Sunday, November 02, 2008

Marine Corps Marathon and a Week in DC

There is so much to say about DC that I can't possibly cover it all. We had an absolutely wonderful time, sharing the whole adventure with Steve and Lorri.

Traveling on the red-eye worked out okay, though I was worried on Saturday night. I was exhausted, my legs and feet hurt from walking through airports, to and from Metro stops and through the expo. We fell into bed about 8:00 DC time and slept straight through. Miracle of miracles, I felt great when the alarm went off! Our hotel was just a couple blocks from the finish, and with in a mile of the start, so we walked down.

Although it poured rain on Saturday, Sunday bloomed cold and sunny. Lorri, Eric, Steve and I huddled together trying to stay warm before the start. About a half hour before the race, I handed Lorri my coat and headed off to the my start corral, way down the street, near the back of the pack. I met a new Maniac there and chatted with him while we waited, through the start and till my first walk break.

I really had a great race - I kept my pace fairly even, hydrated and ate well, enjoyed the masses of spectators, the spectacular views of DC, even the crowds of runners. I thought it was fun to hear snatches of conversations as I moved through the crowds, particularly when other runners complained about the hills. I wanted to tell them that these inclines barely qualified as hills, though I will say that the uphill finish was hard! I hate to wait in potty lines during a race, but about mile 12 finally realized that with 30,000 people on the course I was going to have to wait in line. It took about 10 minutes to get in and out, which was a bummer, but a nice rest at the same time.

The highlight of my race was an older runner, former Marine, at about mile 23. He was singing cadence songs out loud. I could hear him coming and found myself singing along quietly. As he went by, he said that "someone has to join in", so I did. I was right behind him, echoing his lines, and then another runner joined us. It was great! He pulled me along for two full songs before he stopped singing. When I told him to keep singing, he said "this old Marine is tired, I've got to take a break." I think he would have pulled me in five minutes sooner if he had kept it up! As it was, he came along just when I was starting to tire, and pumped me up enough to finish strong. I crossed the line at 5:44:08 - and - with NO BLISTERS! Not a single one!

The rest of the trip was filled with museums and memorials, escalators and subways, wine and bread and cheese and chocolate. I loved everything about the city - we saw almost all the sights. To my great disappointment, the US History Museum was closed for renovation and it was the one that I was most looking forward to. That just means another trip is in our future. I was awed by the architecture of the Memorials, the Library of Congress, the National Art Museum. I found Arlington National Cemetery very moving, including the Kennedy memorial and the changing of the guard and a wreath laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. I loved reading the quotes engraved in the walls of every memorial we visited - I find words very powerful, and felt awed by all I read. We also got to see Amy and her family - a Y Run Club member that was transferred to DC a while back.

It was a wonderful, relaxing and busy week, shared with great friends. We laughed a lot, had some long and serious discussions, rode Metro and walked everywhere. Steve, Eric and I went out for one run along the Potomac, otherwise we just got up and got going each day. Even though we didn't run, the amount of walking we did made up for it - by the time we returned to the hotel each night my legs and feet felt like I'd run another marathon!

That was our last big trip for the year - we were lucky to do three this year - traveling to Big Sur, the Canadian Death Race and DC. I don't know what next year has in store for us, we haven't planned much beyond December 31. Only time will tell!

PS. MCM was my 24th marathon, 30th race of marathon & ultras combined. I feel incredibly blessed to have had the chance to run all these races in the last two years and one month. Many thanks to all my running friends who have supported me along the way, running long with me, running races with me, reading my posts and sending encouragement my way. Special thanks, as always, to Eric for supporting me, encouraging me and having confidence in me. Life is good.


robtherunner said...

Congrats on the marathon! I'll be interested to hear what 2009 has in store for you.

lizzie lee said...

Dear Michelle, I had the chance to track you and was very happy for you. Yes, DC is so special. I am happy that you love the place. Where did you stay? I feel blessed that I have had the opportunity of coming every month for the last 18 months, since Apr 2007 for work. I have a nice route from my hotel in Arlington (Hyatt), to Iwo Jima, Arlington Cemetery, Memorial Bridge, Lincoln Memorial, National Mall, Capitol and back. Can anybody beat that? If I have to add extra miles, I run around the Tidal Basin and Jefferson Memorial. My first 20-miler last year was here and had the opportunity of knowing more about the city. I LOVE IT and as I told you, the MCM is a Golden Dream. I have to make it happen.

