I just got back from Baltimore. My first half marathon is in the books.
I got to the expo to pick up all my stuff late Friday night. The race was sponsored by Under Armour so we all got some really cool shirts. Every level got a different color. The half marathoners got blue. I like it. It’s pretty sweet. We also got a bib and a disposable chip which is nice.
Later we went to eat at a restaurant near our hotel. They were having a special pasta buffet for all the runners. I ate until it hurt. Pasta, salad, cookies, fudge, wine … you name it. Leave me alone. I was carbo loading – LOL.
I worried that I wouldn’t be able to sleep but I had no trouble. To be honest, I wasn’t really worried about the race. I’ve run this distance quite a few times. I’ve never been worried about achieving a certain time. I just want to finish. I knew I would.
I woke up and ordered room service from the hotel. Had some eggs and sausage. Didn’t eat much of it but then I grabbed a few pastries from the lounge on our floor. No trouble eating that. Mostly, though, I focused on getting hydrated. I drank a TON of water.
I drank so much that by the time I got to the starting line I immediately got in the bathroom line. Probably stood there for 30 minutes but it was worth it. Bathroom issues weren’t an issue afterwards. There were port a johns all along the race and the lines weren’t that long. I stopped once and it probably took me one minute.
I was assigned to the third and final wave of runners. I decided that I was going to go to the very back. No pressure, no anxiety. I just wanted to finish. I was literally one of the final two or three to start the race. This made things difficult to start. People were literally walking before the first mile. I probably passed a hundred people in the first few minutes. It was ridiculous. Afterwards, things cleared up and I had plenty of room the rest of the way.
As for the race, I’ll say this – it was tough. Baltimore is VERY hilly. It felt like I spent the majority of the race going uphill. It was the main topic of conversation with everyone I talked to afterwards. That being said, it wasn’t too big of a deal. I never felt like I couldn’t go on. The only time I walked was during water stops.
I think the people of Baltimore are a big reason why it didn’t feel so bad. They were really cool. They lined the streets and cheered us on. Everywhere we went people were standing on the streets or on their stoops encouraging us. Every once in a while we’d run into a group playing music really loud. It felt like we were invading a block party. I liked it.
I chuckled my way through most of the run. I heard “eye of the tiger” more times then I can count. Cracked me up every time. I also really appreciated the guy in the chicken costume telling us to run if we weren’t too “chicken”. The biggest laugh was from some random guy at mile 12 who said that we should all “run his wife out of town.” I don’t know if that was really funny or we were just delirious from all the mileage. Nevertheless, we were smiling as we hit the home stretch. I crossed the finish line in much better spirits then I did when I ran my 5K and my 10K.
I ended up running 2 hours and 29 minutes. Not too shabby for me. I picked up my medal, got some fruit and water and walked to my hotel. I was a little shocked at how good I felt. The funny thing is that when I got to the hotel I pulled off my shoe and discovered that my left sock was covered in blood. All my toes were red. I didn’t even feel it! It still doesn’t hurt. Weird.
All in all, a great experience. I could definitely see myself running another half marathon again. Unfortunately, now I’ve got that marathon staring me down. That will probably be another story…..