26.2 Things That Happened During the Marine Corps Marathon Weekend

I’ve put off writing this post because I think I needed this long to process everything that happened this past weekend. My mom and I traveled to DC on Thursday afternoon, went to the race expo Friday and played tourist the rest of the day and all day Saturday, the race was Sunday, and then we came home and I went to work on Monday.

So here is a little synopsis of all that happened!

  1. I learned that you can park in Springfield-Franconia and take the metro into the city. Also, if you aren’t used to public transportation at all, the metro is scary. But we caught on soon enough. But it sure beats trying to drive in the city if you aren’t used to that.
  2. We ate at the worst restaurant ever. We asked a lady at our hotel where we should go for Mexican food. The place she suggested was possibly the worst place we could have eaten. We consulted Yelp for the remainder of the trip.
  3. The race expo happened. 
  4. I bought a ton of Brooks Merchandise. Brooks is the official sponsor of MCM and they had some amazing things in their store for purchase. Since I figured this is possibly the only MCM I will run (at least for a while), I got #allthethings.
  5. Brooks had an amazing photo booth. Not only was the background they gave you pretty cool, but you got an instant print out, and could text them to get it sent to your phone!
  6. I left the expo with tons of free things. Normally I leave race expos with one or two things that I’ll actually use. This time I left with a free t-shirt from Cupid’s Undie Run, a full size box of band aids, tons of stickers, snd some Nuun water bottles (free with purchase).
  7. We shopped until we almost dropped. We had so many great stores within walking distance that we had to hit them all up! Even the ones *coughkatespadecough* that we couldn’t afford.
  8. I ate at the best restaurant ever. If you are ever in DC and want to eat at a semi-fancy restaurant, check out Joe’s Seafood, Prime Steak, and Stone Crab. Every bite of my meal was delicious and when they brought out my crab bisque I wanted to cry at how good it was. I’m convinced that I will never again have food that good in my lifetime.
  9. We went to the National Zoo. I was actually a little disappointed at the Zoo. I went once when I was about 9 and remembered it being about 10 times bigger than it was. (I was also about half the size I am now last time I went). I had hyped it up so much in my mind that it fell a little short of my expectations. But it was still an enjoyable experience.
  10. We tried Baked & Wired. Everyone says to go to Georgetown Cupcake, but take my word for it. These bad boys are the real winning cupcakes of the city.
  11. I tried deep dish pizza for the first time. I promise I did more than eat during this trip. I just have to talk about all the amazing food DC gave us. And that one that wasn’t so good.
  12. I went to bed really early. I tried really hard to fall asleep at 8 on Saturday, but I was starting to get really nervous. My first marathon didn’t go so well last year and I really wanted to redeem myself. It turns out I had good reason to worry because the next morning…
  13. I waited over an hour in the security line. I got off the metro at the start line at 6:20 thinking I would have plenty of time to get in, use the bathroom, and get in my starting corral before the 7:55 gun time. Very quickly we learned that the security line was not moving fast. I made friends with the people around me in line and we talked but soon the clock said 7 and we had barely moved (and when I say barley I mean about 15 feet). At 7:30 we still hadn’t moved much more and everyone was getting antsy. 7:45 rolled around and the Marines operating security decided to speed things up by using metal detector wands instead of just the walk through units they had been using. That sped things up, but it was still chaos.
  14. In that chaos, I lost my headband. Which, I might add, was a brand new Sparkly Soul band I had just bought the day before. We had to remove our jackets if they didn’t have a zipper (mine didn’t) and it popped right off. I didn’t notice it until I was halfway to the start. I HATE running without a band and I was already frazzled from security taking so long. I almost had a meltdown but I had a start line to get to.
  15. I walked almost a mile to the start line. According to my fitbit, I walked almost 3 miles on top of the marathon distance that day. I’m not sure what was before and what was after, but I know the start line was what felt like a mile away from the start.
  16. I started. Just like that (with a quick potty detour, I was on my way to starting my second marathon!)
  17. I ran slower than I wanted, because I really wanted to pace myself. Last year I burnt out at mile 13, and I wasn’t about to let that happen.
  18. The Blue Mile made me cry. At mile 11 I was starting to hit a “man I really don’t want to do this anymore” mentality. Then we hit the blue mile. If you are unfamiliar with MCM, the entirely of mile 11-12 is lined with the faces of those who have fallen while serving in the military. I resolved to look every single man and woman on my side of the road in the eyes and really take in what it meant to be running this race. Suddenly, despite the crying, I wasn’t so tired anymore.
  19. I read a ton of great race signs. Among them were “If you thing this is hard, try growing out bangs!” “You’re not almost there!” (at around mile 2 or so), and my personal favorite, a Shiba Inu with a sign over his head that said “Such fast. Much wow,” (from the Doge meme)
  20. I took selfies with monuments.
  21. At around mile 17, I really wanted to quit. Pretty much more than anything I have ever wanted in my life. I was over the race. I even texted my mom, “I think I’m going to die.” I had forgotten how much I hated running over 15 miles (even though my 20 mile training run had reminded me very well). I actually had to slip into a porta potty and have a bit of a pity party cry fest to get over myself. It was then that I told myself I had to finish, for those who couldn’t run. And for the Girls on the Run girls I was wearing my SoleMates shirt for. My bargain to myself was that if I finished, I would transfer from the full to half at the Outer Banks Marathon.
  22. I beat the bridge. Thankfully, despite my pity party and complain-fest, I beat the dreaded cut off at the bridge. With a lot of time to spare, actually. It felt like it took about 3 years to cross the stupid thing, but I did it.
  23. I got a kiss from the cutest spectator at mile 22. I will always have time to say hi to dogs. Especially French Bulldogs.
  24. I walked the last 2 miles. My feet were screaming. I was hot. I was beyond tired. I hated running. I hated everything. I was nauseous. I was also hungry. But then there was a Marine who said, “Nice socks, now get them to the finish!” I couldn’t not listen to a Marine, so I kept going.
  25. I finished. The finish line at MCM is up a hill. About .25 miles out from the finish the Marines make an almost tunnel and cheer you in. The moment I first saw them I started bawling. I had too many emotions inside me. Not only the pain of running/slogging through 26 miles, but the sadness from the Blue Mile and seeing the many, many people running in memory of fallen service members. The inspiration I had gotten from seeing those wounded running on prosthetics or hand-cycling the marathon. The overwhelming pride of being an American.
  26. I got my medal placed on me by a Marine. And we shared a moment. And a selfie.
And the final thing the final thing, the number 26.2 on this list, is that I swore I would never do another marathon again. That lasted all of two days before I switched to saying “I’m never doing another marathon for a very long time.” Baby steps 🙂
Unlocked a new highest steps in a day badge with my Fitbit!

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