No matter how many marathons I do, 57 completed, it never seems to get any easier. It seemed on Saturday that I was always running “uphill” and “into the wind” all morning long.
The Baltimore Marathon, 1823 miles round trip, was my 57th marathon and 49th state. I do enjoy Saturday marathons over Sunday events. It’s nice to run in the morning and have the rest of the weekend to celebrate and recover. Baltimore’s event starts at Camden Yards, home of the Baltimore Orioles in overcast 73 degree temps. The good thing was that a cold front was making its way over the area and we had intermittent showers during the marathon and slowly dropping temps which finished at M&T Bank Field, home of the Baltimore Ravens.
This is not a very scenic marathon. The first 2 miles are uphill and through the downtown and row houses, many of which are boarded over… actually kind of depressing. We then travel through a park area and back toward the downtown inner harbor where a majority of the spectators stayed since it is nearly impossible to get around by car here during the marathon. There were a lot of annoyed drivers and long lines of cars at intersections. The police manned the intersections and were being verbally abused by many of the locals caught up in the messy traffic situation. The course continues out toward Fort McHenry, known as the location that Francis Scott Key penned the national anthem. Unfortunately, the Fort area is under construction and the marathon did not go through the Fort this year but instead turned early enough to travel through the main sponsor’s (Under Armour) facility. The course returns to the inner harbor area, the halfway point, where the half marathon which started 1:45 hours after the marathon starts. Between the marathon, marathon relay & the half marathon, there was a lot of runners on the course which was sometimes relegated to a single lane of traffic.
During most of the second half, I spent more time running around half marathon walkers. There were so many half marathoners that it started in 5 or more waves. Its hard to describe the second half other than I recall a long 2 miles around a lake because of the distraction of so many walkers. I have nothing against walkers. At times I am doing just that. However, there really ought to be some kind of etiquette established that all walkers must walk on one side or the other and no wider than pairs. When I was running, I spent most of the time weaving between the walkers and not really paying attention to sites along the course. I also remember a couple of annoying uphills in the final 6 miles but the last couple of miles was mostly downhill to a flat finish.
They nicely isolated the runners finish area from the 1000s of friends, family members and spectators though it still seemed cramped and unorganized. Another marathon without much to eat… potato chips, fruit and bagels. Where’s the protein?!?
Only after sitting in the same marathon traffic for over a half hour to get to the interstate did I finally have time to relax and reflect. I was pleased with my performance and now look forward to next Sunday’s marathon in my final state, Rhode Island, in my quest to complete a marathon in every state and DC.
One other travel note. I did take the long way around Chicago on the 295 Tri-state tollway in order to avoid the traffic from the Chicago marathon. Congrats to Chad Gruett on his PR and BQ in Chicago.