Monday, October 23, 2017

Baltimore Marathon Team Relay

This past Saturday my runner gal pals and I ran the Baltimore Marathon.  Heather, Megan, Ana, and I did the team relay and Lacey did the full marathon on her own.

Heather ran leg one, I ran leg two, Megan, ran leg three, and Ana brought it home for our team with leg four.

There was a 5K, a Half marathon, The Marathon, and the Marathon Relay all running today. In total there were 23,000 runners!  The Marathon and the Marathon relay started at the same time and place, so Heather, Lacey and I all left for our starting points together.   A HUGE Thank you to Ana for booking our room at the Holiday Inn, Inner Harbor.  It was a nice hotel and in a GREAT location. We were able to easily walk to the expo and to where we needed to be on race day.

Since I was running leg two of the relay, I had to get a bus to take me to my relay station.  The bus pick up was not at the start line, it was in front of the Raven's Football stadium, which was a few blocks away. I had to be on the bus by 7:30 am and  I believe Megan and Ana had to be at  their leg of the relay by 8:30 am.

Heather and Lacey walked me to my bus stop and hung out a while before they headed to the start line. Yes, I am carrying a map because I was afraid I would not find my way! Turns out, it was an easy find.

My relay exchange appeared to be on the outskirts of a park and it was very well organized.  It wasn't just a bunch of runners standing around hoping to see their teammates run by. There were actually signs that had a range of bib numbers on that you could stand beside to make it easier for your teammate to find you. Besides that, there was a guy with a megaphone announcing bib numbers as they ran by. There was one lane for marathoners and one lane for relayers ( that's how he knew which bibs to announce).

My bib section was on the first end, so I just decided to walk up the hill a little ways and watch the race where it was more sunny.

Pretty soon I saw Lacey run by. She was looking happy and running strong!  The Runner tracking for this race was lagging WAY behind. I actually just kept looking at my watch and estimating what time she would get to my station based on the pace I know she runs.  We had a quick Hello and then she was off.

Pretty soon my teammate Heather arrived. Guess what? She got to run through the zoo! Isn't that awesome?  Even with all the hills on her route and stopping to take pics in the zoo, she arrived at our relay station ahead of schedule. She did awesome!

We took a quick "good luck selfie" and then I was off for my leg of the relay.  I have to admit I was super nervous. I hadn't ran in over a week due to a knee issue. I was just hoping the rest days had done it some good and that I would be able to run at least half the route until I had to stop to walk .

I had my music on and as soon as I started running I felt great!  I was passing people left and right and of course that gave me an additional boost of energy.  I did feel bad passing the folks that were running the full because I know they had been running much longer than me at this point, but I was also passing a lot of  relay runners too.

A portion of my route was down hill and at one point there was a beautiful view of the skyline and the harbor below. Of course this picture does not do it justice but since I took the time to take the photo I thought I would post it!

I know it looks like I am struggling, but I am not. I'm actually having a good race!

The rest of my route was pretty flat.  I ran about 7 miles and the last half was an out and back past one of the museums and the Under Armour Headquarters.  Something I saw during this race that I never saw before were the Salvation Army Bell Ringers with their red kettles out. I saw several of them along the course and wondered what runners were going to stop and give change. Did any runners even have any change?  Of course they were probably hoping to get donations from the spectators but still, I thought that was odd.

There was definitely a lot of  crowd support during this race and when I came upon my relay exchange point I wasn't sure if they were runners or spectators.

Fortunately my teammate Megan was wearing a bright yellow top and pink shorts and I was easily able to spot her.  I passed our relay timing bracelet off to her and she was on her way!  I was  so excited that I had done so well with my leg of the relay. I had a really strong run, I too came in under my expected finish time, and I did not have to walk at all due to any knee pain. I did it!

My leg of the relay ended right in front of the Inner Harbor so I did not have to take a bus back to the festivities. I walked through and got a finisher picture right away (yes, this was before I even received my medal). I've done a different relay before and runners got their medals at the exchange point when they completed their leg. I think that is the best way to do it.  For this relay everyone had to walk back to the Inner Harbor to collect their medals at a race tent near the finish line.  This didn't bother me because I was very close and it was easy for me to get to. However, for runners who had a different leg it may have been a bit more challenging.

I made my way through the finisher tent and was given my medal. I grabbed a water and there was a whole variety of snacks.  I took an orange for right now and a snack for later and then made my way over to the finish line where Heather and I wait for Lacey to cross.

                            Lacey had a really strong race and will share about it later this week.

While we waited for our next teammates to finish, we wondered around the festival a bit. I had seen the massage tent earlier on my way through, so I took Lacey to where it was so she could get a massage (Heather and I went back later and I got a massage and she got acupuncture)!   There were also other goodies they were offering the runners so we stopped by the Phillips Seafood booth and had some Maryland Crab soup.

Afterwards we headed back to the finish line because it would soon be time for Ana to come through. Unfortunately during this time Megan (who did the 3rd leg) was on a bus that got lost so she did not make it in time to see Ana finish.

                                           Ana coming through the finish line looking so strong.

  I think we all ran a really good race and I am so proud of all of us! I feel like the race was well organized and very safe. There were helicopters hovering around the entire time, the finish line areas were secure, and we even saw some police officers on roofs of near by buildings.

There were plenty of post race snacks for all finishers. The race shirt is from Under Armour and is going to be one of my favorites. And how cute are these crab medals?  Also, we couldn't have asked for better weather. I know it got pretty hot there towards the end of the race but it really was a beautiful day weather wise over all.

My teammates will each be posting about the Baltimore Marathon relay and their thoughts on their portion of the relay so please be sure to check them out as well!   Thanks!  -M

Check out Lacey's recap of the Full Marathon HERE.

Leg one of the relay Here.
Leg three of the relay Here.
Leg four of the relay Here.

*Some pictures courtesy of Heather.

                                 We will be linking up with the gals from TOTR.

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