Back in October, my dear friend and fellow runner Beth was running her first marathon at the Marine Corps Marathon. She had been training hard for this day and had set her sights on finishing a marathon awhile ago. Originally, she had intended to run the Marine Corps in 2012, but an injury sidelined her and caused her to wait another year. She struggled with some injuries during this training cycle – but was able to battle through them and get herself to the start line. I had to be there to cheer her on.
I hopped an Amtrak down to Baltimore on the Friday before the race. Beth and her husband Noel were going to stay down by the start (in northern VA) on Saturday night, and they kindly let me crash with them on the couch in their suite. So on Saturday, the three of us headed down to the packet pickup and expo. If coming down for the weekend wasn’t enough of a demonstration of my friendship with Beth, standing in that very long packet pickup line with her has to be! I guess there was a power outage in the packet pickup tent earlier that day, but that line was crazy – it snaked around and around. I think it took us an hour and a half to get to the front.
After that – there was another long line for the expo, although we managed to find a shorter way in (thankfully!). Since this had taken most of the afternoon and the race start was early the next morning – we basically just checked into the hotel, got a quick meal (Noel and I got Chipotle, Beth brought something that was safer and easier on her stomach), chilled out, and called it a night.
Sunday morning came quickly. Beth was surprisingly relaxed all Saturday night and into the morning – a great sign! Here she is before the race – in her superwoman outfit and covered up:
The ride on the metro was fast and quick. The walk to the starting area was pretty long – but we were still there with plenty of time. We walked with Beth up to the corralling area, then Noel and I headed back to the metro. Before the start – they had several skydivers with American flags descend – very cool looking.
I don’t have any pictures of Beth during the race – I was pretty focused on making sure I saw her at every location and that she saw us (I screamed my head off!). Noel and I covered some ground and saw her at 4 or 5 different locations. We tried to spot her at mile 2 – but we must have missed her, but we did catch her at mile 4-5. Then, we saw her just past halfway – looking strong and saying that she was running faster than her planned pace. We caught her again around mile 20 – looking great and knowing that she would finish. I was as excited as a kid at Christmas! Then we stood on the hill near the finish line (the Marine Corps finishes with a short but steep uphill to the Iwo Jima memorial) and we saw her in that last bit – she looked so happy and gave us a thumbs up. I couldn’t have been prouder or more excited.
It took some time for all of us to find our way to the family meeting area – but here is a picture of my victorious friend with her finisher’s medal and a huge grin:
She looks like she did when she started practically! For someone who just ran 26.2 miles – she looked incredibly happy and in great shape. We had a nice brunch with her entire cheer squad (Carlos, Eileen, Elizabeth, Noel and me) and then they dropped me off at Union Station for the train ride home.
I got home super late that night and got myself a ticket on the way home from the train station (total brain fart) – but it was all worth it.