This is going to be long, but it’s more for me and hopefully some people will find it useful.
I think I should preface this by saying I am a high stress person. From what people have told me I give off the appearance of being stress-free/care-free, but truth be told I am a big ball of anxiety most of the time. Which means I have spent the past few weeks freaking out about EVERYTHING except, oddly enough, actually running a marathon. Getting to and from the race, freaking out. Figuring out where to eat dinner before and lunch after, freaking out. Mapping out a spectating route for Eric and my parents, freaking out. And good lord, what to wear. I almost had a full blown anxiety attack on this one.
I had had an outfit planned for weeks. Then Saturday morning we woke up to sleeting snow/rain which is the last thing you want to see before running your first marathon. So I packed it all, and just hoped I would make a good decision (I did!).
We had booked tickets to take Megabus from Philly to DC. Our bus was almost an hour late and we were stuck standing outside in the freezing weather the entire time. Cue my mood dropping and my anxiety levels rising. Finally our bus arrived and despite the crappy weather it was a pretty easy ride to DC. Once we got to DC we caught a cab to the expo at the Armory.
I picked up my bib from the Marines and it was super efficient and orderly, which is kind of a big theme for this race (or as Eric said, “It’s all a little too organized.”). We then headed into the expo because I wanted to buy a race shirt but they were already out of my size.
We then caught the metro to Arlington to meet up with my parents at our hotel. My parents flew in from Texas to support me which was really awesome of them! We all stayed at the Hilton Arlington which was a really great hotel choice, mainly because it was within walking distance of the start/finish.
I spent most of the evening obsessively checking the weather and trying different outfit options, yes, I am officially crazy. Final outfit decision: compression socks, tights, short sleeve shirt, arm warmers, throwaway long sleeve shirt, hat, ear warmer, and gloves. I was able to shed the long sleeve shirt, arm warmers, ear warmer and gloves all within the first 5 miles.
I somehow slept a full 8 hours and woke up at 6am to get ready for the race. We hung out in the hotel till around 7 then walked about a mile to the start. Luckily I was able to meet up with Leslie near the start! We did almost every single long run together and so it was really fun to “finish what we started” together. I couldn’t ask for a better running buddy throughout these past 4 months of training.
The entire run is pretty much a blur. So here is my quick and easy run down.
Miles 1-8 were really hilly. I had heard this and Leslie and I had done some hill training, but it was more brutal than I was expecting. The roads were also still icy and you definitely had to watch your step.
Leslie and I both had our names on our shirts and having hundreds of people cheering for you by name is super encouraging.
Jolly Ranchers and Twizzlers are tastier than Shot Bloks and Gu’s.
We split at mile 18 and that’s when I first turned on my music. But the cheering crowd was so loud I could barely hear my music the rest of the race.
Here’s how the last 4 miles went: Oh god, this hurts so bad, maybe I will stop to walk for a bit. Damn, walking hurts just as bad. Hmm well if I run I can get this over with faster, ok legs, let’s run. Holy hell so much pain, let me get up there and walk again. Over and over and over. I think my feet hurt the most.
The last 4 miles felt as long as the first 22 miles.
I barely remember crossing the finish line. It’s all such a blur. I crossed it on 4 hours and 18 minutes and couldn’t be more proud of that time.
I was able to meet up with my family after getting out of the runner’s area and all I wanted to do was sit down. So I just sat down in the middle of the road for about 15 minutes.
I don’t think I could ask for a better race. I never hit the wall or felt like I couldn’t finish it. Sure the last few miles were hard, but I knew I had the strength left to get across the finish.
Thaaaanks for all the support online and offline. It really made me feel special!