“Test me and try me, O Lord, examine my heart and my mind.” Psalm 26:2
It’s been well over a month since the Marine Corps Marathon. This picture sums up how the whole day went!
But let’s back up a bit. Before I left Thursday, October 25th for DC, I had to make a trip to my Nurse Practitioner. I woke up earlier that week with one of my ears completely stopped up. When I saw my NP, she said it was completely closed and I had fluid behind both ears. Not the week to get sick! She gave me a steroid shot and Sudafed so I got on an airplane Thursday with my mom and Aunt Edie with stopped up ears. Bless. Did I mention I had not flown in 23 years?? It was raining when we took off and we went through some major turbulence. I asked my mom if that was normal and she said, “no.” LOL. We landed safely and Mom and I Ubered over to the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center since packet pickup would be there. My aunt went to stay with her son who lives in DC. Mom and I ate dinner at the Old Hickory Steakhouse and pretty much went back to our room to rest.
Friday morning, October 26, mom and I ate breakfast then Starbucks. Guess who we saw also getting coffee?? Kathrine Switzer! I was so excited my mom got to see her in person, but I was too shy to ask her for a picture. I just wanted to leave her alone and let her get her coffee you know? We got in the long line for packet pickup, but once the line started moving we got in quickly. And then there was “the shirt.” At first, I really didn’t like it, but I’ve worn it several times since. I mean… I traveled several miles from home, sick as a dog, finished the marathon, so I earned that dad gum shirt! Mom took this picture of me once we checked into our hotel in DC! We stayed at the Willard and it was super nice! So close to the sights of DC and amazing restaurants! My aunt met us in the lobby and we decided to go to lunch and sight see even in the rain. This was my very first trip to DC. Mom and I in front of The White House! #TrumpTrain Me, my aunt Edie, and mom
We didn’t stay out too long and had dinner with my cousin Lance and a few of his friends at an Italian restaurant Friday evening.
Saturday, October 27: the day before the marathon, I woke up with upset stomach. Not sure if it was the food I had eaten the day before or if it was nerves? Maybe a little bit of both. I was so happy my friend Jenny and her husband stopped by our hotel. I had gotten her a tank at the expo and she came by to pick it up. It was so nice to visit with her a few minutes. Jenny and I in the lobby at the Willard!
This was a great day for sight seeing even though it was cold. Lance and Edie came to pick us up. When we went to eat, I just couldn’t keep anything on my stomach it hurt so badly. I knew this was not a good sign because you HAVE to eat the day before a marathon! We ended up riding a tour bus for a few hours and to see some of the sights of DC! Edie, me, Mom, and Lance in front of the Reflecting Pool. So pretty! Vietnam Wall
We got off the tour a little after 5 and ordered pizza from Uber Eats delivered to our hotel. I knew I needed to put my feet up and try to eat as much pizza as I could. I rested and tried to figure out how to get to the Metro and to the starting line of the race. That made me pretty nervous trying to figure out how to get over there on my own.
October 28: it’s race day!!! Start time was 7:55 so I left my hotel and called for an Uber. He picked me up right away and I told him the Metro Station I needed to go to. It was called the Archives-Naval Memorial-Penn Quarter Station. The driver kindly showed me I had to take an elevator down to this station instead of an escalator. When I walked up to the elevator, two other runners came up to ask me if this was the way to get to the Metro. One was a young Asian college student at Auburn!! I couldn’t believe it. The other guy was from New York. We found the right train together and chatted for a little while on the ride over to the start. The train made several stops so it was PACKED. It took us a long time to get out of the Pentagon station because of so many people. The young man from Auburn and I stuck together for almost the entire walk to the starting line. We went our separate ways at security since I didn’t have a bag to check. Photographers snapped this pic of me heading to the starting line!
