About the bridge: It took me until two days before the marathon to understand why everyone kept telling me, "You just need to beat the bridge."
I never understood because the bridge was just past 20 miles and for me, that was when the race would be starting since I had never run past 20 miles.
Well, I was reading and figured it out - actually read it. Apparently, if you make it over the 14th street bridge, then you are safe. Safe from being picked up by the "bus". In order to the Marines to put on this race, they have to agree to open the city back up to traffic by 1:15... so if you make it over the 14th street bridge by that time, then you are SAFE. You basically can walk the rest of the race and finish.
As Bob and I approached the bridge I kept wondering... was the bus just behind me? We saw lots of signs that read, "Kill the bridge" or "Own the bridge" or "You got this now"... I was getting excited that I just may be safe.
I was warned to take water before the bridge as there was no stop on the bridge, but I was NOT prepared for how long the bridge was. It felt like forever. I know I walked several times... and it was hilly too. And some marathoners who had already finished were on the bridge to cheer you on... nothing like seeing someone who had already finished cheering for you - NOT. It was devastating. Bob really helped me here. When I wanted to keep walking, he would say, "Ok, 30 more seconds" and then say, "Let's go" or "are you ready" and I would muster the strength to start running again.
Again, the bridge was LONG... and it was not a scenic bridge necessarily... more like an over pass. I was glad it was behind me.
We were heading down into Crystal City and once again the crowds were amazing. But I got defeated mentally.... because as we are running down hill into Crystal City, the people in front of us were running up the hill on the other side. Oh, I wished I was them. And at mile 21, there was a bunch of young people handing out beer. Really... beer shots, who takes this at mile 21 of a marathon? People did and worse was the smell of beer as we passed. It made me nauseous. Crossing mile 22, I heard my name. It was Cat and Craig again... I could barely raise my hand to wave. It was nice to see them though.... and I realized that my Garmin was saying miles it had never read before... yay!
We reached the turn around and I really just wanted to get this race over with. Mile 23 passed as we made it past the hill in Crystal City and I saw the expressions of the runners coming down. Many looked just like I did as I was coming down. I felt for them. Look at my posture in this picture.... HORRIBLE... I was so tired...
As we approached the Pentagon, I knew that this was where Bob was leaving me. We reached the parking lot and he reminded me of what was left. I gave him a big sweaty hug and kept running. I was so emotionally.... I wanted Bob to join me at the finish, but he wanted this to be about me. How sweet is that?
I felt like I was really going to make it. I was going to go ALL. THE. WAY.