Monday, November 3, 2014

MCM Weekend Photos and Stories

I promise after this post I will stop talking about my marathon.  Ok, probably not.

There's really not a whole lot to say about Friday.  We drove there - it took a while.  We did take the kids with us (DC is an educational experience after all, and we've never had the opportunity to take our brood there before this), and of course that meant stopping at every rest stop it seemed.  At least it was a beautiful day, and we left pretty early knowing this would happen.

 Practicing high kicks.
 Hanging out by the C&O Canal

 What a ham.
 This was a nice little stop.
More C&O Canal.

After we finally got to our hotel and checked in and then got some food (we were starving!), we went to the Expo.  I feared long lines and waits, but really it was no different than any other race to me.  After a short security check in, everything was smooth sailing.  Packet pickup was downstairs and then the actual expo was upstairs.  I thought that was convenient.  Now, really, the expo wasn't totally "WOW".  Maybe I'm just on race expo burnout or something, but it all seems like the same stuff over and over.  This one had the advantage of having more specific military-type charity booths, but other than that it was the same vendors you see everywhere.  Swap the Brooks store with a Dick's and there you have the Pittsburgh Marathon expo.  So, while I browsed for a short bit (and bought a new Bondi Band for myself and for my daughter), we didn't stay too long.

Later that evening was the First Timers Pep Rally.  I signed up for this because 1) it was cheap.. haha, and 2) I thought maybe hanging out with other first timers would help somehow and 3) I'll never have this chance again!  This is only time I'll ever be a First Time Marathoner!

It took place at the host hotel - Hyatt Regency Capital Hill.  I got there pretty much right on time, got checked in, given a really cool pin, temporary tattoo (that I never put on), and an MCM 26.2 car decal.  Then I got directed to where the actual pep rally was down the escalator.  It wasn't too crowded just yet so I grabbed a seat and chilled out.  On the way in they handed us pom poms... lol
 One of the "famous" arches.
 Pom poms.  ha.
They had these screens on each side.  They showed videos and then streamed photos from Instagram and Twitter. #RunwiththeMarines

It was a good time and I'm glad I went.  Bart Yasso was hilarious (told us a lovely story about the Mile High Club), and the other speakers were good too (Clif Bar Pace team, etc).  There was an open bar and food.  I didn't partake of either since just eating before and I wasn't tempting fate with drinking.  I couldn't believe the amount of people getting a buzz on.  I wondered how they were going to get up the next morning.. lol.  Anyway, they did a lot of goofy competitions for prizes - Who had the best Oorah, who could run on stage and hug the host the fastest, who was coming from the farthest away, etc.  It was all really cheesy (and not something I would do normally), but I think I got my ten bucks of entertainment out of it.

Saturday morning I got up and headed out on the Metro to the Runners bRUNch, which started at the Iwo Jima Memorial.  Luckily, I met a couple other runners waiting for the train and we were able to get to the start together.  Unfortunately this was the most unorganized event of the weekend.  There were conflicting statements on where the start was, how long the run was, how to get there, etc.  There were no signs and no one to direct you.  It was strange.  But, we made it (after taking the long way around, of course) to the start where we had time to snap a few pics of each other in front of the memorial before the start.

 Yep, there's Bart Yasso back there again.  Giving us all a peptalk.  This isn't a good pic, but the second guy in there from the right wearing brown is Sean Astin, who was also hoping for a sub 4 hr MCM.  Another very cool guy.

In more poorly organized fashion, in one minute we were told there were going to be pacers for different times and then the next it's "lets get started" without telling us who was pacing what.  haha.  I was just pretty amused by all of this with my mind focused on keeping this a nice relaxing run to freshen up for the big day tomorrow.

I started off running with one of the girls I met at the Metro.  She was going for a sub 5 hour marathon time, had an achilles injury and wanted to stay slow.  We chatted a bit about various races (this was not her first marathon.. she's done quite a few), and I'm always interested in hearing others experiences in other places.  She recommended the Grandma's race.  After the first mile and change, I told her I was going to pick it up a bit (my goal was a light progression - averaging out around a 10 minute mile), and I bid her farewell.  Unfortunately I never saw her again, but I hope she had a good marathon.

It was a gorgeous sunny day for a short run.  The course went from the Iwo to the Jefferson Memorial and back.  I completed the run as I intended... nice and easy with a light pickup and was happy with it and confident for race day.  They gave us a book about the history of the MCM and a commemorative coin.

After the run, they had a huge breakfast buffet.  Huge donuts, bagels, pastries, oatmeal, yogurt, granola, fruits, etc.  I settled on what you see here - fruit, a small plain croissant and a banana nut muffin.  I didn't want to chance any frosted or filled donuts.  lol


Again, I'm glad I did this.  That said, this is one weekend event that I don't know that I'd do again.  First of all, it was expensive - $40+service charge.  For a run that had a lot of confusion surrounding it, etc I just don't think that it's worth it in the long haul.  I probably could have been just as well getting to sleep in Saturday morning, eating fruit and muffins at the hotel, and then going for a short run locally on my own.  Maybe that's just me, though.  Let's not forget running that hill that day gave me a really evil false sense of security for the actual race.  So maybe I'm just bitter about that too.  ;)  Still.. I can see better ways to have spent $45 bucks when you figure in service charge and metro charge to get there.

