2008 Marine Corp Marathon Trip (Last updated on 2008/11/1)

2008/10/24 Going to Washington D.C.

To the airport

Woke up at 4:00AM, had breakfast, it was at 40F outside. Stretched my body, took a shower, took a bit longer than I hoped so I left home around 4:40AM, maybe too late. So, I did my best to drive to the airport and made to the parking garage at 5:15AM. Walked to the terminal in hurry, checked in at 5:30AM, the lady at the counter noticed I am coming a bit later than supposed to be but was okay. I went through security, and walked to the gate which is located at far north at 5:40AM, the plane already finished most of the boarding so I had hard time finding the place to put my bag in the cabin. Anyways, I am in, and good to go.

DTW-LGA 06:20AM-08:00AM (AA4877)

AA4877 At DTW The plane pushed back from the gate

The plane departed at 6:00AM, and since the active runway is right by the gate plane get pushed back, it just turned around and headed for the departure. In just 10 minutes after departure, we are airborne and turned to the left to fly south of Detroit area to the east. Sooner after took off, the plane went into turbulence around 6:30AM. So it had to climb out higher to avoid that. The outside is looking nice as the flight continues. The sky gets brighter now and I can see the surface. I see fogs developed above lakes and rivers. And the surroundings look calm. It was a nice and easy flight. Since I have never been to New York, I did not know how it looks like (I only know from the map data...) so I did not know how far out when the plane started to slow down and made the initial descent. The plane flew east side of the island, and landed to the airport without a problem. After taxing for a while, we arrived at the gate while I am still sleepy...

Fog appeared on top of the lake, maybe because of warm water? Manhattan Island is in sight


Looking at downtown New York as approaching to the airport  

LGA-DCA 10:10AM-11:34AM (AA4796)

Arrived at LGA at 7:28AM, getting off the plane. Powered up my PC to check company emails while I wait for the connecting plane. The La Guardia airport is so tiny so it has low ceiling, and not that comfortable. Oh well, I cannot complain much.  The gate was changed so I had to move. I bought my lunch (roast beef sandwich and a bottle of orange juice for $11.57) because I want to get moving as soon as I arrived at Washington D.C. The boarding process started on time, and the smooth departure was executed at 9:30AM. The issue is after that, I see so many planes are waiting for their turns for takeoff, so the plane was taxing around to line up. On the way, I saw an Air Force Two (73-1683) at a ramp.

AA4796 at LGA under morning Sun

Taxing while only one engine running (to save gas?) Air Force Two

After a long wait, the plane finally took off to southeast at 10:10AM, then made left turn to go around the New York city, it was a pretty sight. Soon after that, I started to eat lunch. The plane flew from New York, Philadelphia, and Baltimore before reaching to Washington D.C. The plane approached from north this time so I get to see the Mall, Washington Monument and the Capital House.

Looking at LGA and NYC downtown Manhattan Island Yankee Stadium (Old and New) Newark Airport


Georgetown University Kennedy Center Lincoln Memorial Jefferson Memorial

The landing was okay, and the plane arrived at the gate 11:00AM on time. I got out from the plane and walked to pick up my bags downstairs and went outside to wait for a shuttle bus to take me to the rental car center. The bus took me to one of parking garages where many rental car company have their offices. I checked in on the first floor, then proceeded to the third floor to get in the car. I got another 2008 Mercury Milan, just like the one I rented when I travel to Colorado early this year...

To Museum (Udvar-Hazy Center)

Left the parking garage around 11:30AM, I was hoping to get there by noon. Although the vehicle is equipped with Never Lost navigation system, I found that this won't work too well in an environment like in Washington D.C. where you have hard time getting signals, and also roads so complex. I had very hard time finding the right road. Driving under cloudy sky makes me also losing directions, once I passed the Francis Scott Key Bridge by mistake, had to drive back to Virginia side via Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Bridge.

