Last year, I registered to run the Baltimore Marathon to raise money and awareness concerning child sex trafficking. We were in the process of a move to the area - a move that did not happen as quickly as anticipated.
I ran Hartford Marathon instead and deferred Baltimore - just in case.
I did not plan on running a marathon this year. As of August, my longest training run was 13 miles, and that was in May. Not exactly stellar training.
I met a woman in my running club who was running Baltimore. I thought maybe we could run in together. We did a training run together in September: 16.5 miles. And then I did a solo 20 miler.
Ready for a marathon? Just really sure - but I was going to do it!
The week of the marathon, she decided to go all out and try and hit a personal goal of hers which was out of my range. I thought I'd try and run with the pace group aiming for a 4:30 marathon.
Can I just stop and say I loved this marathon? The whole thing is basically in the city (here is the course map). Over the course of 26.2 miles, you travel through beautiful parks with lakes and rundown neighborhoods with boarded-up buildings. I loved that. I loved the homeless guy who ran a couple blocks with us and the street preacher who warned us about the end of the world. I loved the people taking iPad videos of us out their apartment windows. The crowd support was consistent throughout, more so than any other race I've done. It was just an all-around great race.
Back to my race :) I ran with the 4:30 pace group for 11 miles, but lost them after a pit stop.
This marathon is hilly. It was painful. I swore I'd never do it again. Did I mention it was hilly? My quads hated me for days after. The last 6.2 miles felt like 10+. My stomach did OK, with some painful cramps around mile 14, but the salt pills seemed to help. I also kept fueling simple: water, a LaraBar and organic jelly beans (not sports beans - actual jelly beans).
I eventually settled with the 4:45 pace group and finished just ahead of them for a final time of 4:45:12 (I started in front of them - hence the difference).
This was a 13 minute PR from Hartford.
Here I am, smiling at my family as I crossed the finish line.
Trying desperately to smile at the end, blue lips and all:
And now I surf the web for other local marathons to run......I seemed to have caught the bug :)