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!
|MILEAGE UPDATE: week 18 (of 18)|
|Three week rolling average||31.6||30.4|