Finally I drove up to north on George Washington Memorial Highway, I remember that I usually run this road for the marathon, the road shift to Dolley Madison Blvd, where I swung by entrance to the CIA. Later join I-495 to the south to each west bound of Dulles Airport Access Road. The freeway had the speed limit of 55mph, makes me feel like slow road. The good thing is the only road going to airport is toll free. I don't need a penny. After arriving to the airport, took Sully Road to the south, and finally arrived at the museum around 12:30PM and paid $12.00 fee for the parking.

Concord (1) Concord (2) B-29 Enola Gay (1) B-29 Enola Gay (1)
  B707 Dash 80 SR-71 XV-15
X-35B (1) X-35B (2) X-35B (3) X-35B (4)
Fw 190 Do 335-1 (1) Do 335-1 (2)  
F-4S A-6E F-14A F-86A
Aerobile6 F4U-1D Global Flyer N-1M
P-40E PT-22A    
MiG-21F OS2U-3    

Besides that, the museum is still free. After passing the entrance, I get to see many unique planes like SR-71, Concorde, Space Shuttle Enterprise, Boeing 707 known as Dash 80, Because the place has more room to place exhibits than the one at Washington Mall, it maybe better here. The only disappointment was because the planes are fenced up every where, I can not get too close.

I stayed until 2:15PM the decided to go back to Reagan National airport. I stopped by at the gift shop to buy some postcards for my friends. On the way back to the airport, this time I had to pay the toll. I think I paid total of $1.25 while passing a couple of gates. Since I had no change with me, I had to use full service. Found a place that I can fill up. Drove back for half more hours to the airport at 3:20PM, After returning the car and get the receipt ($97.38), I had to take another shuttle bus back to the terminal so I can get on Metro. I feel a bit exhausted after driving unfamiliar roads.

To Hotel and Stopping by at Expo for packet

Back to the airport terminal around 3:30PM. I bought a Cinnabon ($3.80) as a quick snack. Which used to be my dad's favorite. I did not remember how big it was so I felt it was bigger than before. I bought a farecard for $10, and proceeded to the Metro, took a ride to the Pentagon City, and I walked to the hotel for about 5-10 minutes. At 4:00PM, I walked in and check myself in. The lady who took care of me remembered me since the last time I was lost so many times to find the grocery store nearby. The room is good as usual. I even get to pick one which I can see Air Force memorial, the Pentagon, and Washington Monument. After a short break, I decided to go pick up my packet so I can have extra time tomorrow. I still have until 6:00PM. Headed to expo around 4:40PM with using a Metro train on blue line.

  Entrance for the Marathon Fest

There were many people there but not busy as the last year, I get my packet, goodie bag, and a long sleeve shirt. I also bought a commemorative jacket (since my old 30th MCM is too precious to wear!). Like last year, not much give away going on so I walked around for a while. Not interested in buy a new pair of running shorts or shirts, I guess I have nothing else to buy. I stayed until 6:00PM,  Arrived back to hotel at 6:45PM. Had a dinner at mall around 7:10PM, from Panda Express ($9.92). Then headed to a grocery store as after dinner walk. I bought orange juice, milk, a pack of bottled waters.

Metro Station at Armory Dinner from Panda Express

Coming back to the hotel with both hands full, get back to my room and relaxed. Went to bed around 11:00PM. Looks like tomorrow's weather may not be pretty...

Cloudy weather. Looking at the Pentagon and Washington Monument


I woke up at 6:00AM, stretched my body and got ready for today. I had breakfast around 8:00AM, which is nice about the hotel. I get a warm meal. After coming back to my room, I realized my bag does not contains safety pins to put BIB on my gear, so I asked a person at the hotel counter, they had a small sawing kit so I guess I will take that. They are nice and did their best. Next year, I should bring my own somehow.

Day break at Washington D.C. Already raining The rain finished for now. Air Force Memorial in far

I was checking on the weather, right now is cloudy but I can see rain approaching on the radar. The weather.com shows that today is expected be rainy, especially for the afternoon with possible thunder storm. so I should head to Arlington Cemetery first then the Washington Mall..

