Marine Corps Marathon - Before the Race

FYI, most of this recap will be in photos.  Because I ran it at a comfortable pace, there are no tales of cramps or aches or much of anything.  I just spent the day sharing stories, taking photos, and oh yeah, running 26.2 miles.

FRIDAY -

Got to the airport and had my first blogger meet-up!  I happened to be on the same airplane as That Pink Girl.  We got a little time to hang at the airport, but not much.

I scored with an empty row on the airplane, but last minute, a guy came from his crowded row in the back and sat with me.  I'm not much of a chatter on the airplane (I know, shocking), but somehow, we got into a discussion... the man's name was Dana Bowman.  This guy is amazing... he's currently retired from the Army Special Forces and their elite parachute team.  In 1994, during training, he had a mid-air collision severing both of his legs.  Nine months after the accident, he was back to jumping out of perfectly good airplanes!  Dana was headed to the Marine Corps Marathon, as well.  He and his teammates were jumping another double amputee into the start of the event.  Amazing story!

After landing, I went straight to the expo... I literally threw my bag into my mom's trunk and then headed straight to metro.  The expo was like a well oiled machine...

Getting your packet from a uniformed Marine wasn't such a bad thing...

My expo loot!!!  Well, my sideways expo loot!

Friday night, I relaxed at home with mom and my oldest (in terms of years we've known each other) friend, Erin came over to hang out.  We got quite the ab workout from all the laughter.
SATURDAY -
There may have been a smidge of sleeping in, but I was out of bed by 8am (which was really only 7 on my internal clock).  I mostly relaxed, chugged water, and made countless bathroom trips until it was time to head to lunch.  I had a hot date for lunch, you might recognize her...

Tonia from Racing with Babes.   She's as awesomesauce as you might imagine, and she's going to rock a PR tomorrow in NYC.  And can I just say, although she might kill me, that I've never been so comfortable shoving my face full of food, because she cleaned her plate just as fast.  As if sharing a meal together wasn't enough, she also came bearing gifts... pumpkin muffins with cinnamon chips.  Must. Have. Recipe.  Little clouds of heaven.  YUM.

And because I know the way to Tonia's heart, after lunch, I had already scouted the location of the nearest cupcake bakery.  And look at these little mini's...
Pretty sure they are so small that the calories don't even count, right?  I was back and forth on which two I was going to get until Tonia reminded me I was running 26.2 miles the next day, so yes, I got all 3 flavors I wanted (in all seriousness though, 3 of them was still less than a normal-sized cupcake).
Did I mention yet that it was freezing cold on Saturday?  It was raining most of the day, and we even saw some snow in the afternoon.  Not exactly the weather I was expecting for an October race... so I had to do a little change to my outfit since I am a super wimp in cold weather.

All ready to go.

SUNDAY -

Race day and of course, I couldn't sleep.  Not really a surprise.  I was up at 3am or so and scurrying about.  So was my mom.  Apparently she was just as affected by the race day lack-of-sleep issue!  It was her first time as a spectator.  By 4am, I was texting other MCM'rs - my friend, Brandi, who I went to high school with, and Steph who I was super excited for since this was her first marathon!   By 5am we were in the car and headed toward Arlington, VA.  The traffic:

Yeah, there wasn't any.  It was all clear the whole way.  We stopped about midway there to meet up with Joe (my race buddy for the day) and his friend George and follow them to our parking location.  We were safely parked by about 6:30am, but it was bitterly cold outside, especially with the wind, so other than a quick run to the potty, we sat in the car until 7:15am.

At 7:15am, we said bye to my mom, and headed towards the start... it was a lot longer walk than I thought.   And I wasn't happy about frozen bridges that we skated across:

You can't tell, but all up on the sides of the walk was thick mud.  I should've gone to the bathroom again, but I didn't, because I didn't want to walk through the mud and speed the race with wet muddy shoes.

Ah the sweet site of the starting line!!!

Right after we walked through this, we saw Drew Carey, who waved at us because Joe had on the same flourescent orange jacket as him.  His race report is worth a read, HERE.

We found our way among the 30,000 runners.  But Joe had to run to find the drop bag location.  I stayed put and waited.

I threw off my sweatshirt, but kept the gloves, and we prepared to head out.  It would only take us 7 minutes from gun time to get across the start.  I expected it to take much longer!

And we're OFF!!!
To be continued... (trust me, I wanted to put it in one post, but I think the pictures would overload the server!!!)