I am not a big fan of traveling, and getting down to Virginia this past weekend has not made me a fan of it. The only flight that was on time was the one that left Portland for JFK. I’ll leave it at that.

When we arrived in DC, it was raining pretty hard. We met up with my friend, went back to his place, and had a great dinner that him and his wife prepared for us. We did not even bother trying to get to the expo since the plane had been late getting in.

The rain had not let up the next morning when we went into town, but we got to the Armory just after they opened the doors so we did not have to wait out in the rain for very long. The whole packet pickup situation left a bit to be desired though. “There’s a right way, there’s a wrong way, and there’s the marine corps way,” to bastardize the popular saying.

Iwo Jima MemorialThey line you up in a snaking corral, where one person verifies your ID against your registration sheet. Meanwhile, there are a dozen booths where you can pick up your number and there is nobody at them. I do not get why they didn’t just let a few people through at a time and have the individuals at each booth check your identity. The volunteers behinds the booths were very nice, though.

Heading into the expo, I managed to pick up everything that I went in for and a few things that I hadn’t. I got some new sunglasses and some new socks, and my wife picked up a new pair of running shoes and some super feet. We also got quite a few freebies, starting with a bowl of cereal that was handed to us when we walked in the door. I skipped on the free pint of beer, however.

The expo was not too bad for about a half hour, but once the people started to pack in they packed in fast. In the blink of an eye, there were about 6 times as many people as there had been, and we got out as quick as we could after that. The sun was shining when we left, and it stayed bright for the rest of the weekend.

My wife and I spent the day wandering the city, visiting the American Indian museum, and meeting up with some friends for lunch. We were both pretty tired and foot sore by the end of the day. Dinner, packing up my bags for the next morning, and a good night’s sleep were in order.

Blaine Moore and Paul JosephThe next morning I was on an early train to the starting line. A friend of mine that was also running had suggested that I get there early. Next time that I run, I think that I will not bother. I hung out at the runner’s village with Paul Joseph, who is pictured with me to right. I never did find my friend before the race, not even when I went off to the starting line.

The morning was pretty chilly, but perfect temperatures for a race. I went through my closet looking for the most hideous sweater that I owned to keep me warm and to donate to the starting line charity of choice, and it did a good job of keeping me cool before the race.

While waiting for the start of the race, I learned exactly how horrible the turning radius is for wheelchair athletes. I also chatted with a few Royal Navy runners and other guys that I met on the line, and watched a pair of osprey helicopters do a fly by before getting ready for the gun.

I was about 4 people away from the starting when the gun went off.