I am pretty sure I walked over a mile to get to the start and did not use a porta potty until I got there because the lines were crazy long. I found my Mississippi friends at the start! Jennifer and Jennifer! And this Marine… oh my 😱
After singing the National Anthem, the cannons boomed and we were off! As soon as I started running, my chest hurt. It felt like an elephant was sitting on top of my chest almost the whole entire marathon. And remember how I didn’t eat the day before? I had hunger pains already when I started. I knew it was going to be a very long day, but I tried not to panic about my chest. I was sick and had a steroid shot that week. That was the only thing that could explain it. My heart rate was okay so I just had to focus on running one mile at a time. I took a lot of pictures and tried to soak in the whole MCM experience running with so many marines and veterans. These were all taken in Rosalyn. It was so pretty but oh my the hills from the beginning of the race were tough and made my HR go up a little. The first 7-9 miles were really long to me and I started to feel like I needed to use the bathroom. There were runners (men and women) using the bathroom in front of everyone. My eyes saw way too many boo boos and hoo hoos for my liking. Good grief! But it was either find a place off the course or wait an hour for the porta potty. I never could find a safe place to stop and I managed to force my bowels to BEHAVE for another 6 miles. We finally started making our way to the National Mall and I started to feel a little better at about the half way point. National Mall here I come! The emotional Blue Mile. I walked through this mile and looked at all the pictures of our fallen soldiers. I saw many runners stopping to pay their respects to their lost loved ones.
I was so excited to see a REAL restroom at mile 13!! I waited in the line and it only took 5 minutes. Other women didn’t wait in line and used the bathroom right in front of me. Yuck.
At mile 15 I found my people!!! My cheering squad!! I was so happy to see their smiling faces! Mom, Edie, and Lance I sure do love y’all! They came out to support me in the cold. Thank you so much! Feeling good and having fun here at mile 15! Seeing my family gave me a boost of energy. I saw them again at mile 17 and still felt pretty good! Mile 17!
I got to see my family one last time before the mile 20 mark and that’s when the wheels began to fall off. Around mile 21 I started to feel pretty crappy. I was thankful I had made it this far, but that bridge going back over to Rosalyn was pure misery. I didn’t know if it would ever end!! They don’t call it “Beat the Bridge” for nothin! Ugh. So my fuel for this marathon was mini Snickers. It kept the hunger pains away, but my stomach really started cramping at mile 22 and nausea set in. I felt like I needed to go to the bathroom so I stopped two more times before the finish and nothing happened. For a moment, around mile 23, I didn’t know if I would finish because I felt so sick. I really had to focus on that finish line. I had not made it this far to quit, but I knew I wouldn’t ever quit unless I hit the ground and didn’t have any other choice. I stayed upright and tried to run, but my stomach would not have it. I walked the last two miles of the race. I had never been so happy to see a finish line in my life!!! My finish picture high fiving a Marine! I made it!! Isaiah 40:31!
The walk out of the finish line area to my family was long and pretty miserable. I just wanted to sit down and knew if I did I would never get back up! I had 1% battery left on my phone so I called my mom to see where they were. I didn’t see any of my friends at the finish, but I was ready to get out of there and back to the hotel to eat. Mom took this pic of me once I found them. Official time 5:55:29. That’s a PW (Personal Worst) for me lol. Thanks to Lance, we found a train quickly and got back to the hotel in no time. I ordered a cheeseburger, fries and peanut butter milkshake from Uber Eats. That was the best milkshake I’ve ever had! I took a short nap and we all went out to dinner to celebrate. Mom and I shared a bottle of wine and I slept like a ROCK. Best sleep I got all weekend! We caught a plane home the next morning and I was so happy to be back with my family. I had such a great trip and hope I can go back again and see more of the sights with my family one day.
Here are a few pictures from Marathon Foto: So glad to see a smile on my face for most of my race pictures! Even though this was my slowest marathon out of the three I’ve run, I still enjoyed the whole MCM experience. OOH RAH! I loved running with the Marines and having them cheer me on and encourage me along the course. All the runners were super kind and encouraging too plus all the volunteers and policemen. The spectators were so much fun and I was so happy my family was among them! It would have been much harder without their support! This marathon taught me that I am strong. Much stronger and determined than I thought I was. I read so many posts from people who were not able to finish the race. Some got injured and some dehydrated. It was overwhelming to think that could have easily been me especially when I felt so sick those last few miles. Marathons either make you or break you and this one definitely broke me, but I still think I would like to try again to redeem myself. We’ll see!! I would like to thank my Coach Holly Wilson @hohoruns for coaching me and putting up with me for 16 long weeks! Thank you for reading even though I’m late writing about it. I will cherish the memories from that weekend forever. One thing is for sure, I am one TOUGH MOTHER.