After a week of MDP training, Brian and I flew into BWI on Thursday in preparation for the marathon weekend. I kind of goofed up and booked our flights thinking our training was the following week so it wouldn’t conflict. My advise to future MDPs, check your schedule and if you do have a conflict with a training time be honest about it as soon as you find out. Sarah and Jillian were both really understanding because I was genuinely concerned and it had been an honest mistake. Thankfully we worked it out and missed training that Friday and took a floating holiday, I call it my marathon holiday.
Brian and I wanted to get the flight out of the way and give ourselves time to adjust and get two good nights sleep leading up to the marathon, rather than worrying about work and flying the day before. Plus we were worried that the Buffalo winter goes until it feels like ending so we didn’t want to chance a weather delay and not get a good night sleep the night before. Best to limit the stress in the days leading up to the marathon; as well as, enjoy the entire marathon weekend rather than just go for the day.
So we arrived in BWI to bright and sunny weather. One of my friends who was running the race with me picked us up from the airport and we drove to her apartment in Baltimore. Maddie is a saint, she did not have to pick us up at the airport which was 25-30 minutes away from where she lives. Maddie is one of those friends who we could talk for hours and never get tired of each other which is why she was perfect to run a marathon with. By the time we were all settled and Maddie had taken her dog to camp for the weekend we were all starving. We then headed to an awesome dinner at Golden West Cafe and had amazing burgers. Followed by a treat of a Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie which we brought back to enjoy and ate about half.
The next day Maddie dropped us off at the train station (she had to go to work until 3) and we headed into DC to pickup our bibs at the Expo. We also picked up Maddie’s because we weren’t sure how traffic getting there would be and it was only open until 7 that night.
Tip: If you are running with a friend and one of you can’t make the expo ask them to pick up your race packet or offer to pick up theirs- it will save you the headache because as it gets later in the day the expo gets more crowded and the lines get longer. For Rock n’ Rolls you a copy of their ID and their original race form. I had Maddie write a note granting me permission as well just to be safe.
After checking into our hotel (The Hyatt Regency) we walked to the expo which was about a mile from the hotel. This was about 1pm. The expo was interesting there was a lot of sales going on and vendors that wanted you to test out their latest products. One thing I was surprised at was the limited amount of free things that were there. I had heard marathon expos were all about sample products. Jelly Belly was passing out their variety pack of sports beans which I love and planned to use already at the race and PowerBar was handing out small samples of their bars that were going to be at the end of the race the next day but as far as free products go that was about it. There were also some contests you could enter and a few games you could play. Brian and I picked up our tags, got our shirts and bags that were given to us by the race, took a few pictures and bought a pint glass with the marathon logo on it (pint glasses are kind of our thing) and then we determined it was time for lunch.
At this point it was about 230 and we decided we would head to the Corner Bakery Cafe that was just up the street from our hotel. It is very similar to Panera Bread and looked delicious (I had never heard of the company before and we actually found out there is one right in Buffalo). He and I both got a panini and a soup, it was a little pricey but we were on vacation, don’t know how often I would actually go in Buffalo but it fit the bill that day. I had the chicken pomodori which was awesome! Unfortunately when we left we forgot to check the bag because we were both so tired and hungry and they had forgotten Brian’s soup. We called and they said we could walk back – even though it was less than half a mile the day before a marathon we just wanted to rest. So he and I split my soup and ate our sandwiches, after all we were planning to go to dinner with my family that night. Then after eating we both passed out for well over an hour.
Sadly my mom and sister weren’t able to get into DC until almost 10pm so there wasn’t much time to enjoy with them before really needing to fall asleep. But we were able to go to Carmine’s with my Aunt, Uncle, Cousin and her daughter. Brian and I walked from the hotel to the restaurant (approximately half a mile if we hadn’t gone in the wrong direction for half a mile). But it all worked out. My cousin had plans to run the full but hurt her knee in training (must run in the family) so she decided to run the half instead. It was a delicious family style meal and Brian and I hitched a ride back with them and at that point we started getting in the race mindset. After laying out all of our clothes for the race and taking one last look at the weather (it had been another gorgeous low 50s day in DC that day but was scheduled to rain all day the next day), we turned on the ACC tournament and did a nice long stretch out and waited for my mom to arrive.
Without realizing it Brian and I had walked nearly 6 miles the day before we were slated to run 26.2miles!
Advise to future first time runner – be mindful of how much you are walking – don’t just sit around the day before but also just be careful about how much you are walking. We ended up being fine but could have been rough.
We also probably were not drinking as much water as we should have been that day, even though we carried around my CamelBak water bottle the entire time we probably needed more water.
Another tip for runners, make sure you are carrying a water bottle with you at all times. One of my friends who has run several marathons with her mom goes out and buys a gallon water jug at the store and just carries that around with her the day before a race. That way she knows exactly how much she is drinking and makes sure she is hydrated.
My mom and sister arrived around 9:45, we said hello and good night to them (they dropped off our breakfast for the morning it was off to bed as we had a big day ahead of us! Stay tuned for the morning of the race.