Hey readers! I’m (finally) back!
I feel like this year I have to keep apologizing for my extremely lax posting tendencies (the Tough Mudder race I had planned on posting about got cancelled which I am PISSED about), but my life is CRAZY right now…which leads me to two very exciting announcements:
First, what this post will be about is the BALTIMORE RUNNING FESTIVAL and the half marathon that I just completed this past Saturday!
And Second, that I’ve been chosen to be a new sea kayaking instructor for Johns Hopkins Outdoor Pursuits! (I’ll write another separate post all about that).
Now, to the Half Marathon.
The Baltimore Running Festival is a fantastic event, especially since Under Armour sponsored it and is conveniently located right here in Baltimore. It’s where I go to school and where I’ve lived for the past three years, so I was excited to be a part of a race that’s so close to home (in several ways). Baltimore really is Charm City, and my friends and I agree that it’s got a lot of character that you might not find in other cities. Now, that doesn’t mean that I was at all prepared for this race.
Exactly 8 days prior to the race I had a clumsy walking in high- heels moment and a close scare for a broken ankle, but it turned out to just be sprained. I’ve recovered from sprains like a champion (or like a stupid young athlete, we all know what it feels like to break something and get back on the field) so I didn’t count myself out of the race yet. And then I got sick. My throat was raspy and my nose was congested and I just wanted to drink herbal tea and sleep. But I still didn’t count myself out. Thursday rolled around and I could breathe a little easier. I knew my parents were on the way Friday afternoon and the sun was shining. I decided: I was going to race.
Now, I knew that I wasn’t nearly in my peak condition- that’s definitely something I had to admit to myself. I knew I was NOT going to get any kind of top time or personal best. But I wanted to run my own race and ultimately, finish. And since I have run a half before and I am absurdly stubborn, I knew I probably had at least that much left in me. Friday arrived quicker than I expected, and my parents came with it! They brought me, my wonderful boyfriend Lou, and my amazing friend Maritza (who was featured in my Charlottesville race post!) to the expo at Ravens Stadium to pick up our race packets, bibs, and race shirts. The expo is the really exciting part, and I’m glad they did it before the race. If I hadn’t had that pre-race night pump-up it might have been a lot harder to lace up my shoes in the morning. Baltimore’s volunteers were very obviously fantastic and hardworking and I really appreciate all they did for us runners and the fans to make the race so special!
I laid out all my clothes the night before (Hopkins T-Shirt and galactic leggings) plus my standards of Body Glide and Ibuprofen. I never wear the race shirt on the day of the race- I just don’t think I’ve earned the right to wear it until I’ve completed it. But that’s just me. I ate lots of pasta and set my alarm. Now, there was just the race left. Except the little matter of actually getting to the race…trust me, if you’re running Baltimore, make sure you try and get on the Light Rail down to Camden Yards as early as possible- we ended up making the last possible train and booking it to the bag check which was VERY far from the start line- the one thing I’d actually complain about. But I did get to meet a really rad woman who ran marathons in Afghanistan because I was late. Those are my favorite parts of these races.
The starting line was absolutely INSANE with over 30,000 runners! And we started right up a giant hill- one of the hardest features of this race. If you want to run Baltimore, at least be mentally prepared if not physically trained for some pretty damn all-around taxing hills. Trust me, they’re gonna kick your ass…and your legs, and your psyche. And they don’t REALLY end. You’d think that by the time you’re heading back to the Inner Harbor (for those who are geographically familiar with Baltimore) you’d be going downhill all the way. But there’s a rather large bridge at mile 11 that certainly would argue that the climb isn’t over until you’re almost done. The entire course takes you through a really varied picture of Baltimore–through the city buildings of the Harbor, through the inner city neighborhoods with particularly festive fans, through Waverly right near campus where an amazing woman gave me a cup of gummy bears, and around Montibello Lake where you’re wondering when the hell this damn circle will ever end. Luckily, Maritza and I had a bad-ass playlist to listen to throughout the race–or else I’m really not sure I would’ve made it through.
By the finish, I saw my parents standing right at the last .1 miles and I had the burst of energy I needed to charge through. My race medal is ridiculously huge and cool, emblazoned with the Baltimore Crab. I couldn’t have been happier to finish the race, and actively sought out every free food item I could get my hands on. Then we all celebrated with a beer and got some lunch.
Ultimately, I was really impressed with just how much spirit this race and the entire festival carry along with it. The number of fans and hilarious signs and cheering really were impressive, and I can’t imagine just how many hours all the volunteers put into it. And we might’ve helped out the volunteers by cleaning up the Mile 11 sign…not saying it’s hanging on my wall or anything…(;
Thanks for reading! Comment and follow and do all that cool shit…post about my new sea kayaking job soon to come!