Well, I did it! It was torrentially wet, super hot and sunny, and completely amazing and empowering all at the same time.
Our day began early with a wet walk through the dark streets from our hotel to the Semper Fi Fund fundraisers tent. We met our team (Just Because!!) in the lobby at 5:30 to take some “before” pictures and put tape over our shoes to try to save our feet from getting drenched on the walk. Eh, that didn’t work too well, but it was a fun and enthusiastic walk anyway. I ate my bagel and peanut butter, drank my NOx (pre-workout drink to help deliver oxygen to the cells – I never run without NOx!), and met some others on the big Semper Fi Fund team before making our way through the crowds to the starting line.
The start was slow – we didn’t actually cross the start line until 6 minutes after the “gun” went off, and couldn’t actually begin to run until several minutes after that. 30,000 people gathered with the same goal will cause that to happen!
The first half hour or so of the race was beautiful – drizzly and cool. Then the skies opened. We had some pretty torrential rain for several hours. I’ve run in the rain before, and this wasn’t actually too bad, except that this went on for hours and it was humid in addition to being really wet.
Some of the memorable parts of my day were running over the bridge into Georgetown, passing Arlington Cemetery, and of course, running past the Capital. Running along the river was beautiful. I had heard about the “Blue Mile”, but nothing can quite capture the feeling of awe as we got to that stretch of the run. Hundreds of pictures of fallen servicemen and women lined the road. Some family members were standing behind their fallen heroes. The rain was fitting here, and everyone got very quiet as we paid our respects.
The sky brightened and the sun teased us for a while before we got another bought of torrential rain. When the sun finally came out for good, we were running along the river through some pretty huge puddles. There was an audible groan among the runners as it suddenly got hot – really hot. I admit to some walk breaks here. At this point, I knew that I wasn’t going to meet my goal of running my first marathon in under 5 hours. Instead, I decided to enjoy the experience. The crowds were amazing as we ran (or sometimes walked) through the streets of Washington D.C. back to the finish line up the hill to the Iwo Jima Memorial. Bob and I joined hands and finished together. His support for me on my journey from couch potato, to triathlete, to marathon finisher has been unending and incredible. I am so happy to have him by my side every step of the way. And yah, we are already talking about my next marathon.