I am splitting my race recap into two parts since I have so much to share about my first marathon.
The Health and Fitness Expo was held on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Since I was out of town, I had to go on Saturday, which was the busiest day. The race packet pickup was set up in a large tent outdoors, and the expo was held in the DC Armory. The line for the bibs was crazy long, and we ended up waiting for about an hour. Once I got my bib, I had to get in another long line to get into the expo. The security was pretty strict; our bags were checked and they scanned us for metal objects on our person. After almost 2 hours in line, I finally got into the expo. I picked up my MCM mock technical tee and looked around the expo a bit.
On race day, my brother and I planned on taking the metro to the Pentagon. I got up at 4:25 am so I wouldn't have to rush in the morning. It wasn't too brutal, since I went to bed at 8pm! I had my usual pre-run breakfast: a bagel with PB and banana and coffee. The metro ride wasn't too crowded until we got to Pentagon station. The platforms were packed and it took us a while just to get out of the station since there was only one escalator going up.
We finally got out of the metro and just followed the masses to the starting area. I was worried that the security check would take a long time, but it was actually a breeze. First thing I did after that was find a port-a-potty. Thankfully, I was able to take care of my morning business. Just in time to see these parachuters!
I got all my gear ready and then checked my bag. There wasn't a line and it was super easy to find my UPS truck and drop it off. The rest of the photos were taken by my dad :)
I think I was stuffing my arm warmers and arm band full of gels and ShotBloks. We then headed to the race start, and only runners were allowed after a certain point, so my dad snapped this pic right before we separated. I am holding a coconut water in one hand and ShotBloks in the other. I think I ate a couple right before the start, and I held onto that coconut water until about mile 7.
The start of the race was signaled by a Howitzer cannon, and we were off! The course was pretty congested for a good portion of the first half of the race. I started slowly, which in retrospect was smart since the crowds prevented me from starting out too fast.
I was feeling really good for the first 13 miles. Although I started out slowly, I was running negative splits and my average pace was around 9:00. The course was uphill for the first couple of miles, and then we were treated to a downhill at mile 3. Miles 6-9 was an out and back, so I was able to spot my brother around mile 9 (his mile 7) and we cheered each other on! I was also sticking to my fueling plan. Since I had my coconut water, I skipped the first three water stations. I had two more ClifBloks at mile 8, and finished them at the half way point.
I hit the 13.1 mile mark almost exactly at 2 hours, and I was right on track for my goal time. However, at this point, my right quad was starting to tighten up... It would get worse as I pounded more miles, and my left quad would join in on the pain fest.