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It has definitely been a long time since I posted a blog. It hasn’t been because I don’t have anything to share or that I haven’t been running, but because I have been super busy since mid-October! It just seems like there is never enough time in the day to do everything that I would like to do.
I last left you all with the fact that I was going to be running the Baltimore Marathon in 7 days! And, well…those 7 days have definitely come and gone, as have many other days and 3 months.
So, let me back up to October 15, 2011…the day of the Baltimore Marathon! Even though this was marathon number 2 for me, it was still an incredible experience. I wrote up a recap of the marathon later that day when I posted my workout on Dailymile, and even as I sit here now, writing about it again and editing that recap, that day is still very fresh in my memory…even 3 plus months later! Here is my recap from that day…
October 15, 2011…Wow! I don’t even know where to begin. I am so happy and still trying to let everything sink in. I ran with the 4:30 pace group, who were awesome by the way, and a great support. I know I wouldn’t have beaten the 4:30 mark, if it weren’t for them.

Let me start at the beginning…I definitely wasn’t as nervous at the start of this marathon, like I was last year, since it was my second one. Just cold! The temperature was perfect throughout the marathon. And the wind held off until the very end of the race, but at that point I didn’t even care, as I knew I was going to finish the marathon!

Me before the race!

Rob and I before the race!

I saw Rob 3 times by the halfway point, which was really awesome to see! It was nice to have someone I know out there cheering me on! He was at the start, around mile 8, and mile 13.

Here is a picture of me crossing the starting line! I am the one in the middle in the purple shirt! I was looking for Rob and finally saw him a little bit after the start. He was holding a sign that said, “Go Brooke!” Definitely a great way to start a marathon!

I even made a new friend during the marathon…Dae #1762! We ran most of the first half of the race together. It was nice to talk to someone else and to learn a little bit about her and why she was running. We had a great time while we were running together.

Dae and I running together just after mile 7! We were having way too much fun, considering we were running a marathon!

I even saw and heard Marie, a Dailymile friend, around the 8-mile mark as well. She shouted, “Go Brooke!” Another much needed boost!

I had a Hammer Gel at mile 10, even though I was feeling really good, but knew I was going to need it for the second half.

Here I am at about the half-way point (13 miles)! I was still feeling really good at this point of the race!

I felt great through the first 17 miles and then my right leg (not even the leg I was worried about bothering me) decided to start cramping up. I had another Hammer Gel and some water at the water stop, and that really helped me. Left leg felt great! As soon as the gel took effect, I was doing pretty good and made it through those horrible hills that kicked my butt last year. I pushed through the pain and knew I was going to do this!

Here is the elevation map from my Garmin! The hill spike in the middle is a glitch, but the rest is a good representation of what I ran that day!

Started to lose the pacers a little bit around mile 22 as it got a little crowded, but I fought through the crowd. I started to hit the wall around mile 23 and wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to hit that 4:30 mark. I managed to keep pace with them until mile 25. That was the last water stop and one of the pacers told me and another lady to go ahead and finish the race. He said, “You are strong runners and have been strong all day. Go finish it!”

This was taken around the 25 mile marker, as that was the last water stop!

After that I didn’t look back. I got the strong finish I wanted to have. Picked up the pace for the last mile and picked it up even more coming down that home stretch.

Just past mile 26 and in the home stretch!

I felt surprising well picking up the pace at the end and the crowd support through the end is the best! Nice to have people stand out there for 4 plus, and even 6 plus hours, cheering everyone on!

Another one of me coming down the home stretch through Camden Yards.

This is definitely one of my favorite parts of the Baltimore Marathon! I think it is cool to run through the stadium, even if I have been to it a few times. It is just something you don’t get to do every day!
The crowd was great at the end and I saw Rob about 100 yards or so from the finish line. It was probably less than that, but felt like a lot more!
Here I am waving to Rob and almost done!
This was my favorite part! Seeing him at the end cheering for me was AWESOME! A nice boost for that final kick across the finish line.
Almost to the finish line! I was definitely tired by this point!
Crossing the finish line!
 

A few minutes after crossing the finish line with my medal! 

My official results!

This is a HUGE PR for me! I ran this same marathon last year in 5:07:17! I knew I would get the PR today, but didn’t know if I was going to be able to hang with the 4:30 pace group. It was around mile 23 that I started to hit that wall everyone talks about, but I pushed through it and beat my goal time by over 2 minutes!

The only times I walked was through the water stops with the pacers, as that was their race plan from the beginning. I was nervous about walking through the water stops because I didn’t think I would be able to get my goal if I walked. Those walks through the water stops really helped and I made sure I drank a little something at each one, which made a huge difference in how I felt at the end of the race.

I finally got my revenge on those hills, and I was definitely more prepared for this marathon than I was for last year’s. It is amazing what one year can do!

I wouldn’t have been able to finish in the time that I did if it wasn’t for the Geico pacers. They were amazingly supportive and fun! The miles seemed to fly by and they helped to make the hills seem a lot easier than last year as well. I am so glad that I decided to run with a pace group.

It was a great day and got my Maryland double medal as well!

With both of my medals!

Another incredible experience running the Baltimore Marathon! No two marathons are alike, even if it is the same marathon!

“It is a sublime thing to suffer and be stronger.” ~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow