Last night after work Barry and I traveled up to the DC area for the Marine Corps Marathon weekend. It’s finally here!! I’m like a kid at Christmas.
When I got to the Marine Corps Marathon Expo, I was like a kid turned loose in a toy store at Christmastime. Except my toy store was the Brooks Official Merchandise shop….
But I’m getting ahead of myself.
This morning I trekked into DC with Barry and my dad to pick up my bib at the race expo. I have read nightmarish accounts of people’s experiences while attending the expo in years past. So we decided the best game plan was to arrive close to opening (10 AM) this morning. We ended up getting there a little after 11 AM and found street parking next to the DC Armory.
There was a line to get through security and inside the Armory, but we didn’t actually have to wait in it. We were able to tag along with my dad through the military ID entrance, which had a separate security check. So no line! Once inside, we were directed downstairs to pick up my bib.
They had numerous booths that were each specific to a range of bibs. Again, I encountered no lines as I picked up my bib. With bib and packet in hand, we headed back upstairs to pick up my shirt and tackle the rest of the expo.
Getting my shirt and official check bag (a clear Brooks bag) was also a breeze. Then we headed into the Brooks official merchandise section, where I left with my wallet considerably lighter. The checkout line looked intimidating, but it moved quickly. All in all, I’d say it took 30 minutes total from the time we parked at the Armory to the time I checked out with my new official race loot.
Once all of the important things were acquired, we began wandering through the expo. We didn’t stop at every booth, but we did walk through the whole thing. I picked up a few freebies (water bottle, stress reliever ball, a pen, etc.) and even won a box of brown rice! That’s a first for me at an expo. It was pretty crowded, but it wasn’t awful to walk through.
By far my favorite spot at the expo was the Northwest Battle Buddies booth, a non-profit organization that provides service dogs for veterans with PTSD. They had a bunch of service dogs with them at the expo. The dogs were amazingly well-trained, of course. The lady we spoke with at the booth offered to let me get my picture with the dogs. The only caveat was that I couldn’t touch or pet them, since they were technically working. My favorite was the Rottweiler pictured on the right below!
As we were heading out of the expo, a group of Marines walking around with instruments started playing. That was really neat to see, too!
Later on in the afternoon I went for a test run after my dad helped me perform “surgery” on my Hokas to glue the heel back on**. Thank y’all for all of your input yesterday! We went with the super glue option and the good news is they seemed to be just fine. I think I’ll still give Barry or my Dad my older pair of shoes to carry, just in case.
I had an easy 5 miles on the schedule, but I chose to just do an easy 3 miles. It just felt right, and I felt like it balanced out well after walking around for a bit at the expo earlier in the day. My legs felt great, and I finished the run feeling like I hadn’t even run.
Tomorrow morning my Dad and I are going to go drive most of the course. Then I’ll probably do a short run somewhere in the vicinity of the finish line. One more day!!!
What type of race expo is your favorite? I prefer a smaller expo, because they’re not as overwhelming. But a large one like MCM is fun every now and then.
**Hoka Update: I actually spoke with a Hoka rep at the MCM expo today. At first he offered me a replacement pair of shoes on the spot but I didn’t want new shoes for race day. So he gave me a free hat instead and told me to contact customer service!