To the People

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or TO THE PEOPLE.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

I Accidentally Did a Marathon

I woke up Sunday morning and unintentionally completed the 31st Annual Marine Corps Marathon in Washington, DC.

My wife Kristie and I have always been big walkers. Some months ago, after reading about walker-friendly marathons, she decided to walk this year's Marine Corps Marathon. She trained for it every weekend, keeping a strict regimen of progressively longer walks. Meanwhile, her mom — who ran a marathon when she was 34 — announced she would do it with her. They registered, bought the clothes, booked the hotel. But as the weeks rolled by, her mom's commitment withered on the vine; she went for short walks and complained about the pain afterwards. The story kept changing: she would do it halfway; she would do ten miles; she would do the first couple of miles; she would cross the starting line with her daughter and then hop on the Metro. Finally two nights before we left for DC, she called to tell me to bring my sneakers — she would give me her bib and I could start the race with Kris. Meanwhile she and my father-in-law would take the grandchildren to the zoo.

So Sunday morning I strapped on my gear (I do a lot of 5Ks), taped my mother-in-law's bib to my shirt, and jogged across the starting line. Kris and I became separated in the crowd of 34,000, so I ran the first two miles looking for her but it turned out she was actually behind me. We linked up after the second-mile water station and went from there, me intending to do half of it and end at the Mall. But the sky was blue, the temperature perfect, the air clean in my lungs and someone else was with the kids — why quit after only 13.1 miles? It's only three hours, forty-five minutes of excruciating pain until the end!

I can't say I'd recommend doing this. My left foot spasmed uncontrollably the last mile and two days later I'm lurching about the house like Boris Karloff. I can't bear to wear shoes and I think I'm going to lose four toenails. I actually would have quit somewhere around the 17th mile or so but I was completely lost (we were in East Potomac Park) and had no idea where the Metro was.

I totally became swept up in the fanfare of it all — from the crowds to the music to the marines themselves. Whenever I took a cup from one at the water stations, I would thank the marine, who would respond, "Thank you sir!" And after crossing the finish, others came up to shake my hand. Many thanks to the people of DC and VA, the marines, and our walking buddy Carol of Annapolis for all of the support.

My time was just shy of seven hours. Not bad for a 56-year-old woman. Kris's time here.