Running strong for two-thirds of a marathon means coming up one-third short. I executed my race plan beautifully over the first eighteen miles and ran near even splits at a 7:40 per mile pace. Shortly into the nineteenth mile I began having fatigue, dehydration, and energy issues – or to put it another way, I was on a crash course with a wall. I still finished, just not in the energetic fashion I envisioned, although I did manage to throw my arms up for the obligatory finish line photo. With a time goal of 3:20, I completed the twenty-six point two in 3:32. Aside from that, I have a lot of positives to take away from the entire marathon process, which for me began in May when I registered for the event.
I thought the entire Baltimore Running Festival was well organized and an enjoyable event. The course is very challenging, especially the second half. Running through the neighborhoods was a lot of fun and I tried to slap hands with every little kid who had his or her hand up for a high five. The lap around Fort McHenry was nice and serene before heading back to the large crowd at the Inner Harbor. A couple of my friends volunteered at a water stop near the half way point, and because of the layout of the course I got to see them twice, which was cool. Apparently, they even saw me finish, but by that point I was oblivious to anything other than the food and water on the other side of the finish line.
A BIG THANKS to the Gummy Bear People near mile 23. Those guys rock! And then there was a guy dressed in a tiger suit dancing on the top of a car with Survivor’s Eye of the Tiger blaring from a radio near mile 24. Hey, you don’t see that every day, but that’s one of the many things that make marathons fun.
My wife and son did not attend the race because I left well before their normal waking time – and it is best to not wake sleeping two-year-olds, or at least my sleeping two-year-old. When I got home, I showed my son my finisher’s medal. He was impressed. Tomorrow he is going to help me pack it up so I can donate my medal to Medals4Mettle. M4M gifts donated marathon finisher’s medals to people displaying strength and courage while dealing with a disease or handicap. I ran a marathon yesterday and experienced some discomfort, but I think people that put forth that type of effort every day are more deserving of a medal than am I.