Marine Corp Marathon 2006

Well, to be honest, this is my third time going for this marathon but this one is the one with least confidence. I spend so much time traveling for the company and I did not get to run often. The longest I ran was the half marathon back in June. I was quite concerned so I am just hoping to finish this one. I was go fast in some other time.

If I look back the trip, it was quite a mess and I must be quite lucky finishing the race. That's what I can say.

2006/10/27 Going to Washington D.C.

Going to the airport

Woke up at 6:00am, getting ready for the trip. Wrote few emails to friends and began packing my stuffs. I had to pack my race shoes, wear, and other gears like double layered socks, water bottle belt and energy gel pouch. They are all special items and I have been improving them as I do more races. I double checked them and call it good. Unfortunately, it was raining from the morning, and even expecting storm over the day so I was a bit worried about the flights. I locked up my apartment and needed to take care of few items before going to the airport. The first thing I did was to stop by the office to check email for the last time, then went to a post office to buy some stamps because I was planning on sending cards to friends as usual.

I drove to the airport in a rain. I hated it because the cars in front of me makes splashes and sometimes had hard time seeing the distance. I arrived at the parking lot and got a ride to the airport terminals. Since the flight is taking off in the afternoon, I had to feed myself so I went to food court at the airport. I had my lunch at Chick-A-fil for a some kind of salad.

To Chicago O'Hare: AA4461 IND(12:55pm-1:00pm (A big screw up #1)

When I arrived at the gate, the plane was not there yet. I found out that the plane will be departing around 1:05pm, a bit behind of schedule. I started to concern because my connection time is originally 35 minutes. If something goes wrong then I will miss my connection. With much of delay, the plane supposed to take me to Chicago landed and unloaded the passengers from the previous flight. I was watching baggage being loaded to the aircraft under hard rain. There's no group number order and the size of the plane, so it was a quick boarding. The plane left the gate. I was watching the same type of U.S. Airway jet taxing. While that plane turned to left, mine did to right. Soon, the plane stopped at parking spot. It was originally taking off at 1:15pm but the departure was a bit after 1:20pm. Stuck at location for 1 hour and was told our schedule has been delay by one hour so we have to sit there until 2:15pm. What a mess. When the clock nears the 2:00pm, captain announced there's been another delay of extra 50 minutes. We left the gate around 1:15pm, and the take off time was around 2:50pm. I was in the airplane for 1.5 hours for nothing. When the airplane finally took off, the plane made a quick trip to Chicago. I already know that I cannot make the connection. I arrived at Chicago airport around 3:00pm at their time.

Baggage being loaded under hard rain

Waiting at the parking spot. Let me go!!!

To Reagan National: AA810 ORD(1:35pm CDT)-DCA(4:30pm EDT) [Changed to AA1442: 4:20pm CDT - 7:05pm EDT] (A big screw up #2)

Since I missed connection flight, I needed to get another flight to Reagan National Airport. There is a rebooking center at gate near H9, so I went there and picked up a phone but they told me that there is no airplane leaving today to Washington D.C. The lady also told me they could not do from there, and I was told to go to the gate to get myself on the standby list.  I was waiting in front of the gate H17 for about half hour to meet the person there. According to her, Chicago O'Hare has been under such a mess for past two days, and seen lots of people bumped and stuff. They secured me on a flight leaving next morning at 6:00am (AA496). But they also put me on a priority on the list because I was misconnected so I was the number 2 on the spot with other 20 people waiting.

Given a standby is such a hard moment

With this set back, I cannot do much stuffs so I went to McDonald’s and got myself a dinner. My usual choice of Grilled Chicken Sandwich, but this time I substituted pop to an orange juice. I was talking with few people there who are going to the D.C. for the marathon. When the boarding began from 4:15pm (originally at 4:00pm), I was very, very nervous. Here goes the first class, executive class members, Group 1, 2, 3... when the person on standby list #1 got a seat, I was praying for the miracle. Please, please let me be on this plane so I don't need to screw up my whole trip. I don't want to stay at a hotel in Chicago, I don't want to received my packet at very last minute... Just about 10 minutes before the departure, I got my seat at 19A. Phew. Now I can go to the DC today.

The guy who sat next to me was visiting Chicago for some kind of religion conference. We talked for a while. I guess even happy looking pastors have their hard time stories them. It was a good conversation. Also realizing that modern days of Christianity is rather, radical. He does not believe in Jesus and places wife over the God. Hmmm. Anyways, the flight was a bit of shaky but was not so bad. After about 2 hour of flight, the plane finally approached to the D.C. When it cleared the cloud, I get to see the city. The plane took approaching path from the north. I saw the Georgetown University, a bridge I cross during the marathons. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts, Washington monument, Lincoln and Jefferson memorials. Soon, the plane landed on the runway.

Finally arrived to the DC

Checking into the hotel

After got off the plane, I went to a CNN store to buy some cards. It's been my custom that I send postcards to friends when I visit somewhere. Getting my bag and walked up to the upstairs to use Metro to go to the hotel.