Arlington National Cemetery

At 9:30AM, left hotel and headed to Metro station, after a short hop, I was at Arlington Cemetery station by 10:00AM. I could see people walking around, and many coming via buses. I see some group of people from Korea, Italy and Hispanics. They are just taking pictures around so I guess they are up to sight seeing (I guess I am also, hahaha). I walked around, and saw JFK's grave, the tomb of unknown, and Maryland monument. While I was walking, I saw three people preparing to do something, one guy with a trumpet, the other in a uniform, and the last one in a suit. They started to talk about the Granada? about 100 years ago, and held a ceremony. After a short prayer, the guy in his uniform started to read out the names, then the taps was played.

While I was walking, sounds from rehearsal of the race day was going on. It is pretty funny since no one is running today.

JFK tomb overview JFK and his wife Tombs Tombs

Ceremony Maryland Memorial    
Tomb of The Unknowns Soldiers Tomb of The Unknowns Soldiers Tomb of The Unknowns Soldiers  


The JFK's grave had total of 4 head stones with a flame.

The tomb of unknown, had a guard on watch. It was pretty cool sight.

Preparation for the marathon is underway

Washington Mall (Museum of Natural History)


To west Washington Monument To east the U.S. Capital Building

After I am satisfied, I left the Cemetery around 11:00AM, then headed to Smithsonian station at 11:20AM. I arrived there around 11:40AM and since it was almost noon, I tried to eat in the Museum of National History but the cashers at the museum was not able to process cards, and I was recommended to get cash from an ATM machine. I walked downstairs as I have been told, but the machine was out of order. I needed to the cash anyway, walked out from the museum and tried to get some cash from ATM in other building. As soon as I walked out, rain started. I was preparing for it so the rain jacket I have helped me a lot. It was windy a bit so umbrellas won't work well. Since the museum next to the Museum of Natural History was under renovation, I needed to head to the castle. They had a working ATM so I withdraw $40, with $2.50 surcharge. I should have brought some cash with me...

I walked back to the Museum, get the screening again around 12:30PM. Headed to the cafe inside.

Roast Beef Sandwich and Maryland Crab Soup ($18.43)



Mammoth Fishbones


Korean characters

I walked around the museum. They had some amazing exhibits like dinosaur fossils, gems, preserved ocean living matters. They even had a room filled with butterflies and iMax theater. (They will cost you.) I think I had enough fun, I decided to head back to the hotel so left sometimes passed 2:00PM.

Relax, dinner time

When I stepped out from the metro, it was raining steady. I see some folks talking about how to get back to their hotel. Sorry for those guys. I came back to the hotel around 2:50PM, finally started to write up my journal. After a while I just decided to relax for a while, so I was watching TV then the graphics started to mess up around 4:00PM. When I looked outside, rain was falling very hard and made sense that the satellite signals are not reaching well.

Raining hard over here.

I was getting hungry around 5:00PM, so I checked outside. It was still raining but not too bad. I changed my shoes to non-race pair and stepped outside. I prefer to eat something like pasta, and I remember last year that I had one from Ruby Tuesdays at Pentagon City Mall. Only to find out it was replaced with Harry's Tap Room, I checked the menu and made sure that they have some pasta dishes. Since they did, I enter the place and had a chicken and penne pasta ($22.16) and left around 5:50PM. The rain was still falling but very light so I walked back to the hotel. I usually call home on Saturday in the late evening to talk with my dad, but since I have to get up early tomorrow, I call him around 7:00PM instead. For the rest of the evening, I finish writing cards to my friends, relaxed until 9:00PM then stretched my body a bit, checked my gears, took a shower and went to bed. Tomorrow is a big day.

Chicken and Penne Pasta

2008/10/26 Marathon Day!

