Tag Archives: baltimore running festival

The Maryland Double + My First Marathon = DONE!

The 2013 Baltimore Running Festival. My first full marathon. Done.

Running this completed my goal of achieving the Maryland Double this year: half marathon at the Frederick Running Festival and either the half or the full at the Baltimore Running Festival. I went with the full. (Here’s how the half went, in case you missed it back in May.)

26.2 miles. 4 hours, 52 minutes, 14 seconds. For my first venture I’m very proud of that finish. I had this odd experience about a mile in. I was pacing exactly where I wanted to be, but all of a sudden I just wanted to finish well. Finish strong. I had over 25 miles of unknown experiences ahead of me and I just wanted to be sure that I endured it all and crossed the finish line knowing I did my absolute best for the whole time I was out there. Mission accomplished.

Some people write great race recaps. I am not one of those people. I really enjoy reading someone’s recap and seeing how they navigated the logistics and details of race day, but writing one becomes a stressful experience for me once the OCD, or ADD, or… PTSD? AC/DC? OPP? You know me. I don’t know. Whatever my issues are. Once they kick in I start freaking out about whether to include this detail or that detail and then everything gets wacky.

So here’s my version of a recap. It’s more about what I learned and observed than what I actually did.

A few thoughts in no particular order:

• It isn’t possible to train too hard. Yeah, yeah, I know it is. Technically. Be smart. But really, it’s not. The harder you train, the more ready you are and the easier the recovery. Example: other than sore muscles and a crazy toe nail I felt good. It took a couple days for the soreness to go away and it seems like it took a few more days to feel rested again (I was constantly tired), but relatively speaking, training as hard as I could lead to a speedy recovery. It works like that in life too. Train hard and recovery after a struggle will be fast and easy. And maybe even a little fun.

• Never miss the opportunity to run a hill. Hills throughout training provide additional conditioning that will prove beneficial during the main event. If we miss the opportunity to run a life hill – to struggle and focus and push – we are missing conditioning that will benefit us down the road.

• It’s the middle part that really sucks. My experience matched up almost exactly with everything I read and heard. Imagine that. Somewhere between miles 17/18 and 21/22ish, everything gets very much bad. The advice? Find a way to keep going. Slow down, speed up, crawl, log roll, I don’t care. It doesn’t matter as long as forward motion is involved. Just. Don’t. Stop.

• “We’re total strangers but I am so proud of you.” I saw this sign a couple of times around the course. It surprised me how much power that phrase carried. “I am so proud of you.” I needed to hear that. It was a gift. Who needs to hear that from me? Who can I give that gift to?

• Always make it home. This has been one of those odd phrases that stuck in my head at some point during training. Part motivation, part safety reminder, it kept me focused at various times. It also hit me that I have the most incredible home waiting on the other side of the finish line. I couldn’t have done any of this without Michelle’s love, support, and encouragement. She and TheBoys waited near the finish line so I got to see them and high five them all just before crossing. Talk about a meaningful moment and a true gift. (Thank you!)

The Baltimore Sun thought it was pretty cool that Michelle and TheBoys came down too. They were interviewed as part of a feature on the festival. In case you missed it, here’s their experience from that day including a link to the article.

So now what? Great question. I will do another marathon; the only real question is when. I’m in the process of looking ahead to 2014 and setting some goals. I’ve got a lot of things swirling so we’ll have to see.

Just on case you’re into this level of detail, here’s a link to the 2013 Baltimore Marathon course and here’s some neat information on the course highlights.

This was physically and mentally the hardest thing I’ve ever done. It was a fantastic and oddly spiritual experience that feels difficult to describe. Knowing that Michelle and TheBoys were on the other side of the finish line (figuratively and literally) meant that I won before I started. The lessons learned from training and completing the race are still sinking in and I have a feeling I’ll continue to draw parallels.

I’m still figuring out what’s next. How about you?

What’s next?



