2014 Baltimore Marathon

by Sarah on October 23, 2014

Besides hanging out with Irene this past weekend, we also ran in the Baltimore Running Festival. The overall race experience was fantastic, it helped that we were at the expo in the middle of the day Friday and that we stayed blocks from both the half and full marathons start. Plus both Irene and I earned Personal Records in our races! Baltimore Running Festival maybe my new favorite race.

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This race was also my second marathon. A few months ago, my friend Kyle motivated me to sign-up for double marathons this fall. Baltimore being the first, and Philly the second. I was a little nervous training for a marathon this fall after my health disaster last year. Thankfully my doctor was willing to work with me, my allergies and asthma and with the right medications this fall has been a huge improvement. I had no trouble training for this marathon and the few colds I had were a breeze compared to last year. It also helped that I trained and ran the entire race doing intervals of 5 minutes running and 1 minute walking. But enough about training, lets get to the race!

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On race morning, I had the luxury of walking only a few blocks to the race start. This meant I also had the luxury of “sleeping in.” I felt really good, nervous of course, but I was confident. I strongly believe marathon running is mostly mental and throughout this race I was motivated.

I took off at a pretty consistent speed compared to my training. I trained with Kyle earlier in the summer, but then due to schedules ended up running with podcasts before meeting up with Jay or Courtney and Erin. I am really glad I did a few of my longer runs on my own because it prepared me for race day and gave me a chance to discover that podcasts are my perfect running distraction.

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As you can see I felt good! I knew from all my training that I was running a consistent 11 minute mile (between 9:00 and 10:30 running and around 15:00 walking), so I planned on it and stuck to it throughout the race. It paid off.

Originally, Jay was going to run the full marathon with me. But a few weeks ago Jay decided to drop down to the half marathon. This summer he concentrated his training on his half ironman he completed the end of September. He didn’t feel like he had put in the adequate running miles to run a marathon. It worked out because this allowed him to run the half marathon with his sister. We also realized that since the half merges with the full at mile 16, chances were good that we would meet up. Like clockwork, I met up with them between mile 17 and 18.

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At this point Jay joined me for a few miles before reuniting with his sister, Irene. I was feeling pretty confident, but it was really nice to continue through “the wall” with Jay. I have to be honest, I actually never really hit “the wall.” I was pretty diligent about drinking my Gatorade-water mix throughout the race and taking jelly beans and shot blocks. I actually took my first bean at mile 4 and consistently ate a block or bean every few walking breaks. I also didn’t try anything new during the race. You know what I am talking about! No donut holes, bananas, weird GUs or UTZ chips. If anything, I was a little over fueled and I began craving water. The last 5 miles, I walked through every water stop to have some good clean water.

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Jay backed off at mile 24 to meet back up with Irene. At tis point two miraculous things happened. Jay ran into our friend Dani’s husband Frank and I ran into my friend Brigette. If Frank felt anything like me, running into a familiar face was refreshing. Brigette and I literally hugged and screamed on the race course.

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I was on a mission so after saying hi to Brigette, I stuck to my plan and pushed forward. At this point I was only a mile or two from the finish. I knew I had this! I kept pushing through my 5 minutes of running and cherishing my minute of walking. As I approached the finish, I realized how perfectly timed my walking breaks were. At my final walking break I KNEW I only had about 5 minutes until I would cross the finish line. Like clockwork, I spent my final five minutes heading straight downtown and into Camden Yards when my watch signified a walking break. I ignored it and powered on for the last 1 tenth of the mile and across the finish line with a PR of 4:47:26.

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Jay and Irene followed a few minutes later full of energy (as you can see from their picture below). I kind of wish I acted a little more ridiculous for my pictures, because the photo below came from a great string of photos!

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After the race, I was still feeling pretty good. A little sore, but no where near as stiff as my first marathon. As I mentioned before this was my third time running this race and I have to say I enjoyed the marathon much better than the half marathon.

Over the course of the marathon, I ran by Lexington Market, through Druid Hill Park, the Maryland Zoo and the new Penguin Exhibit, Johns Hopkins University, the Inner Harbor, by Federal Hill, the Visionary Art Museum, the home of Under Armour, Fells Point and Canton before meeting up with the half marathon. On the second half of the race I saw Patterson Park and Lake Montebello before heading back downtown through MICA, back by Lexington Market and into Camden Yards to the finish line.

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Like the Covered Bridges Half, this race re-energized me about running. It felt good to be so confident throughout the race. My only hope is that I will feel this well trained for all of my races!

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