Monday, November 1, 2010

Marine Corps Marathon (The Pre-Race)

At work on Friday morning one of my co-workers, who runs, gave me a gift bag and said, "two are for now and one is for later." I imagine that she meant the Gatorade and pasta were for now and the big bottle of Champagne was for later. That was officially the kickoff to my marathon weekend!

Friday afternoon I met up with my bestie, B, to head over to the Expo for the Marine Corps Marathon. On the metro ride over to the Convention Center B was telling me of a few other people she knew that were running the race. She didn't have her old skate coach's phone number, but she had heard from through the grapevine that her former coach was running on Sunday. Sure enough, out of 30,000 runners B ran into her former coach at bib pickup. It's a pretty funny and small world in Washington DC.

The Expo itself was pretty crowded, but that could be expected since we got there right around 4:30pm on a Friday workday. Of course, it is the Marine Corps Marathon, so there were Marines everywhere! It was very refreshing to all the mannerly Marines help anyone and everyone who needed assistance during the Expo. I honestly couldn't even guess how many times I heard the "Hoo-rah!" chant made during that afternoon and it carried over during the rest of the weekend.

There were so many things to look at and buy during the Expo. It was sensory overload for runners! The One Mile and Brooks shops were fantastic. Both B and I really wanted a few different shirts from the Brooks shop, but we didn't want to wait in the long check-out line. Only later did we hear from Kristen, B's old skate coach, that the line moved insanely fast :( Oh well, I think we'll both take a look online and see if we can order something.

B and I did stop at this one booth and pick up these amazing t-shirts. B's boyfriend found her t-shirt to be hilarious, whereas the hubs didn't roll over with laughter when he saw my t-shirt. Oh well.

I almost bought this t-shirt just on principle!

Saturday the hubs and I had a fairly low-key day. My initial plan was to go to the Expo on Saturday and then swing by the Jon Stewart/Stephen Colbert rally on Saturday afternoon. My plans changed when my parents confirmed that they were coming down Saturday afternoon.

Later on Saturday night I welcomed my parents and grandma to Baltimore for their first official visit. Coming down the weekend I got married doesn't count as a visit! Hopefully, they liked my dinner consisting of shrimp scampi, grilled asparagus, green peppers, and whole wheat pasta. Maybe that will entice them to visit more often. Plus, I had leftover pineapple upside down cake, which is my dad's favorite, to encourage them to come for more food.

Sunday morning my family left in two waves.

When I came downstairs in my racing outfit my dad said to me, "you're so skinny. I'm worried you're not going to have enough in you to finish."

My response, "dad just wait until you see the skinny chicks running today."

My dad and I left my house at 4:30am sharp. From there we drove down to the Greenbelt Metro Station and made the trip over to the Pentagon Metro Station. My dad had never been on the Metro before, so he kept saying, "I'm following you!" There was a 15 minute delay when we went to switch from the Green to Yellow lines and for a brief moment I panicked, but we made it to the Pentagon just after 6am.

Then, we joined a mass of people and made our way over to the starting area. I think the walk was something close to a mile. It was dark and kind of calming to be walking with so many other people. To put it into perspective it took us close to 15 minutes just to get out of the metro station because the line was so long to swipe your cards to get out.

I had a minor freak out moment when we started to get closer to the bag drop-off point because police officers were stopping everyone to make sure they either were a runner or they were with a runner. My hubs, mom, brother, and grandma left my house at 5:30am and were on the metro. I was worried they wouldn't be able to get in without me! Thankfully, they got to the start line just fine and dandy.

I've waited in some pretty long port-a-potty lines in the past at races, so the first thing I did was seek out the lines and decided to go then. The lines were only two people deep at that point, which made me very happy.

My dad and I then met B and Kristen over at bag drop off. We all checked our bags at one of our assigned UPS trucks (there were 30 trucks!). Then, B gave my dad her phone because she was hoping her phone would circulate from my dad to my hubs who then in turn would give it to her boyfriend. That didn't happen, but it worked out just fine.

Now, it was after 7am so we figured we'd make our way over to the starting area. B, Kristen, and me heading off to the start line.

I swear my dad isn't an alien and he wasn't wearing a costume. Just some strategically placed street lights happen to behind him.

Hilarious story, but you can see that my dad is on the taller side. I was telling him on the metro that B can't reach the tall "Oh-crap" bars. Well, at this point in the morning my dad shared with B that he had to duck under those bars or else he would have banged his forehead.

On the way over to the start we passed a ton of port-a-potties. We saw the Brooks VIP ones which were heated, had flushing toilets, and running water. Pretty spiffy!!!
In continuing with my game plan to have as much fun as possible I was a complete and total ham as much as I possibly could be.

I threw out all conventional wisdom and decided to start the race with B and Kristen. You know, in the 3:40 pace area. Not that I expected to finish ANYWHERE near that time, but I just wanted to start with people I knew.

B and me rocking our Goodwill gear. I didn't go to Frostburg State, but $5 for a comfy and warm hoodie was good enough for me! I also had on magenta fleece pants. In line with other large races any clothes that are "ditched" along the course would be donated to local homeless shelters. The hubs and I had just cleaned our closets out when we moved over the summer, which meant I didn't have anything I wanted to get rid of. A trip to Goodwill was in order!

I don't know what the actual temperature was at this point, all I know was it was cold! I think the temperature at the end of the race was 61 degrees, so that tells you it was probably a bit cooler at 7:30am.

At this point I saw that the port-a-potty lines were nearly non-existent, so I jumped in line for one last stop. I was really hoping not to have to stop during the race!

Finally, we took our places in the mass of people. My dad was able to retreat back up a tiny hill and follow as us three ladies as we weeded through a mass of runners. I'm going to have to remember to wear a bright colored shirt before every race start from here on out. The red hoodie definitely came in handy.

I didn't get to see the hubs before the start of the race :( I told my family that my realistic finishing time would be between 4:30 and 4:45 hours. So when the rest of my family got to the starting area they stayed at that spot. Oh well, next time I would have had my dad called them and told them where I was.

Next, it was off to the races!!!

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