Riding in the cold makes you tired. So tired, in fact, that I fell asleep during the World Series game. The score was nothing to nothing when all of a sudden some pretty intense stuff started happen. It was in my subconscious, not on the field in St, Louis, I heard a roar from the crowd. It was late in the game and the score was tied. I watched the rest of the game. (The Sawx lost. Boo.)

After the game, I went to bed and came to at 7 am.  It was about ten degrees warmer outside than yesterday, perfect running weather for the Marine Corps Marathon. Not so much for riding the 10 miles to the race and standing on the sidelines. My friends Heather and Mary, both randonnistas, were running so freeze we must.

I took Little Nellie because it is the most maneuverable bike I own. I meant to ride slowly but a tailwind pushed me to Crystal City with little effort. The runners were already coming through the streets in the 23rd mile of the race. I stopped at Cosi for a coffee and a cookie. I sipped my joe and snarfed my cookie while hundreds of runners streamed past. Music was blaring. People were cheering. I checked my twitter feed. Mary had just past the 15 mile mark. I hopped on my bike and headed upstream.

Coffeethonning in Crystal City
Coffeethonning in Crystal City

I rode the Mount Vernon Trail two miles north. On the way I was passed by five BMWs, engines screaming, going perhaps twice the speed limit on the parkway next to me. I realize that not all BMW drivers are complete assholes but these five certainly were. What a great idea. Let’s drive 80 miles per hour into an area filled with distracted people milling about trying to spot their loved ones running a marathon with 30,000 other people. Brilliant.

After my ten seconds of LeMans, I ended up at the southern end of the 14th Street Bridge at about the 20.5 mile mark. The runners were thickly spread across all four lanes. Occasionally, handicapped participants would come through the pack. One man in a wheel chair of sorts was helping a blind man in a similar chair ride “run” beside him. It was astonishing to see the sighted runner holding the front of the unsighted runner’s chair. Scores of runners wore Boston Strong blue t-shirts. Go team. Some people shirts with identifying words on the front. “Go Mexico!” “Go Mariella!”

Somehow I spotted Heather in the throng. She was moving along at a respectable clip with a smooth gait but she looked a little stressed. She said she wasn’t having a good day as she went by. Hang tough, Heather.  Watching for somebody in a moving mass of people for a half an hour is really not easy. Fortunately, Mary’s husband Ed had tweeted a picture of her from mile 15. I knew what she was wearing so I could key on that. After ten or 15 minutes there she was. She had an ear to ear smile on her face. Marathon? What marathon? She stopped to chat and admired the Acorn handlebar bag on Little Nellie. And then she was gone in the flow of humanity.

I jumped on the bike and headed for the 25 mile mark at a curving ramp coming downhill from Washington Boulevard. I cheered on the same people as on the bridge. Mexico and Mariella came running by. “GO!!” They smiled at me in recognition of my cheering on the bridge. The downhill was causing some runners distress in their thighs. They ran stiff legged and wobbly. Heather came by in a fast moving group. She looked much better than before. “Go Heather GO!”

After Heather went by I focused on finding Mary again. I started to worry after about 45 minutes. I decided to check my Twitter feed. She had finished 25 minutes earlier. Somehow I missed her. She must have blasted the end of the race. Mary, you da man. (Or something like that.)

With temperatures climbing near 60 degrees I thought about doing some sun tanning. Instead I peeled off my boots, long-fingered gloves, and neck gaiter, hopped on the bike, and headed for home.

29 miles of coffeethonning in the books.