Looking ay Reagan National Airport from Metro station

I bought a fare card by putting a $20 bill. I used Blue Line to Rosslyn station. I did not know that exact location of the hotel so I called the number and got a direction. The outside was still raining but I did not care. I just wanted to get there. Walking with a big bag in a hilly place is not so easy but took just 10 minutes to find the hotel. I checked in the room around 9:30pm and really liked it. The room looks good, and has a kitchen. The only issue was that the broadband connection must be wired, meaning I cannot not browse net on the bed.

Pictures from the hotel

I just relaxed at the room for a while. Thinking about tomorrow and looking back a tough day today. Going to bed around 10:00pm.

2006/10/28 Getting ready for the marathon

Going to get my packet

I woke up at 6:00am, but quite tired from yesterday's ordeal. I did not want to get up. I went down to the first floor to get some break fast items and had it in my room. I then went down to the Metro station, took Orange line to go to the Armory. As I was arriving. there is already a long time formed near the entrance. I passed security and picked up the package. I also bought a long sleeved shirt for tomorrow's race. I only had a thick long sleeve shirt or short sleeve which is pretty thin. I needed something in the middle. Someone was also mentioning about buying a cap but I thought it won't be necessary. I looked around for a while, getting free stuffs, checking out some fun stuffs and left the place. I have my own Champion Chip but because I did not registered, I was a bit concerned but it came out to be okay, it showed the bib number and name. As I getting out from the expo, I saw a much longer line began forming even starting near the Metro exit. I am glad I came in the morning. I took Orange line again to go back to Rosslyn station. Just as I was walking back to the hotel I saw few people who had grocery bags in their hands so I guessed there is a store somewhere. I needed to buy some water and some snacks so I decided to look around. Soon I found a place and bought what I needed.

Long line to the expo

Inside of the expo, pretty packed

Going to the mall

Well, coming to Washington D.C. for just a marathon does not satisfy me. I need to go sightseeing! Since it was already noon, I decide to eat before I go. Since I might have to pay more if I buy stuff in the middle of the mall. I had a sub and orange juice at a restaurant nearby the hotel. Actually not like Ballstone station, I was using last year, I was having hard time finding a place to eat. While chewing gum I walked down the hill toward the Metro station. I met with a lady who was looking for the same hotel I am staying so I just pointed the way, and the next person I met was checking on his GPS equipped wrist watch. He looked like going for a running soon.

I took blue line to Smithsonian, When I walked out from the Metro station, it was slightly raining. I walked up the nearest building, which is the castle. I have been to castle and saw old gold coins, and some plates and utensils from supersonic airliner Concord, and also a piece of propeller(?) from the famous Hindenburg. I found that the propellers had coated with meshed steel wires and coating on top. It's like a composite structure. Because the Air and Space Museum was packed, I decided to skip it this time. I saw a pack of Japanese High School students. So, with not much choice I have, I also get to go to Native American museum for the first time.. It had so many native American artifacts, swords, guns and others displayed. I need to go there again sometimes but first I think I need to do my homework.

The famous Castle Dinnerware from Concord, Supersonic Transport Prop? from Hindenburg

The outside was warm but windy so I felt pretty cool. I saw leaves flying all over the places. I went to the Capital, and to the Washington Monument, then I turned around and headed to Metro station. They had the Museum of American History closed for renovation. I wanted to go to the Museum of Natural History but I just bought a Poweraid right before getting there so I decided not to go. I came back to the hotel around 4:00pm.

Mall Capital Mall2, windy Mall3
Looking up the sky at Museum of Natural History Washington Monument The planets on the road Looking at WW2 and Lincoln Memorials

I got my dinner from Ruby Tuesdays. I had good talk with the waiter at the restaurant while waiting for the food to be cooked. I had parmesan chicken and a small salad to go with it. I had my dinner around 5:00pm, and relaxed for the evening. Writing my webpage. I was checking the race packet, it indicated that there will be one time use chip, which very much eliminates need for returning the chip. Went to bed around 10:00pm.

I need pasta! water! Gatorade!

Moon shining over the D.C. View from the hotel

2005/10/29 The day of the marathon

Getting ready for the race

The daylight saving time is over now. I woke up at 5:30am, stretched my body and headed to down stairs. I had some snacks in my room but I was able to have hotel's breakfast around 7:30am before I leave to go to the marathon. I checked the outside air, it was pretty cold, but I decided to go with a long sleeve and short pants. I had to wear glove and warm up wear to keep my body heat. The outside is sunny, and cool. I walked toward the memorial from the hotel, I saw so many people around me. I talked to few of them. I took some pictures of the Iwo Jima monument, and headed to the Runner's Village.

Iwo Jima Monument 1 Iwo Jima Monument 2 Start Line

On the way to the The regular stuffs were going on, like prayers, and some announcement. As I passed the start line. I get to see the scarlet wave getting ready. the anthem was song and I saw a couple of MV-22s making a flyby. This was my first time seeing them. It was pretty neat.

MV-22 flyby 1 MV-22 flyby 2 I hope I can make it.

I dropped off my bag and walked toward the start line. Because I walked from the hotel to the village, and back to the start line, so I think I had about 4 miles of walk already. (I never realized this will back fire on me) I had to walk faster because I was also concerned about getting late.

