Nikki picked me up at 11 and we headed to Baltimore for the expo. It was raining and it only got worse. At one point we could see only a few yards in front of us and couldn't have been going more than 20 mph. It was scary and I felt powerless to help make this situation more comfortable for the driver next to me.
But we were in great spirits talking about everything from running, food, and race fears to friends, families, and birthday stuff. Nikki would be running the full Baltimore marathon on her 26th birthday, then doing whatever her mind and body were capable of to celebrate that night.
When we finally got to Baltimore, the rain had died down but hadn't stopped completely. So, instead of using the free parking 10 minutes from the Baltimore Convention Center, we paid $19 to park across the street and stumble into the expo.
We split up to pick up our respective bibs and under armour shirts. I realized I should have run the marathon just so I could have the sweet long sleeve blue shirt that the marathon runners got. But short sleeve orange would have to do. We asked a woman to take our picture and she was the cutest random stranger photographer ever. She led us around the room looking for a good place to take it. We told her one of us was running the full and one the half so she found a spot in front of the bib pick-up where you could see both signs. Then she offered to take multiple shots. This must really be the charm city.
With the necessary business done, it was time to distract ourselves from the next day's challenge with some retail therapy. We strategically walked around to all of the booths, decided what was worth spending money on, and then went back to spend money. We were too busy to take pictures at the convention center but here are all the stylish things that I brought home with me.
And the most stylish of all......
This shirt is especially meaningful after the race. Because I ain't no sissy and I
definitely apparently don't need toenails. I can't wait to sweat in all these new things as soon as my legs recover.
Before leaving the expo, we signed up for info on Disney races and walked away with some sweet princess crowns. We're wearing them in the picture below. We're also standing in front of a Baltimore Running Festival street lamp sign. But it is basically impossible to see either in the photo.
Having eaten only yogurt parfaits, which cost an astounding $5 at the convention center, for lunch, we drove by Starbucks and created quite the controversy as I fumbled with my stuff trying to jump out of the car. Apparently not all of Charm City's drivers are charming. I ran in and bought us two multi-grain bagels. I'm not sure if I paid for two or one but I got back to the car and learned that the guy had given me only one. We split it and decided half would suffice for the [half] marathon eve carbo-load lunch.
The sun was finally out and we had a nice drive back to DC. I had an hour to pack up my things and I was terrified of forgetting something important. So I raced around, re-checking my stuff a million times. Not wanting to throw my stomach into even more turmoil, I resisted the urge to eat the oat bars or banana chocolate bites that people made me. It was very hard. I read over the thoughtful notes and e-mails people wrote me and felt so grateful for all the love and encouragement.
I went to my parent's house where I'd be spending the night before driving north the next morning. I was in good company with Joshua and my friends Hadley and Sarah, who were riding up with us to cheer for Nikki (and me). We teamed up to make the ultimate combination of protein and carbs, which turned out to be the perfect pre-race meal- one I plan to eat before all important races going forward. It was nothing more than Vace's spinach and tomato fettucini, basil tomato sauce, and very much ground turkey meat. It was so delicious and filling.
With nothing left to do, I went upstairs to bed at 10 pm. Unable to think of anything but what I was attempting to run the next morning, I tossed and turned for approximately two and a half hours. And then I fell into a deep, five hour sleep.
About the next morning, I'll tell you this much: I ran 13.1 miles in 1:58:43. I used every ounce of everything I had to achieve my goal and run a half marathon in under two hours. Check back tomorrow for much more detail on how I made that happen.