2007 Marine Corps Marathon

10/26 Going to Washington D.C.

To the airport

Woke up at 6:00am, stretched my body, and left apartment around 7:40am under rainy and still dark sky. Although I am taking my vacation today, still a work day for anybody else so I concerned about the weather and Detroit commute. I drove down south on Beck, and entered I-96 East bound, joining the morning traffic jam. I was a bit uneasy because of many ifs. I was stuck in it until 8:00am, when passing the intersection between I-94 and I-275. After that the traffic was smooth but still raining. Arrived at the airport, drove up to the Blue Deck but the parking building was under some kind of construction so I had to drive around for a spot. No luck on the first, second or the third floor, I finally found one at the fourth level. Finally finished parking at 8:45am. I wasted almost half hour here. In addition, I had to walk quite a long way to the terminal. Not complaining much but I cannot wait for the new terminal to be completed.

AA0765 DTW-ORD 10:15AM-10:30AM

I checked my baggage in and got my tickets. I walked up to the security gate, then I saw many people waiting in lines. It could be a detour but I picked a different line for faster process. When I arrived at the gate, I had some free time so I decided to get a bottle of water ($2.32) and a couple of magazines (Newsweek and Car And Driver for $8.52)  to read during the trip. While I was waiting, I checked internet access at the airport with my iPod touch but I guess none of them give me the access for free. Hmmm. Waiting at the gate, looking outside. Rain gets hard sometimes but so far did not affect my schedule. I hope Chicago is okay. We had a number of folks needed preboarding so the boarding did not start on time. it started at 10:15am, very much the time of original departure. After the quick boarding, the plane backed up and get going. The plane moved to the south end of the airport for departure. It had to wait for a couple of planes landing before we get going. The plane took off to the north. The flight to Chicago was just fine, not much turbulence, the sky was even clearing as approached the destination but ended up partly cloudy. Well, it cannot be helped.

MD-80 waiting at DTW under rain.

It's shiny above the rain cloud Reflection on Michigan Lake

AA1448 ORD-DCA 12:10PM-2:55PM

After a short taxi to the gate, the plane arrived at ORD at 10:30CDT, but since I did not change the clock, I thought it was already 11:30am. So I felt I should eat lunch, stopping by at McDonald's for a meal($6.56). While I was waiting and eating at the connecting gate, I realized about the time zone change. So it is not 11:40am yet. No wonder not many people are not eating, but since I live in Detroit, I guess it does not mean much. I could see many of the people by the gate going to the marathon by observing their clothing, and topics to talk about.

The boarding began again, and now I am heading to Washington D.C.! The plane departed without problem, and took off in mostly clear sky. The plane flew over Lake Michigan, then kept going on east. Soon after the plane has feet dried, I start seeing clouds, first patchy then more dense. Finally I cannot tell anything since it was soupy. The captain of the plane was very cautious about everything, or I could almost say it was too cautious (I follow the direction anyway...) He kept us wear seatbelts all the time. I wonder if he is that much on the safe side, why he waited to lift the main gears until I could see 1,000ft before the end of runway marker? Anyways, the plane started to slow down, descending toward the Reagan National Airport. I could see some grounds through the dense cloud, but no way I could tell. Finally I saw the town of Alexandria, VA right before landing, and I could even tell the rain is falling quite hard by looking around. Oh, man. I think I am in trouble. No rain jacket, no umbrella...

MD-80 at Chicago O'Hare

Getting back into clouds now Back in Washington D.C.!

Arrival at Washington D.C. and the Expo

The plane made a turn at the north end of wet runway before coming to the gate. Getting out of the plane, trying to find some postcards to send out, but I found none there. Hmmm. Oh well, I could find some tomorrow. Went down stairs to get my baggage, then under fairly hard rain, I walked out the terminal, toward the Metro station right next to the airport. Last year, I paid $20 for the fare care and left much of it, so I just used $10 this time (Only had 90cents left when I got back to the airport on Monday) Took an Blue line to Pentagon City, where I will be staying for the next couple of days.

