I finished! Which I had no doubt I would, just how it would go down was a mystery.
So I went to packet pick up and the expo on Thursday. It was really easy, there was a line to get in, but that was because the Lara Bar table was right at the entrance slowing people down. Once I got past that, I got my bib very easily. The expo and premium pickup was on a lower level, and that was easy too. The hard part was going through the expo and deciding what to get. I knew I wanted a t-shirt and a pint glass. They had some really awesome gear though. In addition to the shirt and pint glass, I got a bright pinky orange 1/4 zip pull over and a magnet.
I also stopped by the Bondi Band table and got a new headband for the race.
When I got home, I put my flat runner together and started to feel nervous.
Friday was a normal work day, but included a whole lotta jitters. I went to bed at my normal time and prayed I would sleep and wake up when my alarm went off at 4.
I hopped on the 5:15 AM train to head downtown – it was actually running a little late – but I still made it downtown in time to drop my stuff off at Pickles Pub with my training group and head outside to stake out a spot to watch the marathon start. It was really awesome. The energy outside was amazing. I even got a good pic of Blue the Crab!
Sorry – didn’t actually snap a shot of the start because I was too busy clapping and cheering.
So after watching the starts of the marathon and the 5K it was time to head over to our starting line. As we crossed a footbridge, I snapped a pic of the starting line. There are some Wave 1 runners milling about below.
I started in Wave 5. When I signed up I had no idea how I would finish – so I chose 3 hours. And given my injury setback, it was perfect. Had I not missed any training I might have been able to move up to Wave 4, but whatev’s there’s always next year.
Being that far back, I didn’t hear the gun and I don’t remember any confetti, but when we finally did get to the start line, it was about 9:03 (the race started at 8:45). And when we were released, I went!
I had to pee and my legs felt heavy. I ran my first three miles faster than I wanted – I wasn’t too fast, but I had hoped to go a little slower. I stuck to my walk/run plan and walked a tenth of a mile after running the first mile. As we ran down (or up, rather) Fayette Street, the community support was great. There were a lot of people out cheering us on. I never felt like there was a spot where there wasn’t someone cheering. As we wound around towards Patterson Park, I knew the 3 mile mark was coming and the first water stop. I had assumed there would be a porta pottie there. I was wrong. There was a single porta pottie off to the side by the park, which had a line. I didn’t have to go too bad, so I kept on running.
I don’t remember much specifically about this leg other than Holy Hills Batman! My legs had started to feel better at least. I was making decent time despite needing to pee super bad. I did see a freshly squished rat in the middle of the road – Good Morning Baaltimooore! When we made it to Mile 6, there was a relay exchange point and SEVERAL porta potties! The line was long, but it moved. Just not quickly enough for someone trying to finish a half marathon.
This is what halfway done and need to pee looks like.
This was around Lake Montebello and relatively flat. It was a welcome change from the hills in the first 6 miles. I didn’t mention much about the weather yet, but it was a gorgeous day for running. However, during this part of the race, there was no shade from the sun and it felt particularly warm. This lake looked much bigger in real life than on the map too. When I hit mile 8, I texted Brian (my husband, I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned him on here before) because he and Charlotte were waiting for me at the mile 9 marker. It was awesome to see them. Charlotte refused to hug me because I was stinky, but she did give me a kiss on the head and high fives. I walked the rest of the block with them then headed on my way.
This is where I felt like my run fell off the tracks. Shortly after I left Brian and Charlotte, my left foot started hurting really bad – with every impact. I hadn’t felt anything like it before in any of my previous runs or at any point up until then. I stopped to walk and it still hurt, I started to fear that it wasn’t going to feel better and that I wasn’t going to be able to finish. It did start to ease up a bit between 11 & 12 and I was able to start running a quarter mile, walking a quarter, etc. Fatigue was starting to set in and there were still a few rolling hills to get through. When I hit mile 10, I kept trying to tell myself – this is just a little neighborhood run, you do this all the time! But my foot wasn’t listening. I was more or less doing more walking than running at this point.
The Howard Street Bridge – you want me to run up that NOW???
When I had less than a mile to go, it was mostly downhill. This last bit was also going to go through Camden Yards (which, while I love the Orioles, a teensy weensy bit of me was happy they lost to the Royals, otherwise this part would have been rerouted.) During a walk break at the start of the mile, I texted Lauren that I had less than a mile to go. I had thought she would just meet up with me at the finish, but instead I was pleasantly surprised to see here cheering for me from the sidelines as I came down through Camden Yards. I had half jokingly told her earlier in the week to wait for me – I knew I would be pushing 3 hours and she would have been done in an hour and a half (congrats to her PR at 1:47:06) so to see here there on the side as I was running down really felt awesome! Thanks friend! You are beyond awesome!
So the big finish was 3:08:06 to the tune of “Country Roads.” I am now officially a half marathoner!
I don’t think I’ve shared this on here yet, but my dad passed away last year in November. I didn’t set out to start running because of him, but it kinda has turned into that. I think about him every time I’m out there. I know he would be over the moon to see me running and racing – because it is not something I had ever done before or that anyone would have ever thought I would do. So I made sure to cross the finish line to his favorite song so that he could finish with me.
This one was for you Dad!
So I have to say – this was the most amazingly awesome accomplishment. I know how hard I worked to get here and even though my time isn’t what I thought it could be (damn porta potty line), I overcame a lot just to step up to the starting line. I now know that I am capable of so much more than I give myself credit for and there are no words to explain just how awesome Saturday was. (Do I use “awesome” too much?) I’m already planning my races (and HALVES) for 2015. See you next year Baltimore!
Making use of the bottle opener feature on my new bling!
My foot is feeling better but I will get that issue checked out.