|Coach Miles ready to cheer on Daddy! I received my Boston confirmation a week earlier. Sammy is photobombing us.|
Race day started early. Alex picked me up at my house at 5AM and we drove to Shawn's so his wife, Kate, could drop us off at the Reagan Building. From there, we took a bus to the Pentagon, and then walked a good mile to the Netherlands Carillon where the DC Road Runners Club partnered with Hope for the Warriors to host a tent. We relaxed and prepared for the race there. I was a bit worried that I had walked too much prior to the race.
|Pre race awful photo due to the lighting|
|A little better, but not by much.|
With a half hour until race time, we trekked down to the start, visited the bathrooms once more, and found our place in the corrals. I was annoyed by the number of people who were toward the front that clearly have no business being that far forward. In Chicago, Alex and I were separated at the start because they accidentally put me in the B rather than the A corral and a gentleman was intent on not hearing my logic. I did sneak into the A corral, but I didn't find Alex. This time, we almost were separated, not by a corral bouncer but just through the large crowds. As we stood waiting for the howitzer, we chatted with Kyle from our running club. We were all hoping for a good race.
|The three marathoners prior to the start of the 2016 MCM!|
At the start, Alex and I stayed close together most of the way. We had to weave and dodge through a few people that just did not belong so close to the start line. The first few miles through Arlington are quite hilly. I remember thinking that it was more important to hold even effort, not even pace, but I did feel like we were pushing it a little bit.
|Running with Alex Albertini in Georgetown|
|A great shot of us running through Georgetown|
|I joined the 3:05 pace group around Hains Point for the company and to draft.|
|Running along with Alex next to the Mall|
I told Alex that we were in great shape and that all we had to do was hold this pace and we'd be in under 3:10 with lots of time to spare. We both passed my in-laws again who came to see us pass, and I got a boost seeing them. I wish Laura and Miles could have joined us, but logistically, it wasn't possible. I tried my best to encourage Alex to stay with me, but on the 14th Street Bridge, he faded back and I didn't see him the rest of the day. After finishing, I found his wife at the tent and she said he had to drop out around mile 23 due to overheating. He didn't have a good day, unfortunately.
|Another photo with Alex taken by his wife, Britt|
The final 10K in Crystal City was a slog, but I was able to motivate myself to hold the best pace possible. Michael Pryce-Jones and his wife, Kathy, and newborn baby Isabella were there to cheer for me. I had given up the hope of breaking his 2:59:55 from last year, but with ideal temperatures, I could have made a run at it this year. The last few miles usually are a blur. The road back from Crystal City to Iwo Jima is dull and there are not many fans. I was grateful that with less than a mile to go, Big Guy, Steve Easley, a fellow coach, ran alongside me to give me that encouragement I needed. He probably saved me those few seconds that kept me in 3:08 range and from crossing over in 3:09. The final climb was a lonely one even with thousands of cheering fans, but I was ready to be done. I made one last sprint to overtake another runner and then the race was complete!
|Miles and my medal and the sign the Goldins brought to the race.|
I was very pleased with my effort. The temperatures were 60s to begin and 70s in the last hour with some sun. I had a good day in spite of 1) Inconsistent training since Miles was born 2) Inconsistent sleep since Miles was born and 3) the warm weather. I last ran this in 2005 in 3:29, so I will take a 21 minute course PR after an eleven year hiatus. It was nice to wake up in my own bed the night before a marathon for a change. Along the course, I saw the Zellers, the Goldins twice along the Mall, and Scott Cunningham as well as MPJ and Kathy, Brian Danza, and Steve Big Guy Easley who paced me for half a mile down the finishing stretch. To celebrate, I brought Miles to Brookland Pint to watch the Patriots beat the Bills - I won a bet with my associate who is a Bills fan and wore the Patriots jersey at work on Monday.
|Miles at Brookland Pint. Kid can't hold his drink!|