At 5:30AM, I woke up. Stretched my body, checking on the weather online to make a plan for the today's race while looking at the course map. Took a shower then finally got ready to go with everything checked up. I went down then had breakfast at downstairs. One of the employee asked whether I have a breakfast coupon, I had to say no because I was not coming down with that, after a short argument with that guy, I landed myself a breakfast. Yay. Those people needs to make sense on special occasion. The hot breakfast was not ready to I had myself a piece of bread and took a banana with myself. I walked out of the hotel around 7:00AM, headed to runners' village as thousands of others doing, mostly coming out from the Metro's Pentagon Station. The sun was not coming up yet, and the sky was still dark, just slightly red bright. I could see the Moon on the east side of the sky. After a short walk, I get to the place. The first thing I needed to do was to line up to use a restroom. I don't want to waste my time on the road around 2-3miles mark. It was a bit chilly so I was hoping to get a poncho from Saturn, but I could not find it this time. I guess I have to keep the blanket this year for the next time. Took off my jacket and headed to the starting line while feeding myself a Gu. I get to see a V-22 flying by on the way. While I was walking toward there, the national anthem was played so I had to stop. This time it was a guy playing. I was at my start by 7:30AM, waited until 8:00PM. After the start, the pack was not moving well, so it took 7 minutes to just cross the line, and very hard to deal with for the first 8 miles. I wish I picked the faster bracket for the race!


Getting ready for the race!

Mile Time Comment
1 ? Time unknown, took 7 minutes to cross the line
2 Running up hill
3 Coming down hill, passing the first sensor point.
4 Going up hill and reached water stop, I had a Gu
5 Foggy after passing the bridge, until passing 8 miles.
6 1.11.03 Still running up more
7 1.21.24 Start coming down hill but the road is pretty narrow
8 1.30.50  
9 1.40.56 Passing the regular route for the marathon. Had couple pieces of orange
10 1.50.55 First time taking this pass, going south
11 2.00.52  
12 2.10.17 Stretched my legs a bit
13 2.20.53 Had a energy gel things. I needed to warm it because it was pretty sticky
14 2.30.50 Passing the 1/2 marathon mark
15 2.40.43  
16 2.51.13 Passing by Lincoln Memorial. I am gonna need to use restroom soon
17 3.01.18 Passing by the White House
18 3.15.04 at the Mall
19 3.25.32  
20 3.38.55 Please no Sport Beans, I don't like them...
21 3.49.57 Hitting the wall, start to slow down a bit
22 4.02.37 Going 1 min break, 3 min run
23 4.14.52 Going to the Crystal City
24 4.27.20 Coming back to the Pentagon
25 4.42.20 I started to running again
26 4.54.32 Keep running
26.2 4.57.05 I finished with 4:50.14 with Chip Time

Me with a finisher's medal

Lining up for shuttle bus Place is packing up

By 1:30PM, my race is finished up. I got myself a thermal blanket, and the finisher's medal. Along with hundreds of racers, I slowly walking out of the park, received NCAA coin, and picked up my bag. I called my friend to let her know that I was able to finish the race again. Sit down on the ground and rested a bit after taking a painkiller. Later, I walked toward the shuttle bus. Again I had to be in a long line to wait because of people wanting to get out. The line was not long this year because they narrowed the destination to Crystal City only, and a couple of buses keep coming up for every 10 minutes. I got on a bus around 1:50PM, and watched outside while the bus maneuver around the town to get us to the destination. Finally around 2:30PM, I got off the bus and started to walking toward the Metro entrance, which was a quite long way, and I get to see people taking things down after the race. I dragged myself to the station, realized that I did not have a fare card, so I paid $2.00 to purchase again. I took a train back to the Pentagon City, entered food court around 3:00PM. With feeling of guilty free, I had a dish from Panda Express (again but this time, not guilty feeling!) for $9.92. I could eat anything right now but finished up around 3:30PM. I stopped by at Subway to order my dinner($4.45). On the way back, I found one of the stores had some presidential election related materials. So I bought a badge from each party, as well, as a deck of playing cards ($31.50 total) then walked back to hotel. After arriving to the hotel, I wrote emails to friends and family members until 3:50PM, took a shower finally. Relaxed until 6:30PM, and had dinner. My body started to build up fever so I took another does of painkiller and stayed in the bed.

guilty free junk food!

