Saturday, October 11th, 2008 was the day of the Baltimore Half-Marathon. It was also one of the best days of my life!
I informally decided to do the Half marathon last November and officially signed up late Spring. I made the commitment to do this because I wanted to test myself mentally and physically. I’ve never been active in sports or played intramurals as a young tyke, so this was definitely outside my comfort zone. Running, especially, was my weakness. I remember as a kid that the mile long “Fun Run” used to take me 14 minutes me to complete…yes I know embarassing!
I’ve been working so hard these past few months to get in shape for the 13.1 mile trek around Baltimore. These past couple of weeks were filled with excitement and I was itching to get it over with. A couple days before the race, I went from excited to nervous. Will I be able to finish in a good time? Did I train hard enough?
I took the subway down to Charles Center to get to the starting line – driving was definitely not an option! I was in Wave 3 and as people started walking towards the starting line, the crowd started roaring! I got this sudden rush of adrenaline pumping through my body and at that point I knew I was going to be OK. Think about it – thousands of strangers cheering and rooting you on as you start this major race.
We met up with the full marathoners after the first three miles. We ran past the Johns Hopkins medical campus, broadway, butcher’s hill, and some neighborhoods that I never knew existed. Along every street, I could hear people clapping for us and saying “Come on runners, looking good!” Little kids even wanted to get a piece of the action, so they put their hands out for a high five.
In addition to the water/gatorade/powerade stations that were setup for the race, plenty of Baltimoreans were handing out bags of pretzels, twizzlers, water, and chips to help us get through each mile. I would definitely have to say my favorite part of the run was the Lake Montebello area. I ran the first 7 miles to the lake and I decided to stop to not only get the feeling back in my legs, but to also enjoy the view! It was absolutely breathtaking. I’ve been in this area for 6 years and honestly I’ve never been in the area – it’s a shame! The largest cheers came from the great people in the Charles Village neighborhood. The “Hons’ were out offering high fives and hugs, while plenty of people were outside their houses offering encouragement to complete the last 3.5 miles. One person even offered his shower to runners – yeah, maybe a little too friendly!
I was getting more emotional as I was running the last mile. All I think could about was the experience, the support, the sweat, and how my hard work was coming to fruition!
I’ve never seen Baltimore so full of life and with people from all walks of life coming together for a common cause. I wish this city came together like this more often, so we can unite and make this city a better place to live for future generations.
I’m considering doing this next year and I think you should too! People of all different shapes and sizes, male and female, young and old, participated in this race. I looked at the results and a 79 year old female participated in the race! She’s like Baltimore’s Cloris Leachman! LOL! Think about it!
For now…this is Ankur…