Sunday, October 11, 2009

2009 Baltimore Marathon Race Recap

2009 Baltimore Marathon race report

A quick report, I hope. This is the third time I have run this race and my marathon PR (personal record) was set here last year. My plan for this year (same as last) was to treat it as a training run for the JFK 50 miler which is 6 weeks from today. I purposely didn’t taper this week, although I did have a few easy weeks at the end of September while Sam was on her death bed recovering from the staph infection that was a parting gift from the ghetto hospital where she had the c-section.

The weather was fine. Mostly cloudy and in the upper 60’s. Around the halfway point it started raining lightly off and on for the rest of the race. This prevented me from getting overheated.

I got up around 4:30am and did my normal pre-race routine: shower, coffee, light breakfast, game of twister, brushed my teeth, made out with the wife etc… and then headed up to the race fairly early. I got there almost 2 hours before the start and got a killer parking space. I spared the family from having to attend another one of my time consuming races and went alone. The race start is near the Orioles and Ravens stadiums so I hung out at the Ravens stadium which was open to the public and used their bathrooms 3 times. I wanted to leave something special for those no-account Ravens.

Besides the marathon there is also a team relay-marathon, half-marathon, 5k and a kid’s fun run. I’m surprised they don’t have a sack-race and a race for one-legged, blue-eyed Nigerians. This race is more inclusive than the Obama administration. And Under Armor is the sponsor and they decided to make this the world’s first ‘green’ marathon. Whatever that means. One thing it meant was that the UA race shirts we were given were made from 100% recycled material. In this case plastic bottles…whatever.

Running with half-marathoners and relay runners can be annoying at times. Besides making the course a little bit more crowded (ok a lot more crowded) it can be a bit depressing having these perky runners pass you. On the other hand it’s a hell of a lot of fun to finish the race strong and to smoke some of those runners. And for the record Hunny, I did not run with any of the Raven cheerleaders who had a few relay teams running the race. And it’s not because they were too fast.

I started out fairly easily and my legs were pretty sore and tight from all the running I did this week. By the third mile all the pre-race coffee and Gatorade had caught up with me and I pulled over at one of the few trees in the city. Actually me and about every other guy, and a few women, in the race stopped at these few trees. I’m guessing they are dead today. after the lighting the ballast I settled in to a pace that was a little faster than planned but I felt comfortable.

The course is a mix of inner city slum type areas with crack houses, the Inner Harbor area, historic sites and the DINK/Yuppie areas with a Starbucks and sushi bar on every corner. If Starbucks cared about the community they would have had little sample cups of coffee out there for the runners…the smell of the coffee was driving me nuts.

The first half of the race went by fast and around mile 10 or so I saw two of Sam’s sisters who were there watching the race. They did a great job of yelling and cheering me own. Thanks for the kisses ladies. And Joanie, nice pom-poms.

During the second half I got in a nice zone and the miles flew by. Other than the half-marathoners merging in with the real runners ;) at mile 16, dodging through them was like playing Frogger, the second half was uneventful. There is nothing like being 16 miles into a hard race and having to squeeze through or run around a bunch of plus-sized charity ‘runners’ walking 4 abreast and chatting merrily away – It’s a race people. I guess it’s my own fault for not being a faster runner and getting past them before the merge area. I would like to do this race a 4th time but the way they handle the half-marathon keeps getting worse every year. Hopefully enough people complained about it and it will be changed in the future.

In the later miles a lot of the neighborhoods have their own mini aid stations set up. There were two places giving out gummy bears and one giving out peanut M&M’s. Nothing like a handful of sweaty M&Ms at mile 23 of a race to perk you up.

Around mile 25 I started feeling ragged but by that point you are running down hill and the crowds are thick and energetic so slowing down is not an option. I must have passed a few hundred people the last mile. It really is a great feeling blasting pass people who are dying when you feel great. I’ve been on the other end of that feeling so I’m not totally without sympathy for them. I mean I didn’t call anyone loser or lard-butt as I passed them, at least not out loud.

A final sprint and I’m across the finish line to the cheers of Raven cheerleaders working the finish line. They weren’t nearly as pretty or as enthusiastic as Sam’s sisters. I dodge all the people who think it’s a good idea to come to a complete stop just across the line and I jog through the crowds; grab my finisher’s medal and some water and potato chips. I keep running and head back to my car so I can get on the road. As I’m running through the crowds to get to my car I get the “why you still running comments?” “Because if you had a wife as hot as mine at home you’d be rushing to get to her too”. A half hour later I’m home.

The results:
For some reason my Garmin GPS watch had me finishing about a minute faster than my official chip time of 3:44:18. I have the watch set to auto-pause whenever I stop. And I stopped once for a potty break and a few times at aid stations to refill my bottle with Gatorade. Anyway I did manage to set a new personal best by 1:36.

2008 - 3:45:54
2009 - 3:44:18

40-44 age group: 69th out of 290

Overall results 475th out of 3087 total finishers

7 comments:

Anna B. said...

Congrats...

Jo Flemings said...

very impressive! Good job and congratulations!

Jo Flemings said...

very impressive! Good job and congratulations!

momto5minnies said...

Well done! I like your pre-race routine.

Sorry you dealt with some frustrations, but congrats on the improved time!

Katie said...

Congrats Rob!

Colleen said...

You are AWESOME!! I love how you incorporate the hotness of your wife both before and after the race, what a great hubby you are :)

WingletDriver said...

I think the most impressive thing about it was that you got up at 4:30 a.m. I was unaware that there was actually a 4:30 a.m., but my wife assured me that there is.