Monday, October 26, 2009

Marine Corps Marathon 2009

Imagine, a post on a running blog that actually has something to do with running!

Since I have been out of commission as far as running is concerned, I haven't had much to write about but babies. But while I am taking the year off, my better half is still running up a storm.

The past few months, J has been training for the Marine Corps Marathon. This weekend was the big race and we headed out to DC for a weekend of running fun.

While I was a little sad to be going as a spectator and not actually run it, I had a fantastic time cheering everyone on and enjoying the beautiful fall weekend. It was definitely a great race to spectate.

We stayed in the Hyatt Regency (the official race hotel) and other than the paper-thin walls (the people next door to us the first night we were there must have been filming a porno), it was a great hotel. It was right down the street from the Capitol and a perfect location as far as Metro, sightseeing and dining access.

Saturday morning we ate an amazing (but expensive) breakfast buffet at the hotel and then walked to the metro to get to the expo. The expo was similar to pretty much every other expo I have been to. It was very well organized, which was nice. But for some reason, I thought there would be a bigger selection of vendors. It didn't seem as though there was anything new that I haven't seen before. It also got really crowded pretty quickly due to the large number of runners.

They did have great Brooks Marine Corps gear, which Jeremy loaded up on. He got a new hat, long sleeved tech and one of the nicest looking windbreakers I have ever seen from a race. I treated myself to a new hooded sweatshirt from the Back on my Feet booth and we bought the Bean a cute onesie that will motivate me to get back to running as soon as possible unless I want to look like a big, fat liar.

I must run faster than someone's father, right?

The rest of the afternoon was spent in the hotel as it rained the entire afternoon and I was suddenly feeling REALLY pregnant from my giant breakfast buffet. I just needed to lay down for a bit. We watched a lot of college football and then went for a crappy dinner at Gordon Biersch later on. I usually like their food, but for some reason, we both got a bad meal that night. Not a big deal for me, but not fun for someone's last meal before a marathon.

The next morning we woke up to beautiful weather. It had cooled down to the low 50's and the sun was coming out. We took the metro down the the start which ended up being a total clusterf@%k.

Most cities I have run in will usually throw a bone and give runners a free pass on race day (by showing their bibs). Not DC. To ride the metro in DC you have to insert your prepaid card to get into the station and then again to exit the station. This ended up being a nightmare as 30,000 runners were all trying to get off the same train station at once. We got off the train and were crammed shoulder to shoulder with hundred of other people and were not going anywhere. Then, 15 minutes laster another train came to let people off, but half the people couldn't get off the train because there was no were for them to go.

As a person who hates crowds anyway and add to that the fact that I suddenly have been experiencing a serious case of pregnancy-induced claustrophobia, I was not happy. Of course, none of the anxious marathoners around me were either. It was getting ugly fast. Finally, the metro workers realized there was a serious hazard issue on their hands and just opened the gates to let us all out. Phew. The metro issue (which was no better getting back) was really the only problem with this race from what I could see. But of course, that really has nothing to do with the marathon itself.

We got to the start and I wished J a great race and he headed to his corral.I had my course maps and told him where to look for me. I even made him a bright neon green sign so he could see me.

The other side of the sign was for all the other runners, which I have to say, was quite the big hit.

I stood right past the start holding up this sign as the runners ran by and got a ton of laughs as people started on their way. I even had a few other spectators take a picture of it and one girl actually stopped running (at around mile 16), took out her disposable camera and asked the woman next to me to take a picture of us. It was a great feeling to know that I could do something small to help bring a smile to a runner's face as they were about to embark on their marathon journey.

(If you don't get the Chuck Norris reference, please refer to this website.)

Anyway, the rest of the race was great. I watched the start go off and J run by. Then I scurried off from Arlington Cemetery to behind the Lincoln Memorial (around mile 11) to see everyone run by again. I only saw J here as he ran up to me and gave me a kiss before running off into the distance.

I saw him again at mile 16 and he was right on pace to hit his 3:50 target for a PR so I headed back to mile 25 to watch him come in at the finish. But sadly, I watched the 3:50's run by, then the 4:00 pacers and I knew something had happened. In my pregnant state of mind, I of course started overreacting thinking he had dropped dead on the side of the road somewhere. Just as I was about to start sobbing uncontrollably as I wondered how I was ever going to figure out what hospital he was in, I saw him in the distance.

He smiled as I called out to him as if to say, "I'm fine, it just wasn't my day."

After I walked about 2 miles (not kidding) to get to the family meet up area, we finally found each other. His official finish was 4:13:23. His second best time, but 20 minutes off of what he was hoping for. He chalked it up to nerves, early hills and the warm morning sun but said it was a great race with a ton of wonderful crowd support. He also said that even though there were double the amount of runners than the races we normally participate in, he never felt crowded. He said he would love to do it again.

Oh, and the medals are beautiful.

All in all, a great race. No PR for J, but he has his 6th marathon under his belt. Quite a huge accomplishment. Besides, he has a chance to redeem himself in less than a month in Philly. I told him to chalk it up as a great training run. :)

We spent the rest of the day wandering around the city a little before enjoying a great dinner at Founding Farmers and calling it a night.

Here are some more pictures from the big day. Hope everyone had a great weekend!

For more pics of the race, take a peek at my flickr album.


Marlene said...

These photos are sensational; you're a great photographer!

Big congrats to J even if it wasn't a PR. Sounds like a great race.

Love your signs!

Denise said...

Great pictures!!! I think I want to run this next year. Everyone loves it.

The onsie is so cute!!

Tell J congrats!!

Runner Leana said...

Congratulations to J on his race! Best of luck to him in Philly. Beautiful pictures Laurel. I so want to get out and visit DC. One of these days!!

I Run for Fun said...

Sensational pics! You have a gift. Congratulations to J!

Julie D said...

I sat on the sidelines earlier this year as my man ran a marathon. I did the earlier bike tour instead. At any rate, although I was kicking myself for not running, it was actually a very different and fun experience being a "cheerleader" (cheerleaderS in your case). Congrats to J!

Dan Seifring aka "OBRATS" said...

You really took awesome pictures. I rah this as my first marathon and think I saw the Chuck Norris sign under the first bridge just after the start.

Anonymous said...

This was my first marathon too & I'm sure I saw the Chuck Norris sign: loved it! Thanks for the photos- my man didn't get good ones of the day so I'm happy to have stumbled upon these!

N.D. said...

your pics are amazing. Seriously. Great time - love the onesie. Congrats J

Heather said...

Loved the report - congrats to J on a great race! You have some fantastic pictures.

Lily on the Road said...

Congrat's J!

I LOVE your photo's, it looks and sounds like a spectacular event, thanks for sharing!

Felice Devine said...

Beautiful photos. Congrats to your hubby.

I <3 that onesie!!!

Ali said...

Great pics! Congrats to J on the PR and #6 that's a huge accomplishment.

Chic Runner said...

Im so far behind but tell J congrats! :) That's super exciting and another marathon is another marathon! Sometimes we get so caught up in the time of things :) Great job to him and nice job to you for being a great supporter :)

X-Country2 said...

Congrats to J! Looks like a beautiful day.

Shellyrm ~ just a country runner said...

Your photos are awesome! Quite the photographer!

joyRuN said...

Beautiful gorgeous pics, Laurel!!

Sorry to hear J didn't have a great race, but Philly's in two weeks!

Love that onesie :)

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