Washington DC and Marine Corps Marathon

White House

White House

Ever have those moments when the world just seems to open up? You might call it an epiphany. That’s sort of what happened in Washington DC. I had heard good things about the Marine Corps Marathon but the city, the activity, the marathon was so much better than I had thought.

The trip started with some last minute issues. We flew out of Sacramento and had a 6:15 AM flight. We didn’t arrive at the airport until about 5:20 AM and after finding parking and getting on the bus, we didn’t make it to the counter until 5:40 AM. But then we realized I had forgotten to bring the car seat with us and left it in the Jeep. So Dylan and I took the bus back to the Jeep, grabbed his car seat and took another bus back to the terminal. Luckily we made the flight but were the last ones on the plane. We could not have cut it any closer.

I really hope to be back for this one. I think I could do this one every year. It is that good. But the whole area proved a great place to visit. So much history. So much to see. We didn’t have a lot of time, but every spare hour we tried to spend in the museums, walking The Mall and the streets of DC. Nicole took a tour of the US Capital building and US Supreme Court while I worked at the expo. We tried to hit the highlights of The Mall and walked to the major monuments and walked to the White House. We also took the subway out to the National Zoo the morning before the marathon but were a little disappointed with the National Zoo. There just wasn’t a lot to see.

Our hotel sat only 2 blocks away from the US Capitol. We grabbed most of our meals at the Union Station but Nicole did eat lunch on Friday at the US Supreme Court.

The marathon will be one that I don’t think I will forget. There is one image that rises above all others and that is around mile 6, we passed one of the hand crank athletes who had no legs. But instead of pushing himself in a special aero wheelchair worth thousands of dollars, this guy was pushing himself along on a simple skateboard. There was nothing special about it. Just a guy with no legs using a skateboard to complete a marathon. From that point forward, no pain was going to be enough to force me stop. Nothing else about the marathon can compare to seeing that guy push his way along 26 miles. The landmarks along the course kept our thoughts on the history of the area. We started along Arlington Cemetery with a Osprey flying overhead. We were late getting to the starting area and literally ran to the starting line. I think I had about 5 minutes to gather the 3:10 runners before the cannon sounded.

Many of the early miles were along the Potomac River and it felt like we were running through a park. It was absolutely beautiful. Once we started to enter The Mall area, we still followed the Potomac river past the Lincoln Memorial out to the flats and then back to The Mall. We then looped around The Mall where I spotted Nicole and Dylan in front of the US Capitol. From here, my group started to thin and once we crossed over the Potomac around mile 20, the group started to break apart. I had a few runners with me the final miles and they finished strong. The last section is a climb into Arlington Cemetery with a bunch of Marines cheering the runners on.

Here’s my GPS report from the marathon: http://trail.motionbased.com/trail/activity/7093637

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