Baltimore Running Festival – 4 Person Marathon Relay

This past Saturday was the Baltimore Running Festival.  Ever since I started running I have wanted to run the relay there, but haven’t been able to pull a team together so I have run either the 5K or the Half instead.  Well this year was my year.  Not only did we get one team together but we got 4.  So we had people to run with, people to wait with, and people to cheer with.  It was going to be a fun day! 

Over the past several month Jen L and I have been training together since we were running our leg together.  We have been gradually getting stronger and stronger as she and I have been both coming back from a hiatus on running.  I was really looking forward to our leg together.  At the last minute we recruited my friend Kelly, one of my bridesmaids, to run with us as well.  She is a much faster runner than I and was exchanging with a fast runner, so I knew she would be off before we were but it was nice getting to catch up with her on the bus ride to the exchange and hang out with her in the port-a-potty lines, lol. 

As we waited for our runners to come in Jen and I spotted a woman who must have found her long sleeve shirt a little too warm and decided to tie it around her waist but unfortunately was not wearing  a bra appropriate as outerwear.  We decided she was going to be our target.  We were going to pass her during our leg and then we started eagerly awaiting the arrival of our teammates.  Six minutes later they arrived.  My maid of honor, Jen H, was running the first leg for our team and we paired her up with Margaret from Jen L’s team so they could run that first leg together.  They had a very hilly leg which also ran through the Baltimore Zoo.  Those of us that have run Zoo Zoom and the Baltimore 10 Miler were very familiar with the hills that they had in store for them, but both ran strong and rocked their leg. 

Jen H and Margaret were awesome bending down and moving the chips to mine and Jen L’s ankles.  We gave them our bags and hugs and off we went.  We were starting on a wicked uphill but it is one she and I have run on multiple occasions before so we pushed through.  We were running down some streets in Baltimore….some really hilly streets in Baltimore, but we also had some downhills to make up for the ups.  We were on a roll and weren’t about to stop.  We passed some zombies that I quickly snapped some pictures of and sent off to my fellow Zombie hunters and teammates Kim and Megan.  Before we knew it we were headed down to the inner harbor.  We passed close to the exchange but it was more of a tease as we still had about 4 miles to go before handing off to Dad and Kim.  They then took us up Federal Hill, which is part of the Run to Remember course, and immediately back down it then we were on to the flat part of our course.  I was looking forward to the turn-around point as the race organizers said it was going to be awesome. 

We were running around the harbor and on the same course as the Survivor Harbor 7 and the Baltimore Women’s Classic.  We were having fun discussing the race we had run these particular streets on.  The wind was really picking up on us and we always seemed to be running into it.  We made the turn to cross under the Under Armour logo and turn onto their parking lot.  There was a DJ and a fuel stop and that was about it.  The fuel was cool with bananas, oranges, chips and pretzels.  I was just expecting a bigger crowd and more energy.  We turned to leave the parking lot and found a marathon runner confused about which way to go.  We screamed for her to go left and then followed her out of the parking lot.  As we made our way back from the factory we spotted a Looper nemesis – the Joggler.  We got a little boost knowing he was almost half a mile behind us and kept on running.  Some of the neighborhood’s and schools along this out-and-back came out to cheer and it was definitely needed along this section of the course.

We rounded near some of the really expensive condos that they have been putting up along the harbor and I spotted her not even a tenth of a mile in front of us.  Bra lady!  We turned on the afterburners and started closing in on our target.  We passed her not even one interval later.  We both giggled as we realized we passed her and still had over half a mile till we handed off to our teammates.  I texted Kim to let her know were closing in on them and we pushed through for the final section of the race knowing we had run at a pace nearly a minute faster than we had been training at.  Kelly had run back and turned to run us into the finish line.  We ran up to the exchange, moved the chips from our ankles to Dad and Kim’s and cheered them of before grabbing their bags and heading for the finish. 

The walk was nice and relaxed.  We stopped for  a second so that Jen could pose with both the joggler and bra lady in the background and giggled our way over to the runner’s village to get our medals and some crab soup.   We settled in with the awesome spot Jen H had scoped out for us to chear runners in to their finish.  Somehow we managed to miss almost every runner we were watching for except for Laura and Megan.  How we missed them all we have no idea. 

I really enjoyed the relay and would definitely do it again.   One of the things that surprised me was that with a race course that is open 8 hours the back-of-the pack seemed to start really early in this race…at about 13 minute miles.  It made for some really lonely stretches of roadway.  As relay runners since our distances were so short it wasn’t too bad but I really felt for the marathon runners still out there and the half marathoners as well.  It messed with Dad’s head some when he ran his leg as he didn’t expect it to be so empty and really felt slower than he was actually running causing him to head out way too fast.  However in the end all 4 teams had fabulous races with most of us running at paces faster than we had trained for.  Go team!

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