Maryland Half Marathon

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.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.