Running along Haines point at about mile 13 (taken by a really sweet fellow runner during the race). In fact this runner noticed I was taking pictures along the course and he kindly volunteered to run ahead, then let me catch up.
I continue to be very jet-lagged from Slovenia (I am tired from about 2 p.m. on and wake up super early) but I am now alot less productive than I was my first two days. I can't figure out if it is because of residual tiredness from the change in time zones or a really slow recovery from the marathon.
Marine Corps Marathon was my first marathon. I remember it like it was yesterday. I trained for it using the tips, techniques and workouts outlined in the book by Jeff Galloway "Marathon: You Can Do It!".
This book was invaluable for the suggestions to accomplish a successful marathon finish. I still occasionally read it before a 100 miler because many of the hints are universal for all distances. It also gives excellent advice about what to bring to a marathon (trash-bag for wind/rain/warmth, disposable clothing, pain/stomach meds, extra money... and lots of other items). He also gives advice for the mental games one must play during the tough miles of a race (see the sights, chat with other runners, have semi-controversial topics to jumpstart conversations, give and solicit advice and most importantly enjoy the experience!)
This years marathon experience was exactly what I expected. It was GREAT! There of course were little glitches and things I learned to never do again, but 99% of my race was AMAZING).
On Saturday (the day before the race) I woke up about 2 a.m. I tried to sleep but jet-lag was rearing it's ugly head. At about 4 a.m. I went downstairs and caught up with e-mails to friends. At about 7:30 I went upstairs and climbed on top of Tristan (I was simulating our cat who climbs on Tristan alot). I guess Tristan did not entirely appreciate this, but it did get him up. I suggested I was ready for a day of adventure but the weather was a bit iffy (in fact at 4 a.m. it had torrentially rained). I suggested we go to the EXPO.
My mom, Tristan and I piled into the car and drove to the EXPO at RFK stadium. Sadly I was not entirely sure how to get there so a few wrong turns later we finally arrived (in my defense I have always traveled there using mass transit-the Metro). The line for the EXPO was HUGE!!! But Tristan pointed out that the sign for non-runners pointed to door with no people. We followed this sign and were in the EXPO within 1 minute. This would be the first and last time there were no lines in my marathon experience! This was the first time I had gone to the EXPO on Saturday and I have to say it was a zoo! I am glad I have always asked for all or some of Friday off so I can pick up my packet early.
The Marine Corps Marathon packet pick up and Health and Fitness EXPO is always very large. There were lots of vendors with clothing, food and booths promoting future marathons. I purchased a few items and ate at every food station. I never would have eaten the samples prior to marathon 1-10, but now I am a seasoned ultra-marathoner and all the rules are meant to be violated:-)
At the EXPO I was able to thank my friends Chris and Robyn Gault, who were working there. Chris and Robyn are the proprietors of Fleet Feet Gaithersburg (aka "my source"). They kindly picked up my packet earlier in the week and had left it at their store. They knew I was coming back from Slovenia and were happy to pick up my packet in case I missed any of my connections or had difficulty going to packet pick up. Both Chris and Robyn are really nice and I highly recommend a visit to their store if you are ever in the Gaithersburg area (especially Thursday night at 6:30 when they host a weekly fun run!)
While walking through the EXPO, I was lucky enough to run into several running friends. My friends, Will and Charlie from Annapolis were there. I ran ~5 hours in the last several B&A trail marathons (as well as George Washington Birthday). As Charlie mentioned you never really know someone until you have run 5 hours with them! This was just a sneak peak of all the friends I would run into during the marathon.
In the past 5 years I have met and run with so many nice people. I hope I can run (or at least walk at a fast clip) for the rest of my life so I can continue participating in this sport. This shared experiences and friendships are why I run. This year I have been very fortunate that in every race I have run I have had friends running that were relatively close to me in pace (and of course in most races there are other Marathon Maniacs listed on the Maniacs website...although most Maniacs are quite a bit faster than I). And at each race I have been lucky enough to make new friends. The camaraderie, shared challenges and experiences is what keeps me excited about running future races. I just hope my body can hold up!
Tommorrow I will post my race report.