Scott and Annelise saw me start, then they made their way to the Washington DC Zoo. Annelise had an appointment with a panda. I tell myself they saw me start, but really, who am I kidding? I have never seen such a seething swarm of humanity making its way across the start line.
Race morning was cold and clear. In a word, perfect. I wore my pink tank, black skirt and I borrowed Kristi's tip of wearing thigh length socks on my arms for warmth. As the sun rose, there were breathtaking views to appreciate.
For a large part of the race, I leap frogged with The Juggler. That was fun. I don't know how he managed to juggle for 26.2 miles, but he did.
See, there we are along the Potomac somewhere. I was probably huffing it and he made it look easy by juggling.
Or by the Jefferson Memorial for instance.
There was a brief moment while in Georgetown I wanted to call it a day and just go shopping.
The presence of the Marines was so inspiring. They were at street closures along the course, the mile markers, the water/Powerade stations and at the finish.
They were clean cut, polite, and seemed terribly young. The Marines cheered for us, some pushed us along with a bit of good ol' Marine Corps verbal intimidation and a bull horn, and they cleaned up our messes. I was (and still am) humbled by their service.
I tried to get a self-portrait with the Washington Monument, and couldn't get it. Then I realized it was in the reflection. Cool.
There were several high school and college bands playing along the course and other music too. This drum group was really cool.
I waited until Mile 5 or so to start listening to my iPod, then I only used one ear bud to stay somewhat tuned in to everything around me. It really came in handy at certain will crushing points along the course, like hills and when I thought my feet were about to fall off. In honor of Annelise, Olivia, Kim and other tweeny-boppers, myself included, I added songs from Hairspray and High School Musical 1 and 2 to my play list. I must admit that those catchy, saccharine dripping tunes became my favorites during several points of the race.
Thankfully, I beat the bridge!! You had to make it to the bridge at Mile 20 by a certain time in order to finish and not be swept up by the loser mobile.
I REALLY wanted to be on the opposite side with them. I started to struggle a lot between miles 22-24 because my Garmin was registering about half a mile MORE than what the course markers were saying, so in my mind I was running farther. And I wanted to be finished, because my Garmin said I should be closer to the finish than I was. Does that make sense? I had started my Garmin when I stepped on the timing mat at the start line and it was always approximately .5 MORE than each mile marker. When I finished it said I had run 26.76 miles. Hmm...bitter much?
Anyway, that discrepancy played with my mental mojo a LOT. I also had started walking more than running, so I was kinda mad at myself for that too. My left IT band had gotten pretty tight and my knee had been yelping for a while.
I really want to know whose idea it was to plan the finish line up. a. hill.
But, look... I finished!!! (Yes, The Juggler and the Teddy Roosevelt bobblehead guy beat me.)
After getting my picture taken in front of the Iwo Jima Memorial (how cool is that?!?!), I collapsed in a heap on my Mylar blanket to stretch. I was in such a daze I didn't take any pictures. I managed to find Scott and Annelise in the sea of humanity and limped my way to the Finish Festivities.
However, it turns out I wasn't feeling too festive. We slowly made our way to the Metro station at Rosslyn (another seething mass of humanity) and a sweaty ride (sorry lady beside me) back to Alexandria. And a shower.
After that, I was somewhat revived and completely, shamelessly starving. I said I wanted to eat a burger as big as my head.
Thank you Marine Corps Marathon and Washington DC for helping me celebrate my 40th birthday a little early. It was spectacular!
Ooooh and a Rah.