Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Race Day: Baltimore Full Marathon

Maryland RacesThis weekend I ran my 14th Marathon. Going into this I had no expectations because I signed up pretty much at the last minute and I therefore did not follow a training cycle. Even though my training for prior marathons is probably very minimal compared to other runner’s plans, I still do my version of training.  I like to get a least one 20 miler into a training cycle, but this time there was no time for that. My longest run was only a 16 miler and then I did a 14 miler the following weekend.

Well, here I was the morning of the race!  I made sure that I was up in plenty of time to eat breakfast and get dressed for the race. I decided to wear a skirt and a tank top since it was supposed to become very warm come mid-morning. We had the weather on that morning and even the news caster said it was going be unseasonable warmer than it has been in past years. I ate a bagel with peanut butter and had some coffee (I usually do not eat bagels before my runs, but I do before my races and it has always seemed to work out in the past).

Meranda, Heather, and I headed down to where Meranda needed to pick up the bus then Heather and I started walking back to the starting line.

 They had the bathrooms available for use at the Oriole’s stadium, which was very nice. The women’s bathroom did not even have a line.  The starting line did not have any corral placement but rather pace signs up. So we got in line at are respected starting places and soon the National Anthem started and we were off. I was worried that runners may not be in the correct corral placements when they do not monitor it like major marathons do, but that was not an issue at all.

 I set my Garmin for the range of pace I wanted to stay in, so it would beep if I was too slow or beep if I was too fast. In the past when I see that I am going too fast I try to slow down because I do not want to burn myself out too much if I push it too hard in the beginning, but usually by the end I do not have anything left and cannot speed up anyways.  Right from the beginning my Garmin was beeping up a storm, I thought it was telling me that I was going too fast like it always does in the beginning of races but when I looked down it said I was going too slow. How could that be? Maybe because I haven’t been training and I am not running the pace I am used to be running at. I thought for a minute that I have no business running this marathon today. I should have dropped down to the half marathon.

 A few miles later I found a comfortable pace and was feeling good. This time when my Garmin beeped it was saying I was too fast. I thought about slowing down, but then I remembered in past races when I did that I did not make up any more time later, so I was going to give all I could and if I burn out, at least I know I gave my best. And that is what I did.

I was around mile 4 when I was passing the zoo and I started to get a cramp in my side. I thought I may have been a little hungry since it was a late starting time at 8am and I ate breakfast before 6 am.  I took my first GU and that was just what I needed. I felt much better and continued on. Shortly after that I saw my sister at the transition spot and we waved to each other as I ran by. 

Usually I do not like hilly courses, but I actually really enjoyed the variations of the course. Once up a hill, you know a downhill run is shortly approaching where you can pick up some speed. I didn’t find that the hills were that steep either (when you run Big Sur, nothing else really phases you). I felt like it was a nice balance. Some of the things I did not like on the course were running on the cobble stone part around a turn. I felt like I could have twisted an ankle if I didn’t pay attention to where I was running. Also a lot of the course was on pavement which I am used to running on but there were many pot holes on the roads that you had to maneuver around. Another challenging part on the course was when we ran by the many bike paths that separated the bike area from where the cars drive with white short posts. With all the runners that were running in front of you, you had to be very cautious that you didn’t run into one of them. 

Regardless of the many obstacles along the course, I was still keeping a great pace all the way up to about mile 20 and then the wheels came off just a bit and I was a little slower than I wanted to be the last six miles. But overall I felt great throughout the race. There were some scenic views along the course especially running around mile 20-23 where I needed a little boost of energy. I was very happy that my Ipod did not die during the marathon. I still have the old Ipod Nano that has the wheel rather than the touch screen). The last three miles felt like it took forever.

 I never wanted to see that finish line so bad! But I am sure everyone says that when they are approaching the last stretch of their race. I felt like I sprinted the last .2 of the marathon across the finish line.

I finished with an unexpected BQ! I know it won’t be low enough to actually get accepted, but just to say you have is an accomplishment. I really did enjoy this race and would not mind running it again in the future. 

We got long sleeve teach shirts for running the full marathon and the medal actually opens up like a clam shell.

Ever run a race that was not a goal race and surprise yourself with great time? L

Click HERE to read about the Baltimore Marathon Relay.

*Some pictures are courtesy of Heather.

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