Despite not being able to run in the Baltimore Half, it was important for me to go downtown for the Baltimore Running Festival. There’s such a great energy on marathon morning, it’s impossible to feel sorry for yourself. Plus, with a deluge in the forecast I figured the runners needed all the supporters they could get. It turned out to be a perfect day for running – overcast, some light spritzes, in the low 60s. (Because of security restrictions on backpacks I left my DSLR at home, so you’ll have to put up with lackluster point-and-shoot photos.)
To avoid the parking craziness, I’ve learned to park away from the stadia. Last year that gave me a perfect 2 mile warm-up en route to the start and cool-down after the race; this year it just gave me easy parking without the headaches, even though the boot made the walk a bit slower. Husband and I stopped for drinks at Starbucks and then hightailed it to the marathon start line. We ended up camping out right by the WBAL camera crew, which gave us a great view of the starting line.
This year the official starter was Baltimore native and Boston bombing survivor Erica Brannock. Her injuries certainly put any injuries I or any other runners have sustained into perspective. It could always be worse.
The marathon is the marquee event and was the first race to start, along with the marathon relay, at 8:00am. Every year it starts next to Oriole Park at Camden Yards, which provides a fantastic backdrop.
Among the runners was the local juggling guy, who switched his routine up a bit – he had a Joe Flacco mask on and was juggling three footballs!
Half an hour later, the 5k race started at the same place.
One of the key selling points of the BRF is that each race has an “inspirational” finish along the spine, which runs between Oriole Park and the warehouse, down to the finish line between Oriole Park and Ravens’ Stadium. The 5k runners are the first to hit this point, just a block away from the starting line. It really is a great sight to see and is great to run through. The first time I ran the 5k it seemed like it was so long, but the half put it into perspective a few years later.
After cheering on the runners for a while, we headed over towards the half marathon start, which went off at 9:45. In order to get to the start, you need to cross the marathon course, which can be a bit precarious. Normally I’d run across, but that obviously wasn’t an option this year. Throughout the downtown area there are pedestrian bridges, which made it possible to safely an easily cross the marathon course, but the city is in the process of demolishing them as we speak. It’ll be interesting to see what impact that has on the race next year.
It was bittersweet walking from Camden Yards, down Conway Street towards the corrals with all of the half marathoners. It’s always one of my favorite parts of race day morning, but I was going down for a different reason this time. While the marathon start always seems to be full of fanfare and gets all of the attention, the half marathon start seems to be its own party.
After the Half set off, we headed back to the celebration village to cheer on the winners! I have never watched the winner cross the line before, so I definitely wanted to see if while I had the chance.
There were no elite runners in the race this year and the favored runner was a local teacher from Owings Mills. He won the Frederick Half Marathon (the marquee event of the Frederick Running Festival), the first half of the Maryland Double, and he let no one down this weekend. David Berdan became the first Marylander to win the race in its 13-year history.
Over the last week I had toyed with the idea of walking the half marathon. They offer a very generous time limit and I certainly could have finished within that time, but I was concerned about injuring other areas (like my grumpy right hip) and slowing my overall recovery. I had decided against walking the race, but while walking around yesterday morning it dawned on me – I was walking so much then and it didn’t concern me, so not walking the race suddenly felt very silly (and regretful).
When I got home I mapped out roughly where we had walked throughout the day. I walked 6.83 miles. *face palm*
Being the stubborn ass that I am, I decided to hop on the elliptical for a while last night, and while I was on there I calculated how short I was of a half marathon. I had only planned on doing 3-4 miles, but then that would have put me close to the goal – so to hell with the original goal. It took me an hour and 27 minutes, but I got in the necessary 6.28 miles, which put me at a nice, even 13.1 miles for the day. Orthopedist be damned! It may not have earned me a finisher’s medal, but now I feel less guilty about wearing my half marathon shirt around town. My muscles are a little sore – I haven’t done much walking at all over the last two months – but I feel fantastic for having done it.
I go back to the ortho on Tuesday, so keep your fingers crossed for me! I need good news.