Mother nature was gracious enough to give us great running weather. Overcast, cool, and very slight drizzle here an there. Didn’t need the duct tape on my shoes after all! The Baltimore Running Festival was amazing! This year I did the half marathon race as part of my Marine Corps Marathon training and I had a bast! Coach Marie told us to take it easy as we are in taper mode and to try and not get caught up in the race. It was hard, but we managed.
The Baltimore marathon is known to be a tough course with its hills. Even the half marathon course had it share of hills. This year there were 27,000 runners from all 50 states and 12 foreign countries. Also, this year, there wasn’t a title sponsor, which meant no purse. It actually wasn’t a bad thing. A purse generally attracts elite runners from other countries making it difficult for locals to win a marathon.
This years Baltimore Marathon winner was David Berdan, a local teacher from Maryland who finished in 2:30:05. Elizabeth Perry, 36, of Pittsburgh, won the women’s marathon in 2:58:01, joining Berdan as the first American marathon winners in the history of the Running Festival. (http://www.baltimoresun.com/sports/outdoors/baltimore-marathon/bal-david-berdan-wins-baltimore-marathon-20131012,0,325542.story)
The half marathon group started and hour and 45 minutes after the full marathon group. It was so exciting to see everyone start this year. I SO wanted to jump in there and do the full with them! What sucked what that I still had to get up at 5am and trek my way down there for a race that didn’t start until 9:45. I was worried about being hungry before the race started and then having to eat and then need to use the bathroom at the start of the race. Luckily for me, my system was working in over drive and I went three times before leaving the house (I know, too much information). But, because of that, I think it left room for my pre-race bagel, coffee, and GU to settle in and hang around for awhile. No bathroom break need for me at all! Yay!
As we were walking to our training group’s meeting point, we passed by the gigantic flag hanging over the streets. It was beautiful and it always makes me smile when I see our flag waving gloriously in the breeze.
Erica Brannock, one of the victims who lost her leg in the Boston Marathon bombing earlier this year, was the honorary starter for Running Festival. As it was the first time that she attended a race since the incident, it was emotional for her and it was emotional for me to listen to her inspiring speech. In one of the news interviews she stated:
“To me, this says I will never hide from the things that scare me,” Brannock said. “But that I will stare fear in the eye and say, ‘You will not keep me from living my life’. I ask that each of you do the same and never let a setback or fear keep you from living your life, too. Thank you.” (http://baltimore.cbslocal.com/2013/10/10/honorary-starter-erika-brannock-horns-off-baltimore-running-festival/)
I tried to get a video of the start, but I’m obviously not a videographer. I ended up video taping my friends butt for most of the time. It’s a good thing I got a few snap shots with my phone!
Here’s the starting arch:
Wheelchair division…they amaze me! How the heck can they pedal a marathon with their arms??? What else was amazing was that we were passed by a blind runner who was running without assistance! How do they do that?!?!?
The 5K Group:
A sea of runners! If you zoom in closely, you’ll see that the runners are never ending.
We really took our time and had fun with the race. It’s weird. I kept saying that I don’t remember the course and sidelines being so crowded last year. I’m not sure if it’s because I was in the zone during the last half of the marathon or if I was far enough behind the group that the spectators had gone and most of the runners finished, but this year, I really noticed a lot more people, both runners and spectators. The water stops were ridiculously crowded and I was a little ticked that I didn’t bring my own water. I’ve decided that I will have my own water bottles with my during MCM.
We cheered runners on the course, cheered with the spectators, and even stopped and had Naty Boh’s (National Bohemian is Baltimore’s local beer) and Utz potato chips…yes…you read that right, we drank beer on the course during the race. Don’t worry…they were giving it out in little cups, but I’m sure they’d give us the can if we asked.
Our official finish time was 2:27:40/pace 11:16 mile. With two bathroom breaks, it was just where we needed to be for our training. It’s amazing that Berdan finished a FULL MARATHON in just three minutes longer than we did the half! Here’s the breakdown of our stats according to my Garmin, which I stopped at one bathroom break and not at the other:
(Started with Salted Caramel Caffeinated GU…my absolute new favorite!!!!)
Our overall pace per Garmin was 11:01 for 2:25:18 total time.
- 11:00 (Roctane GU)
- 12:53 (Beer shot and potato chips)
- 9:14 (Cause you have to always kill it at the end!)
This raced earned me the Maryland Doubler Medal, which you get when you complete the Fredrick half marathon in the Spring and the Baltimore Half (or full) marathon in the fall. After the race, we met our group at Pickles. It was so wonderful to hear of all the success stories of those who finished their very first marathon and those who broke personal records (PRs). It seemed like every time I turned around, someone was telling me about their new PR and I was so happy and proud of them!
So, now that I’m here sitting back and reflecting on the race, I need a game plan for MCM. It took me a good 3 – 4 miles to warm up during the half and I was seriously doubting if I was ready for MCM. When I finished, I decided I was. Could I keep up this pace for the entire 26.2 miles? I’m not quite sure. Also, as I sit here, the calf that I injured a couple months ago is bothering me. I have to admit that it concerns me. I’ll go roll it out with a foam roller in a few minutes, but I hope it’s just a nagging thing that will linger for a while rather than a re-injury (is that a word?). I also need to be better about stretching. I have really slacked on it this season and I can feel it.
Anyway, I’m anxious, excited, nervous, and whatever emotion that other thing is that’s making my eye twitch about Marine Corps Marathon. I need to trust the training and know that it’ll be okay. Ooorah!