Monday, July 16, 2012

Washington DC Marathon - March 2012

This is a long one... but a good one!

This past March, my brother Travis ran his first marathon in Washington D.C. As soon as he told me he was going to do this run, I bought a plane ticket, found a hotel room, and was so ready to be there to cheer him on! While living in Michigan, I was able to watch several of his races; not being able to go to his races was one of the most heartbreaking aspects of moving to Texas.
Travis and I stopping in front of the Capitol Building the day before the race.

Me and Lindsey
 One of my old roommates from Wayne State just happened to be visiting DC the same weekend and we were able to hook up for lunch. 

Washington DC 
Rock and Roll Marathon
March 20, 2012
On the metro heading towards the marathon start with thousands of other people. 

7:40 am
Putting his shoes on. 
 It took much longer to get to the race start than we anticipated. So Travis got ready on the sidewalk and ran his way to the start for a mini warm up. 
7:40am - Ready to start!

At the start - if you look really closely, you can see a sliver of Travis's face between the guy in the blue shirt and the guy in the black tank top!

Here we go!
 As soon as the race started, I had an overwhelming wave of emotion come over me and immediately start crying. I missed a good picture of Travis running by me because I couldn't hold my camera steady.
Getting back on the metro as thousands of people are still  pouring off to get to the start.  Heading to mile marker 10.

But, no time to ponder! I had one hour to get myself to mile marker 10 to give Travis is Goo energy. I had signed up to get text message updates throughout the race that would tell me when Travis had passed certain mile marker points.
Travis coming up on Mile 10. From my perspective, he was in about 7th or 8th place and about 1 minute ahead of his pace time.
 I'm going to admit, I was super nervous and completely charged during the entire race. I couldn't sit still, I was sweating and constantly checking my watch to his split times. Looking over my maps and twitching.

From mile marker 10, I had to run about a mile to mile 16 to give Travis another Goo energy. (I should have been working out prior to this!)  At this point in the race, the half-marathon runners are running along side the marathon runners. So, on one side of the street are hundreds of spectators (for the half marathoners) and on the marathon side, there are only a few of us supporters.

I was pacing back and forth. My text message updates stopped working and Travis was supposed to pass by me at any minute.  Had I missed him? Is he doing alright? Has he hit the "wall?"

A guy walking on the sidewalk came up to me and was utterly confused about what was going on. He was asking me all sorts of questions and I tried to give him short answers- I had business to take care of!

Suddenly, the lead car comes over the hill... there's the leader in a white top and hat....
Approx. 9:35am
Travis in second place! Right behind the leader!
I wigged out! And by "wigged out," I mean I threw my pile of maps and papers into the stranger's hands and start jumping up and down screaming incoherently! Travis was in 2nd place and I was so incredibly proud of him!

9:36 am
But no time to waste! I had 20 minutes to get to my last mile marker before the finish and 1 more Goo packet to give Trav. I apologize to the man, thank him, grab my things and take off down the street towards the Metro station.

I was back on and off the Metro then running down a completely deserted street. 

But! I couldn't find the marathon!  Confused, I started pacing back and forth on a street bridge. I looked down below in frustration.... and saw the runners! I was on an overpass and they were running on the street underneath me!

But I couldn't see Travis and after waiting 5 minutes, decided I must have missed him!

Well! Back to the Metro to hit the finish. As I got on the platform, I cried in disbelief. The next train to the finish was 12 minutes away. I was going to miss the finish. I stood there in a sea of people and cried. A man obviously noticed me and started chatting with me about what was going on. We finally got on the train, got off and he said, "Erika! Hang on to my backpack." The man was large and built and he plowed through the crowd towards the finish with me hanging on for dear life to his backpack. 

I couldn't thank this man enough... but also couldn't find Travis. I had missed the finish and he was nowhere to be found. Wandering back and forth between the stage and our designated meeting area, my mind was going crazy! Where's Travis? Is he OK? Did he finish? Did he win? My text message updates had completely stopped working and that cycle of questions continued viciously for about 15 minutes.

Standing at our meeting point, I glanced back at the stage, tears in my eyes.... and there was Travis! Hobbling onto the stage to receive his 2nd place plaque!  Completely ecstatic, I ran to the stage, leaping over the people sitting in the grass, screaming as loudly as possible. 

The people on stage pointed and laughed... but I didn't care! I couldn't believe it! Travis had just placed 2nd out of tens of thousands of runners in his very first marathon!
Travis and the 1st and 3rd place finishers.

Travis hanging out with the 3rd place finisher.

Travis and all of his loot!
 Travis and I hobbled around the race finish for about an hour, soaking it all in. There were people everywhere, live bands playing music, excitement, sweat, and pride.
Travis and I at the end of the race!


  1. Erika, THIS BLOG (STORY) ABOUT Travis' marathon race was so descriptive you made us feel part of it. Nice pictures and very well written. Thanks for sharing. We are proud of both of you.
    G & G B. XOXO

  2. I've heard this story probably 5 times and I cried reading it! Marathons are so uplifting to be at!! Can't wait for the next one!!

  3. Awesome story, E!! Thanks for sharing it!! I'm officially a Travis Fan now.