Congratulations for your excellent efforts and all the marathons and ultra you've done so far. Say hi to Eric... and congrats to him too!!

lizzie lee

lizzie lee said...

When I say "coming every month", is because I just landed in DC from Seattle to work here this week. I wanted to visit "my guys" (Iwo Jima -

but it was dark already...

King Arthur said...

That's sounds like a great trip.
Congrats on a successful marathon.
Hopefully I'll see you in Bellingham.

David said...

I am happy to read that you were happy with your time in DC. It's one of my favorite cities with some of my favorite people living nearby.
I wish my MCM in 2006 had been better than it was. I was still a novice marathoner then.

Jenny, Maniac #401 said...

Yeah- I am so glad you had a great marathon and had such a fabulous time in DC. I love it there too. Did you go into the Air and Space Museum and see the exhibit from the US history museum? They moved their most popular things so people could still see them. Can't wait to see you soon!

Legs and Wings said...

Hey, that's blisters. Lose any toenails?

It's good to get away - so much to see in DC. Congrats...and welcome back.

justrun said...

That is so cool. What a great story! That is just how I imagine the MCM to be, WITH actual Marines. :)

And no blisters?! Woohoo!

(Just as a side note-- I have something I may need to talk about with you. It involves 30 of something for my 30th birthday (yes, in a year). I'll bet you can't guess 30 of what. Shhhh. ;) )

Joe said...

Welcome home, Michelle!! I saw your time (and Eric's) so knew you got through.

Man, I've always dreamed of being able to run to real Marine cadences in a marathon!!! And you got to do it!

"Runnin' strong and lookin' good.
We should be in Hollywood!"

Glad you enjoyed the is a marvelous place. The Metro is a great way to get around.

Congrats on all the marathons...really amazing. How cool!!

Mother of Martineau Tribe said...

What a great trip! I've never been and look forward to taking the littles in the near future.
Great marathon, I love the "old marine" at the end!

Laura H said...

Great job - congrats on your marathon! I love that old marine story! For 2009 - think about Biz Johnson marathon. I put it on my calendar though I haven't signed up yet. It'd be fun to know someone else in the race! Welcome back!

Darrell said...

So glad to see this post. You've been silent for quite some time. I was getting worried about you. So glad you enjoyed the MCM and your time in DC. There is so much to see and take in to process.

Enjoy the rest of the year's races at home.

Thomas said...

Congratulations, Michelle, and hurray for the no-blisters. Maybe you feet have finally started to come around.

Bret said...

Wow 30 long races in two years! Nice job! Yeah we did the MCM few years back. It was hot that day for us...only time i finished in the med tent! Fun course tho! Hope to see you two at Autumn Leaves...but I might be in Africa!

Donald said...

DC is such a cool city. I'm glad you had a great race - and a great year, for that matter. Well done!

Anonymous said...

#24 and no blisters? I'd say that's two big milestones there. :) Congrats on another good one! What a fun trip for you. I bet it was very cool to see so much history.

Wes said...

What a treat to make it out to DC for the MCM. Totally rock-in!! You have been quite the busy marathoner since you took the plunge. Do you KNOW how awesome I think that is? I hope so, but I'll tell you again any time you want :-)

Thanks for your best wishes after the Ironman. I know you are always out there, and I never forget :-)

jessica said...

sounds like you had a wonderful time; friends, travel, running, history, and a singing marine - what a trip! Really, no blisters, what did you do differently? Maybe they just decided that you are not going to give up! Your balance of running and family is an inspiration (although it is probably easier when you are both runners....) Hope to see you soon, the Ghost of Seattle is coming up, wanna run together?!

scott keeps running said...

Glad to hear you had a great race and a great trip. A big crowd like that can be fun every now and then. Not too often, though. :)

No blisters - wahoo!

Yvonne said...

great report and nice job! you really make me want to run this one next year - I absolutely love DC too. now rest up!

Anne said...

This marathon has a special place for me, and I'm glad it now does for you too. Blister-free! Whoo-eeee!!!

Dori said...

Congratulations on yet another great race! Cadences really help me, although shouting them out loud wears me out. When I trained with Club Run 4 years ago, we made up a song and I still sing it to myself when I'm racing.

I was in Monterey last weekend and thought of you and Eric. That was a nice weekend for me and I hope we get a chance to hang out at a race again soon. :-)