Here are five more weeks of training accountability as we approach the looming Baltimore Running Festival. This span includes some interesting runs – 21 miles along Chicago lakefront (pictured above), 20 miles to Castle Island assisted in parts by the rest of Team HB, a 1/10th marathon river run as part of my 35th birthday & today’s BAA Half Marathon. Week 15 was marred by illness but I’ve moved past that and won’t begrudge the few days off that had to be taken.
The marathon itself is six day hence, Saturday the 15th, starting at 8am. I’m going to try again to get Glympse to sync to Facebook if you’re interested in tracking along. Until then, short runs & rest, no twisting of the ankles. I’m mostly trying not to psyche myself out mentally at this point.
My rough recollections of yesterday’s Baltimore Marathon with highly inaccurate mile marker estimations.
Mile 0: The 8am start was cool but not quite chilly, a beautiful day to run. YJP, VK & I start together, but I lose them within the first few hundred yards.
Mile 2: Without a lot of forethought I had decide to try to run with the 4:15 pace group. I lose them ahead when the leader puts his sign down. I catch & pass them, and decide to run & time my own splits rather than worry about hanging with them.
Mile 3: The first three miles have been great, negative splits as the crowd thins. Into the zoo – the entry gate is flanked by two ravens. No Orioles in sight.
Mile 5: Team HB is there cheering, for me! I am lucky. There’s an absolutely gorgeous lake here, particularly given the early morning light (Druid Lake). I’m giving back a lot of the early elevation gain which makes these miles fast.
Mile 6: Johns Hopkins. The neighborhood here is not nice, lots of boarded up townhouse but the locals are out and cheering for us. There are several stretches throughout the race like this, obvious pockets of poverty. Somewhere around here I notice the Federal Land Bank of Baltimore building which makes me wonder how many of these empty buildings will be condemned or taken via eminent domain. Across the street from the land bank building is a large empty fenced lot, no urban farming here. Later I find out that particular building is actually luxury condos now, go figure.
Mile 9: Back to the inner harbor to find CNHB & Ebs! Chrissy told me later she had been in that spot for only one minute before I came by. Lots of energy in the air here, the half-marathon is getting ready to start. It was around here I realize the field for the half is bigger than full – the area is packed.
Mile 10: Federal Hill is a gorgeous neighborhood. This is one of the areas we had been considering living in had LZ & I moved here back when Johns Hopkins was on the table.
Mile 11: We loop around the Under Armour headquarters. There’s a DJ here, far too loud, painful to the ears. Regardless, a good sponsor, the shirt is cool.
Mile 12.5: I see YJP across the way, heading the other direction. I shout but she doesn’t hear me.
Mile 13.1: I reach the half-way mark in under two hours, about 4 minutes slower than last week’s half. I’m fairly sure I’m running too fast, lessons from NYC unlearned. I see all of Team HB for a happy high-five.
Mile 16: Here we merge with the half-marathon field. There are tons of them. Given how stretched out the marathon field is by now, it feels like they outnumber us 20:1. In reality the numbers are more like 5000 full, 11,000 half.
Mile 17.5: I pick up my pace runner. This is against the rules and turns out to be absolutely necessary. I feel no guilt.
Mile 19-20: This is where things start to fall apart. I have 19 in my head as a goal since that’s where the NYC meltdown happened, but passing this mark does not help as it’s been mostly uphill since mile 16. There’s another lake here (Montebelo) and it’s beautiful, but suddenly very windy, challenging. Our mile splits are plummeting to the 10:30 range, I’m forced to give up my fleeting delusions of sub-4 hour grandeur.
Miles 21-24: These miles are mostly a blur. I’m having a hard time breathing, I can hear an audible wheeze that should not be there. Rolling hills, feels like more up than down. I have a vague memory about two furries in tiger suits standing on top of a station wagon. These neighborhoods are all out for the marathon with swedish fish and bands but I’m not in mental shape to appreciate any of it. SMB helps me fill my water bottle whenever possible – I’m drinking twice per station and as much as I can in between and can tell I’m still dehydrated.
Mile 24: We cross a bridge (in retrospect, the pretty cool looking Howard Street Bridge) and even that little incline kills me. SMB tells me later about the cool views of the city coming in but I’m only watching the ground.
Mile 25: I know it’s all downhill from here, but it’s not easy. Feeling really, really sick, hard to catch my breath.
Mile 26: The finish is just beyond Camden Yards. I touch Cal Ripken’s #8 on the way through. I remember seeing Christine shout but am having a hard time not crying, emotions & body chemistry are way out of whack. There are two instances when I think I’m having an asthma attack, my lungs grasping for air and not able to take any in. My right calf has a sharp cramp at 25.8, the left at 26. I think I might fall but don’t. Then, just like that, we’re under the last bridge and it’s all over.
