Maryland

I never intended to actually start running a marathon in all 50 states. To be honest, my aunt Ginger put the thought in my head when she told me she was going to do it and now? She has yet to run her first marathon and I have 11 down! Number 9 Baltimore is the one marathon that I may go out of my way to repeat before I conclude all 50 states. Baltimore was my Waterloo so far.

My plans to go to Baltimore were not the best. First, I signed up on a whim. Am I fan of Baltimore? I have never been but when you are home to both the greatest baseball team of all time – The Baltimore Orioles and the greatest TV show of all time – The Wire? It was only a matter of about ten states before I would visit this fair town! I signed up and asked almost every person I knew to go with me – a road trip to Balamer? Who could say no? Who? Um, apparently pretty much everyone.

So I did post on Facebook that I would like someone to go with me and I was lucky enough to have my friend Nani say I should stop by and visit her in Indianapolis? Not a bad idea and cheap! So I talked to my other friends – The Graves – and they said I could stop by on the way down. I knew I could stop by Nani’s on the way back and I was good to go. I got a hotel and it was my first official marathon trip that I had actually planned. And just in case you are wondering? I am not a good marathon planner. Not even close.

I drove 8 hours to Indy, hung with the Graves for a night and then left at 5 in the morn to go to Baltimore and drove into Baltimore around 4 PM. I had a hell of a time finding my hotel and settled into a really nice room. I left immediately to go to the expo and barely got to enjoy the room.

The Baltimore Running Festival not only has a superior name to most marathons but it has a superior expo as well. There were plenty of vendors and lots of Under Armour – have to admit that was a big reason for choosing to go so hastily. It was a sweet UA race shirt – long sleeved (eh, who likes long sleeved running shirts anyway?) and they had plenty of Baltimore running gear as well. It was the closest I have become to breaking down and actually buying a shirt. That sounds cheap but I do get at least one free shirt per run so buying another one seems crazy when I already have 10 running shirts!

And to top it off? City Sports was debuting the UA Charge running shoe less than a mile away! Now that sounds a bit like me selling out but City Sports had it going on! They had 5 treadmills and let you run once you put the shoes on, experts to explain what technology went into the shoe and even a pretty cool T-shirt you got for free just for trying them on (you could even get your name decaled on the back – I mistakenly chose not to – time wasting I figured) and then a free pair of socks too. This may all seem like I am really selling the product? But you know what? A couple years ago there used to be all sorts of free swag at expos and thank you UA for spending a little bit extra to make this side extravaganza worth it. Sometimes a sponsor can make an event just as much as the city.

The race could not come quick enough and the next morning I took off and was sure I could break the mythical 3:10 and make my way to Baltimore! We ran past dozens of row houses, the zoo, and back through downtown again. I was just behind the 3 hour guy! The 3:10 guy was waaaay behind me! I hit the halfway point and I was looking fine but then my leg fell apart and I started to slow way down. I was just waiting for that 3:10 bastard to catch me. He did at mile 17 and it hurt. Even worse? The halfway point is also where the half marathoners started and at Mile 19 they started passing me en force. It was just so devastating to watch yourself get passed by dozens of runners every minute – very deflating.

Around Mile 24 the 3:30 guy passed me and I watched a couple guys run with him – way to go guys. In case you are wondering about who those guys are? People actually run an entire marathon at a certain pace! Some even hold signs to show their pace times – can you imagine how tired your arm would get holding some stick with a number on it (I know most are thinking about my legs but that number would just kill me). Then some people run the entire race with this guy and go along at the same pace! What an inspiration! I only wish I could have the determination to just sit and stay at a pace rather than race forward and fall back.

The race ended and what a fantastic festival at the end! There were thousands of people, games for children like bouncing tents, and quite a bit of free foods and drinks – best selection I have seen in some time! I only wish I could have stuck around but my awesome planning already had me late to leave from my hotel room (they didn’t care). But as soon as I checked out at 1? I had to leave immediately to go to Indy and hit the town at ten at night to hang with Nani. That was actually a ton of fun as well. I just wish I didn’t have to drive ten hours to get there.

I said it before – I will say it again I have to do Baltimore again. I need to visit Camden Yards and have a tour. I need to visit the aquarium. I need to try some local cuisine. But most of all, I owe my dream city a better time than 3:34. It is hard to explain how much I was looking forward to the city to not only not qualify for Boston but to then have one of worst marathons. I suppose dreams don’t always come true.

One response to this post.

  1. Posted by Ginger Nekvinda on December 9, 2011 at 11:54 am

    This is your Aunt Ginger speaking! I said I wanted to run in all 50 states-I did not say a marathon in each one!! I have done a half marathon in 7 states. It has been a blast. I have 2 more states I am lined up for next year. (and many more that I am contemplating) Such a fun way to visit places you would not normally go to!

    Reply

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