Archive for June, 2009

Baltimore Ten Miler

Monday, June 22nd, 2009

Last year I recieved an e-mail about an exciting new race in the Baltimore area, it’s first ten miler. Unfortunately at the time it was less than a month from the event and I knew I wouldn’t be able to train in time, so I resolved not to run the race. This year it was a different story when I saw that the registration was going to open and I heard that my friends were running it I jumped at the oppurtunity.

This race doesn’t provide a medal, but has won the Runner’s World Best Swag award. This year’s finisher’s premium did not disappoint. We recieved a Feel the Power hooded jacket.

The weather forecasters warned that if the storms didn’t hit Friday night then they would arrive Saturday morning. I hosted the carb load meal at my house and the weather was gorgeous all night and into the early morning hours. We met Dad at his condo and he drove us to the race. We arrived and met up with the BWI Loopers and several runners. We started walking toward the start line and a light sprinkle started. We lined up and were ready to go. As the gun went off and we started the rain got stronger. Not even 10 feet past the start line we heard the first clap of thunder and the skies opened up.

After we all passed over the start line the Baltimore City Police Commissioner started. His goal was to pass as many of us as possible. As he ran police cadets ran with him and put stickers on our backs featuring the little man from the Get out of Jail Free Monopoly card. For each one of us that he passed $2 was donated to the Police Foundation Fund. At the finish line we were able to purchase shirts that feature the Get out of Jail Free guy and said “I was caught by the commish”. I was excited that they were doing something special for those of that were slow, so I was looking forward to getting my sticker.

He caught me within about a mile of the start. I saw cadet after cadet pass me and none of them were giving me a sticker. I saw a group of cadets coming back towards me and I called out to them that I never got a sticker. One of them replied “well we can’t have that now can we?” He came over and I got my sticker. The new goal – make it to the finish line in the pouring rain with my sticker still attached.

I spent several miles leap frogging with my friend Jen who practices the Galloway method. We wound through Druid Hill Park, passed through my alma mater John Hopkins (only my 3rd time on campus btw), and then headed towards Lake Montebello. As we approached Lake Montebello I spotted Kerrywithak from and cheered him on. A few more times leap frogging with Jen and I decided as we were entering the loop around the lake that I was just going to run her intervals with her.

We made our way out of the Lake and I was doing really good running her intervals with her. We decided to work on walking up hill and running downhill since we still had 4 miles left to go and it was tough. The rain was coming down hardest yet and any hope of keeping the shoes dry were lost. We started squishing as I made my way back into Johns Hopkins. There were some great downhills as we headed back through Druid Hill park. We started hearing the music in the distance and knew we were almost there so we ran for it. My father was actually inside the finish line when I got there. We made our way over so I could get some water and a slice of watermelon. We walked the long way around and traversed a muddy field to get our jackets. I almost wiped out by caught myself before landing in the mud.

I took my jacket over to purchase my “Caught by the commish” t-shirt and was excited to see that my sticker was still on my back. After purchasing my shirt I found out that the commish was pulled from the course for dehydration, but he made it to mile 9 and passed 2000 runners before he was pulled.

The race support between the volunteers and police cadets. The watermelon at the finish line was refreshing and the jacket was awesome. We followed up the race with pancakes at the house of a Looper. They were so good and really hit the spot.

Maryland Half Marathon

Monday, June 22nd, 2009

I am not sure what is holding me back, but I have sat down to write my American Odyssey Relay blog probably a dozen times and I have yet to figure out where to start. I know I will get it all out one of these days, but until then I have two more races to blog about.

First up – the Inaugural Maryland Half Marathon. I found out about this race through the Baltimore Running Festival and was instantly excited about it. I registered the day it opened since it was limited to 2009 runners. I later found out that several of the BWI Loopers, some running blog friends and two of my cousins had all signed up for it as well.

When the course map was released I could tell by looking at it that the course was going to be hilly, but the course was described as “rolling hills”. I actually tend to be a strong runner on rolling hills because I have a strong down hill pace, but…

We arrived to the race extremely early and were able to park in the lot closest to the finish line. Since it was raining when we pulled up this worked out great because we were able to stay dry in the car while we waited for the race to start. Traffic quickly backed up which prevented me from seeing my cousins at all and also prevented me from seeing the Loopers till the last second. When the gun went off it was like someone hit a switch and the rain instantly stopped. This made me a little nervous because if the weather turned warm the humidity could quickly become suffocating.

We left the fairgrounds and turned to head up our first hill. Within a mile we came upon our first water stop and the volunteers were great. We then travelled about a quarter mile, made a turn, and came upon another water stop. Other than this there were no other issues that told me this was an inaugural race.

We continued heading up into the hills of Timmonium. The scenery was beautiful and the shade of the trees with a light breeze and the rain made things feel cool. We were soon rewarded with a long steep downhill that allowed me to pick up some great speed. After a while I realized that we were dropping further than we had gone up which helped me realize that we were going to pay for this later. As the downhill leveled out I came to a turn and spotted my cousin’s wives and children. I started waving and waving and knew they didn’t recognize me. They actually didn’t realize I was waving at them till I was right on top of them, but either way it was great to see them.

I travelled along about another two miles and came a turn towards an out-and-back. The people coming towards me looked like they were hurting which helped to prepare me some for what was to come. We travelled downhill to the turnaround and as we ran I passed all of my friends and cheered them on. Traffic was open in both directions at this point and there were people on both shoulders. This made for some near misses as the drivers refused to slow or yield the right-of-way to the runners. This frogger type race would be par for the remainder of the course.

As we neared the turn where the out-and-back started I was hoping to get some relief from the hill. Little did I know that we had almost another 1.5 miles to travel before we would get any downhill. This I was not prepared for.

The rest of the course was through residential neighborhoods where little kids had cups of water and candy to hand off to us and neighbors came out and played stereos and cheered. After exiting the last neighborhood we cut through a parking lot and saw the fairgrounds in front of us. We passed through the horse stables and made a turn onto the sandy horse track. As I rounded the last bend I saw my father cheering me on and as I closed in on the finish line I heard the Loopers yelling for me and slapped hands with Sean as I reached the finish line.

I passed through the finish and was handed a mylar and my medal, which was very impressive. I sat down and relaxed with my friends before heading home to shower and then meeting them for some fantastic leftover lasagna. What better way to end a great weekend.

Overall it was a great race and I wouldn’t have guessed it was the inaugural event. The water stop mishap was a little annoying since we had two water stops within the first mile and a half and then didn’t seen another one until after mile 4. That was no big deal to me, what really bothered me was the traffic. At one point the cops were clocking people passing within feet of us at over 38 mph. I am hoping they are able to close the roads down a little better in the future and would definitely try this race again to take on the challenge again.