Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Pre-Marathon: Oct. 27-28

D.C. was nasty.

It was cold and rainy with angry gusts of wind whipping through the streets when we arrived Friday afternoon.

Earlier that morning, Nell, Shana, and I departed the comforts of home for the DFW International Airport. As has seemed the norm every time I have been forced to fly through Chicago, our flight was delayed due to a "low ceiling." High winds had my stomach churning and during our layover I popped a couple of motion sickness pills. Unfortunately, these did not help. I was weak and nauseated by the time we touched down at Reagan National Airport. Not a great way to start the trip.

We grabbed a taxi to the University Club on 16th Street NW. A friend is a member at this private D.C. club, and he was able to get us a great deal on a hotel room. Our room wasn't quite ready, so we left our luggage with the coat check and made our way through the chilly, wet streets of Washington in search of something for lunch.

We settled on a restaurant called 14K--mostly because it was nearby and we were shivering. After chowing down on a Cobb salad with grilled apples, we braved the elements and made our way back to our hotel, where my parents had just arrived.

Tired, Nell and I opted for a short nap. About 30 minutes later, we awoke and, after purchasing an umbrella, walked to the McPherson Metro Station, where we caught the orange line into Virginia. We exited the Metro and walked two blocks to a high rise apartment building where a good friend from law school resides on the 22nd floor.

As our friend opened the door to her home, we were greeted by the welcoming smell of baked chicken and roasted new potatoes. We had cocktails, drank some wine, and enjoyed a wonderful meal. Conversation was relaxed, as we reminisced and shared our experiences over the past few years since we had seen each other. By the time dessert arrived, I was sated, but couldn't resist digging into baked pears and cherries drizzled with buttered rum sauce with a generous scoop of sweet cream ice cream. Stuffed, Nell and I bid our friend farewell and ventured back into the frigid, soggy night in route to the University Club and (hopefully) a good night's sleep.

The next morning, we awoke and caught the blue line to the Armory for the Marine Corps Marathon expo. We arrived before 10 a.m., so the line wasn't too bad. Inside, we picked up our race packets, activated our chips, and snagged our official competitor T-shirts. Nell got a "Virginia is for Runners" T-shirt, a marathon hat, and a long sleeve running top, and I picked up a pair of running sunglasses. After fattening our goodie bags with various running paraphernalia, we rode the Metro back to the hotel to drop off our wares.

Lunch was at Tony & Joe's on Washington harbor. Good crab cake sandwich. Nell, Shana, and I were joined by my parents and a few of their (and our) friends. After lunch, we walked around Georgetown for awhile, but, unexpectedly, my left ankle started to really hurt. So while the rest of the crew made their way to the Smithsonian museums, the White House, and the Washington Mall, I retired to the hotel to rest up and catch some college football.

About 1 hour into the Texas-Texas Tech game, we (Nell, Shana, mom, dad, and I) ventured to Olive's for dinner, a restaurant that promised to have the UT game playing in the bar for us to watch. This, it turned out, was not the case. So we traversed the blocks in and around our hotel looking for a more suitable eatery. When we were unable to locate a place with the game on, we settled for Tosca, a nice, upscale Italian restaurant. Very good food.

With full stomachs, we hailed a taxi back to the University Club. I caught the end of the game 2(Colt McCoy is the real deal, folks) and drifted off the sleep.

The marathon was 8 hours away....

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