  Metro arriving at Airport station

When I got off at Pentagon City, I remembered another thing. I made reservation but never checked the actual location of the hotel on the map. Hmmm. At least I could find the place by looking up a map posted at the Metro station. I took an escalator to the surface, and began walking toward the hotel, under rain. The roads are paved but with many water spots so my pants and shoes got really wet. After about 10 minutes walking in miserable condition, finally checking in the hotel around 4:00pm. Got room key, going up the elevator to the fifth floor. The room was quite nice, just as I expected. Dried my hair and relaxed a bit.

Kitchen and Dining Living room Bed room

After a short break, I know I have to get my packet at D.C. Armory. At 4:30pm, outside was still raining, I had no choice but walked out in a rain and got back to the station. Took a train and got off at the Stadium - Armory station. Not much change in the weather, still raining. I walk to the armory, following the people going to the expo. I walked in a tent, picked up my packet, checked my ChampionChip works. Got long sleeve shirt, bought things I wanted to buy, like commemorative jacket($73.50), Gu gels (which I forgot to bring, $10.00), a pair of ASICS fancy socks($8.40), three pairs of running shorts($74.03) which I could not find any good deals in Detroit. Unlike last year, may sponsors quit giving us free stuffs, like Tylenol (I think there was a controversy on distributing so many of them every year), and other nutrition product companies. Walking around the expo is fun, I get to see many people wanting to sell stuffs. When I felt I had enough, I decided to head back to the hotel. I left the armory at 6:00pm.

D.C. Armory. They had a couple of tents outside for additional Expo events

Marathon Expo

When I stepped outside, light rain was still falling so walking back to the station was easy. The first train came was orange line so I had to wait about ten more minutes before blue line comes. Going back to Pentagon City was just fine. Got out of the station, walking back to the hotel with a stuffed vinyl bag. Arrived at hotel at 6:30pm, got changed since my cargo pants are so wet (and too long). I hate myself not prepared for this bad weather, and I did not like the long lasting rain, too!

Getting myself meal and grocery

I had a couple of things to do before I go to bed today. I need some water, and Gatorade, and maybe some orange juice. I also have not eaten dinner so I need one, too. The hotel had an ATM like data port I could get some direction, but the machine could not print things out. I had to get a direction from the hotel clerk but I went too far and could not find the place. Inadequate information, and dark outside made me finding the place extremely difficult so I had to turn back. Finally got done with grocery shopping, at Harris Teeter ($15.52, 7:40pm), coming back in rain. Get dried. I asked the receptionist for the direction for any restaurant nearby, Unfortunately, I had to walk back to the Metro station. What a inconvenient place... Walked again under rain, stepped into the Pentagon City mall for the first time. They had pretty nice stores, and there is a food court at the downstairs so I was able to pick from bought dinner at Panda Express inside of Pentagon Shopping Mall for $9.54 at 8:00pm.

Inside of Pentagon City Mall Dinner from Panda Express

 Coming back to the hotel, had dinner, relaxed for a while. Going to bed around 10:00pm. I need to get some rest. I have had a pretty tough week and have not got any more than 5 hours of sleep for about two weeks...

10/27 Getting ready for the marathon

Wake up, getting ready to go to the mall

Woke up at 6:00am, breakfast at 7:00am, the hotel I stayed had complementary breakfast. It was a warm one so they had scrambled eggs, sausage, and French toasts. Still raining at outside. I was thinking of buying an umbrella because I cannot afford getting anymore wet. I don't have dry cloth now! The things turned pretty well soon after the sun comes up, the rain actually stopped! Alright, time for me to go out for a walk! Left around 10:00 for the mall.

At the mall

Took a Metro to Smithsonian station. As usual, I see many people trying to get the packet at Armory, as well as people trying to enjoy the day before the race. Got to the surface. The sky was still a bit cloudy, and the air feel moist. I did not like that much but better than raining. Walked up to Freer Galley of Art and stayed until noon. They had some exhibitions about Asian art, so I get see works by the famous Japanese artists which I only see the pictures and the names on textbook of art class back in school. Wow. They also had various items from India, Korea and China.

