It has been a week since the Baltimore Marathon and now I finally have a few moments to re-hash the day.
I wanted to complete my 10th marathon in 2010. I thought it would be fun to have a nice numerical day. 10th marathon in the 10th month in 2010 which also happens to be the 10th anniversary of the b-more race. Whoo Hoo! I convinced MM to fly out and join me so off training we went albeit in different states (sucky!).
We showed up race morning via the Light Rail and made our way to the Alz Stars tent (my Mom’s on the team), dropped our stuff, and shivered around in the wind for a while. A $1 shot of DD coffee was just the perk needed to warm up the body and mind. Kisses to K and texts to CJT, who would be our superfans on this day, and off we went to the starting line.
We placed ourselves around the 4:45 group, knowing that it was going to be a long day. The night before we had written out a list of all the topics we had to cover in our 26.2 mile long chat. The cannon blasted and off we went, shuffling along and heading up the road. And I do mean up. I knew that the late miles were hilly but I hadn’t experienced the first 13. The first four-five miles were quite an uphill adventure. We talked and talked and just kept moving forward. Our conversation picked up right where we left off when we saw each other last Christmas.
My body seemed to handle the first handful of miles well. I knew that my muscles would tighten early. We kept the pace pretty even, averaging about 10:30min/mi pace. I missed my second GU timeline, but got back on track at 1:45. I really enjoyed the first half of the course, it was a good mix of hilly and flat with awesome fan support. I absolutely LOVED the two cheering groups near AVAM from local charter schools. The spirit was exactly what I’d like to see from a school.
We saw our superfans at the start, somewhere around mile 6, and then again at the half point, they popped up everywhere!! They were awesome. As CJT said, “Jesus wants you to run” which kept us laughing for a while. We headed through the party parts of town (Fells, Canton..) and then through Patterson Park. Ah, then the hills began. Miles 16-20 we knew were coming. Rolling is really an understatement. It just felt like up and up, over and over. We finally reached the top of the worst hill of the race up to mile 20. I promised MM that we were at the last hill (ok, the last worst hill) and that we would get over 2 miles of flats. God Bless Lake Montebello!!
I still felt mentally and physically acute even through the big hills. I wanted to soak all of it in. MM had started feeling a bit of pain in the late teens, so we took lots of time to stretch in the second half. Through the parties of Waverly we went where we consumed both delicious beer and gummy bears, then we found our way back to Howard Street where we took the race home. I had forgotten about going over the bridge at MICA but MM and I pushed up and down the bridge. We were surrounded by walkers. Press on, I said.
We turned left onto Eutaw for our final mile and I saw the famous Bromo Tower. It became our beacon of hope as we hit the “no walking” phase of the race. We saw our superfans one last time at mi. 25 and picked up our turnover. Even here at mile 25 into 26 we saw so many walkers. For me, having finished “slow” before, this was normal. For MM, who has never finished under 4:20, this was a new experience. In those last miles, we started targeting our footsteps. We would pick our targets and work to get past them. Not to “beat” them, but to give us a purpose for forward motion. We made our way through Camden Yards and came around. We saw a man decked in full Ironman apparel and made that our last target. It was easy. 🙂
We came across hand in hand in 4:46:25. By far the slowest marathon for both of us. But it didn’t matter. Really. To have the chance to share my 10th marathon with my best friend and the world’s best running partner in Charm City…that is awesome no matter the pace.
My thank you’s go out to my Next Step coaches and running mates, to our amazing Superfans, to the organizers and amazing neighborhoods of Baltimore, and to MM. I could not have done this alone, nor would I have wanted to do so.