Friday night, I planned to wake up in the morning, head to Panera and meet a friend for a 10 hour study session (I received word from the Maryland Board of Public Accountancy that I was officially accepted as a candidate for the CPA Exam—but if you were my friend on facebook, you’d know that by now), but those plans were all derailed when I got on facebook and noticed that Katye had two extra bibs for the Run to Remember Saturday morning in Baltimore.
After a little encouraging from Katye, I pushed my study plans to later in the day and decided at 9 to run the race and I am ever glad I did. It was her 5K groups first 5k and having run with them before, I was excited to head out and support the group however I could. They are some awesome people who had a GREAT coach and did fantastic.
After parking, I started to the race start and was followed by approximately 50 BCPD cadets who were running in formation and singing. It was really something to see, so I stood to the side and watched them head up the street before continuing. I found Katye and her group in the am and then we headed over to the port a pot line. Bib securely fastened, I noticed the girl in front of me look A LOT like a blogger I just started following last week. Finally, after a few minutes, I decided to ask her if she wrote the Blissful Runner (AKA Olivia—go check her out—she is super fast and writes really well) and was glad I received confirmation (mainly so I didn’t look like a crazy lady, but it was REALLY nice to meet another blogger). We chatted briefly, and then her turn came for the port a pot and we all wished each other well. I was a complete goof, with my phone in my spibelt and me forgetting and getting no pictures!
Katye’s group took some pictures and before we knew it, it was time to head to the start. There were some really lovely words given by Josh from Charm City Run, Baltimore’s mayor and police chief. We also had a wonderful color guard ceremony with someone from the Police Department playing the bagpipes. In front of the start, a HUGE flag was suspended from two fire truck ladders, so the whole prerace ceremony was extremely moving.
Before I knew it, we were off. I had no race plan for this, since it was so last minute. With Helga on her way to the Garmin Hospital (they are either fixing or replacing her) and a dead shuffle (which I found out just as we were starting---grrrr) I wanted to enjoy the beautiful morning in a beautiful city.
The first mile and a half went by quickly as I took in the people around me (the SWAT team, the cadets). In typical graceful Erin fashion, I managed to step in a hole in the road and twist my previously broken ankle (from stepping in a hole---hmmmmm, maybe I should watch where I walk/run), so I took a little walk break to make sure it was ok. Shortly after I started walking, I saw two people from Katye’s 5k group and decided to stay with them for the rest of the race. I clearly could run faster because I was cracking jokes left and right, and every cross street thanking the police officers for their service. I encouraged them up the hills (because I am sick like that and ENJOY hills) and totally understand why Katye likes coaching so much---its awesome to help people push themselves!!
Before I knew it, we hit the three mile mark and were making the final turn. As we turned, I noticed a girl beside us who was struggling, especially at the sight of the final hill. I hung back, encouraged her, tried to pep her up and get her to the top. When she finally told me (in annoyance maybe???) to keep going and she needed to walk, I took the opportunity to kick it up the rest of the hill (it was no joke), wave to Katye and pick off a couple people before the finish corral.
My only gripe—they had more people than they expected (which is AWESOME because it benefits the city) so there was a pretty serious delay in getting across the finish line (to the tune of about 90 – 100 seconds) and in a non-chip timed race, it added some serious time to my final time. We came to a dead stop after my sprint up the hill (no good—I wanted to Ralph) and I was fidgety to cross the finish line and get some water and a banana (which they ran out of not long after I finished). My final time was 40:50, but I figured I was closer to 37 (Hey---I did say I was clearly not running as fast as I could)
We all met up in the park and it was so awesome to see how excited the group was as they finished and continued to cheer their group members on (seriously, how awesomely supportive is the running community???). They took some more pictures (check them out here) and finally, the group started to break apart and head to our cars.
For a small race (that will get bigger every year), this was one of the best races I have ever done. Maybe because of the cause, maybe because there was no pressure, or maybe because it was a time to reflect and support those around us who serve; either way, it was a can’t miss race that I almost missed! I am sure this will be making this a regular run on my fall schedule in upcoming years.
I promise tonight I will have the information about my 50th follower giveaway--just busy with this whole having to start studying again. It’s worth the wait, I swear!!