The castle With flowers Japanese Niou statue at hallway

After enjoying arts at the museum, I walked toward the Air and Space Museum, I wanted to eat lunch, since it was already noon. Hard to find the place to sit but made it. Had chicken from Boston market ($12.64). I looked into the brochure on the Smithsonian Institute, and decided the Art Museum will be next place to go. Walking across the mall to the north side, looking at the Capital, and the East Building of the museum. (I think I made a good choice on this.)

Capital under cloudy sky East Building Inside of East Building

Edward Hopper's exhibition

At the east building, there was an special exhibitions of Edward Hopper. I did not know who he was, and don't even recall the name. So, I thought since it was a free one, why not going there and check it out. There was a long line of wait, about 20 minutes and I was allowed in. The work of Hopper was just incredibly cool. The board posted says that he pursued the Light and Shadow, and so it says. His drawings lack details but dimensions are correct, and the color is used in very dynamic way. Each picture is almost like a bright spot on the wall. I looked around with many, many other people inside, and I wondered how could he make such drawings leaving stunning impressions? It was really cool. Before I leave the east building, I went downstairs to buy some postcards with his pictures. National Gallery of Art $9.00 for postcards

I took underground pathway to the main building. I walked around for a while by get really tired and my legs are start feeling funny so I decided to head back to the hotel. Overworking my legs will kill me tomorrow... Left mall at 3:00pm, walked to () station instead of using Smithsonian station. I get to see two big FAA buildings. Down at the Metro station, I see many young folks waiting for the train, and realized that Pentagon City may be a place for shopping for those who live here.

Come back to hotel, dinner, and going to bed

Coming back to my room around 3:30pm, took a break, and left again at 4:45pm, went to Ruby Tuesday, had Chicken Parmesian Pasta($18.59), finished up my meal around 5:30pm, give up my seat to the people lining up at outside. Walking back to the hotel, took evening just easy. Packing for tomorrow until 7:00pm, Wrote cards to my friends until 8:00pm, went to bed around 9:00pm. Tomorrow's the race day!

Pentagon City Mall Dinner at Ruby Tuesday

10/28 Race Day

Wake up, and to the race!

Woke up at 6:00am, the outside is still dark. I opened up a window to check the temperature. It was cold, so I decided to wear extra layer I wonder how the running will go in the condition like this. (I heard Honolulu marathon starts at 5:00am). I left the hotel around 7:00am, but not without eating light breakfast. I need energy to finish the marathon! Just as I stepped out from the hotel, saw some people walking toward the Pentagon. The bag drop off point was at the north parking lot of the Pentagon so I kept walking toward the north in dark with so many others. When I reached the Pentagon Station of Metro, the number of people becomes from hundreds to thousands. We all walking toward the north. Finally arrived at the parking, lots of people gathered (and also waiting to use restroom...) I took off my warmers but it was a bit chilly and windy, I made my mind and pack everything gave it to a marine by trucks. I regret the decision but I was able to grab a yellow poncho distributed by Saturn dealer. It helped me a lot, especially walking toward the starting line.

Moon shining over the Marine Marathon gate...

I am ready (but very chilly...!)

V-22 Flyover V-22 Flyover

After seeing V-22s flyby, I kept walking toward the starting line. I look for the sign saying 4:30 (I usually finish in 5:00 but slowdown a lot in the later section, so just need the speed in first half). The poncho kept me warm in the condition. I get to talk with few people and wishing good luck to each other. Soon, the line becomes packed, and then, the start! I had to wait for a while to have the line start moving but when it moves, people start cheering. Alright, time for me to start running!

