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Maryland Trip, Part II: 2013 Marine Corps Marathon

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Saturday, November 2, 2013

Maryland Trip, Part II: 2013 Marine Corps Marathon

The main reason for our visit, motivating the 14-hour (one-way) drives, was to cheer on my mom running the Marine Corps Marathon in DC. She only started running long distances a few years ago and decided to run her first full marathon to commemorate her 50th birthday celebrated just a few weeks ago. I maybe helped convince her to run by agreeing to run it with her and/or teasing her that no, she was too old and definitely couldn't do it. We both ran the Zooma Annapolis (kind of, but not really) Half Marathon and were all set to start our marathon training program ahead of the curve. Three days into the program, Will and I found out we were pregnant. So, after the excitement of her first two grandbabies' due dates days apart, Big Momma D realized she just lost her MCM running partner. 

Womp, womp.

Luckily, my mom found a new, non-pregnant, non-bulging disked (ahem, EMac) running partner and conquered the course:


Our day started out early with 8AM Mass followed by the Dunkin' Donuts drive-through. Watching people run for hours and hours? Definitely calls for sugary carby energy. Little did we know it would be our last meal for a very very long time . . . . We met up with my stepdad and drove out to park at my mom's hotel in Arlington and take the metro to the National Mall. 

During the short metro ride from the hotel to the Archives stop, we went across the running route, which was pretty cool. There in the background you can see the runners right around Mile 12. Will is still sporting his GO Skins GO! beanie that I believe he took from my dad's house with intent to permanently deprive the owner of possession. That's called larceny. (Lawyer brain cells still firing.) 

Like I said, we hopped off at the Archives - Navy Memorial metro station and trotted across Pennsylvania Ave.  I got to see my old place of employment (as an intern) and future place of employment (as Attorney General, obvi), to my right (only slightly delusional around here), and that place where people argue and get nothing done to my left. Many a sign read: "You run better than Congress!" Always true.

We ended up at the National Mall, where Miles 17-20 were set up.

We posted up at the intersection about a quarter mile before Mile 18 and waited for Big Momma D to make her appearance. We immediately, of course, thanked all Marines in the vicinity for their service. (Our friend Ward was standing at this intersection and had to be up at 2:30AM to stand around at this race! Besides, like, defending our freedom and junk, that is service enough. You, sir, are an American hero.)

"Thank you for your service."
We were here for a while. I was supposed to get text messages when my mom reached each 10K mark, but the first 10K text never came. I was getting a little worried when there was still no text 10K text and we saw this racer drop out: 

She eats and sleeps running! This is so traumatic.

Finally, I received the 20K text and we knew Big Momma D was getting close. Let me just say, it is hard to spot a single runner in a crowded race as big as this. Everyone wore something bright that stood out, so you really had to remain vigilant. Luckily, the 4:45 pacer jogged by with his little ballon-adorned sign, so we knew her arrival was imminent.

Spotted! Behind the man in the bright shirt, duh.

Looking pretty lively for 3.5 hours in!

High fives for the cheering section.

Who wouldn't want some encouragement from this adoring crowd:

^^^Left to right: Karate-chopping Emac, Hooker, Bearded Will, 
Sarah, and Woodad in the right-hand corner. 

After she passed, we just made the very short walk across the Mall to wait again at Water Station 9 near Mile 19.

^^^On your left. 

^^^On your right, wearing some body armor.

There was a lot of trash at the water station, and it was kind of smelly. Thankfully it was only about 15 minutes before we spotted her again, behind---who else---the woman in the bright shirt!:

She paused here to drink some water and talk to us for a bit (which consisted of lots of statements about how this was the worst idea, all my fault, and she'll never run another marathon as long as she lives). Only 6+ miles to go! 


And off they go.

So from here, we walked down to L'Enfant, and got off at the Arlington Cemetery station. From there it was the long walk to the finish line.

But the view of the race wasn't so bad. I couldn't believe how crowded the actual race was, still! (I've only run races that start this crowded, but then half marathon runners break off and the second half of the marathon is much less crowded. There is no such break-away at the MCM. Sorry Kelly C, no spreading your wings and learning to fly.) I'm not sure if it's a good thing or a bad thing.

These two were spotted near the finish line. Nothing beats race fatigue/soreness like a scalp massage from Superman . . . 

^^^Did I mention it was crowded?

At this point, my phone was dead, I hadn't eaten anything in 5 hours, so I was kind of over the picture-taking with my bulky Nikon. Big Momma D crossed the finish line after 4:54:40 (11:14/mile pace) and so this picture is stolen from her Facebook page: 

WOOOOO! Victory. 

Okay, so post-race. It must be documented. We were right by the Rosslyn metro station, but the line to get on the metro went on for literally a mile. Despite, oh, just running 26.2 miles, our group opted to walk allllll the way to the Clarendon metro station (scroll back up for the map, it was crazy) to get back to her hotel. My mom was a trooper. (She even let me devour the banana in her finisher's bag.) My pregnant, hangry self, not so much. Alas, I was undertrained. For marathon observing. 

Getting out of the Finish Festival area was pretty crappy. We were all hungry and tired from standing/walking/running the entire day, but I think if we weren't rushing to get home (mom's friend/hotel roomie had somewhere to be and c'mon, there was a Redskins game on that afternoon) it could have been a lot more enjoyable to relax and enjoy ourselves at the festival.

IN ANY EVENT, a couple days later, this happened:

From my mom's phone...

My track record is not good so you can't really blame her, but the MCM has a liberal bib transfer policy so why not? It only took 3 days for my mom to change her tune ("I'll never run another one ever again - worst idea ever!" to "Maybe next time, I can break 4:30"). That's how it works.

See you next year, MCM.


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At November 7, 2013 at 8:04 PM , Blogger Big Momma D said...

It's exactly like having a baby.
A-cups are a bonus.
I hit a skunk last night :(


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