This past Saturday I ran in the relay for Baltimore Running Festival. I was nervous, so nervous. Mainly I was nervous that while waiting for my teammate to come to my exchange point I would not see her, because I’ve only met her once. Then in the attempt to seamlessly take the timing chip from her and begin my leg of the race I would be trampled by another runner, causing myself to topple over in all of my clumsy glory and land flat on my face.
These are the things I worry about before running the relay, not the fact that I picked leg three to run, aka the hardest leg of the Baltimore Marathon, 6.5 miles completely uphill. Okay, there were a few downhill parts, but they were few and they were short and they barely counted if I’m going to be honest.
Needless to say, none of the things I was concerned about actually happened. Contrary to the vision I had in my head, the exchange point was not a crowded mass of people. It was incredibly well organized, and I was able to recognize my teammate almost instantly thanks to the fact that we decided as a team to wear purple shirts, she texted when she was a mile away, and my memory is not so bad that I completely forgot what she looks like the one time I met her.
I also did not collide with another runner and fall flat on my face (although with my general lack of balance and grace, I don’t actually think this was an unreasonable worry on my part).
I have heard so many good things about the Baltimore Running Festival and I have been several times for work that I was so excited to be a participant this year. I got to my leg of the relay about an hour to an hour and a half early, and I was so grateful my friend Anna came by to keep me company before I had to start. Talking to her really helped to calm my nerves and make me not stress to much about the impending collision I was convinced would happen.
Once I did the exchange seamlessly I was off. Despite it being the hardest leg and mostly uphill I felt great! After my run last week that went less successfully than planned, I was worried. However, my legs didn’t feel tired and I felt energized. Plus there is so much support along the route! At one point I was about to lose steam, turned the corner and there’s a DJ blasting music with people up and down the street yelling and cheering. It gave me the boost I needed at that moment!
Aside from the dead rat that was squashed on the route, yes, a dead squashed rat, that made me want to puke I felt great the entire time. About midway through the race I noticed my knees and ankles were really bothering me. I pushed through but couldn’t figure out why they were bothering me when they never have before. Later that day I found out why. Apparently when I grabbed my running shoes the night before, I grabbed my first ever pair of completely worn out running shoes, and I didn’t add my arch support insoles in them either! They’re the same shoes as the current ones I have so it’s an easy mistake that I’m usually very careful about not making. No wonder I was in pain!
The one thing I didn’t like was not being able to cross the finish line. However, I had a great time at the Running Festival that now the half marathon is definitely on my to do list for next year. I’m more confident I’ll be ready for that distance next year!