Oh, Baltimore. How you crushed my poor little heart.
Okay, so that’s a bit overdramatic considering I didn’t really think of Saturday’s Half Marathon as a race, but more of a training run. I was using it to prep for the upcoming Marine Corps Marathon. My last 13 miler before my last 8 miler before the MCM. (For those of you keeping score at home, 12 days to the MCM!!)
The Baltimore Running Festival started off with confusion for me. There was little to no signage for the expo. I know several other people who ran into this problem. Carly and I did finally figure out where to park and how to get to the expo, but there was a lot of guesswork. I realize that the very expressive (Exclamation marks!! ALL CAPS!! BOLDFACE!!) emails from Baltimore Running Festival insisted we read the manual cover to cover. I didn’t realize that meant that there were uninformed people working there. The bib people were nice and helpful, but I did not see an information booth.
The race day dawned early. I mean, EARLY. We’d elected not to get a hotel because of cost (and we’re just down the road in DC!). After a cup of coffee and a bagel (mmm Dunkin), Carly and I were flying up to Baltimore with enough time to chill in the warmth of the car for a bit prior to finding our new friend, Sarah.
For the Baltimore half marathon, I only had one goal. JUST ONE. My goal was to “Stay with Carly“. I didn’t do it. Just couldn’t. Carly took off ahead of me around 5.5 miles and I just couldn’t keep up. Because Carly had a BALLER Race!! She had a HUGE PR!! And I’m so freaking proud of her!!
Me? I was basically begging for the finish line by mile 6. My bruised knee was aching around mile 5 and I guess I started compensating for that because I ended up with IT band and hamstring tightness at mile 6 that lasted throughout the remainder of the race. But that’s when I started walking more than running. I was also having some breathing issues – I was super glad I had my inhaler on hand.
But, I pushed through. I just wanted the race to be over. Right at the last 800 meters, I thought out loud, “where the hell is this finish line?” and the girl running next to me laughed and said, “we’re so close. come on, let’s do this! we’re almost there!” I am thankful for Ms. Positive, whoever she was, because I laughed too and was able to push through to the end.
After crossing the finish, getting my medal, and stopping for a ton of water, I made my way to the second, not-so-crowded med tent to ice up the knee. My orthopedist said that swelling was to be expected if I used the knee for an extended period of time. I guess 13 miles counts! The opportunity to sit for a moment and ice was fan-freaking-tastic. I love ice. Really. And ibuprofin. They’re the best combination since peanut butter and jelly. Since McCartney and Lennon. Since Carly and Suze. 😀
So, not the best race for me, really. I finished in 2:43:53 (a whole 24 seconds slower than Virginia Beach). I wonder how well I would have done had I not fallen apart? Maybe then I’d have been able to meet my goal of staying with Carly.
Have you ever fallen apart on a race, but still felt good because someone else KICKED ASS-PHALT?