Eventually all great streaks must come to an end, right? This year it was time for the Run4Chocolate ladies to see our top three streak end at the Baltimore Marathon relay. We still pulled out fourth and fifth out of the hundreds of all-female teams, but it was a bummer not to be podium finishers for the first time. It wasn’t without a good effort on all of our parts, however.
As planned, my friend Becky and I turned the relay into a 20-mile run. The way it went down was pretty entertaining, actually. She was leg one on my team and I was leg two. The plan was for me to run up the course easy to the exchange point, run my leg hard, then wait for her at exchange three to finish out our miles. So I left the start line at about 7:40, 20 minutes ahead of the 8 a.m. start.
I had the entire course to myself for those 5.7 miles. It was rather embarrassing, really. I had police stopping traffic at intersections, people cheering me on, photographers taking pictures–I really could have used a sandwich board saying I was a relay runner! As I got closer to the exchange point, I started calculating how much longer before the elites caught me. I didn’t want to be in their way, that was for sure. The wheelchair athletes did come flying by and I pulled off to the side for them, but I made it to the exchange point just before the elites (whew!).
Now I have to say–I am fairly good about keeping my pace in check at the beginning of races, but in all my years of doing relays, I find this is really hard to do. (anyone else?) You’ve got the adrenaline of the hand-off and you want to do well for your team. Plus this year, I had a bit of a head start on our other team and I knew the machine that is my friend Dorothy would eventually catch me during my leg, so I took off.
I actually wore my Garmin for the race (I know–don’t say it) and was able to see that I was going too fast, so I pulled myself in before I crashed and burned. Dorothy caught and passed me about half-way into our 7.1-mile leg. She is on an amazing roll this year, running incredibly strong. And here’s the part I love–she just turned 53! Gotta love it.
I finished off my leg pretty satisfied with my splits overall, and then waited for Becky to catch up so that we could continue our long run. We ran up to the 16-mile point, turned around and made our way back to the start, getting in all 20 miles.
I can’t imagine not being a part of the Baltimore Marathon in some capacity every year. It’s so much fun to be involved in a big local event where you bump into someone you know at every turn. We had a perfect weather day for it this year and I heard lots of tales of PRs. I’m sure the chocolate ladies will be back next year and hopefully, we’ll get ourselves back into the top three!
Who else raced this weekend?