Filed under 2013

Seven Days…

One week from today…

Michelle has been incredibly supportive and has endured her own form of endurance training while I’ve been preparing for this event.

She found this hilarious video that pretty much sums up my training program:



Training has been a family affair and Michelle is turning the running festival into one too.

TheBoys may even see some action. More on that later.

Are you participating in the Baltimore Running Festival this year?

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Doubled Down. #NameItAndClaimItBaby Are You Ready For This?

This stuff just got real.

I put my money where my mouth is and completed registration for the Maryland Double! If you aren’t familiar with that here’s how it works:

1) Run the half marathon at the Frederick Running Festival in May.

– AND –

2) Run either the half or full marathon at the Baltimore Running Festival in October.

You do that, they give you this (or something like it):

I went all in. I registered and paid for the half in Frederick and the full in Baltimore! The year of #NameItAndClaimItBaby continues! I’ve run the half at the Baltimore Running Festival twice before: once in 2009 with my father-in-law (a first for each of us) and once last year (2012). My goal in 2012 was to complete it in under 2 hours. I made that goal by 2 seconds. Literally. You can read about 2009 here and 2012 from different angles here and here. I’ve never run in the Frederick Running Festival before, but after working out there for a year (previously, not currently) I’m looking forward to the experience. It’s a pretty cool town and the runs are all through the historic downtown area.

Ran in to Greg Rittler after 2012!

Ran in to Greg Rittler after 2012! He just finished the marathon in under 4 hours only to do it again a few weeks later at the Marine Corps Marathon!

Jon Likakis made the trip downtown in 2012 to see if I made it out alive!

Jon Likakis made the trip downtown in 2012 to see if I made it out alive!

The major challenge for the year, physically? Running my first full marathon. I’ve got lots of people in my life who have crossed the finish line of that accomplishment. I’m glad I can learn from their experiences!

Goals for the year of #NameItAndClaimItBaby –
• Run the Maryland Double
• Complete the half in under 2 hours with a bigger margin. (Shooting for a pace in the 8:30 range.)
• Complete the full, my first, in under 4 hours. (Training plan includes driving the pace down closer to 8.)

The kick off event? Kelly St. Patrick’s Day Shamrock 5k on 3/10! After that, it’s like they said that one time in “Rudy”: “No excuses. Do the work.”

What are you claiming this year? Tell us about the journey…

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Every Decision Matters

The goal was to run a half marathon in under 2 hours. The result: 1 hour, 59 minutes, 58 seconds.

2 seconds.

That was the margin. That was the gap. That was the “time to spare.”

That bathroom break I thought I needed, those extra few steps I was tempted to walk after a water station, that other bathroom break that may have been a good idea at the time… Any of those could have cost me the time I trained for. Any of those could have been the difference between “under two hours” and “two hours and change”.

Would that have been the end of the world? In this case, big picture, no. But change the setting, use a different situation, and you never know. Small decisions in relationships can add up. A slight shift in our path now can create a huge distance later.

Think it through. Where is this going to go? Hit fast forward, what will the end result of this decision be? We can take this too far and over think things, but the truth is little decisions can have a huge impact so give it some thought. It may help you accomplish a goal. It may save you from wasting time and missing the mark. It may help you live the life you want instead of constantly asking “how did I end up here?”

What “little” decisions do you need to think through a little better?

“We have to want what our wants lead to.” – Pat Goodman

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(That x 3) + A Little Bit More

I’m training for the half marathon in Baltimore that is part of the Baltimore Running Festival on October 13. My goal is to break the 2 hour mark which necessitates a pace of less than 9:08. Tonight I did a 4 1/4 mile run, with hills, at about an 8:43 pace. If I can sustain that pace for three times the distance plus a little bit I’ll more than meet my goal.

No sooner did I think that, I said it. (The filter wasn’t working very well at the moment.) When I heard it, though, some things rang true for me.

