By Friday, the fever and sore throat were gone, but the cough and runny nose lingered. I headed out with my dad to the expo at the DC Convention Center. As expected, the expo was huge. A welcome sight -- no lines whatsoever. There's something patriotic about being handed your bib and shirt by uniformed marines. After dad and I spent a couple hours walking the aisles and picking up samples, we were on our way back home. Unfortunately, we didn't get to meet up with my cousin Patricia, in from Dallas for the race.
Saturday, bright and early, I headed out to the chiropractor. Dr. Lipman did a great job getting me ready for the next day -- all kinds of adjustments and treatments for my cold and my bones. He's also been taping my bad foot/toe with kinesio tape. After a brief return home, I was off to DC.
First stop was to meet my cousin and aunt Beatriz. I haven't seen Patricia in at least ten years. In fact, it seems that the rest of the world knows her as "Trish", but she'll always be Patricia to me. No one would have ever figured these two first cousins would be running marathons together! It was great to see them.
Time to head off to the hotel. As soon as I got into the hotel, I could feel the excitement in the air as there were dozens of Team in Training runners and staff around the hotel. I unpacked, laid out all of my wear and gear for the next day and headed back to the lobby.
Before the run, with one of my training partners, Renn.
Around mile 10, I found myself alone. I don't know where I left Dan and Lou, but my pace was consistent and comfortable, so I continued on.
About mile 16, I started to feel hunger pangs. I had taken a few gels but I needed more. Shortly, I spotted a group with a table set up and various foods for the runners (and walkers, too!) I grabbed a mini bagel and kept on walking, hoping it was all safe to eat.
The most significant time goal is to "Beat the Bridge." The 14th street bridge opens to traffic at 1:15, so you must cross before then -- at mile 20. I was never in danger of the cutoff, but that bridge seemed like it went on forever. Thankfully, a TNT coach from Alabama (wish I knew her name) walked with me for a bit and talked to me. It was a welcome sight.
Next was the funniest thing on the course -- a guy dressed up as the grim reaper with a drum and big sign that said "THE END IS NEAR!" A more welcome sight was never seen.
Back into Virgina, the course takes a short out and back leg from 22-24. Almost immediately, I spot Dan and Lou on the other side. They had struggled as well. I hoped I'd see them at the finish. Next, I saw a couple more familiar faces . . . Mohan and Ohuwa from my local TNT group, along the sidewalk cheering. I gave the each a big hug. An unexpected surprise. TNT support was everywhere, including our local staff contact Bryan. It seemed the he or coach Scott showed up every couple of miles.
As the miles ticked off, the end was, in fact near. I ran the last 2/10 mile or so up the big hill to the Iwo Jima memorial and through the finish line.
At long last, 12 miles of running and 14 miles of walking were done.
Though my Garmin read 6:00:08, officially, I finished in 5:59:56. A disappointing time, considering my goal of an hour quicker and my personal best 7 minutes sooner.
After the finish, it was off to the TNT tent to check in and off to get pictures taken. Then to get my stuff and head on home.
Swag: Long Sleeve T, medal and finishers coin.The Marine Corps Marathon is like no other. It's called "The People's Marathon" as it offers no cash awards so the elites stay home. It's run by the Marines, who man every water station and are everywhere on the course. It is an amazing event.
It was a long day, but a good day. At the end of it all, I can only attribute my issues to training. Having not completed the 20 miler three weeks before, I was basically tapering from the 18 miler six full weeks prior. Not exactly the plan. It's hard to understand the impact of being sick as well. With all of that going against me, I most certainly have no complaints. I finished the event and raised more than $2,500 in the fight against blood cancers.
Thank you all for your support and encouragement. . . until the next one. . .