Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Run All the Miles - Marine Corps Marathon 2012

Four weeks ago, I did something I thought I would never do in a million years.  No, I did not eat liver mush with pimento cheese (ick. No offense my southern friends, but I can safely say this will never happen in a gazillion batrillion quadrillion millenion years).

I ran a marathon.  The Marine Corps Marathon to be exact.

I really don't know what to say about it.  Obviously, right?  It's taken me 4 weeks to write about it!  It still feels a bit surreal to me.  I mean, I know I did it, right?  I have the pictures and the magnet to prove it.  But really?  Did I really do that?

Jyl and I set out on a 6 hour car ride to our nation's capital early on Friday morning, right after we completed our first fuel stop at Summit Coffee....a girl needs her coffee and bagel.   With our eyes to the sky and ear to the radio for any Hurricane Sandy updates, we made it to DC by mid afternoon.

Jyl is really happy she got
a BRIGHT orange shirt :)
This certifies that you,
Hope Childress,
are hereby able to
Potty Like a Rock Star
After checking in and unpacking, we decided to head over to the expo.  (In hindsight, I'm SO glad we did this on Friday. I mean, it was busy on Friday, but it was much worse the following day!)  This is where you pick up your number and then shop the vendor booths and the Brooks store, and buy enough stuff so you can "earn" a VIP porta potty pass, so you can "potty like a rock star" at the start line on race day.

From the expo, we took the shuttle bus to the First Timer's Pep Rally, which was good in concept, but I don't think feeding a bunch of first-time marathoners nachos with spicy chicken and beef were the way to go.  So, we ducked out to find our way back to the hotel and grab some real food there.

Trying to figure out the camera phone
outside the hotel...
That's the White House!
Saturday morning found us up and ready to go.  I had to do a little 10 minute jog just to shake out the cobwebs the day before race day, so Jyl and I threw on our shorts and sneakers and headed out the door.  What an amazing run!  We just went without knowing really where we were heading, only knowing we were heading toward that big white obelisk in the sky (aka, the Washington Monument).  You are not going to believe this...I didn't!  One or two blocks away, and BOOM.  There was the White House.  You can see my surprise!  And then we stopped for....wait for and a bagel before getting ready to see some sights!

My Diamond.
We did some re-con at the Pentagon to try to find the start line and then took in a museum or two where we saw the First Lady Dresses, visited the Hope My Diamond and I became President.  Lunch time found us out on the mall with our peanut butter and jelly sandwiches taking in a kickball tourney.
Lori, can you carry me
to the finish line??

Saving energy for the big day to follow, Jyl thought it best we take in some R&R before we met our friends Lori and Ashley, and Lori's parents for our pasta dinner.  Lori would be running in her first marathon as well, so we were both a bundle of nerves.  See?  I'm holding on for dear life....

"....and let there be cute
puppies for all!"
Then it was time.  It was time to say our goodbyes and prepare ourselves for the next day where we would face over 20,000 other runners, dodging, weaving and fighting our way to the finish line.  What more can I say about the race.  It was 26.2 miles!  A lot of it was spent trying to NOT trip over people, run over people and looking at the sky to see if Sandy would make an appearance (thankfully for us, she did not; but my heart still goes out to all who were not so lucky).

There were happy times and times I wanted to quit.  Times I felt like I could go forever and times I thought I would break.  But, after all the motivational sayings I had written on my body, one stupid sign someone had was like a slideshow in my brain....

So I did.

And then I cried.  I cried for people who ran next to me. I cried for the service men and women who told me "thank you" as they shook my hand and for all those that weren't there.  I cried for my dad whom I hoped was watching me from on high and was proud.  And I then I cried for myself.  And then I got my picture made!

And then?

Then we celebrated!!  I try to keep this blog pretty PG-13, but I'm going to be honest with you.  I had not had a beer in a month by this point.  I was ready to taste some of that hoppy goodness with a delicious no-so-healthy pasta dish with some kind of cream sauce!  So we did!

Lori, how in the hell can you look this good after running
26.2 miles?  Gah.

NOT tipsy.  Just very happy with my partner in crime!
And then?

Since we were heading back south early in the morning hoping to beat most of what Sandy was preparing to throw at the northeast, we called it an early night.  We walked (Jyl walked, I hobbled) back to the hotel, absolutely exhausted!  I was still reveling a little, so I brought a glass of wine back to the room and had the best recovery night cap ever.

Ice, wine and a Twilight marathon
for the marathoner?
Yes, please.

Yes, this lasted for like only 20 minutes before I passed out.

Looking back, I started this without really knowing what I was getting into.  I don't know what I was thinking, trying to do this all on my own.  If it wasn't for Jyl, Lori and Ashley, I would NOT have made it through that day.

And I've made some pretty fantastic friends throughout this journey.

So many things to say, to so many people, so I will just say this:

I am so very lucky.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

And now *I'm* crying! Congratulations, Hope! And to think this all started at freaking o'dark early with a dream to do the Couch to 5k. You are an inspiration. Love you! (a)