Day 183 / race report
First off, this is a good race to run. It was beyond my initial impression. Baltimore surprisingly is beautiful. I signed up for this race last year immediately the day after they held it. It was my plan/goal to do the king crab challenging, which was to run three races: the Frederick Half in May, the Baltimore 10 Miler in June, and the Baltimore Marathon (or Half Marathon) in October. It seemed an extremely difficult thing to do at the time and I have been worrying about for two years. But Ha, it was just like any race, the moment I stepped on the course and ran, before I knew it, I was at the finish line.
I have heard about the Baltimore Marathon the moment I started running and that was about two/three years ago. Baltimore is near where I live relatively speaking. I live in near the nation capital in Virginia, where two states meets. We informally call this area the DMV – DC, Maryland and Virginia. We are blessed with so many races here. The Baltimore Marathon is one of them.
Even though Baltimore is considered my neighborhood (by the census data) but it is on the other side of the river (on the Maryland side). For all my life, I have felt Maryland is in another country. I am sure the Maryland people felt the same about us Virginians. Baltimore is about an hour away from DC and this made it feels even farther from us. But I live about an hour from DC too in another direction. The race allowed me to be a bit more familiar with Maryland and Baltimore.
If any are doing destination marathon, Baltimore is not a bad choice. The race took place in downtown Baltimore at the Oreole Baseball Stadium (Camden Yard) and finished at the Harbor. I parked my car at M&T Bank Stadium (Ravens), which is just next to Camden Yard–they had free event parking for us. Surprised! I had to pay for parking if I run in DC or in Richmond. Hotels in the city are a bit pricy but there are plenty. I booked an hotel about 15 mins drive away, that is, outside of the city. It was not bad. Know that I was in Baltimore back in June to do 10 Miler and unfortunately at that time, I made a poor choice in staying a place that was kind of sketchy, just leaving it at that. Do your research of where you plan to stay. Any hotel that needs to have a bullet proof glass in front of the reception counter to protect the staff like in a bank, I would think it might not be a good location to stay at. My hotel was like that.
I read many things about Baltimore that is not very flatering, such as a city that can’t afford to pave its roads. It is known for potholes! We don’t even have to go into drug or crime or murder rate. Good thing is every block I ran, there are two or three police officers, so I felt completely safe the whole time. There was an incident where a car did not obey the police direction and almost ran me over, but that probably can happen any where. Of course, cars hate us runners. We blocked the downtown roads for 4-5 hours. We heard a lot of honking. I don’t think it was hey, congratulations but more like what is wrong with you guys running on the roads. There were angry long and loud honking errupting everywhere, because they closed the roads for us, and people were upset.
What I surprised about is how beautiful the city is. On a normal day, I wouldn’t walk around in Baltimore after hearing that people being beating to death is a normal thing in this city during the day, but on the race day as I ran through various neighborhoods, there are really nice people out there and who actually live there. People came out and cheered us. I was offered gummys, oranges, and water and beers. This was in addition to the official aid stations. The Baltimore Harbor, which was the half way point and the finish line is absolutely awesome.
How did I do? I was not running for a record (no PR). I signed up with the 5:15 pace group, which is kind of slow for me since my average is around 4:30-4:45 finish but in the last two marathons I ran kind of slow and finished at 5:30, and that was about a month ago. So, 5:15 expected time was reasonable for me. I stayed with the 5:15 group for half the race until pasting mile 13. Then I ran at my own pace and it felt great finally freed. At mile 20 I caught sight of the 5 hour pace group. I was hoping to pass them in the next three miles. I passed them. I was kind of hoping to pass the 4:45 group too. I crossed the finish line at 4:53, still it was a very good time.
It felt good to have strength for the last couple miles. I did not hit the wall at all. This was the first time running a marathon without being exhausted at the end.
The tireness came only after crossing the finish line and I went to bed early. Other than that, the race was very good!
Camden Yard. I just love this stadium, because it is beautiful!
Starting line. The green shirt people are my pacers. They were awesome. You can see the 5 hour pace team in front of us.
Our pace strategy was to run slower the first few miles, but would pick up pace after we get going. We walked through all 15 aid stations.
Our pacers set goals for us! Our first goal is to get to the zoo next to Johns Hopkins Uni.
Johns Hopkins. Also a beautiful campus. A beautiful morning.
Next up. We headed into the city. Beautiful neighborhood.
The famous Penn Station. Hear a lot about this station. Seeing this means we are in the city.
We are near the half way point. This race, they had the half marathoners start at our half way. We got here after the half already started. They said they had the half marathoners run in their own lane so they wouldn’t block us who were passing by. I arrived at mile 15 in 3 hours, which was slow for me, since normally by 3 hours, I would have done 20 miles already.
I did not take pictures on the second half. I was too focus on running. People say there were a lot of hills. True but I ran in more hilly places (e.g. Morgantown). Hills here were too easy for me. Also there were a lot of people walking after the half. It felt good to able to catch up to the people who were running the half.
Another thing interesting about the race was the relay team event. There were three exchange points (6, 13, and 20 mile). We marathoners were slow and tired but the relay runners, they just blasted out their exchange chutes at full speed, was something I love seeing.
Finish line at the harbor. I had my lunch and enjoyed the view.
More sightseeing. An Old ship. Constellation.
The finish place was very festive! In most marathons I have done, usually, no one is around by the time I come in. This is because, the half marathoners usually finish before the full, and are long gone by the time those running the full finish.