So I have had a few days to recover from Sunday’s marathon. Boy, were those days needed! Tomorrow is my last day here in Washington D.C. and then I’ll be headed back to Dallas. I have thoroughly enjoyed my stay here and I almost don’t want to leave! I have gotten to spend some time with so many amazing long lost friends from college. Some of them I haven’t seen in years. It has been nice to reminisce with them and catch up on their lives. One of my best friends got engaged the other day, I am so happy for her!! Congrats Aditi!!!
I am guessing you want to hear a little bit about how the race went, huh? It was absolutely the best marathon experience I’ve had thus far. Yes, I am a little bit bias considering my finish time, but I loved everything about this race. It was the only marathon I’ve done so far that I can honestly say I want to do again. The Marines, awesome volunteers, beautiful mouments and sights along the course, and even down to the runners who support each other along the way really made this one memorable.
Me and my running buddy Laurie flew in Friday and headed over via the Metro to our hotel to drop off our bags, then to the expo to pick up our packets. The Marines gave us our bibs then we went and got our race shirts and did some shopping at the Brooks store. The expo had a lot of great booths, and it was hard not to want to stay in there forever but we made our way out of there.
We were real low key on Friday and ate dinner at the hotel. We stayed at the Capitol Skyline Hotel, and we got a beautiful room overlooking the capitol.
I enjoyed my stay at the hotel but in my opinion it was a little overpriced for the small amount of amenities that they offered. Anyway, I did like the low key-ness of the restaurant. We met a few people at the hotel running the marathon which was cool. Saturday night they even had an Italian buffet for a decent price for the runners. I laid out my clothes after that and got ready for the big day on Sunday.
Sunday morning, race day. I must say I was a little bit bummed because a couple of nights before I accidently dropped my ipod shuffle in the bathroom sink. Awesome, right? Perfect timing. Even after putting it in rice and doing all of those tricks to dry it out…no music. Anyway, so I decided I was going to suck it up and how many long training runs have I done sans the ipod? Like, a bunch. So I decided that music was not going to be my handicap and I had better quit crying and get over it.
Laurie and I took the metro up to the race site which proved to be the perfect way to travel there! I really like how organized the public transportation is in D.C. We got there quickly without the stress of having to drive. It was freezing that morning, temps in the 30s! So I decided against my skirt and went with my hoodie, leggings and compression socks. They worked out perfectly.
We went to line up and the gun went off. It only took us about 3 minutes to pass the start, which I was happy about. We got right near the 4 hour finish corral area which worked out great.
Pretty much the first 5 or so miles the runners were packed and it did not thin out. So I took that to my advantage and made sure to hold back a bit with my pace. I was just about at 9 minute pace at the 10K and was feeling good, and feeling like I was holding back just right. Since I didn’t have my ipod, I decided I would really take in the sights around me, and even talk to some of the runners who were at my pace. One guy I talked to was running his 20th marathon. It was amazing to hear some of the runner’s stories…something I would not have been able to do had I been wearing my ipod. Everyone was so cordial, and encouraging towards one another. Even when the wheelchair athletes went by the runners would say “on your left” or “make a hole!!” for them to get by. I thought that was so cool.
When I hit 30K, I was surprised at how amazing I was feeling. I had picked up my pace to about an 8:45 and felt like I could hold on to it. It was great that I felt like I hadn’t hit a wall or wanted to slow down. Just seeing all of the runners and how determined everyone looked was so motivating. Even at the water stops, the Marines would say “keep it up! you’re doing great!” and it would be just what you needed to hear to keep trucking.
I hit mile 20 and we were on a bridge with a little bit of an incline and a long stretch of road. I started feeling a little tired here but knew I was almost done. So I started talking to myself. Out loud. I didn’t really care who was listening. So I started repeating Phillippians 4:13 to myself and calling out the names of all of the people who I was running for. My dad who has been sick as of late, my late aunt who was an avid runner…all of the people I wanted to be strong for. And it worked…it gave me the determination I needed to keep going. Towards the end…around mile 24-25, I saw people struggling and I encouraged them and told them to keep going, and they encouraged me.
Finally, I saw the finish straight ahead. The finish had one of the biggest uphills, although it was short lived. At that point I was just running off of adrenaline. I finished strong and gave it all I had.
I can definitely say I fought the hardest during this race and felt mentally stronger than I’ve ever felt during a race. I am not sure if it was the Marines, the runners around me, or what that made me feel that way. But I felt it, the whole way. I didn’t want to stop, no matter how tired I was, I ignored all of those thoughts of being tired and kept pushing. Yeah, I definitely felt sore afterwards (and until today, had to go down the stairs backwards) but I wouldn’t change a thing about it. It just so happens that I nailed my sub 4 hour time goal with a finish time of 3:54.
Marathon number 3 is in the books.
I did it.