Monday, October 14, 2013

Baltimore Running Festival: Part 2

Happy Monday Bleeps!

I enjoy a good race day as much as the next person, but I seriously dislike when that alarm goes off at 4am. I snoozed a bit. Perhaps too much. We were walking out of the door when I saw my reflection and realized that I had forgotten to put any make up on. DOH!  Not gonna be taking a lot of pre-race photos let me tell ya!

I wasn't sure what to wear for the day. The forecast was for rain and I'm pretty sure I saw animals in pairs heading to the Inner Harbor the day before. Cold and rainy. Fun stuff. I opted for the Pink theme for October. I wore my long sleeved 'Fight Like A Girl' hot pink top, my black pleated skirt, and my hot pink running knee socks. I also wore my black and hot pink- pink ribbon Reebok RealFlex. Hair in pig tails with a hot pink head band. I didn't wear any of my new ones because I hadn't worn them before and didn't want to be messing with them while running. I did pack a sweatshirt and sweatpants for the car ride home.

So my plan for the weekend was to knit on the ride to and from Baltimore each day. It's a good hour plus to kill. This worked on Friday...but um...I sort of forgot that it's pitch black at 5:30am...and it was cloudy so it didn't lighten up until we were pulling in to Baltimore. Doh.

I struggle mightily with morning runs. Hydration is key, but I have to pee so quickly once I start drinking water and I have this fear of port-o-potties. So my new rule is to hydrate the day before, limit my water in the morning, and carry a bottle of water with me during the race. That way I am hydrating as I go.

I still had to go a little when we got there...argh...but we were in the middle of the city. I had hope. Things got infinitely better when I realized that the walkway behind the outfield in Camden Yards was open. It was the last stretch of all of the races...I could use an actual bathroom. Could I BE any happier? Nope!  :-)

I told them that if it came down to it and I had to use the facilities towards the end of the race that I was pulling in and using those bathrooms again. Time be damned I did not care. I will do anything not to use a port-o-potty.

 The Running Festival included a 5k, a half marathon, a relay marathon, and a full marathon.  The Full and Relay started first. The 5k started from the same spot 15 minutes later. And the Half marathon started 1:45 later a few blocks away. All of the races finished by the stadiums.

We took a bag to bag check and on the way to the starting line we were held up because the buses for the relay teams were heading out. That was kind of cool to watch. We also saw several of the wheelchair racers on their way to the starting line. Mad respect for them!

It was fun to watch the Relay and Full Marathoners take off. One day that will be me. In the meantime, I am more than happy to cheer them on.

Okay, so the question is: would I wear my headphones or not? I really wrestled with this. It wasn't forbidden, just discouraged. By wearing them I would forfeit any award that I would win. hahahahaha...well I think it's pretty safe to say that I wasn't winning any so it was a sacrifice that I was willing to make. They wanted us to be able to enjoy the crowd experience and I did. I don't have to listen to an ear splitting level, I just need a beat to pace me.  Besides, I saw lots of other rule breakers. I felt okay with this decision.

This was a very full race. Over 4000 people.  It took us forever to find a spot to sneak in. We were definitely starting towards the back, but there was still plenty of people behind us. In general, the way races work the slower people start in the back. There were so many people in this one that it didn't happen. It took me the first mile, up hill, to get past most of the walkers. This was fine by me. My plan was for a light run. I was very worried about opening the blister on the base of my toe. It was not worth a good time. Besides, if I ended up opening it, then the chances are that I would slow down considerably at that point.

Basically, I felt like this was God's way of slowing me down. Besides, I saw so many amazing things. I literally lost count of the number of visually impaired people I saw walking with canes. I saw many people pushing walkers (physical walkers, not walking people) who had problems with their legs. You know I cried. How amazing and inspiring. I did stop and talk to a few people and cheered them on.

