Running with the Marines

I’ve been on the run like crazy this fall and winter, but finding time to write about it has evaded me. With several races in fabulous destinations under my belt, it is way past time to share!

John, AKA: the luckiest man alive, entered the lottery in hopes of winning a spot in the Marine Corps Marathon, and that’s exactly what he did. Fresh off a successful stint entering the lottery for the New York Marathon the year before, John and I spent four days in October running through our nation’s capital.

We flew in Thursday night before the race and checked in to the Westin City Center. After sleeping in Friday morning, we made our way to the beautiful Gaylord National on the banks of the Potomac River to pick up our bibs and do a little shopping. John and I love a good race expo and the Marine Corps Marathon expo did not disappoint.

We picked up our bibs and race shirts from actual Marines who were working the event. From the second we walked into the expo to the moment we left the post-race party, the energy surrounding the event, fueled by the support of the Marines, was electric.

We did some sightseeing Friday afternoon following the expo, making sure to hit the high points throughout the National Mall.

When I tell you that we ate amazing food in D.C., we seriously ate amazing food in D.C. In all my travels, I have never had such scrumptious meals, one after the other, as we did on this trip. Friday night we dined at Le Diplomate, a French bistro in the heart of Logan Circle and walking distance from our hotel. I am still dreaming about the French onion soup!

When John ran the New York marathon, we did a lot of walking around prior to the big race. He made me promise that we wouldn’t do that this year, so Saturday morning we took a quick Uber ride to Georgetown for brunch at Sequoia before doing a little shopping. Located just down from the Kennedy Center on the Potomac River, boats rowed by while we enjoyed small plates of everything from breakfast pizza and vanilla bourbon French toast, to calamari. We watched football and rested our legs Saturday afternoon before the next amazing meal at Filomena. When you walk in to a restaurant and the first thing you see is a lady hand rolling pasta, you know you’re in for a treat!

Sunday was race day. We took the metro to our respective start lines, John’s in Pentagon City and mine in the National Mall. We went opposite directions in the metro terminal. I was literally the only person on my side of the tracks as I sat staring at the hundreds of runners heading to the marathon start line across the way. Thankfully, about five more minutes into my wait, another 10K runner joined me and we laughed about the fact that it looked as though we had no idea where we were going.

Our train finally arrived and we made it to the chilly start line. Watching the sunrise over the Capital as a trio sang the National Anthem was an amazing experience and really set the tone for the entire race.

I have decided that the 10K may be my best distance. I set a PR in the Marine Corps 10K and felt great throughout the entire race. Both the 10K and marathon finish uphill at the Marine Corps Memorial. Surrounded by Marines cheering us on, the uphill switchbacks were painful, but made the finish that much sweeter.

But, enough about me. Despite the rapidly rising temps, John said that it was a great fall day to run 26.2. The highlight for him was the Blue Mile. At mile 10.5, they honor fallen service men and women. Pictures of those who gave their lives for our freedom line the mile, making it a moving experience as you run with Marines in full gear, rucksacks and all. John’s knee began to give him problems around mile 16, but he and Elvis were able to finish the marathon. We enjoyed the finish line festival for awhile, complete with all the watermelon you could eat and live music.

We celebrated with steaks at The Capital Grille Sunday night. And, lobster mac and cheese. And, cheesecake. After all that yumminess, we needed to do some walking, so the Jefferson Memorial was our next stop. It was extra beautiful at night and was the perfect way to end our trip to D.C.

The Marine Corps Marathon made for a great long weekend in D.C. With a 10K PR under my belt, I was well on my way toward training for the next race on my calendar, the St. Jude Memphis Half Marathon, but that’s a story for another day.

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