adventures of a marathoner part one: the race

I ran the Marine Corps Marathon! It was only eight days ago and it seems like months ago. I’m doing a three part post to recap the whirl-wind of a week!

Saturday morning I headed to Penn Station to board the Amtrak to Washington, DC. I had no idea what to do when I got to the station. I imagine it’s similar to how people feel when they’ve never flown on a plane before. I had to ask for direction on how to ride the train, and it was super simple. I got there way to early (flight-minded) and sat around waiting for them to announce which track I would be on. When the track was announced it was a mad rush! A bottleneck of people trying to get onto one down escalator. I jumped right on the car that was at the bottom of the escalator and found a whole row open. I somehow kept the row to myself the whole time.

Trains are so luxury! I was very impressed with the size and comfort of the seat, an electrical outlet next to me, spacious bathrooms, and the food car.

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Below the picture of the outlet is the gorgeous Delaware River we cruised down for a bit of the ride and then the Philly skyline from a far. (Little did I know I’d spend plenty of time in Philly just 24 hours later!)  I traveled through NY, NJ, Delaware, Pennsylvania and then Maryland before making it into Union Station.

I grabbed a cab and headed to the MCM race expo to meet my friends from Charlotte! It was a gorgeous and pretty cool day out. My cab ride was so peaceful as it was silent outside and I could hear the crispy leaves blowing in the wind. This is much different from a cab ride in NYC. The number pickup was in a large tent and then we waited in a long line to get inside for the expo. I went through security to get into the expo which was funny to me as there was zero security getting on the train.

We snagged all our gear, did a quick loop through the expo and headed home. We stayed with my friend Kelly and her sister’s family. This included two beautiful and sweet girls, ages 2 and 4. It was SO wonderful having children around! I miss them in my life. I somehow managed to get the whole family into this:

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Watching GA/FL!!! What else would you expect? It was very challenging for me to keep calm and not yell at the TV, and I had to be kind to these people for welcoming me into their home 🙂 Kelly’s sisters prepared a delicious salmon dinner for us. We had rice and some other veggies, and this was plenty of carbloading for me. There’s really no reason to overload on carbs. They paused the game for me while we ate (so sweet!) and then watched the end with me. I had chills and was near tears with excitement that we ACTUALLY WON! My mom said it best, “I’m so glad we won. I was worried if we lost you’d be so angry you wouldn’t sleep well tonight. Now during your race when you are struggling you can think how UGA persevered through the game and won!” I’m sure this sounds silly to many people, but to me it was right on point. We set our alarms for 4:45am and headed to bed early!

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The race was perfect. I didn’t take any pictures during it but it went through and by everyone monument/museum you could imagine in Washington DC and Arlington. If you want to see the course, here it is. There is a picture above of my outfit all laid out (though I changed to tank and windbreaker) and all of us pre-race. The weather was great, about 59 degrees and overcast, as we began the run in Arlington. The course was nearly flat with a decent hill at the beginning that we got right up. My friend Mary Catherine and I ran together the whole way. We had a great convo the night before that if we needed to leave each other we would, no hard feelings. We separated a couple times for water/gu breaks and every time caught back up! Mile 12-15 was one of the hardest parts. It’s around the East Potomac Golf Course and there is no one around. MC and I were very grateful for signs that were placed along it with pretty funny and entertaining sayings. At mile 26.17 there is a short and very steep hill. My legs were beyond gone and I powered up that thing with all my might. We crossed the finish line in 4 hours and 35 minutes! This is 21 minutes faster than my last (first) marathon! I was very pleased with this time and can’t wait for my next race to beat 4 1/2 hours!

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Look how happy I am! This was such fun race. I highly recommend it for anyone! (Also see above for the awesome marathon medal and throwaway jacket.) It made me want to do more marathons, which I had been doubting lately. It got chilly after the race and somehow the rain held off the whole time. We went straight to a sandwich shop and got HUGE meatball and chicken parm subs. I inhaled mine. During lunch I missed a call from one of my BFFs Laura who lives in Philly and happened to be driving through DC Sunday afternoon. With Sandy on her way I decided to hop in the car with her and get to Philly, with hopes of getting on the Amtrak from there Monday morning. Thus begins the rest of my marathon adventures…

 

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