I intend to share my lessons learned from my first marathon in an upcoming post, for those interested. For me, the biggest "regret" is not running my first marathon locally. Washington, D.C. actually hosts one of the larger marathons and it would have been super nice to not have had the stress of travel added to the all-consuming marathon. But Chicago was so, so, so good to me with its perfect temperature, pancake flat course, and crowd support, I can hardly regret the outcome.
As someone who likes to travel, but also likes to forecast (i.e., control) my future, the return trip was one reason running the Marine Corps Marathon would have been more convenient. I built in plenty of time for things to go wrong heading to Chicago by choosing to arrive on Thursday, however, I thought nothing about what it might be like for things to go awry on the return trip when I was exhausted and sore.
At 1:30 pm CT on Columbus Day, I learned my 4:10 pm flight was cancelled. This was a curse I placed on myself after waking up to a gloomy Chicago and immediately wanting to teleport home. I had not slept more than two hours the night before thanks to the writhing pain throughout my body. Marathoners, is this par for the course? After arriving at O'Hare International Airport shortly after 2:00 pm, Boyfriend found Customer Service to discuss our situation. We'd been rebooked on a 9:08 am flight out on Tuesday, a WHOLE DAY LATER. I absolutely could not miss work on Tuesday, a rarity. I had already bailed on an important meeting Friday and felt terrible about the thought of missing another one. We'd had our fun. That's where my head was at. And oh yeah, I was exhausted and sore.
We were given standby tickets for a 3:10 pm flight. There was hope. After rushing through some fancy security line (e.g., no shoe removal, no liquid removal--I complain not), we found gate B11, where we saw we were two of many looking to standby. The flight left without us, obviously. Then we played this game of bouncing from Terminal B to C for flights to Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport or Washington Dulles International Airport every hour following. And since my left knee disintegrated entirely throughout the course of 26.2 miles, this was super fun. At 6:30 pm we were on a delayed flight to Dulles, which is not nearly as convenient as Reagan, but more so than Baltimore Washington International Airport. With economy seat assignments, we boarded.
|That's me on the "Cleared Standby" list on the top left, wahoo!|
In a normal situation, it's best to move while flying. Perhaps this is not the case the day following a marathon, then walking one inside the airport? My legs swelled so much they got stuck in my normally comfortably fitting boots. I was sitting on the floor of the plane trying to pull them off to relieve the pressure and I could not budge them. This was a terrifying scene, if you're curious.
Though our captain flew us home quickly, we landed at 10:14 pm ET having picked up an hour. And we were on our running way to the 10:35 bus shortly after. But if you've never flown to Dulles, it's likely you've never experienced the worst "people mover" ever. This contraption is from the dark ages and progresses slower than Grandma. I was prancing around as if I had superpowers to will the mover faster because, as mentioned, we had a bus to catch.
We caught the bus, thankfully. And then caught an Uber because Metro was being it's usual inconvenient, holiday self. I was in bed around 11:30 pm, which should be considered a win... when I reflect on how much worse it could have been.