Running Marathon

At 8:30am, I saw the scarlet wave crossed the start line and I joined the line for the gold wave. I talked with few people while I am waiting. When 8:40am arrived. I was expecting to begin the race. However, something happened we could not start. The race began at 9:02am. I followed the pack and began going up the hill, make a turn and start coming down on the hill, crossing the bridge, running the downtown Georgetown, running up the road to take a path toward the Rocky Creek Parkway, turned around at the end and heading to the south. Running by the Lincoln Memorial and going east toward the Capital. Turn around at in front of it and headed to the west. Passing a bunch of Smithsonian Institutes and the WW2 memorial, Passing by FDR memorial and heading south on East Potomac Park. I kept running until hitting 19miles. After that, I had to walk. I did not have pain so I was able to walk fast on the bridge but when I reached to mile 23, I was pretty much done. My right knee was hurting from mile 4 and finally gave up on me. I dragged my leg all the way to the goal. Some goodies I received were orange, water, poweraid, an energy gel (last time I picked mocha and got sick, so I picked vanilla flavor and which was quite all right). There is another station near 22 mile mark I can get sport beans. I got one with fruit punch. I did not like the taste.

(Course Map, click here)

Mile Time
5 48:38
10 1:38:06
13.2 2:09:39
15 2:31:48
20 3:37:54
23.5 4:22:14
26.2 5:12:51

Me wearing a finisher's medal


When I am done with running, I received a medal and walked toward a tent. I picked up bananas and drinks. The surrounding area toward the Rosslyn station was packed with vendors who wants to sell stuffs for the finishers. So, the UPS trucks holding my bag was across the bridge (last year they parked at the hill), I had all of my goodies including the painkiller in the bag so I very much had no intension coming back to the park. As I picked up commemorative coin and some stickers from CNN tent. I do feel the marathon became commercially driven. Well, one god thing is this year, I did not get blister on my foot. It was amazing.

I went back to the hotel straight. On the way, I saw many people wearing medals, and the restaurant planning on to visit is packed. I arrived to the hotel and took a long, hot shower. I had to wait until 5:00pm and made a phone call to place an order. They forgot mine so I got a beer for free. I had a regular hamburger with fries with it. It was plenty for me. Because I picked up some drinks

Dinner (Treating myself with oily burger and fries!)

I stayed up until 8:00pm. My body start feeling really hot and I could not sleep well. Over the evening and night, I consumed 3 liters of water and some more sports drinks.

2006/10/30 Coming back to Indianapolis

Going to the airport

Because my body was acting up pretty bad, I woke up every two hours to cope with fever and drink a lot of water. I finally woke up at 6:00am, then watched TV for a while. After coming down to eat breakfast, I found out that there was a guy died in yesterday's marathon. Because the lunch room was pretty packed, I shared my table with an embassy worker from former soviet union nation. It was pretty fun talking to people from all over the world. Came back to my room, packed my stuffs.

Left the hotel around 9:45am.Walked toward the Metro station and got a ride to the airport. I arrived at the airport around 10:00am. I saw a lot of them wearing the long sleeve shirt from the marathon, and some with medals. I do understand the feeling just want to show off the accomplishments, as well as feeling of sharing. When I was at the airport, the pain on my knee came back and I was walking with right leg dragging. I checked myself in, and get my baggage screened. I have not been able to walk around much so I just sit in the chair nearby gate.

To Chicago: AA1249 DCA(12:05pm EST) - ORD(1:10pm CST)

The flight to Chicago was just fine. I talked to the passenger next seat who also ran marathon. He was from San Antonio, TX and it was his 2nd one for this year. I wish I am strong enough to run more than one . Well, comparing myself to a service member is no match, I guess. I fell sleep for a while and next time when I woke up, it was about 30 minutes away from the landing. As the captain announced the seatbelt rule, I was watching Gary, IN right at the window. The plane headed northwest and turned around the north of downtown Chicago to make approach toward southwest. The plane landed in Chicago around 1:05pm, arriving at the gate on time.

Ready to go home

I checked which gate is for my next flight, realized it is the same. I went to McDonald's again and picked up a Caesar salad and orange juice.

To Indianapolis: AA1829 ORD(3:30pm CST) – IND(5:30pm CST)

The last flight for this trip was just fine. I had a passenger next me working on his PC all the time. I know I have to work on my stuffs also, but I was not in the mood. I get to see outside a bit, including the city of Chicago in a haze. The plane landed safe, on time. While I was waiting for the baggage, I tried to pay the parking fee but I could not process my parking coupon with automated machine. After getting my bag, I stepped out in a chilly Indianapolis air. When I get to the bus stop for the shuttle, there were so many people waiting for the bus so I had to wait extra 15 minutes to get on, so when I get to the parking lot, it was already 5:30pm. After driving back to the apartment. I know I will have fever again so I went to a local drug store to get some ice pack. I went to bed around 9:00pm, woke up in the middle of night around 11:00pm but after that, everything went fine.

Getting ready to leave O'Hare

Chicago Downtown


Expense: About $800

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