The race is on! (Course Map, click here 3MB)

Mile Time Comments
0 0:00 Get ready for the 26.2miles run. There is no turning back!
1   Running up north. again, I missed the marker
2 20:46 Continue going up the hill. A bit sweaty with poncho on but too early to decide I take it off.
3 31:33 Passing water stop, tuning to right to going down the hill now
4 40:53 Seeing the cars to the left. People are slowing down some what
5 51:59 Passing another water stop, crossing the bridge. Saw my friend running.
6 1:01:28 This is a new part to me. One of the bus broken down on the street and causing traffic congestion
7 1:10:30 Had to yell people in front to make a room for bike runner. Make a hole!
8 1:21:48 I caught up with the bike runner and kept helping by making room. Had to stop for a minute...
9 1:31:44 Coming back to town portion, the road was narrow at some places.
10 1:41:46 Got a couple of orange pieces, kept running
11 1:51:11 Seeing Lincoln memorial but I am simply busy running
12 2:00:12 One of the running keep passing me, stop, take pictures of scenery, and got behind me again...
13 2:10:22 Turning point near the capital. I am almost half done
13.1 2:11:58 half way done. Got Cliff gel and kept feeding myself
14 2:20:08 I need to get some patch up on my body but has not seen any aid station since the start...
15 2:32:09 Passing water station, I keep it going
16 2:41:33 Photo session, no aid station yet.
17 2:51:37 I see people slowing down, and walking but not for me, this year!
18 3:05:55 Turning back to the north and getting ready for the 19miles marker
19 3:05:46 Got energy beans. I got orange one this time. They are okay.
20 3:19:26 Passing the bridge, finally stopped. Good job to myself. I had to use a bandage to wrap up my right knee
21 3:30:20 Going down from the highway, another water station.
22 3:57:37 reaching the southern most of the race course. 4 miles to go.
23 4:10:22 Getting back to where I got off the highway. I see people all around the street.
24 4:23:34 Passing the Pentagon, got the last water stop before the finish line
25 4:37:04 Passing the Arlington National cemetery
26   Cannot find the marker but I am almost at the goal, here I go!
26.2 4:53:34 Crossing the finish line. It was much easier than any of those I have done.

I cross the finish line, getting thermal blanket, and joined a long line for after race meal. I had to wait for more than 10 minutes to just get a water. I have seen at least two people passed out while waiting. What organizer were thinking? Are they are gonna kill us just making us standing here without anything? Oh, wait the lines are start moving. Let's see, water, PowerAde, pretzels, bananas... That's all? Where are the other goodies like bagels? Oh my, what a disappointment. The Marine Marathon has changed a lot. Used to be more stuffs around...

After the race... and when I can I go back to the hotel?!

Okay, I am done. I have accomplished what I came here for. I just picked up my bag, commemorative coin by USAA and sat down for a while. My right knee was killing me so I stretched my legs well. I began walking toward the shuttle bus pick up, not knowing what's going to happen next.

After the race.

I had several choices to go back to hotel. 1. Walk back, which is about 3 miles away. 2. Take a Metro, which is usually very busy. 3. Take a shuttle bus, which is said to be provided. The first choice is the least one I prefer, and second one was quickly turned down as I see people flooded out of the station. It's gonna take a long time too. I decided to take a bus this time. I could take a bus to Pentagon, then walk but I could also take a Metro back from Crystal City, so I lined up for the latter one. I lined up behind of about 400 people at 2:15pm, and waited, chatting with people around, waited but no bus is coming. I was told there are only two buses for the route. And each taking at least 30minutes to make a trip. I was finally got on board one around 3:30pm. I finished my marathon around 1:00pm and this is the treatment I get?! I think this is ridiculous! After about 30 minutes of bus ride, the driver offer a couple of people getting off at the Pentagon City, cool I got off, dragging my feet to the mall to get my lunch snack (Pik a Pita Gyro $5.44) and dinner (Panda Express $6.27). Walked back to hotel around 4:15pm.

