How things change. Back in December of 2006, I decided that I had always wanted to run in a marathon. I had heard about the Baltimore-Annapolis Marathon put on by the Annapolis Striders (which is where I live) and figured it would be a good one to be my first. I read a training piece in Runners World about a 16-week training program and thought, what the heck -- I can do this. At that point, I was managing to run around 10 miles per week. And I thought the B&A marathon was in April, so I had 16 weeks or so to train.
Well, things never work out the way I expect. Turns out, the B&A was in early March. Also, it was a tough winter for me to train, between cold weather and other commitments (singing in my church choir?). So, in the end, my long runs had only gotten as far as about 14 miles, well short of what I should have had. But here's the thing about the B&A Marathon -- it's also a half-marathon. And, you don't need to decide which you are running until the half-way point. So it seemed perfect to me. I could bail at 13.1 or continue to 26.2.
The day of the race was a bit cold, but clear and a fantastic day for a long run. I found some wonderful people of a similar pace to mine (note the Blog name!) and worked through the first half in fine fetter. At the half-way point, the sun was shining and I felt great, strong. So I continued.
Well, it turns out that the B&A is mostly a "half". of the 1,000 runners, 800 were there for the half marathon. Shortly after the half-way point, I was completely alone. I even wondered if I had made a wrong turn somewhere on the route! Eventually I came to the next water stop and several of the back-of-the-pack runners like me. There I met a wonderful man (Jay) from LA who had come to Annapolis to run his Maryland marathon in his quest for 50-states. I'd never heard of a 50-stater before. we ran the rest of the race together, chatting about marathons all over the US and the world.
To this man, I owe a debt of gratitude. He definately pitched me through the last 6 miles. After I finished, I realized I would be running marathons as long as I'm able. The people, the places, the experience are too great a thrill to experience only once. Now, on the the Marine Corp Marathon!