My race report from the Baltimore Marathon:
I flew from Tampa to Baltimore on Friday, October 13, which I wasn't too thrilled about. I also hadn't flown in 20 years, so I wasn't sure what to expect, except motion sickness, which I get even as a passenger in a car. So I popped a Bonine tablet and got on the plane. It was an uneventful flight. I liked it when the pilot came on the intercom and made announcements. He had a delightful Midwestern accent (I was thinking Chicago?) which reminded me of home :)
Landed at BWI safely and 15 minutes ahead of schedule. Wandered around the airport, which is nicer than the mall in Port Richey, took a couple phone calls from friends wishing me good luck, and waited for WrayJean's plane to come in. When she got in, we got her bags and found a taxi to downtown Baltimore. Checked into the hotel and headed over to the expo. Got our stuff, went back to the hotel, then went back to the expo (only a couple blocks from the hotel) to look for Nancy and *jeanne* . We found Nancy first, then caught *jeanne* as she was walking by. We walked through Camden Yards and took some pictures. I'm a huge Cal Ripken Jr. fan, so I had Nancy take a picture of me cuddled up to a giant #8 statue :) Then we walked down to the Inner Harbor and ate at California Pizza Kitchen. Good food, good conversation, great company--a nice, relaxing pre-race evening. We all walked back to our respective hotels and settled in for the night.
Got up early on race morning, flipped on the Weather Channel, and saw that it was 35*. (It was 70* in Tampa, but I digress...) We put on our trash bags and headed to the start line. Found Nancy again; *jeanne* was running the second leg of the relay, so we didn't see her before. Actually, I saw her (in her crab hat) on the course and hollered out to her, but I don't know if she heard me. We started at 8 AM. I lost WJ early, but saw her a few more times in the early miles. I settled into my pace and was feeling pretty good. I saw a few crab hats, which I desperately coveted, and a guy whose shirt said "We're just a bunch of pirates out chasing booty." I wish I had gotten a picture of that. The only stunt runner I saw was the guy skipping rope. He and I leap-frogged each other for the first 18 miles. He was really nice. And had nice calves. Probably from all the rope-skipping. Anyway, he had done 65 marathons while skipping rope. Amazing.
The course was pretty hilly, but the first half wasn't too bad. The middle was mostly flat with a few "speed bumps." The end was a b*tch. After 18 miles, I started walking anything that even resembled an incline. At 20 miles, I just started walking, period. I picked up a guy named Ray (no, not THAT way...) at 21; he was having some problems. He said he had been going for a 5-hour marathon. I said, "Well, if you're seeing me, you're WAY off your pace..." He seemed to think I was funny and good company. Being worn down from 21 hilly, difficult miles will do that to a guy ;) Anyway, since he was walking anyway, and also a guy (and therefore competitive), I bumped up my walking pace a smidge and chatted his ear off. After about 15 minutes, he said, "Man, you walk fast!" I told him I was tired of being out there already. Ray and I hung together for about three miles, and he told me to go ahead, he couldn't keep my pace anymore. So I wished him good luck and headed out. When I got back downtown, around mile 25, I started "trotting" a bit, as much as my extremely sore calves and hamstrings would let me. Which wasn't all that much. So for that last mile, I mostly walked, then trotted a little. Until I hit Camden Yards. Then I ran as much as I could because I knew the finish line was right around the corner. I looked at my watch and realized that, while I wouldn't break six hours, I WAS going to PR. So I kicked it up just a little more and came across the finish line at 6:00:07. Woooo!!
I found WJ, she talked me into a massage at the massage tent (which was fabulous, by the way!), and we headed back to the hotel, where we cleaned up and took a nap. Later, we hobbled on over to dinner and Barnes & Noble (WJ knows I can't pass up a bookstore, even when I can barely walk :) ) Then back to the hotel and back into our PJs like the old ladies that we are (hahaha--sorry, WJ).
Got up the next day and got WJ onto the shuttle to the airport. My flight was much later, so I went back to the room and watched a movie, then got my stuff together and headed to the airport myself. Another uneventful flight back to Tampa, and an hour drive home, and--ahhhh, back to my own bed! And to my cat, who my mom managed to not throw out into the street while I was gone (my cat is just a tad mean to everyone but me...) I guess Dixie missed me, because Mom said she let her pet her and didn't even try to nip her hand.
Baltimore is a really nice city--I was actually pleasantly surprised at how pretty it is. If you like hills, this is the race for you. If you don't like hills, well, go anyway and enjoy a great race :) I'll work on getting some pictures up on my blog in the next day or so.
If you made it this far, thanks for hanging in there!