After picking up my bib we headed into the rest of the Expo and the shopping began! I got lots of cute MCM gear….I’m a serial shopper!
Saturday morning we headed off to Georgetown to some shopping! Back when I lived in Maryland I used to love going to Gtown on the weekends, it was so nice to be there again. I did some SERIOUS damage and this great store called “Cusp” (it’s a boutique-y store by Neiman Marcus), absolutely fabulous! Next door was Juicy where I picked up the cutest freaking boots….love them!
Keep in mind, all day it was POURING down rain….but the forecast kept calling for “clear sunny skies” on Sunday, thank GOD!
I headed back to the hotel to wait for the rest of my friends to arrive. Once everyone was there and settled in we got ready and headed to the Team in Training Pasta Party over at the Crystal Gateway Marriott. Before we left I got a call from our TNT leader letting me know that she had special shirts for all my 7 “guests” (aka my Posse!) to wear. Once we arrived they all pulled on their white TNT T-shirts, and we got new Gray TNT shirts to wear, very cool!
After the dinner I headed up to my room and hoped to get some sleep….
Thankfully I drifted right off to sleep and the next thing I knew the alarm was going off at 4:50am!!!! I hopped up and started getting ready. My friend from Maryland, Charlene, stayed with me that night, so she helped with getting me ready (and keeping me calm)!!! Our team met in the lobby at 5:45 and headed for the metro station and off to the race!
The coaches went over our strategies with us the night before the race. I decided I was going to start in the 4:30 or 4:45 corral, hoping that would allow me to get started at a decent pace.
Around mile 3 I ran into Coach Mike, we ran up the GW Parkway and crossed over the Key Bridge into DC.
I was feeling great through 13, but somewhere between 13 and 15 I started to get major pain in my knee. This was pretty new to me, so I wasn’t sure what was going on. Up to this point my running 2 songs walking for 1 minute had been working great. I was able to make up for the slow start and stay on track for a sub 5 finish. Once the knee thing started I had to stretch and walk a little more. While I was stretching at one point I saw 2 of my teammates coming up behind me, I was so glad to see them! I picked up and started running with them, they asked if I was ok and I told them about the knee thing, thankfully they had Tylenol with them, so I chewed up a Milky Way and wedged the Tylenol in there and swallowed it down. YUMMY! I knew I would be seeing my “posse” around Mile 16, so I knew they were coming up soon. When I finally saw my parents on the left side of the road I was so happy!!!! I ran over and gave them a hug!! They told me the rest of the group was across the road, then I could hear them screaming!!!! As you’ll see in this video, they were AWESOME!!!! It was like a NASCAR pit crew!!! They hooked me up with Bio Freeze on the knee, Propel, Jelly Beans and a Milky Way stuffed in my top!Don't be scared by the "painful" face below...not sure why that's the still image for the video...can't get it to change!
Miles 17, 18, 19 were pretty much the same….run, walk, run, walk, stretch, walk, walk, walk, run, run, walk, stretch, drink powerade, eat anything that anyone was giving away, walk, run, stretch, run past my friends again and grab a handful of oranges out of the baggie! Obviously somewhere along these miles I realized that sub 5 wasn’t happening, and that was totally fine by me! In addition to it feeling like someone was trying to steal my knee cap off of my left leg, it now felt like someone else was trying to steal my right ankle! But then I saw someone with little Snickers bars….and I smiled!
During all of our training for the MCM you hear a lot about “Beating The Bridge”. “The Bridge” is shortly after mile 20 and you have to maintain a 14min mile and get across the bridge by a certain time, if you don’t….you’re out. They open the bridge up to traffic and your race is over. Don’t worry, that didn’t happen to me, just needed to throw that info in there because The Bridge was coming up next.
So, around mile 19 as I switched from running to walking this nice older man on the side of the road made eye contact with me, I’m sure he could tell I was struggling, he looked right at me and so convincingly said “In less than 3 miles YOU WILL BE ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE BRIDGE, JUST 3 MILES AND YOU’LL BE OVER IT”, I started to run again. I made it over part of the bridge and seriously felt like I no longer had an ankle, just a bone coming out of my knee that went straight into my foot, it was time to stretch….again. So I pulled over on the bridge and stretched and these 2 girls were there cheering everyone on, they were awesome. The one girl saw that I was struggling and poured me a cup of Gatorade, seriously, talk about crowd support! There was a lady holding a sign that said “This Bridge Sucks But You Rock”…it was classic!
Once I was over the bridge we made our way into Crystal City. I met up with Coach Chris again and ran with him for a little while. At about Mile 23 I told him that I was fine, and to head on out to round up some others. I was pretty confident that I knew what I needed to do (run, walk, walk, run, walk, walk, run)! There were great crowds in Crystal City, so that was pretty cool. 24-25 felt like they took forever, but I was getting so excited because I knew I was almost there and I knew that without a doubt pretty soon, I was going to finish my first marathon! Coach Mike ran with me for bit through there and told me that one of the mentors, Dave, was “catching us” at 26 and seeing us through to the finish line. As I got closer to the 26 mile marker I could hear the crowds, my heart started racing, I just wanted to be able to finish the race running. Then I saw Dave and we headed up “THE HILL” to the finish, it was the most amazing experience ever! Just as I was getting closer to the finish line I saw my parents and friends in the front row of the bleachers on the left, my eyes started to tear up and my smile was beyond huge! Before I knew it I was crossing the finish line, and I was a Marathoner!