Maniac Group Shot at the Start!
On October 31st, I got to do five things I LOVE doing:
1) Seeing/running with old friends;
2) Meeting/running with new friends;
3) Dressing in a costume ( I dressed as a Maniac Devil);
4) Running a marathon; and
5) Getting another Maniac star!!
On these points, The Marine Corps Marathon delivered big!
I decided to sign up for the Marine Corps Marathon when I didn't get into New York this year. When my old friend of 20+ years, Chris said he was going to run. I signed up right away! The last time I had seen Chris was about 10 years ago in NYC. He is now an attorney in Washington D.C. and is currently in the Army Reserves and recently home from a tour in Iraq and I couldn't wait to catch up!
I flew into Washington Friday late afternoon. Chris's lovely parents, Tom and Jan were in town visiting as well. They were sooooooo sweet to pick me up from the airport. We met Chris when he got off work and went to a German Beer Garden (complete with oompah band) for dinner. It was great! We headed back to Chris's house (where he so graciously offered up his room to me) for a good night's sleep.
Saturday morning Chris and I headed over to the expo to pick up our race packets.
Heading into the Expo!
Marines at the door.
Chris with Oprah!
Me with Oprah!
Chris picking up his race packet.
Marines are COOL!
My new friends and my MCM shirt!
After the expo we headed down to the National Mall for the Colbert/Stewart rally. It was so crowded! Chris went to work and his parents and I went back to the house for some R&R until dinner. We all went to Georgetown (which was also super crowded) to a little pizza/pasta place for some carbo loading! Then it was back to the house to get ready for race day and get some sleep.
Chris and I waiting for the Metro on race morning.
A few of us Marathon Manics were trying to organize a group photo at the start, but with 30,000+ people, it was a little challenging. Chatting with Dave Mari, we decided that balloons would be the best way to mark where the group would meet up (between the 4:30 & 5:00 pace groups). I just happened to find a black cat sitting on a pumpkin balloon (both Maniac and Halloween appropriate)! While we didn't get every Maniac in the photo, we got quite a few!
The Starting Line!
After the Maniac photo, I ran back to find Chris at the port-a-potties and we made our way to the the starting line. Chris's parents came with us and we handed the cat cat balloon over to them so we could find them after the race.
After the National Anthem the cannon sounded and we were off! It was so crowded it took a while after we crossed the mats to get moving.
There were all kinds of costumes on the course, which made the race even more fun.
Me, Gumby, Elmo and Chris
Hot Dog Man!
Thing 1 and Thing 2!
You know I HAD to get my photo with the DEVO guy!
One of the most AMAZING parts of this race was seeing all the Marines out there. They manned every water stop and mile maker shouting encouragement to all the runners. It always made me smile when we would pass them and someone in the crowd would yell OO RAH!, then they would all yell OO RAH! back.
Chris & I in front of the Washington Monument!
The Lincoln Memorial
There were lots of Maniacs out there!
Annette, Dave Mari and I!
Floyd and I!
He is a REAL Maniac! He carried that flag the while race!
Then there was just the fun of running a huge race!
Chris & I with a blow up doll!
The course was pretty crowded at times, but fun!
The finish was the best! After you pass the Pentagon at mile 25, you head for the finish at The Iwo Jima Memorial. When you hit mile 26, both sides of the chute are lined with Marines shouting "TAKE THAT HILL!!" as the final .2 goes straight up. It was the longest .2 of any marathon I have ever done, but it was the best! You don't even think of walking that hill! While even the finish was congested, it was AWESOME to finish.
We did it!
The Famous Dave Mari and I at the Finish!
I went into this race knowing I would not PR, just for the mere fact that I knew I just wanted to enjoy this race, but I must admit I was a little disappointed and surprised at how slow we finished! I felt great the whole time and Chris didn't look like he even broke a sweat. But once we analyzed the race it made sense. We lost a lot of time due to congestion on the course and the fact that I demanded we stop 5,000 times to take photos was bound to slow us down. Oh well! I wouldn't change a thing! I had a BLAST and I am taking stairs like Superman today! Oh yeah, I GOT MY 4TH MANIAC STAR (for 9 marathons in 9 states in 365 days)!! Whoo Hoo!
HUGE Thanks to Chris and his parents for being such lovely hosts!