I finished 13.1! Official times haven't been posted yet, but when I crossed the finish line the clock said 2:17:something seconds. I didn't see a clock at the start line, so I don't know how much later than the gun I crossed the start, but it had to be at least 5 minutes. I gave it all I had and I did my best. There were a couple things that really made this race great for me, which I will share in my recaps.
I didn't sleep well at all the night before the race. I was nervous about getting up on time and making to the start line on time. And I was just nervous about the race in general. But I got up at 5am, got dressed quickly, ate a granola bar, and headed out the door. We made it to the metro with 2 minutes to spare to get the train we wanted/needed. The metro opened early on Saturday specifically for the marathon/half marathon, so it was kinda cool that nearly everyone on the train and in the station was a runner or a supporter. When we got to the Stadium/Armory, we were allowed in the Armory, which was great because it was dark outside and too cold to be just standing around in shorts and a t-shirt. I waited in line for the flushable bathrooms for about 30 minutes, and then it was time to go to the starting line!
As I was walking out of the Armory, I saw the Biggest Losers! That was pretty exciting. The corrals were pretty unorganized and not well marked. I think I started somewhere between the 9:46 sign and whatever the next slower sign was. Everyone in my running group decided to do their best, so we all ended up running on our own, which didn't bother me at all.
The next thing that happened really calmed me down. I saw a girl ahead of me in the corral wearing her bib on her back. The race was using special chip timing that was on the bib (B-tag I think) and they told us it had to be on your front on your outermost layer of clothing, or your time wouldn't be recorded. So I told this girl she needed to put her number on the front, and I felt like I had done my good deed for the day.
The music was pumping at the starting line. The sun was rising. The wheelchair entrant started, then the elites started, and then we mosied up to the starting line and began running. I felt great and was mentally keeping to my plan of using the first five miles as a warm up (and I really did actually need to first two miles to literally warm up!).
One of the coolest moments of the race was somewhere between miles 1 and 4. We must have been running down Constitution. We were at the top of a slight hill, the Washington Monument was to the left, and as I looked ahead, there were runners filling the street for as far as I could see. That was an awesome sight.
Stay tuned for Part II...