers and two Marine Helicopters to fly overhead for the start of a race. We were getting a little antsy because we didn't see the 3:25 pacer. What an awe inspiring experience before the start. Omg!!! The announcer made his finally remarks to kick off the race and I hear what sounded like the deep bass of cannonball explosion in sky and we were off and running.
The first 3 miles were up hill following the red/white pacer balloons and trying to find my stride. Somewhere after the 45min point I took a salt tablet and washed it down with the juice from two orange slices-the taste was refreshing. A 1/4 mile up the road I felt a little side stich that caused me to slow down a till the pain subsided.
At the half way point the official time clocked me 1:43:02 according to my Garmin splits I ran a 1:39:52 and it felt like I was going hard but paced so I slowed down. As the gap between me and the balloons increased it felt like my goal was drifting away but I was still working. Throughout the race we passed a number monuments in our nations capital but it was all blur; what was crystal clear to me were the bright orange blue Boston Jackets along the route. Between mile 19 and 20 I had to use the bathroom WTH!! When I finished in the porta potty I touched my ankles and hit the asphalt.
Those final 6miles were tough but, I kept plugging along and noticed a few runners cramping up and coming to a screeching halt. I stopped at one point to walk about 7 steps then started running again.
As I started over the bridge the 3:35 group passed me and then the 3:45 group passed me. Now it's evident that I'm not going to make my goal and I was at peace with that. I was encouraged by the words of Shalane Flangan after missing her goal of beating Deena Kastor's time in Berlin, "We went big, I don't race conservatively. We'd come to test our limits and we found out today where it was". Sunday I found out what my limits were and I'll work during the off season to make up the next 24min.
Coming through the last mile I took my headphones off so I could hear the crowd and glanced at my watch 26.5, "stop playing this isn't over yet, did someone move the finish line"? What a bitter sweet ending to the 2014 Marathon season for the Sole Man and The Ox Man. I was proud to receive my bling from the Marines.
As I made my old man diddy bop walk to the baggage pick up I stopped for a minute to sit down before my butt hit the curb a guy yells out keep moving-not going to happen. 😳😁😜... Lol!! I knew better, I just needed a moment before continuing to the UPS trucks to change clothes and hop on the Metro back dwntn DC to my Hotel
|Photo Karma... Agreeing to take pics of random strangers in hopes someone will return the favor!!!|
Kids say the damed things and you gotta love em and laugh, leading up to MCM I used the hashtag MCM often without giving it a second thought-apparently MCM also stands for "Man Crush Monday's" and my kids were trying to figure out why I was using it in the first place and why in the world I was posting it on Tuesday and Thursday all out of context. I just buckled over in laughter.
This has been an amazing marathon season for me starting with a Trail Marathon in PA's Grand Canyon and culminated in DC with the Marines. I'm extremely proud of my accomplishments to date and while I didn't reach my goal I made significant progress in that direction.
Michael Jordan suffered a devastating defeat by the Detroit Pistons that caused him to walk off the court with tears in eyes. And while it hurt it didn't crush him as a competitor it only served to make him stronger, he would return the next year and do damage. So on that note it's back to the drawing board, thanks for following along this journey with me😀😃😄!!!