(Tips, truths and stuff I don’t want to forget in … sequence-ish except when it isn’t)

So, the marathon was perfect.  It took forever, but I did it and I loved it.  I want to do more but I got really lucky and have lots to improve on before I try and level up.

Tips –

Ditch layer should be a bathrobe filled with tissues.  First, those layers are often donated somewhere locally useful and a reasonable bathrobe can be nice to have, second it helps with leg warmth and sitting on the ground when you get there hours before the start, third it should be filled with tissues because even the Marines can’t stay ahead of the portapottypaper needs.

After struggling with nutrition for months about 80% of what I consumed on the course was what they handed me.  It worked out fine but there were also a lot “comfort stops” so I was never too far away when my stomach went sour.  I carry my own because my Chattanooga half fell down on some basics so I doubt I’ll ever fully trust again but MCM was good to go.

Engage with those who took time to disrupt their schedule to be on the side of road to clap.  I did more high fives yesterday than I have in the last 20 years combined.  If they were young and their sign was gibberish I was elated.  If I should hit the sign for a power up you bet I did.  When I was tired I started asking Marines for high fives and they ma’am’ed me and it was great because it was “grown adult ass woman” ma’am instead “you could be my grammy” ma’am.

Look up.  I was running through the national mall with practically nobody around and often forgot to look up and see the amazing views and monuments.  If you picked a race for it’s location – treat it like you did, not like it is a well trod training run.

Salt sticks.  Everybody has sugar.  Nobody has enough salt.  I gave two different runners a spare salt stick and one of them gave me credit for saving their run because she was cramping at mile 14.

Truths –

I cried.  A lot.  Weeping buckets before the start, and three times on the course.  Why?  So imagine how you felt before you got married, especially if you Had A Wedding that took a ton of planning.  Now, instead of the “but at the end of the day you’ll have a spouse” statement put … nothing.  No confident answer.  Hospitalization is one answer, a medal and a banana is another, a PR, a train wreck … it is ALL available. At the end of the day – the day will be over.  Now move through that day.  I was BARELY trained enough, there was a heat warning, and a spot that the struggle bus would pick me up if I didn’t make it fast enough.

Oct 1 Dave saved my race because he had just the right words when I needed them.  Tracy did the same the night before the race.  Lots of people said lots of good things all along the way but those two moments were pivotal.

I was giddy the whole time, which seems in contradiction to the crying but I don’t think it really was.  I was accepted into this race in Feb of 2015 and deferred 2015 when I was clearly not going to be ready in time (damn was I RIGHT about that) – so it has been the better part of two years that this has shaped and tugged at what I was doing.  All the miles in all the weather and all the times it would have been easier not to – but I ran anyway.

I have never been in a race where I didn’t see at least one person injured, and twice that has been relatively early in the race.  The ambulance came for the head injury at mile 7, anything is possible on race day.

What started  as “I’m training for a marathon” has morphed into “I’m a runner”.  Might not be for the rest of this week – but I am.

I’m super funny in the first 10 or 15 steps getting up out of a chair, airplane seat, etc today.

To remember –

Sunrise over the Pentagon was really pretty.

At the start everyone was motionless and breathless during a beautiful rendition of the National Anthem.

The helicopters at the start were awesome.

The giant piles of ditch clothing put a new perspective on how many people were running.

Seeing the Howitzer rolled back after the start was just cool.

The man with the dog at the bridge

The lady with the unicorn suit.

The sloth couple

How pretty it was when I remembered to look up

This is going to be too long a list of bullet points – suffice it to say I did it and as of this specific moment I still have all my toenails.

So far.

I did it.  I ran with the marines, at 43 year old.  I’m delighted.