Waiting for a bus to Crystal City, maybe abound 400 people? at 2:15pm Finally Got one at 3:30pm (More than one hour after I lined up...)
Lunch Snack (a pita) Dinner from Panda Express

Sun is still up high but that's not how I feel

The first thing to do, is of course taking a nice shower. Phew. I am glad I am alive. I pretty much spent whole afternoon in a bed to rest up, as usual, my body kept burning so I had to cool it off with help from Gatorade bottles sitting inside of the refrigerator. After a long rest, the sun was set and now I need to eat my dinner, from Panda Express. It was okay. Too bad that the hotel don't have a restaurant inside... I could eat some warm meal. Well, still better than eating a pizza. After the dinner, I packed my bag with great amount of pain (I hate to do any of walk around, sit down, get up). I was able to go sleep around 10:00pm, but kept waking up at least three times over night.

10/29 Coming back to Detroit

Wake up, and to the airport

Woke up at 6:00am, had breakfast downstairs at 6:30am, took another does of Tylenol. packed my staffs, then coming down to the first floor but everybody seems busy so I just dropped off the key at the lobby and left the hotel, walking to the Metro station while dragging my big bag, and heavily used legs. I would hate when my legs break down on the way I have to go somewhere but it did not happen, good. Took metro back to the south, arrived at airport around 10:45am. I checked my baggage in, and received the tickets. I went through the security check, The guy screening the carry on baggage must have had a bad weekend. Keep pushing the passengers' trays overboard. I wonder what he would do when someone's laptop got dropped because of him.

Walked toward the gate. There aren't many chairs available and I was also hungry, so I decided to take advantage by going to restaurant for quick lunch. I looked around, Panda Express (well, I already had enough...), pizza, and a hamburger place called Fuddrucker's. They are a bit expensive but I liked the choice of making my own burger by putting veggies. Okay, I will get a 1/3 pound one for $9.04 with small bottle of water. I found a place to sit, soon the boarding started. Oops. I need to eat it up quick. The burger was good, though.

1/3lb Burger with fries Veggies of choices.

AA1853 DCA-ORD 12:05PM-1:00PM

Since the boarding is already started, I finished up the food, chewing Trident gum while walking toward the gate. I sat down the seat. The plane took off in the air, flew by the Pentagon, Arlington Cemetery, and the Iwo Jima monument. Soon the plane changed it course to west, heading to Chicago bound. I get to see Appalachian mountains then I fell sleep. I woke up again almost near Chicago. Get to see the downtown, then the plane landed. The flight went without any problem so we were at the gate almost 15 minutes early

Pentagon Arlington Cemetery Dulles Airport Chicago

I could even see a large ship cruising

AA1186 ORD-DTW 2:15PM-4:35PM

Not much wait was needed here at Chicago O'Hare. The plane was already at the gate and just had to wait the boarding to start. The plane to Detroit was a B757, which I felt unusual. The plane should be used for longer distance flights. When I got onboard, the one of the plane's engine was already running but I did not know why. I also found that the 13th row did not have windows. Maybe because of the noise from the engine, so I did not get to see the outside much. The plane departed on time and soon I went back to sleep. 1 hour flight to Detroit was smooth as usual. I get to see the Lake Michigan, and then the state itself, soon after that, I saw I-696, then the downtown far way, Ford Motor Company, and then the airport.

DTW Plane unloading... dogs?

 When I was disembarking, I saw about half dozen cages were being unloaded. I guess it was the reason for the engine running. While I was waiting at the luggage claim for my bag, and here they come, about 6 dogs have returned to Michigan... The baggage claim belt conveyer stopped while I was waiting for mine, and half of the folks there were panicked, because there were so few items came out. Waiting for another 5 minutes, the conveyer started again and found mine. I wanted to take a shuttle back to my car but I thought I could walk back, also. I walked a long way back to my car. It was painful, maybe I should not have done it. Paid $36 for the four days, then left the parking lot around 5:00pm, decided to stop by at office to check on things. The road was not that crowded yet but I still could see people getting out from Detroit downtown (those people drive a lot...) Left the office after spending one hour there and come back to my apartment. Not much changes around. Only thing I could tell was there are more trees with red and yellow leaves. Opened up a can of soup for dinner. Updated my journal for the evening, wrote lots of emails to my friends. Going to bed around 10:00pm. Time for recovery...

Lessons Learned:

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