After some time passed out on the concrete behind the bagel tent we recover enough to cheer for the others. Later we saw a mysterious dumpster fire behind my hotel (a metaphor for something), had a very many bananas and somewhat fewer celebratory beers and tried not to fall asleep at dinner. Ain’t no party like a post-marathon party!
Tomorrow is the Baltimore Marathon, my third attempt at running that distance. CNHB & I ran in the New York City Marathon in 2005, where I proceeded bust out a fast first half in route to a devastatingly sucky DNF. Some years of bitterness later, SMB helped me find redemption when we ran the San Francisco Marathon, which I finally if slowly finished. Tomorrow YJP, VK & I will try for the best of three, with the rest of Team HB & wee Ebs coming down as a travelling cheering squad. The emergency mixcorps 2011 is thankfully complete & distributed, and I’ll be running to that, sight unheard, if I can score some new headphones at the expo tonight.
My excitement about the race is tempered somewhat by the death of my uncle, who passed away suddenly a few days ago. My parents are in Louisiana for his funeral today. I was not as close to him as I could or should have been, and I (perhaps naively) hope that my nieces and nephews will be tighter with me some forty-odd years from now. There’s a bunch of nervousness & hopeful joy and sadness all mixed together in me today.
Team HB helped me make number twelve into one of my best training weeks so far (notwithstanding today’s disaster of a run). I’m over my mileage target and am feeling confident about my goals for Baltimore. Now, to just focus all remaining psychic healing energy in the general direction of YJP’s all-broke-up feet and we’ll be good to go.
Some bad things have been happened to me and to my family in the last month and a half which have preempted updating this blog. But in the meantime, I’ve still be running in preparation for the Baltimore Marathon. I thought I was doing pretty well, staying mostly on top of things (barring odd hurricane here and/or road trip to Canada there), but when I look at the table laid out like this, I see I’ve been behind every week (other than 8). It’s a little disheartening.
The Baltimore Marathon is 12 weeks from this weekend. I’m pretty happy with my totals this week, and had some good individual runs despite the ridiculously hot weather (Thursday was the hottest day in Boston since 1922!). For better or worse I have a lot of free time on my hands these days, so that makes things easier. I mean, it unequivocally sucks, but at least it helps with mileage goals.
Today was really bad, a bad run. I should have gone to Nate’s house for soccer & beer like he suggested, instead I almost managed to give myself heat stroke on the side of the river. In retrospect, I also should have eaten breakfast or lunch before starting out. The only thing that saved me was an espresso flavored Gu I found in my water belt, of questionable vintage. F’ing ghastly nasty stuff, but it worked. Seriously, I’m very grateful for that bit of disgustingness, coming over the Eliot Street bridge.
ps. Daily Mile says I’ve burned off 117 donuts in this training cycle. I find that encouraging. You can track me there, if you’re the kind of person who enjoys adding extra manual encouragement into the mix.
I’ve made an executive decision that hiking miles count towards marathon training goals despite not technically being running. The reality is, I am the boss and get paid the big bucks for these sorts of decisions. Six of this week’s total were of the mountain climbing variety (my photos from our long weekend to Acadia are here, the one I’ve used for this post is stolen from hondo’s massive set).
This week was pretty abysmal for running, weekly goal less than half met. But regardless, here it is. Thanks, accountabili-buddies.
Today was an interesting day – I scored Marc’s # for the BAA 10K and ran the Warrior Dash in Amesbury. Of the two, the latter was by far more difficult. My legs are tired, my body more dirt than dirty.
Still trying to get my numbers up. Next week will be better, if less exciting.
Despite their URL, the official name of the Baltimore Marathon is the Baltimore Running Festival, which is fortunate, from an acronyming perspective. Today marks the end of week 1 of 18 weeks of preparation for that event (you can follow my training here). Today is also Father’s Day – to celebrate my dad & I went to Fenway last night to watch the Red Sox lose 4-2 to Milwaukee. We had a pretty good time, I think it’s the first game we’ve been to since 2009, when my old people came to San Francisco & we went to see the Giants beat the Braves. The highlight last night might have been the bus ride back to Allston where we sat behind two moderately to highly inebriated Irish kids, one of which was sporting a 5cm wound on his scalp from an injury of indeterminate origin. The discussion centered around whether the proper solution to such a situation was a trip to the ER to have it stitched up, or whether “lots more beers (and vodka!)” would make things better. Given their professed lack of health insurance I believe they went with the latter option. I woke up this morning wondering how that dude was feeling, & glad I was not him.
Despite LZ being gone off & about in France this past week, I’m little short for week one. Next weekend, the Warrior Dash!