Oh my, where to start? I said on my Facebook page that the marathon is similar to childbirth, you really can’t remember it all when it is over. Here are a few snippets.
I spent Saturday night in a hotel about a mile from the finish. The idea was to not disrupt my family by making them get up at omygod thirty to take me to the metro and so I could get as much sleep as possible before the race. It sounded good on paper but when my husband dropped me off, I immediately LOST MY SHIT and spent the night crying. I didn’t sleep but an hour or so and spent most of the night imagining myself being swept (not meeting the cutoff time to the bridge) or worse. I was half certain around 2 am that I wasn’t going to even try. It was a very bad night.
Luckily, I managed to talk myself (mostly) out of my funk by morning. I didn’t trust the hotel shuttle so I walked to the metro and braved the crowds. It was then about a mile walk from the Pentagon station to Runner’s Village. I was glad I had walked it the day before for Little Runner’s fun run so I knew exactly where to go.
I didn’t have a ton of time so I immediately headed straight for the portapots. Unfortunately, I had just entered one when the Howitzer blew. A lot of people were still walking to the start and I knew I would be at the back of the pack so I wasn’t too concerned. I was a bit surprised by how long it took to cross the start line. It was about 8:17, even with me arriving late. I thought most everyone would be out by then but I guess it takes time to move 30,000 runners!
Everyone was in great spirits when we started. The weather was perfect, not too cold or windy, and we were all looking forward to the day. I didn’t take any pictures on the course but these were my mental highlights:
– the “hillbilly” band, complete with a wash tub bass and an accompanying washboard playing “You Are My Sunshine” right before an underpass and hearing the runners’ voices reverberating under the bridge as they sang along.
– the Marine Corp band playing the Marines’ Hymn on the steps behind the Lincoln Memorial.
– the Blue Mile on the mostly desolate Hanes Point that featured pictures and names of fallen soldiers and then a long row of volunteers holding full-size American flags. There were many teary eyes during this part of the run.
– Seeing my friends and family four times!! I was so happy they were able to come and support me! It really made all of the difference.
– a high school brass section playing “Sweet Caroline” as we left Hanes Point. I was tiring so no singing but I did bop along to the “duh, duh, duh” part and one of the girls on trumpet gave me a “rock on” sign.
– the row of fraternity boys offering free hugs – some runners were taking them up on the offer! Those poor guys!
– the f-ing 14th Street Bridge! How I hate that bridge! I ran it last year when I did the 10K so I knew it was long and desolate but it was still miserable. A lot of us dropped to a walk once we passed into the “safe” zone where we were no longer in danger of being swept. Some people had friends join them to run across it. I’m definitely doing that next year.
– pushing up the hill at Iwo Jima. By this time, my legs were spent, my feet were killing me, and I was just tired but I ran the last 2/10th of a mile as fast as I could and I pushed up that hill!
Overall, I feel that I fueled well and I performed as best that I could. I’m not thrilled with my time but this was more of a mental challenge than anything. Now that I know that I can do it, I am going to work on improving my speed. I have big plans for next year!