• Suffering/pain are easier to endure when they are broken down. It’s not permanent. It’s not 13.1 miles. It’s 4 different 5k’s and a little bit more. I know I can drive myself and suffer through a 5k. Now 3 more times. And 2 more. You get the idea.

• It helps when someone reminds you that pain and suffering are good. They build strength, endurance, and power. They can provide clarity and focus. If we are willing to suffer we can truly become great. (Hat Tip to Greg Rittler.)

• Having success on smaller projects builds confidence for the bigger ones. Kids, teammates, coworkers, friends… Smaller wins build skills which builds confidence and leads to success. Ride the bike, then jump the garbage can. Close the individual sale before closing the huge package deal. Etc…

• Doing the work prepares you for the distance. I recently failed at a long distance run. I couldn’t run the full distance. So next time I ran a distance I had done before but this time I did a route more difficult than I’d ever done. Hills galore. (My wife picked the route. We must have been in a fight I didn’t know about. Or she knew the work was necessary. Those hills rivaled roller coasters!) The next time I tried the longest distance I did it…because I had done the work. I was prepared physically and mentally.

Break it down. Be willing to suffer. Build up to it. Do the work.

A half marathon. A successful sales team. A strong marriage and family. What are you building up for and how are you doing it?

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Baltimore Running Festival Went Green

One of the focus points for this years Running Festival was a pretty strong green initiative. Here’s how the numbers shook out. Pretty impressive…

2009 Baltimore Running Festival - Green

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Closing Comments On The Half


I did it. I ran my first half marathon. It took me 2 hours, 49 minutes, and 20 seconds. Due to some issues which necessitated missing almost 2 full weeks of training, my goal going in was simple: finish the race. I just wanted to cross the finish line under my own power. While I did a little walking on the back half, I did muster enough to run the last chunk so that I crossed the finish line with my head up, running. It was a fantastic experience and day. Okay, enough. Some random thoughts and observations:

  • One of my favorite t-shirts: “Running is mental. We are all insane.”
  • Best shout out to the passing runners from a front porch while wearing a mu-mu: “Go on, baby! You Team America right there! You got this! All y’all coming to my house for dinner. Umm-hmmm. Dinner’s on me tonight, baby. Y’all gonna need you some food. Ain’t dat right? You know it’s right. HEY! YOU KEEP RUNNING, YOU! Go on, Baby. I ain’t mad…” (I think she was still going but she fell out of range..)
  • Totally inspiring moment to remember: Early in the race the crowd behind me went absolutely crazy. Then I saw why: A runner was passing the pack…with artificial legs! Totally inspiring to see and so exciting to hear the crowd go ballistic!
  • Baltimore has some big honkin’ rats.  It seems these rats don’t cross the street safely at times. Roadkill of the heinous variety.
  • Nobody paid attention to the “no iPod” rule. Except me. I felt like a geek. Plus, have you ever spent close to 3 hours in your own head? Let me rephrase: Have you ever spent close to 3 hours in MY head?
  • You know those little energy goo pack things? YUM.
  • Shout out and thanks to the “Got Junk” guys and that dude in a full body tiger suit standing on top of his car. Both had various parts of the “Rocky” soundtrack blasting. Awesome.
  • So between miles 6 and 7 on the back side of some Bawlmer lake, hon…the middle set of port-a-potty’s…unused and spotlessly clean. Well, until I got there. (Just in case you’re there next year and need a little stop.)
  • Additionally, when several folks randomly veer off course and stand there staring at trees or walls…it’s not random. And they aren’t staring.
  • Handing out Utz potato chips to runners? Genius.
  • Irony: Passing one of several live bands totally rockin’. Lyrics as I pass: “I’m not sick, but I’m not well…”
  • Another favorite t-shirt read: “What have I gotten myself in to?”
  • Chaffing is real. Very, very real. Upstairs and downstairs. Just sayin’.
  • Where else do they consider crab soup a refreshment?


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