Thursday, November 04, 2004
Running a Marathon

So I did it! I ran a marathon and I didn't die.

Norma, my toenails survived though I did gain a horrible blister between two of my toes. Ouch!

The morning of the race was a bit muggy and warm. We lined up on a highway outside of Crystal City (by the Iwo Jima monument) for the race. After waiting in line for the final bathroom break, we lined up behind many Teams in Training and Aids Teams In Training. They were very organized and happy. Some of the groups had whistles and would blow them when it came time for them to walk. Stephanie and I made an effort to escape "Team Mickey" on the downward section of the run.

Along the way we ran with Frankinbride, Backwards guy, an Army Ranger guy with a huge heavy flag and saw Kermit the frog. The Rockcreek parkway was beautiful and Stephanie really enjoyed the "snowing" leaves. Once we entered the Mall around mile 11-12, I began to have problems with the heat. It was at least 75 degrees and I had become used to running in 55 degree weather. So I was struggling along, making noises and throwing water on myself when Stephanie told me that I had run in the heat before and that I could do it again. So I did.

Around mile 14, we saw my friend Liz and her husband, Scott with their two children,
Isaac and Chloe along with her brother Ryan. Isaac ran along side Stephanie
and I and told us about how fast he could run. They lifted our spirits and
got us chugging along the next six miles.

Throughout the entire run we knew we had 5 hours to get to the 20 mile mark and neither of us were going to let some time limit stop us. Miles 18 - 20 were lonely and tough since we were feeling the pressure of making the bridge in time. Stephanie also said she didn't think she could do this again so she was making sure I got to the 20 mile mark. We got there around 4:20.

Shortly after that was when we slowed down. We walked across the bridge and around mile 22 started running again. I had to take a few more breaks than in the previous miles but I knew I was going to finish with Stephanie at my side.

At mile 25.5, some one told us we had less than a mile to go. I wanted to
sprint in that last mile and then I felt something go wrong with my toe. I
yelled and told Stephanie that I thought I had lost a toenail and that it
hurt. She said we could walk. She also suggested I take off my shoe so I walked for a bit without it. We then saw Liz and her family again. She took pictures of us pretending to run and sprinted to the finish line to get some more pictures. I ran the last .2 miles in, finishing in 6:22 and some seconds.

After we finished the Marines hung our medals around our necks and shook our hands. They thanked us for the support and I thanked them for their great support. They were so effective at every water stop and I must say this was one of the most regimented races I've ever run. While they weren't perfect, it was very organized and well-put on.

Stephanie and I then got our picture in front of Iwo Jima (and I may buy
that one) and quickly went to get cold water. That was our only desire. We
really wanted cold water. and I had a bagel.

The Metro ride home was crowded but we were back at Liz's in a short while
where Stephanie had arranged for cold Stella beers to be waiting for me. I
so enjoyed that brew! Caroline -- I had three beers that night! I knew I was a lightweight but I had to have them just to prove I could.

Tomorrow, my adventures around DC and a tale about Knit Happens.
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