We've been in Washington, DC since Friday, visiting family and friends, a trip built around yesterday's Marine Corps Marathon which I ran in record time. Wait. No, I didn't. Chris and his brother-in-law Mike ran it. That's right. Having accompanied my spouse on more than a handful of his 22 total marathons, I can say that this one -- from a crowd perspective -- was a doozy. I thought I'd been with Chris for the DC run before, but it turns out I was thinking of the time he and Mike ran Chicago together. This one was super-insane, people. There were 22,000 runners and the set up, which I'm told is different from previous years was, if you'll excuse my French, a total clusterfuck.
The job of a marathon supporter is not an easy one, my friends. It involves dashing around from one point to another, elbowing your way through spectators in the hopes of catching a glimpse of your runner as they dash past, perhaps tossing a gatorade or goo packet at them if they need it. Then it's off to do the same at the next spot along the course.
Yesterday, it was Chris's sister (and Mike's wife) Julie, my niece Kate and I dashing to spots at miles 13, 15, 22 (which we ultimately abandoned) and the finishing line. In some places, the crowds were really pushing in narrowly on the runners, in others, we were so far back, it was hard to see anything, let alone let your loved one know you were there. At the finish line, the set up was so wonky and weird that it took trekking hither and yon on mud-soaked ground to figure out how to spot your runners, then another long trek to meet them at the gathering spot.
And there were all these people. People in the Metro stop, where there was a delay and folk were shoving and pushing and packed into the train cars like sardines -- which little ol' claustrophic me just loved. Everywhere you went, you had somebody either crossing your path in the opposite direction or simply standing still in the middle of traffic. As someone with a well-documented hatred of crowds, it was a treat.
What's that? The runners? Oh, sure. I bet it was a bit tough on them too. On the plus side, they had a glorious day for it. Mike and Chris finished, ignoring any time goals for the mere thrill of crossing the line. I haven't seen Mike yet today as he was off to work before I arose, but Chris seems in remarkably good shape for a man who did something as silly as run 26.2 miles, on purpose, again. I promise some pics once I get back home and can upload them.
On a side note, we got to dine Saturday night with our good friends from the fellowship, Drew and Sally. It was great to have them meet Mike and Julie, as they live in neighboring areas and have friends in common, and wonderful to see their faces -- but not nearly enough time for catching up.
In other important news, I have experienced the bliss that is the combo of vanilla frozen custard topped with sour cherries from the Dairy Godmother here in Alexandria and I may have tasted heaven.
Also, my nephew Lee, who's 17, read The Catcher in the Rye yesterday afternoon and thinks it's boring. I have a theory that the "novelty" of Holden Caulfield's teen angst, which made the book remarkable at the time of its publishing, is so commonplace to a generation weened on teen-angst dramas like The O.C. and The Hills that the book probably does seem boring. Still, he's promised to read it again in a few years and see if his opinion has changed.
That's it for now -- we're off to take the metro into town to have lunch with my ol' pal Lisa Lindsey, who I haven't seen in an age and a half. Then we'll wander around a bit and, if I'm lucky, I'll get some good shots of DC. Lord knows there haven't been enough pics taken of this town. Not sure how much time we have to kill today, but if there's enough, I'll hit the National Gallery of Art, but I might wait until tomorrow when Chris will be perusing papers in the SEC reading room all day. Boy does that kid know how to have fun!