Sorry for my abrupt end to my blog post the other night. Baby gets tired.
So, back to the tale. After wrapping up our epic 5k with a big PR from T-Rex Mom, it was time to get ready for some sight seeing and the expo. I had pretty high hopes for the expo, since the Chicago Marathon had such awesome merchandise and I could barely control myself. I figured this would be on a similar scale. I did not figure that it would take us what seemed like 12 hours to get to the expo on a very crowded Metro. Turns out the expo is not very close to the start or finish of the race. It’s a little interesting because packet pick up and the expo are in two separate tents/buildings, which can be a bit confusing. Packet pick up was super efficient, but that’s pretty much where the legendary Marines organization ended. The expo itself was pure mayhem with a huge line to get through security. Team T-Rex just went through a door marked “Exhibitors Only” and waited less than 3 minutes. Sorry we’re not sorry.
One of the first people we saw upon entering the expo was Joe, the host of The Marathon Show, which is a podcast he broadcasts through iTunes. I’ve seen him at races many times but never actually spoken to him. Basically, he hosts a show while running marathons and interviews people at the expos, races, etc. Kate and I decided to go over and say hi, and we were a little starstruck.
We did not realize that Joe is perhaps the nicest person in the entire world. I almost felt bad even talking to him in the first place because I am not nearly as nice as him. I felt like I did not deserve to be in his aura of niceness, but obviously he would never tell me that. It was weird. His shirt has the names of lots of different Maniacs (and other people he has interviewed for his show) and I would absolutely die if the next set of shirts had “T-Rex Runner” printed on them. I’m just throwing it out there, Joe. You can throw it back.
Kate and I wandered around for a bit at the expo, quite disappointed in the merchandise, when I remembered that I had not brought a sports bra in my bag for the weekend. Not such a problem during a 5k, but definitely a problem during a marathon. We set about finding one at the expo. You would think an expo at a race of this size would surely be able to accommodate this need, right?
Apparently the only women who need sports bras for marathons are those who are, um, well endowed. I am decidedly not well endowed, as you might have noticed. So I decided right then and there that I obviously need to get a boob job so that this never happens again, and I texted AJ with this breaking news. Turns out, he supports my decision. I am so lucky. So I called Jackie, who was going to meet us for dinner later, and asked her to run to the nearest sporting goods store and grab me a sports bra and bring it to dinner, along with some Sprite. I am very spoiled by my extensive network of awesome friends.
Meanwhile, T-Rex Mom is an ER nurse, and she was tending to some guy who had fallen in the bathroom at the expo and broken his wrist. After the situation was under control and we walked away, my mom said “well, that guy isn’t running tomorrow.” Kate and I immediately looked at each other and basically in one breath said “Why not? It’s not like he broke his leg.” Team T-Rex is not impressed.
Ironically, after the expo, I was texting with AJ, who was at the Gamecocks football game back home, and he told us Marcus Lattimore, the Gamecocks’ star running back, had been taken out with a season and possibly career ending injury. When I saw a picture of his leg on Facebook, I was absolutely devastated. Lattimore is one of those all around good guys. One of the few football players who is just a genuinely nice person, hard worker, good student, volunteer…the whole thing. The kind of kid you can only hope your son turns out to be. To find out that he was hurt was devastating – of all the players, he deserved it the least. Even the Tennessee team was devastated because they knew what a good person Lattimore is. It was a huge story and I was crushed. My mom and Kate didn’t understand why I was nearly in tears over a guy don’t know at a school I didn’t attend, but if you read the article I linked above, I hope you understand. Life isn’t fair.
While I cried over Marcus, we managed to sufficiently wear ourselves out after the expo by walking around and checking out some of the monuments since Kate had never been to D.C. before. Hero Of the Day award goes to the bus driver who took pity on us when we got lost and asked him where the Metro was and after telling us where it was (almost 2 miles away), picked us up a few blocks later and let us on for free and took us there himself because he said we looked like we would never make it. Fact, sir.
While Kate and I walked up to the Lincoln Monument, I got a call on my cell phone telling me that me and my mom’s flight home the next day had been cancelled due to Hurricane Sandy. On the plus side, they were giving us plenty of notice. On the minus side…well…we now had no flight home. Meanwhile, Kate had booked a flight home that left during the marathon because it was cheaper, and she was hoping to get on standby the next day. My mind was literally blown by this. I could not process. She is far braver than I am because even though I no longer sweat the details, not having a guaranteed flight home would really disturb me. Now it looked like her flight would probably be cancelled too…except she didn’t have one…so the three of us decided to rent a car and drive home after the race. No problem, mon.
After our tremendous exploration of DC, it was basically time to go meet Jackie for dinner…so we went back to the same brewery. Why mess with a good thing, right? Fortunately, she remembered to deliver my child-sized sports bra and Sprite, and I was able to give her the Team T-Rex shirt she had ordered. Obviously a very exciting exchange for us both, or mostly just me.
In the tradition of not really ever planning for things pertaining to the race, Kate and I learned that it was possible to walk to the start of the race only on the elevator ride up to our hotel room for the night. We decided, naturally, that it would be a game time decision and went about setting out all our clothes. T-Rex Mom had me bring a metro card, some cash, etc in a Ziploc bag in case we had trouble getting back to the hotel after the race. Oh, if only she had known.
On race morning, Kate and I got ready to go and decided to walk to the start. It didn’t really seem like such a bad walk at the time. We made it there a little before 7 and started trying to get in the endless lines for the bathrooms. We moved lines a few times, trying to get closer to the Maniacs picture, which we were determined not to miss. After all, the picture wasn’t going to be taken until 7:30, just 25 minutes before the start, and we had arrived with plenty of time, right? So Kate was standing in line for the bathroom and I decided to run over to the spot where I thought the picture was just to make sure it was, and sure enough, there were some Maniacs over there. I went back to Kate and we decided that there was no way we would reach the front of the line in time, so we decided to walk over to the picture, and all of a sudden we realized that they were taking the picture EARLY! Traitors! We can barely handle getting there on time! So we set off in a dead sprint and slid into the picture.
We made quite the entrance, and it attracted a bit of attention, including from Mary, one of the awesome Honey Badgers of Oregon, who from what I hear are big fans of this blog. HEY HONEY BADGERS! Mary came over and asked if I was T-Rex Runner and mentioned that she had to take a picture with me for her friend Rose, who I like to think of as the ringleader of the Honey Badgers, although I have no evidence whatsoever to support this aside from my own ideas.
Our little photo sesh caught the attention of one of my most favorite runners, who just also so happens to be the president of the Marathon Maniacs. I’m sure I would be a huge asshole if I had started such a sweet club, but the Prez is so down to earth and always excited to meet different Maniacs and run with as many people as he can. He’s also a regular reader of this blog and therefore obviously a very smart man.
We also met up with JC at the start, who was planning on running with me and Kate since we were wanting to run under 5 hours. And then I messed up my decent streak of pre-race pictures by taking a close up one. I should know better by this point.
We are wearing buttons with the picture of Sgt. Brandon Parr, who gave his life for our country in Baghdad in 2007. His mother, Teota, is a Marathon Maniac and was running the race to honor his memory. There were so many stories like this during the race, and it was truly humbling to run the race with active duty soldiers, widows and widowers of those who have lost their lives serving, and the families and friends of soldiers and veterans. While the excitement of the next 26.2 miles was definitely on our minds, the sacrifices of so many of those around us definitely were too.
And with the blast of a starting
pistol Howitzer, the 37th Marine Corps Marathon was underway.