Friday evening we made it to the expo and he registered... by this point the long drive was over and I was coming around. The buzz of excitement around me made left me a bit jealous, as did the super cool t-shirts. As we were about leave, I stopped dead in my tracks sheepishly declaring "Umm, I want to run too... can I register?" (I'm a punk some days, I know it!)
What I had not previously realized is that there was a half marathon option... and I was oh so conveniently scheduled for a roughly 12-13 mile run anyway. Ok, signing up would be the more costly option of getting it done, but a long run with crowd support? Sounds good to me! So I registered and picked up my shirt with a smile and we made our way to our destination for the evening.
Pre-race we hung around the starting line, sitting against a random wall at Camden Yards enjoying the music and crowds. With no expectations regarding performance, it was SO nice to feel that relaxed pre-race. The marathon went off at 8am and I had almost 2 hours to kill before my start. My brother and sister-in-law and I made our way to the halfway point (also my starting line) to cheer on the hubby. I really enjoyed the spirit of cheering on the other racers though I did not enjoy standing in line for the port-o-potty (who does!). The hubby flew by on pace for a great race and a few minutes later I started. The timing of it all worked out perfectly!
My long run was suppose to be a negative split so I started the race conservative, carefree and relaxed.... a lot of people were passing me in the early miles but I was determined to not get carried away by it all. Taking it easy gave me the opportunity to look around and enjoy the sights and scenes around me! A lot of people where dressed up in costumes and the crowd support was stellar. Of course there were a lot of fun signs and my two favorite were "Smile if you peed yourself a little" (lol) and "Keep running. You're working harder than all of Congress!" (ha!)
Around halfway I picked up the pace with the goal of finishing with a negative split. Most of the later miles were great, some were rough, but regardless I passed a lot of people which is always fun! In the last mile a guy that must've been close to 7 feet tall pulled up next to me and said "stay with me through the finish!" I tried, but I was also taking about three steps to match his one (poor excuse I know). I finished strong, but with some energy left in the bank, collected A LOT of post-race goodies (I paid a lot of money for those!) and then made my way to find my better half. He rocked his marathon, finishing with a new PR and 13th overall! This was more about him than me and I'm glad he was able to find some justification for months of hard work after his goal race was cancelled.
I do think racing "just for the fun of it" is good to do from time to time, even if it's not an all out effort or for workout purposes. Days like these remind me of the joy running brings into my life and how that shared joy unites so many people in the form of running communities and long lasting friendships (or marriages!) :D
Seize the day!
Have you ever jumped spontaneously into a race last minute? How did it turn out?
Kristen Chang is Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN), Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics (CSSD) and triathlete residing in southwest Virginia with her husband and dogs. Follow along as she shares favorite fueling recipes, general wellness and sport nutrition tips and stories from her athletic endeavors.
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