Run A Half Marathon…. Check!

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!

Sunday Funday!

Ah, Fall is finally here to stay! I will admit, this Summer I never thought I would see a high below 100 degrees again. I am so happy that it has cooled down enough to enjoy my favorite season and all it has to offer. After all, who couldn’t love Fall? Boots, sweaters, crisp air, and the return of my most desired seasonal treat – the pumpkin spice latte. Fall is the perfect time to be outdoors, which is what I have been trying to do.

Recently, I have been hiking a lot more. I have found that it is a much bigger stress reliever than my usual go to, running. I really enjoy it because it gives me something to focus on. I have found that running sometimes gives me too much time to think about everything going on in my hectic life. Hiking, on the other hand, allows me to focus more on the moment. I have to concentrate on where I am going (aka – trying not to break my ankle), taking my mind off of other stressors.

Last Sunday, my friend Cali and I took a day trip to Harper’s Ferry, WV. It was a beautiful day and our decision was definitely spur of the moment, but well worth it. After a quick stop at our local WaWa to pick up some sandwiches, we drove for about an hour an a half  (windows down, country music blaring), to reach the quaint town. At a glance, it appears to be stuck in time. It is situated on a hill with a main cobble street lined with “old timey” restaurants, stores, bookshops, and museums. It would be a great place to spend the day as a family since there is a lot to do and the town offers so much history, but we were there for something more rigorous. We had looked up trails before we left in the morning and decided to try the “Maryland Heights” trail. From the reviews, it was supposed to be challenging, but didn’t require too much experience – PERFECT!

Cali and I before we started up the mountain, we HAD to gamma pump! Also, my running pack is good for hiking too!

The hike to the top was tough to say the least. I am almost certain that at one point I was stepping more vertical than I was in front of me. It wasn’t until we reached the top and were chatting with some people that we found out we took the “hard way”. The view from the look out, as it’s called, was spectacular and in itself made the climb worth the effort. From the top, we looked out over the town of Harper’s Ferry and the Potomac River. It took us about 3 hours round trip – granted we did take the longer “blue” path as opposed to the shorter “red” path. If anyone is into hiking and is looking for a good day trip, I would recommend this! It is not too far away, but just far enough that you are out of the hustle and bustle of the city.

The view at “the lookout”.

 

Happy Trails!!