Before I sleep, I planned for tomorrow's homeward travel. The news says expecting some snow in Detroit tomorrow night. Oh, man. Is that the time already??? Finally decided to sleep around 9:00PM but I did not actually turn off the lights until 11:00PM since I was watching a TV program. Hahaha.

2008/10/27 Coming back to Detroit

[News claims Nikkei hits 26 years low]

To Airport

Woke up at 3:00AM, then finally up at 6:00AM with alarm from the clock. Checked the weather, checked internet, and then went downstairs to get breakfast. I came back to the room, stretched my body, took shower then finished packing. I also took another does of painkiller to prevent myself from getting fever and reduce the amount of pain. Since I have time until check out, I checked company emails, which was like 40 emails even before the Monday starts. Checked out from the room around 10:30AM, walked out from the hotel, it was cloudy, and windy. I was wearing a fleece over a t-shirt but felt a bit chilly. Dragging a bag to the Metro station, arrived to the airport by 10:45AM. There are many people like me around, beaten up legs, with green long sleeve shirts. I checked in, waited for a while because the boarding won't start until 12:55PM. So I worked on company assignment for a while. I walked passed the security around 11:45PM, stopped by at Potbelly's for sandwich ($7.12), waited until the boarding starts. The good thing about this airport is there are plenty of stations that I can use electrical ports to use my laptop PCs.

DCA-LGA 01:30PM-02:45PM (AA4790)

The boarding of the plane was okay, it started around 1:00PM, and only 16 people were on the plane. While we are boarding, the rain started to fall about 10 minutes past 1:00PM. The plane get pushed back from the gate around 1:20PM, taxied to the south end of the airport but something was not right. The plane parked and shut down the engines. The captain of the plane told us that a groundstop was issued due to LGA switching the runway. I was looking other planes fly out of the airport as the rain continues. At 2:30PM, finally restarting engines, and took off about 10 minutes after that. The plane took off to the north and reached the cloud after passing the Pentagon. The line of clouds were gone when passing around east of Philadelphia, then soon arrived to the south of New York. The plane flew to the east of the LaGuardia airport then landed to northwest at 3:20PM.

AA4790 at Reagan National Airport

Waiting at the end of runway for the lifting of groundstop Flying over the Pentagon, soon it is under the clouds


Liberty Island New York Downtown New York City
Flushing Meadows Park Shea Stadium and Citi Field

LGA-DTW 04:30PM-06:40PM (AA4847)

AA4790 then AA4847 at LGA

Stepped out from the plane at gate C2. I finished drinking water in the previous flight so I wanted to buy another bottle somewhere. While I was picking the bottle and thinking what magazine to buy, they started to announce that AA4847 will be boarding. By 3:40PM, I was getting back on the same plane and buckled up. Within 10 minutes, the plane got pushed back from the gate, and departed to Detroit by 4:15PM, flying northwest. The sunlight was so bright so I just shut the window and took a few short naps. When the plane decelerates, I looked outside and saw the amount of stormy clouds increasing as approaching to Detroit. Flew to south of the airport, and used the runway on east side to land. After a long taxi to the north end of the airport, the plane arrived to the gate.

South of Detroit after rain is gone.

AA4847 arrived at Detroit Metro Airport

To Home

Driving back home under

The plane arrived to the gate at 5:54PM. I thought it would take longer. I'm lucky then. Went down to the baggage claim and picked up my bags, went back upstairs to use a bridge to the parking. Left the airport around 6:10PM, and drove back to my apartment under the sky which is slowly getting dark. Arrived to the apartment by 7:00PM, chilly outside. Picked up my mails and went inside. I just relaxed for a while, had dinner. After that, I had to write some emails, calling friends, then finally went to bed around 10:30PM.


Lessons learned:

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