39th Marine Corps Marathon – Part I

Mile 24 - Smiling Through The Pain!

Mile 24 – Smiling Through The Pain!

I did it! I put a marathon in the books and I did it! Bam! Done! What did I do last weekend?? Oh, you know, I ran a MARATHON!!

Traveling to DC went off without a hitch. Thankfully! I’m always so scared of falling out of the sky but this was the first time ever that I didn’t have any such fear. Know why? Because I was fixated on the fear I had of the marathon instead!

DC Armory

DC Armory Line

Next morning we hit the expo later than I had planned. We got to the armory at maybe 11 o’clock. The line to get in was wrapped around the building. At first it seemed like an “oh no” moment but the line actually moved pretty fast. We went through security and then went downstairs to pick up our packets, where it was completely empty. We just walked right up and got them from a Marine. Then we went upstairs to get our tee shirts and see the expo. Again, it was very very quick. The shirts are great. They are long-sleeve, mock turtle neck, fleece-lined shirts. Mine is completely ornamental since I live in blazing hot south Florida, but my friend was super excited to train this winter in hers. Then there was a huge Brooks area for buying Marine Corps Marathon gear. I never ever buy race shirts or whatever before a race. I feel like, eek, what if I don’t finish it and I have all this gear with the race on it?? But with this marathon, I KNEW I would never quit. Never ever! So I bought the gear. I bought a lot of gear. I was probably the only person buying tank tops. But also bought arm warmers which I intended to use for the first time during the race. I debated a long while on those but got them. Turned out to be the best thing ever. Love those Brooks arm warmers!!

expo

inside expo

My friend was off buying compression socks but I wanted her to see the Disney booth so she could see the medal I stood to get at the Walt Disney World Marathon in January. So I drag her to the booth and am there taking pictures of the medal and she goes, in a loud whisper, “oh my god, it’s Sean Astin!!” I look over and sure enough he was sitting there talking to people at the Disney booth. I was in SHOCK. I’m there screwing around with the medal and he was literally 3 feet away from me. I am THE biggest Goonies fan on the planet. And of course he was the best character on Lord of the Rings. But really he’ll always be Mikey from The Goonies to me. And I had read about him in Runner’s World. Turns out he’s an amazing runner too. So we kind of got in line to talk to him. I just could not believe it!! He ended up talking to us for forever! Yay! I still am in crazy shock. He was so nice and so inviting and just a fantastic person. I always hear the old adage that you should never meet the people you admire in person because it can be an irreparable let down. So I never wanted to meet celebrities or authors or politicians or anything. But Sean Astin is AMAZING. He could not have been nicer in any which way. Wow! He showed us his run calendar on his phone and told us about all of his runs. He is running Goofy Challenge at Disney and I told him I was running the marathon. I barely remember anything else we said to him because I was so nervous. He asked how my running has gone during taper and I said not so good. Told him I had been in exams and it had taken a lot of my time. It is so bizarre that we chatted with him for so long about running and the military and school and injuries… I will never ever get over this. Marathon? What marathon?? All I can think about is Sean!! 🙂

shirt pick-up

shirt pick-up

Ok, back to the prep… The night of the race, I ate the most boring food you can imagine (white fish and plain white rice) and then tried to go to bed at a reasonable time. It didn’t work out. I couldn’t sleep at all. But it was great seeing everyone’s Twitter feed and seeing that nobody else was having great luck getting to sleep either. I think I ended up getting to sleep at midnight and woke up at 4am. Not much time but I felt strangely rested. My race buddy and I were pretty nervous so we could only eat bananas and some coffee before we headed out the door.

Read about the actual race day here!

Next:  39th Marine Corps Marathon – Part II – The Race

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