Marine Corps Marathon - The Rest!

(Sorry this post was so delayed... I left you hanging... but my sciatic nerve is being very naughty, and sitting in front of a computer is not my favorite thing right now.)

If you missed part 1, you can find it HERE.  As I mentioned in my last post, a good part of this recap is going to just be photos.  I don't have any stories of pain or angst ... I was pretty much happy and comfortable the whole time since I was running at a relaxed pace to keep my body intact for my key race in a few weeks.

As soon as we hit the start 7 minutes after the gun, we were off... the crowd was thick, but people had lined up surprisingly well because I don't recall doing much weaving, just stuck with the crowd. 

While this looks lovely, the entire first 3 or 4 miles of MCM is uphill.  Even though I'm one of those that doesn't feel warmed up until mile 5, it didn't bother me much because of the excitment of it all and the huge crowds.

I'm not sure if you can read the sign in this photo... but I had to take it for Adam and Beth... it says "Crap your pants if you have to, I've done it before."
Not long after this I just couldn't wait, and I had to stop for a potty break.  The line was ridiculous and people were so slow... it was kind of insane, but I'm so glad I stopped early instead of waiting.  I missed the potty at the start because I didn't want to go through all the mud.  Anyhow... it held me up almost 10 minutes and Joe had continued pressing forward, so I had to catch up.  It was actually fun catching up, I was able to push for a bit at a nice clip and pass hoards of people.  I'm sure they wondered what I was doing and why I was back there if I was zipping through.  Ha.  But it was nice, and made the legs feel good.  I want to say it took me well over a mile to catch up.

Loved running through Georgetown.  The crowd support was amazing... and of course, here we are still shoulder-to-shoulder.  There were moments where a string of 5 in front of us would stop to walk, so we would stop to walk because there was no getting around them.  Fortunately, we didn't care much on this day, because we were in this for the pure enjoyment of it... no care for the clock (although Joe caught me looking at my watch too many times... the funny part is half the time I couldn't even tell you what the watch said because I was just glancing quickly out of habit).  The miles were flying by.

Loved running past the monuments, and I was so distracted that I spent the majority of the race not having a clue what mile we were at. 

I had to run ahead and turn around to take a picture of the sheer mass quantity of cups on the ground at water stops.  Did I mentioned that every water stop was manned with uniformed Marines?   It was amazing... inspiring... loved every second of it.

This was the only time we stopped.  I asked Joe if he'd let me stop to get a photo in front of the Capitol.  He was more than happy to stop for a quick bit.  We asked a spectator to take the photo.  Of course once we did, others saw us and then they stopped, and I'm pretty sure that poor lady was stuck there awhile taking photos!!!

*The* bridge.  This is the big cut-off that everyone tries to beat... thus all the "Beat the Bridge" signs.

Another photo for Adam and Beth...

My first live spotting of a joggler!  Fortunately he was behind me!  I may have been depressed if he joggled faster than I was going.
Had to grab a photo of the Pentagon.
Yes, even running the final stretch up the hill to the finish, I still had the camera out!

My mom was in the grand stands.  I grew up just south of DC, and mom still lives there... this was the first time she's ever gotten to see me run.  The photo above was her view from the grand stands... on the big screen?  All the tweets that tagged #36thMCM

It's pretty, isn't it?  The back is all silver but engraved with "Finisher", "The People's Marathon", and "Arlington, VA".  On the center was Iwo Jima... and yes, the center part spun around.  VERY cool medal. 
I wish I could tell you more about this marathon... about the people I saw - soldiers in full gear - boots and packs, amputees in handcycles, amputees running, Marines pushing jogging strollers with men who couldn't run themselves, National monuments, 9-11 memorial at the Pentagon, running down the mall in front of our Capitol.  Amazing.  Inspiring.  I cannot explain it completely, but if you have a bucket list, you need to get it out now and add this marathon!