Apr 18, 2010

Savage Love: Mountain Maryland marathon

Picture this:

  • Official Time: 3:44  Garmin Time: 3:52**
  • First trail race
  • Stunningly beautiful course on Mt. Savage
  • First high altitude race
  • Reasonable race organization 
** Forgot to turn off my Garmin at the finish line.


Marathon #3 for 2010 is in the books. I ran this race with Jay and unlike any other race I've run we decided to drive to the race venue on the day of the race. I left Baltimore around 3:40 AM in the morning without having slept much at all. This was a race against odds - crazy terrain, Piriformis injury, and no sleep. I survived.

Cumberland is a beautiful little town in MD and we knew we were up for some great sights when we spotted the big hills on our way there in the darkness. We reached there perfectly on time for the packet pickup, thanks to Jay's driving and everything sailed perfectly to the start of the race. I only wished I had a jacket with me in the beginning and the end of the race.

This was my first trail race and I had no idea what to expect. I did not get any trail shoes since most of the surface was crushed limestone gravel. Trail running is a different beast. For almost the entire run you are alone, except the stunning views Mother Nature provides. "This is where wallpapers come from", was my thought as I ran through the course.

Your only human contact is other racers and the good folks at the aid stations which are much fewer than most road races. So, there is no opportunity to feed into the positive energy created by the cheering spectators. There were lot of times during the race where I could not see any other runner before or after me. Which also means you have to be very careful and watch out for those trail markers to avoid getting lost.

This was also my first high altitude race. The race itself involved a climb of 1000ft on Mt. Savage. Nothing in my training had prepared me for this and the first half of the race felt like riding an untamed horse.

This the second time this marathon is being held. Credits to the organizers for pulling off a nice race but hope that next time the volunteers will be more prepared -- a lot of times it appeared they had no idea. Also if you are running this race (highly recommended), it's a good idea to carry your own supplies. The only thing you can rely on is water and watered down Gatorade. Oh, they also had bananas and whole apples at the aid stations if you had time to stop and munch!

I finished the race in 3:44.  The Priformis injury seemed under control except for a dull pain throughout the race which kept me from pedaling harder. The medal is made of porcelain and makes a fine coaster/paper weight. It's also fragile so another thing to take care of after your run.


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