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Thursday, November 7, 2013

#64- The Marine Corps Marathon!

I wanted to have this post up earlier, but this year's MCM was just the beginning of a truly incredible 10 days in which I would run the MCM on Sunday, October 27th, followed by the ING New York City Marathon on November 3rd (the following Sunday). Now that I am home, I can try to relive both races here.

This was was third time running the MCM. This has always been on my top 2 list and it did not change this year. I LOVE THIS RACE! This year was fun as I had three other friends running with me! My friends, Teota and Jim and I ascended on my old friend Chris's house late Friday the 25th. We stayed up late chatting, then hit the hay. We wanted to get to the expo early as all the good gear is gone by Saturday and Teota wanted a jacket (which of course was sold out when we got there).

When we got up, Chris suggested that we run to the expo. Not only would we not have to battle parking, the two mile shake out run would be good for us after sitting on a plane for hours. When we got there the line was already really long!
When we finally got in we, picked up our bibs, did a little shopping and went to lunch!

Teota and I picking up our bibs!

The Marine Corps Band!

After lunch we headed back to Chris's house, showered, went to the most disorganized Walmart I have ever seen to pick up some throw away sweats for race morning, and then went to dinner!

Chris, Me, Jim and Teota having fun at Love & H Street Pizza!
Chris has this great pizza place called Love & H Street Pizza near his house that we walked too. They make these incredible personal pizzas. You can get your typical pepperoni and sausage to goat cheese and truffle oil. They were delish! After Pizza, we walked over to this great pie place and ordered 4 pieces of pie to go (all of which was consumed after the race). YUMMY!
After a good nights sleep, we got up early headed out at 5:30am to make sure we could make it to the Maniac photo that I had organized for 7:30am.
Jim, Chris and I waiting for the Metro.

Hangin' with Steven Yee, the Prez of the Marathon Maniacs at the start!
Crazy Maniacs!
Lots of fun Maniacs at the photo! (Photo by Dave Mari) 

Teota and I wasted no time in grabbing cute Marines!
After the group photo we hit the potties, checked our bags, and headed to the start. Before we got there the cannons had already went off and we had already lost Chris!

This is only part of the 30,000 runners!

Moving toward the start!

Teota and I with Miles the MCM Bulldog just before crossing the timing mat!

Teota had a special kilt made with her son Brandon's patches on it. When we saw this man in a kilt, we needed a photo!


Jim, Teota and I hamming it up!

Another cute Marine!

We ran into our Sarasota friend Mary on the course! Last year, Mary celebrated her 100th marathon at MCM.

Teota, Mary and I
As much fun as we were having, we were also running to honor Teota's son Sgt. Brandon Parr, who gave his life for our freedom.

MCM is the best tour of Washington, D.C. anyone can have!


Teota and I at the Washington Monument

Teota, Louie, The Rev, and I
Jim and I in front of the U.S. Capitol

We also found our New Jersey friend Peggy (and another cute Marine) at the U.S. Capitol)
Our New Jersey girl Maricar, Teota and I hittng on Marines at the water stop!
As I mentioned earlier, we were having a blast, but there is a serious side of MCM. The MCM brings together families and friends of fallen service men and women, wounded warrriers, active duty service men and women and everyone in between all to honor those who sacrifice their safety and sometimes their lives for our freedom. There is no more evident part of the course as "The Blue Mile".
At this part of the course the photos of fallen Marines line the course as far as the eye can see. It is almost impossible not to cry going through this section. What hits me every time is how young these brave men and women were when they died. This section was especially tough on our dear Teota.

Some things are more important than running. (photo by Jim Levy)

Flags are held all along "The Blue Mile"


We were running much slower than usual, but had plenty of time to "beat the bridge" at around mile 20. Once we we safe we relaxed and just enjoyed the rest of the race!

There were so many people carrying flags! It was pretty awesome.
Coming into the last mile we could see the finish and was ready to celebrate!!
During the last mile, we ran into our friend Patti K, who with a broken ankle, walked Chicago and ran/walked MCM! Even with an injury this girl is fast! I joked with her about not getting beat by someone this a broken ankle as I watched her run away to the finish! I can still say I ran close to Patti (nobody needs to know the details) Hee Hee!

Teota, Jim and I seconds after finishing!!
Getting my medal from yet another cute Marine!

What a great place to finish! In front of the Iwo Jima Memorial.
After the race as we headed out to pick up our gear bags, I saw a Marine with a megaphone shouting directions. I walked up to him and asked him if I could use his megaphone. He handed it over and I shouted for Teota to come over. I laughed and handed back the megaphone. It was then that Marine said "I know you two"! We broke out laughing when we realized it was the same Marine that kept getting mad at me for wanting to sit on the grass last year (see last year's MCM post)! I asked him why there were people sitting on the grass this year and his answer? That's not MY section this year! OMH!! That was funny! 
When we finally made it back to our bags, there was Chris! A fellow Maniac, Julia K. was celebrating her 100th marathon, so we all started walking up to the restaurant where the party was being held, but after walking about a mile once we saw the train with no lines, the vote went to getting on the train and heading home. But CONGRATULATIONS JULIA! Also CONGRATULATIONS to BRIAN W. for completing his 50 States!! YOU GUYS ARE AMAZING!
Once back to the house, we showered, went back to the Love & H Street Pizza! We ate pizza and the pie from the night before and before you knew it everyone was asleep.
Teota and Jim left the next morning and I did some sightseeing.
Where Abraham Lincoln was shot...
...and where he died.

I hit the National Archives to see the Constitution, The Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights up close and personal.

Out of all the wonderful things from the National Archives I could have walked out with, you know I left with this!
Later that night, I hooked up with my twin, Angel!!! She was in town for business so Chris and I met her for dinner and a little hell raising!

My twin, Chris and I!
After dinner, Chris drove my sister and I back to her hotel. The next morning, I said goodbye to my twin and hit the bus to New York City!!!!
I would like to take this opportunity to say THANK YOU my long time friend Chris Carnahan for his AMAZING hospitality!! He always comes through for me and my friends!! I love you bro!!!!

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