Tag Archives: frederick 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?



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“What time is it in the world?” #NameItAndClaimItBaby

“What time is it in the world?”

It was 4 o’clock in the morning on race day when I got up, faced north and, real subtle like, turned left. I ran the half marathon at the 2013 Frederick Running Festival as Phase 1 of completing the Maryland Double this year. Next up, my first full marathon at the Baltimore Running Festival in October. I had a great race and an even better experience in Frederick! Interested in some random thoughts? Here you go:

• Getting up at 4 in the morning is similar to a Nancy Grace rant; painful and annoying.

• The lady I parked next to tied some balloons to her antenna. At first I thought it was a creative way to find her car later. Then the coffee kicked in and the sun came up. Blue and yellow. Her tribute to Boston.

• Also in recognition of Boston, singing “Sweet Caroline” at the start. (Not by myself! That would be ludicrous.)

• The sunrise service held by a local church. They crushed it. Great set of songs and the pastor nailed it with some thoughts about preparation and training from a passage related to running. (He and his son were both running the half.) I needed this. Church One’s first weekend service was the same morning and I felt a bit disconnected.

• Lots of little hills can be just as tiring as a few huge ones.

• The harder you train, the more you can actually enjoy the event.

• There was a wheel chair competitor that will stick in my mind. Not a race chair. A wheel chair. Hospital general issue. I dare you to take him on. 3:30 is the time to beat and you’ll have to wait in line for a picture with him. Truly Inspiring.

• I cannot explain the humbling power of having Army soldiers from the nearby base delivering medals to each finisher. They looked you square in the eyes, placed the medal around your neck, “Congratulations. Well done, sir.” … “Congratulations. Nice job, ma’am.” … “Congratulations…” Are you kidding me?! Moving and humbling.

• I left Michelle and TheBoys a note on the chalkboard before I left. It was awesome that they celebrated by writing me notes on it for when I got home!

“What time is it in the world?!”

October 2012 = 1:59:58
May 2013 = 1:53:59

I know how much work it takes to shave 6 minutes off your total time. I need to shave more time and double the distance.

“What time is it in the world?!!”

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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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