When John left, I made a list of 100 things I wanted to do this year. Yesterday, I completed #24-- to do the Baltimore Half Marathon! Originally, I wanted to run the whole thing, but training got away from me.
Instead, my wonderful and adventurous friend, Ashley (whose husband is deployed with John) made the trek to Baltimore and joined me to walk half-marathon.
That's right. 13.1 miles of Baltimore streets. And, spoiler alert: we finished in 3 hours and 19 minutes. We even ran some of it. Yes, I ran some of it. I was more surprised than you are!
I am not an athletic person. Prior to this year, I'd never entertained of completing any race, much less a half-marathon; however, in May John decided he was going to run a half in his hometown, so I drove up to cheer him on. And I got massively hooked. I was so surprised by how joyful the occasion was. People were so excited to be there, and the spectators were cheering on everyone regardless of their abilities. While I'm still completely new at races, from my two experiences in two different cities, it seems like marathons bring out the best in humanity. When John had said that the spectators and signs kept him going (and I believed him), I had drastically underestimated just how much fun that part of the race would be.
Here's some of what Ashley and I saw on our trek around Charm City:
- A little girl was holding a sign that said, "You trained for this longer than Kim Kardashian was married." She was also yelling in the clearest, most convicted voice, "Don't be Kim! Keep going! Keep moving! Don't be Kim!"
- A family in one of the most blighted areas we drove through was out on their front porch, banging pots and pans with wooden spoons. They were having a blast!
- Grandmas of all shades and ages were out on the street corners yelling classic Baltimore phrases like, "C'mon, baby!" Baltimore grandmas always warm my heart.
- There were a multitude of signs that said something like, "Free beer at the finish line!" but only one sign that said, "Free sex at the finish line!"
- A man in a bombed-out section of neighborhood was standing in front of a 7-Shop (apparently a generic 7-11) who had just bought cases of water and was handing out bottles to people. He did not look like he had the extra cash to spend on bottles of water, and yet, he was there-- an unofficial, homemade water station.
- We saw so many people in costumes-- a Baltimore rat handing out high-fives, a zebra and a lion standing on top of their car in Charles Village, Batman, Wonder Woman, and a hotdog and ketchup and mustard bottles who were running the race.
- One little girl stood on a cement outcropping on a foreclosed building and was cheering, "G-double-O-D-L-U-C-K! Good luck! Good luck!" all by herself.
- There were so many little kids standing out on the sidewalk with their hands outstretched for high-fives or fist bumps. A lot of runners ran straight past them, but I can't forfeit a cute kid's offer. And they got so excited.
- In another blighted block, every house had wooden signs with, "Go Mitt!" spray painted on them in red. It made me happy that people from all over the city were participating, not just the privileged. It made me happier to see the support Mitt had (because I can guarantee those signs were not for Romney).
- There were tons of variations on the "Lookin' good, sexy!" sign, but only one 50s-ish woman who ran by them, spread her arms out, and yelled, "Yes, I am!" Gotta love confidence!
- I was wearing a Penn State Blue Band jacket and got two calls of, "We are...!" and one "Yeah, Blue Band!" I love that Baltimore is a PSU town!
- Thank you, neighborhood of Waverly for the candy corn and Peanut M&Ms!
- A little girl was standing with her grandma in a run-down section of neighborhood, holding a huge Tupperware container of Jolly Ranchers.
- A guy playing accordion. Yep, an accordion. There were many people blasting music from their cars or houses for the runners, but only one guy was playing accordion.
I might be walking around my apartment for the next two days like an arthritic dinosaur, but it was completely worth it! Now, excuse me as I hobble off to Miss Shirley's to introduce Ashley to fried green tomatoes. Yum!