This race was full of people of all shapes and sizes and all levels of abilities. It was a true example of just how capable we are if only we make that effort. For every one of you who sit there and say "I can't do that" I am telling you right now that you are wrong.  The goal is not to finish the fastest. The goal is to finish. There were unassisted legally blind individuals walking this 5k. Don't even think of looking me in the eye and telling me that you can't do it. Because I know that you can!

The first half of the race was all up hill. That was fun. For the most part it was a straight shot. There were a few lateral moves that sent us through intersections with cars waiting for us to pass. That was great. These people were taking pictures and waving and cheering us on. Gotta love that.

I walked one block. That was the steepest one. I just had a panic attack about my calf issues. As soon as that block was over it was pretty much all down hill...ahhhh.

Am I glad that I was listening to my music? YES. Once again in a clutch moment "Let's See How Far We've Come" came on with a half mile to go. That is all of the motivation I need to kick it up. I was moving faster and faster and saw that finish line in no time.

It wasn't my personal best, but it was in the range. Between the hills, the people, and the keeping it light I was right around where I wanted to be. And I was thirsty. after the finish line we had a little walk and then had to turn the corner to Celebration Village. All I kept thinking was "WHERE IS THE WATER????"  It really wasn't that far, but I'm used to someone handing me water right at the finish line.   I was happy to find the water and had almost forgotten that we got medals too. haha.

After I got my water and medal I got in one of the long lines for food. That's when it started to sprinkle. Nothing big, just enough to cool me off. I got my half of a bagel and half of an orange. Then it was time to grab my bags of pretzels, my dried fruit, my power bars, my gatorade, and my fruit cups. I was running out of hands and didn't really have anywhere to put the powerbars went in my pants and the dried fruit got shoved down my bra. Man, I needed a bag.

At this point my body temp was dropping considerably and it was getting colder. I walked over and grabbed one of the silver wraps they had for us. Too bad I didn't have an extra hand to wrap it around my shoulders. 

I met up with Heather and Xavier in with all of the vendors. Free coffee. Free cereal. Coupons galore. There was music. There was carnival food. The Ravens cheerleaders were there for pictures. There were bouncy games for kids. It was fun.

We had all taken a spin on the chick-fil-a wheel and won coupons for free items. Except that had to be used in the Baltimore area...hmmm...

Soon it was time to go. We headed back to the car and came across someone giving out free bags. I dislodged the food from my clothing and was then able to finally wrap myself in the wrap. ahhh...getting better.

This was a HUGE Running Festival pretty much taking over the whole city. The marathon ran the perimeter and therefore blocked many of the ways out of the city. Security was amazing, but there were some moments that gave me a pause. Several times I saw large amounts of policemen running in the same direction. Everything worked out okay though.

Before we got to the car I was able to see one of the wheelchairs headed towards the finish line. He was about to finish in just over 2 hours. Now I have a lot of faith in my legs to hold out for me for that long, but I can't even imagine using my arms like that for 2 hours. #AMAZING.

So we got stuck in that traffic trying to leave. It took us a long time to get out. We had snacks, but we were hungry. Once we were on I-95 we quickly pulled over and used our chick-fil-a coupons...ahhh...FOOD!

It was a long day and we were pooped when we got home. I needed to run to the store at some point. I could technically wait until Sunday, but I wanted to go get some things. I knew that I would not go out if I showered first. And so I went. Stinkiness and all. The funny thing is that there was this pretty good looking dude smiling at me and all I kept thinking was "if you like me now, you should totally see me after a shower!" hahaha.

I was ready for bed by 7:30 pm.  Heather was out too. We had zero energy. It's weird. I could run a 5k every day and be fine, but it's the excitement of big races that drain you. You feed off of the energy of everyone around and that's amazing...but then comes the crash. I didn't really fight it. I gave in and was asleep by 8pm. Totally worth it though.  I've already put together my Relay team for the Marathon for next year :-)

Have a Blessed Night.

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