That’s right! This past Saturday, I ran my first half marathon in Baltimore, MD. Going into the race, I will admit I was expecting it to be my first and last. However, after finishing, I realized I am more than capable of running the 13.1 miles sometime in the future. Who knows, maybe I’ll be ambitious and go for the 24.2?
The race was so much more exciting and fun than I expected. There were people cheering along the entire route and DJ’s and runners dressed up in Halloween costumes kept me entertained. Not to mention the hundreds of people that were handing out free water, gatorade, and CANDY! And let’s be honest, who doesn’t love eating free jelly beans and m&m’s and not feeling guilty about it?
The course was a lot hillier than I expected. Whoever thought Baltimore was completely flat was wrong. It was a nice challenge though. I was also rewarded every time I trekked to the top with a nice downhill recovery. I set two goals for myself in this race: 1) to run the entire time, and 2) to not finish last. Last in this case would be 11,000th (sooo much competition!). I am happy to say that I completed both of my goals! I finished in 2:16.32 and placed 5794 overall (normally, not a place I would be happy about ;)), but when you’re running a half marathon in Maryland’s biggest city, the tide changes a bit.
One of the biggest things I learned from this race is to give yourself time to get there and get situated. The half-marathon was to start at 9:45 and I was in the 3rd heat, starting at 9:54. I left my hotel (only a few blocks away) at 8:45 to ensure I got there in time. As usual, I panicked when I realized it was 9:40 and I still had to check my bag! If only my mother were there to tell me “I told you so”. I raced to check my bags and literally just kept running to the start line and into the race (so I guess you could say I ran more than 13.1?). I also learned to allow yourself time AFTER the race has ended. There was a huge festival with vendors (more free food!) and race merchandise (I HAD to buy a 13.1 sticker). However, I was pressed for time because my hotel checkout time was approaching and I desperately needed to shower before driving home. I fortunately did get my “13.1” sticker and made up for the loss of free food with an excellent crab cake lunch.
I am so happy with the way my first race turned out! I will most definitely be running another one in the future. Looking for a ‘running buddy’ for this one so let me know if you’re interested :). Thank you to everyone who supported me throughout this whole process! Early morning weekend runs were not easy when you live in a sorority house! Also, thanks to my boyfriend, Ray, who stood around for 2 hours for me to finish while a said man repeated yelled “lookin’ good, feelin’ good” in his ear (I had to chuckle).
A little red in the face, but so proud! My medal was purple and had a crab on it…perfect!