Morning Before The Marathon

My previous post depicts my preparations for this morning. In this post, I concentrate on the morning immediately before the race. I set the alarm for 5 o’clock in order to have a regular breakfast. I warmed up oatmeal with walnuts and cranberries, made a cup of tea, and poured a cup of coffee in the hotel lobby.

Around 6, Janette and I got to the car and drove to the runners village which was located at the parking lot of Pentagon North. The route from Falls Church took us approximately 15 minutes. She dropped me off at the exit to the lot from G. Washington parkway. It was so fast that I forgot the tea and coffee, too. Nevertheless, I still carried a bottle of juice in the official translucent bag, so it wasn’t grave.

The problem was that the access from the North was not official. I had to get back on the highway and use exit 10B from I-395 to Pentagon North in order to access the village and have the bag checked. The walk took me about 25 minutes. I had time and it was more pleasant than wait and stand in a parking lot, since it was around freezing point.

Saturday surprised us with a snow fall. It was just dusting in Washington DC, but in New York and New Jersey, the snow fall was heavier and damaged many trees and 1 million households would be without power for a week.

I wore 6 layers of clothes. The top one was a windbreaker. At the village, I took one layer off and put the clothes to the bag.  It would serve as change clothes after the race. I also filled the pockets of my shorts with gels, salt, and a pill of pain killer.

I called Janette if she has already parked. She did not. She had her license for 2 weeks only, got lost after dropping me off despite us driving the route the day before. Later after the race, she showed me on the map she was driving in the opposite direction, crossed the Potomac river to Washington DC, took an exit near the Capitol and consulted the map on her iPhone. Thanks Apple. Then, she parked and took nice pictures of me running still fresh around mile 1.

After I hang up I registered the bag with the UPS and walked south bound of RT 110 up to the start. I don’t know when the marathon organizers started this carrier service, but it’s the best service for runners I can imagine. I stopped  in the corral allocated for runners who wanted to finish the marathon in 2–3 hours. I planned 2:59:59 the most. There were not many runners in this corral, perhaps 100. The north bound direction was more crowded as the elite runners were grouped there.

The starter’s podium was full of officials and celebrities. I learned Oprah Winfrey ran Marine Corps marathon in 1994 and since then each year they organize a group whose goal is to beat her time of 4:29. Fun. Drew Carey was the official starter. I watched the clock and took the top layer of throw away clothes off few minutes before the gun.

The race recap is available in the following post.