Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Blocks From the Start Line

Last night, Josh and I had plans to go to the Orioles v. Rays game in Baltimore. Before we left, it occurred to me that we’d be only a few blocks from the start line of my upcoming half marathon. Why not take advantage of this and see the route for myself? I printed the course map, the street by street directions, and an elevation chart. On the way up, I told Josh my idea- to drive the course route and get an idea of what I’m in for. He didn’t really get it. He thought it would take a really long time and, just like Hemingway, said that I wouldn’t get a true sense of the hills (the contours of the country) while driving in a car. But he’d navigate the 13.1 miles for me after the game if I really wanted to do it. I did.

We watched the game and I proved to be a poor baseball fan, yet again. I wore Oriole’s colors to rep my state but still mostly wanted the rays to win because I know Josh cares a million times more than I do and because winning could actually get them into the playoffs. But I spent a lot of time texting with Nicole, whose friend saw me on TV! Even if I don’t pay the best attention, though, I really do enjoy spending a cool evening with Josh at a ballpark. It is relaxing and different from the every day. I whined about still not making an appearance on the kiss cam and ate some hearty ballpark food.

By the time we got to the car (after the Rays won 5-2), it was 10:20 PM. I had texted Nathan asking how long he thinks it would take to drive 13 miles through Baltimore and he said "A while depending on where you're going. It's like 2.3 miles from my apt to 95 and it takes like 10-15 minutes. But that is going straight through downtown”. I kept this a secret from Josh and hoped he was wrong. But after taking 8 minutes and several wrong turns to drive only as far as the yellow circle on the map below, I realized Josh and Nathan were right.

Half Marathon Course in Blue

We nixed the idea and decided to go give Nathan, who lived 2 miles uptown, a hug and then drive home. I called him and he was in Fairfax, VA with his [boyfriend] Josh. So never mind. All missions aborted and we were heading home.

I started to think about the pros and cons of driving the course. Would it make it easier to know in advance exactly what all the roads will look like? To be expecting all of the uphills and the downhills? Or would it make it more tedious during the race, always knowing exactly how far I have left to run or how long the next hill will be? I can’t really know for sure but the curiosity is now gnawing at me. Scouting out the course didn’t even occur to me with my first half so I’m not sure why it’s suddenly so important. Part of me just likes the idea of an excuse to visit Nathan in Baltimore and ride our bikes 13.1 miles together. If I get around to it, great. If not, I’ll get to be even more anxious and surprised on race day!

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