I love the expo for the Baltimore Marathon. It is held at M&T Bank stadium on the Club Level. It is the only time I ever get to see the Club Level and it is nice looking. There are a ton of vendors there and is definitely part of the appeal of the event.
People come from around the country to race Baltimore but it is also a hugely local race. So many people go out and run it in one of the many forms listed above. It caters to a variety of runners.
We got there early just as the marathon was starting. Many of our friends were doing the marathon, in particular Mo (half of the O'Shanks) was doing her first marathon. After the start of the marathon we waited around about a half hour for the start of the 5k which the other half of the O'Shanks was participating in. He drank a beer about 5 minutes before the start to make sure he was properly hydrated!
The rest of us left were running the half marathon. For several it was their first half marathon. I was going for breaking the 2hr mark except I haven't been running too much. We made the deal with our friends there are no hard feelings for anyone that wanted to just go. After the first 2 miles the hubby said we were a bit behind pace to make my goal time (I think we were somewhere in the 10.30s). We decided to pick it up a bit and were successful for the next two miles as were in the 9.30s or so but I just couldn't hold on. It was deceptively warm where the temp was cool but in the sun you were warm and I didn't quite know what the water stop plans were. When I get there I am parched and hubby says I drink too much but as soon as we leave I am wanting more. I have to walk through water or else I get a cramp if I try the drink and run approach. Well needless to say things fell apart quickly. Hubby got frustrated that I wasn't going fast enough, I was tired, and there was nothing to distract me from the negative thoughts pounding in my head, really wanted my iPod. I tried to get hubby to leave so I wouldn't feel guilty about really wanting to walk but I couldn't make him go. The next 9 miles were long and painful and quiet. Mo passed by with her pace group, she was around the 20 mile mark and looking great. The Reeces and Laura had stayed together and passed by us. They looked like they were having great conversation and a good time. Everyone we knew doing the full or half passed by us. We finished in a not so good time but we finished which is always goal number one!
So the question becomes do you go after it and risk failing miserably or do you play it safe and stay where you know that you won't hit your mark but will have a much better time in the process? Well hindsight is always 20/20. I should have known that I wasn't going to make it and had we not pushed those two miles we could have stayed with the friends, had good conversation, and enjoyed the race. Instead we pushed it to make a goal which we missed by a lot and ended up miserable.
Luckily we couldn't stay miserable for long as our friends had tons of successes to celebrate. Many first marathons and half marathons with fabulous times. Experienced runners also posting great times, Boston qualifiers, top finishers, and much more. The team of friends there had awesome accomplishments and I am glad I could be there to congratulate them even if my own run wasn't good. Congrats to all who made a new landmark!