Monday, October 26, 2015

Just an average race with great monuments.

Getting to the start
This was by far the largest race I’ve ever been a part of. There were 10,000 runners in the 10K and 35,000 in the Marathon. It was crazy and busy. We were picked up at the hotel by Tom and Dianne (my sister-in-law, Libby’s dad and step mom) and they dropped us off at the Metro. The Crystal City Metro at 6:30am on race was crazy. 

Blue Metro Line to 10K start
We got off at the Smithsonian stop and walked to our start. I didn’t think about which metro train we got on and realized after the fact that we were on the blue which was not what I wanted but no worries we got there. From the Smithsonian stop it was about ¾ of a mile walk to the start. We got through security, checked our bag and made our way to the starting line.

The Start
We got in the 1:20 corral and waited for the “boom” of the cannon. The start was packed and there was no getting around people. We ran a half of block before we turned right and then ran a block and turned right again. I’m not sure why they started us that way. It seemed really silly. You would think they could have just started further down Jefferson Drive but whatever.  The first mile felt slow and was a bit slow but like I said before there a ton of people that just won’t get out of the way.  The race was packed and there was never a time in the 6 miles that it wasn’t packed it was a crazy amount of people. Mile 1 came in at 12:06 and was right in front of the Washington Monument. How cool is that? We turned left and headed across the bridge. Just before the bridge was a drumline that were really good. I was feeling good during mile2. The bridge was very anticlimactic. Considering the mantra of the MCM marathoners is “beat the bridge,” it was nothing more than an HOV lane of the interstate…how boring! Mile 2 was my fastest split at 11:51. Right after mile2 (on the bridge) I had to stop to tie my shoe. That is two races in row I had to stop tie my shoe. I guess I need the speed laces again. For some reason that stop messed with my head and my body and I had a horrible race after that. It could also have been the non-stop rain too.

The Middle
After the bridge we ran down the on ramp and shortly after that was the end of mile 3. My mile 3 split was one of my worse at 12:42 but I had to tie my shoe and I was  having a hard time doing it for some reason. The laces were wet and slippery and it took me three attempts to get it right. We had our only water stop just after mile 3. We lost Chris here as he had to use the Porta Potty.  I ate some beans and drank some water and kept moving. We spent mile 4 in Crystal City, near our hotel. It was nice to run there as there were some people cheering us on…or were they cheering on the first two wheel chair marathoners who passed us. Man, were they cruising! The sports beans must have helped because mile 4 was pretty good at 12:22. The crowd support was a big help as well.

The Finish
Mile 5 was lonely. We were running past the Pentagon and there were no spectators to cheer us on. It was a hard area for people to get to so I’m not surprised. But I was surprised at how fast it says I ran (12:18). My legs felt like lead and I was wanted to walk more than run. I think part of that was the loneliness because shortly after the mile 5 sign was a row of Marines. They were cheering us on, high fiving us and just gave me a boast…which is why I’m surprised my pace dropped so much and turned out to be my slowest mile of the whole race at 12:45. Mile 6 was mostly in Arlington National Cemetery. I was so focused on the road in front of me I didn’t even realize it. How sad is that? Somewhere near the end of mile 6 Chris caught up to me. He sprinted on to the finish but I had to walk for a bit. I tried to run to the finish but I had a couple things hindering me. One was the finish was up a hill…for real! I thought about all those marathoners coming behind me and they get to mile 26 and the .2 is up a hill...that is cruel! Any ways it also narrowed as we turned to go up the hill and like I said before, this race was packed from start to finish. There really were no open areas so when all these people turned to get up the hill it felt like all of them stopped to walk. I’m not kidding. How Chris managed to sprint to the finish is beyond me. I was stuck behind all the walkers. It really pissed me off. I knew this wasn’t a great race but I still wanted to sprint to the finish…I ALWAYS sprint to the finish. I managed to get around them but by that point the finish was less than 20 yards in front of me. I’m curious to see the pictures. I don’t think I’ll have a happy face as I wanted to sprint but couldn’t get around everybody. Also the pavement running up the hill was terrible. It was rutted and not smooth at all. Again, I felt bad for the marathoners.

Post Finish
After we got pasted the finish line, the waiting in line started. We waited at least 10 minutes for medals and then there were more lines up to the food. From the finish line to bag pick up was a half a mile, up a hill. Man, I don’t think I want to run this marathon. They are just cruel!  The first stop was the Iwo Jima Statute. 

And then food. I was so desperate for something to drink that I actually drank some Gatorade. If you know me, you know that is shocking because I hate that stuff but I need something. Water was the last thing they handed out. For real!!! I would say that was terrible planning. The post-race food was ok. The food boxes were not great. The animal crackers were good but who really wants Kale chips or a tub of cheese? How the heck are you supposed to eat that? I was relieved when I found the bananas.  Chris, Eric and I eventually made our way to bag pick up. Overall it was a good race. Not my best which I’m disappointed but not my worst either. It doesn’t help we were soaked. 

Pictures, Maps and Splits
A lot of people!

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