After many weeks of waiting it’s finally here. The weekend I find out if my knee will hold out. But, it decided to snow first.
The plan was simple, set up our race exit strategy and avoid waiting in line for the metro (not going to tell everyone how so I can still do it in years to come), wake up at 5…why do races have to start so early? Get in the car by 6 and head to the metro...Scrape the ice of the windows then head to the metro. The metro was packed and only 1 person in our car didn’t seem to be running or spectating since the metro isn’t normally open that early.
It was a cold morning and we got off the metro in Rosslyn and walked down to the Charity Village the DC RoadRunners partnered with Hope for the Warriors for a tent. Getting to the tent sucked. The grass was mud due to the amount of rain and snow the day before. I’m sure all the trucks setting things up didn’t help the situation. It only took a few steps before the shoes were all muddy…great way to start a marathon.
Here are a couple pictures before the race.
Two Ospreys flew over the starting line and given their track record, of crashing, I was a bit weary.
After dropping off the bag...skipping all the boring parts…the g/f wished me luck and I stripped and headed into the corrals. Shortly after the howitzer went off and 6 minutes later I crossed the start line. Everything went smoothly for the first several miles, I ate my HammerGel at the water stops while walking. Last year I ran through the first two water stops and figured I’d try something new. When I hit the GW Parkway I needed to relieve myself. I decided to join the many men and a couple women in the woods going number 1…and one guy going number 2. After heading up to the Key Bridge to Georgetown we got our first glimpse of the fast people heading through Gtown while we headed out the canal for a boring 2 miles.
I was a little weary about Gtown since their was a decent downhill and I was worried about my knee. I decided to walk down it but after too many people passed me I couldn’t stand walking anymore and I was excited about running through all the orange peels around the corner. It’s nice having your feet get all sticky during a marathon…from the oranges. After that the g/f was waiting for me and I slowed down to say hi. Around mile 16 the knee started to bother me a bit but, my lower calf was also starting to give me problems. Maybe I was compensating.
I was a bit worried something was going to go horribly wrong and I wouldn’t be able to finish. I walked for a bit to give the legs a break and see how things felt. I saw the g/f again around mile 17 and then again around mile 19 right before I took a bathroom break. By this point I felt like crap and I was starving, not looking forward to the bridge. Maybe someday I’ll actually be able to finish all of my training. I managed to run some of the bridge whereas last year I think I walked the whole thing. I picked out points, mostly road signs, that I would run to before I started walking again. My heart rate was sky rocketing each time I started running again. Even at about an 11min pace it was up around 155 in about a minute. 155 is fairly high for me during a long run. Normally I kept it under 140-145 depending on how long the run was.
Still starving at this point I completely forgot about the Dunkin Donuts Munchkins in Crystal City. Normally I can’t eat any solid food on a long run or for about 45 minutes afterwards. Surprisingly, I was able to eat a couple and at the time nothing had ever tasted so delicious. I kept run/walking through Crystal City and then saw a sign “Chuck Norris Never Ran A Marathon!” Of course I had to ask if they checked and they did. So Chuck, maybe it’s time for you to run a Marathon….
Anyway, I was feeling much better for some reason and oddly enough my legs stopped bothering me. It was still hard to run for more than a couple minutes since my heart rate would shoot up. With about a mile ago I walked for a minute and decided to run again. I figured it would be pointless to stop walking again since I could still beat my time from last year. I made it back to the start line and knew I had about a 1/2 mile to go. With my heart rate at about 160, I said F-it and picked up the pace. The flat was easy and I knew all I had was the hill at Iwo Jima. When I got to the hill it felt like a mountain. Along with a few other people we slowly scaled Mt. Iwo Jima. Then after what kinda seemed like forever I crossed the finishing, tied my cape around me and got a kick ass finisher medal.
Since the picture line in front of Iwo Jima was about 100 feet long and my legs were killing me, I decided to skip the picture and see if the g/f would take some the next day.