I already posted my epic long race day recap, so here's some photos from the day:
 Me and the kids with Miles after the race!
 I typically think Michelob is "beer flavored water", but it was fantabulous on this day!!
 My cheer squad.

Their little legs walked so far on marathon day.  I'm so proud of them!

After a decent night's sleep Sunday, we checked out of the hotel and headed home.  But first, what would a trip to DC be without a stop at the Zoo??  Yep, my crazy butt walked around the whole National Zoo the day after I ran a marathon.  No regrets.

It was a great weekend with lots of adventures!


  1. You can talk about the marathon as much as you want. I love reading recaps, and love seeing the weekend in pictures. Congrats again!

  2. Part 1 of 2

    I'm late to the party as usual. This is my version of a recap. It's going to get long and winded... be prepared ahead of time and/or just click the little red X. You were warned...

    So I'm all crashed out in a hotel bed and I'm startled awake by what looks like a runner. I don't remember taking pics in the hall before said blobsquatch of a runner left (I wear toric contacts, everything looks blobby for the first 20 minutes of my day especially since I sleep in them) but there were pre-race hallway pics on my phone. I start our pre-race routine. Clothes for kids, "necessities" bag, pockets loaded out with appropriate "stuff". Turn on the weather channel for some don't jolt the kids out of bed with Marilyn Manson noise and get dressed.

    We're out the door, walking up the street to the metro station. I'm doing my best mama duck with three kids dragging at 3 yard intervals behind me all while doing my best "where the )*(&$ am I?!" on my phone. We get to the metro, Forrest Gump my way through getting tickets for 4 people at once (Let's be clear, I'm used to the North Shore - 2nd Ave T, I get on and get off. What's this "fare" thing you speak of?) and try to get three already "are we there yet?" kids into a metro. . We get off at the Pentagon stop with a half-hour before the gun is set to go off. Plenty of time.... We watch a pair of V-22 Ospreys flying overhead while heading to what I assumed was the starting area. We hit security and go through. Unloaded more crap out of my pockets than they were ready to take (I don't do urban wandering lightly, too much vital "Yes, you're a diabetic, you need to take a whole shitload of stuff with you everywhere you go. Sucks to be you..." crap I have to carry.)

    By the time we're done wandering through the starting corral area the kids need a port-a-shitter. Of course they do... What would race day be without visiting every race day quality port-a-shitter in town... It's a shit smelling ghost town by this point. I'm looking at the starting pace areas and they're empty. We took so freaking long to wander from metro to start we missed it. (Lesson 1 learned: leave wicked early)
    We start cutting up the road and toward the Arlington bridge. The kids starting in with the "are we there yet? My legs hurt... I need to go to the bathroom." I kept pushing them along. And pushing them along... and pushing them along... Finally we broke and took a 2 minute rest stop and took a pic (three kids on a bridge, Lincoln Memorial in the background... you're welcome). Kept walking. Now by this point all the pre-race course study I did meant NOTHING. I was fucking lost. Thank God for the push carts, the hand-cycles, and the crowds on the side of the road. Came off the bridge and we crashed in the grass for a while.

    Two things
    1) Those guys are a fucking inspiration of the highest degree. If you've never seen a guy on a skateboard pushing himself on his knuckles up a hill you don't know tough - that guy was hard as fucking nails. If anyone knows this guy, put me in touch with him please. Drinks are on me!!

    2) Next time I find a spot on the curb to watch a race go by I'm kicking the three skeezers on the bikes out of the way. lol

  3. Part 2 of 2

    So we snagged a video as Nichole ran past, Tori always spots her long before I do.

    We moseyed over to the Lincoln Memorial. Walked the steps to the top. Grabbed a tourist pic on the way back down standing on the Martin Luther King, Jr. tile and started walking to the Washington Monument. Now, to know my kids is to either love them to pieces or go totally Homer Simpson on them. You would think ONE of them could comprehend "Keep off the grass" means stay on the proper side of the chain. Did they even attempt it? NOPE.

    So we finally get near the Washington Monument or as Vince called it "The huge white schlong". There's pics of all three kids rubbing the side of it that won't be posted. We caught up with the race twice again. And started hoofing it back to the Metro. Of course the station we wanted was closed. So we kept hoofing... About seven miles of walking later we found ourselves back at the family meetup area. By this point both our phones were dead. We started wandering. Gorged on watermelon and finally found Nichole.

    All in all, it was amazing. I wouldn't have traded a minute of it for the world.