3 Marathons 3 States in 7 days or How to Become a CFBA
Sit back, grab a drink cause this is going to take awhile.
Most of you know that I am on a quest to run 50 marathons in 50 states but did you know I have some great company that is joining the journey? Well let me tell you that on top of running the greatest pleasure I get is traveling with some truly amazing people.
If you are part of YPOM you might have already experienced or heard some of this tale so please take note that this is a race report only from my slanted point of view.
Hope you all enjoy reading.
Well here we go.
State number 1 New York and the Wineglass Marathon.
This was a trip of monumental proportions. There were so many YPOM runners that I really believe Corning New York will never be the same.
Since Corning is only a 6 and a half hour drive me and my traveling companions Leah and Argenta chose to drive. Sounds great right! What could be easier than a less than scenic trip through Canada?
In all honesty our trip down was a piece of cake. Clear weather, little traffic and great company to chat with a perfect way to start a Friday of a marathon weekend.
We arrived in Corning and went straight to the expo which was small but nice, then off to downtown Corning to pick up our wine glass and split of champagne. Yes, as part of our race entry we received the usual shirt and medal as well as super nice wine glass and beverage to put in it.
We walked a bit shopping the little stores in downtown. The hot thing to purchase in Corning was these really cool and unique glass blown pumpkins. After we met up with Lisa, Jaye, Sharon, and Paula who had flown in earlier in the day. That’s when, for me the trouble started. Not bad trouble, just that trouble you get into when you have fun people together and some really good micro brewed beer.
Friday night (when a marathon is on Sunday) is always my party night and party I did. After checking into our hotel we headed back downtown for some Tiger game watching and beer drinking. We found this fun bar called Holmes Plate and Paula completely charmed the owner. Yes our service was fantastic. They also had a weakness of mine, karaoke!
Sharon, Jaye and Paula were not planning on staying out but once we were joined by other YPOMer’s at the bar it was hard to leave. Needless to say the beer went down smooth, the karaoke was a blast, the Tigers won and just like that it was 1:30a!
The next day, while recovering, we decided to hit the Corning Glass Museum and store. That is where we had to start a small pumpkin buying intervention for Leah! And like a good friend I just joined right in the fray. 4 pumpkins came home with me.
Saturday was also a stellar day because we were able to get most everyone together to celebrate Paula’s birthday. One of the founding fathers of YPOM traveled to New York to meet us. It was an awesome gathering to celebrate an awesome gal. After taking what I like to call our dysfunctional family picture, we split up for the night. It was time to get some rest before doing what we actually came to do. Run a Marathon!
Sunday turned out to be extremely humid and warmer than expected. This did not bod well for those of us who were hoping for a time goal.
I decided that I would see how I felt at mile 13 and decide if I wanted to try and hit my goal.
Wrong! It only took till mile 2 before I realized that this race was not going to be. The heat and some intestinal issues would make hitting a fast pace for any length of time impossible.
New phrase to remember: “Check yourself, before you wreck yourself”
After a check I decided to just enjoy the fact that I was in New York and running a beautiful marathon. While the weather did not cooperate I still enjoyed the run. I ran, talked to people, enjoyed the small crowd and had fun. I also knew that it was not going to be a good day for many when by mile 13, most folks were taking walk breaks. Checking and not wrecking!
After the race we headed to the YMCA to grab a quick shower before hitting the road home.
You know the saying; it’s all down hill from here. Well…..
Once we got to the Y it quickly became apparent that a shower wasn’t in our future unless we were willing to add another hour plus to our journey home. So after a quick clean up and clothes change we headed back to Michigan.
Boarder crossing that took minutes on Friday became a parking lot. We made a quick stop in Canada for subs but time was already speeding and all we wanted was to get back home. Mother nature however had other plans.
First came the dark, you see I was driving and have night blindness. The perfect storm of anxiety for me is dark, wet and construction. Thankfully Argenta took over the wheel.
Next came the fog. Yes a 0% visibility fog, followed by the worst rain and thunderstorm that I have ever seen. There was no place to pull over and only the power of prayer and the car in front of us with emergency flashers got us through. Argenta was a trooper! Another long wait at the boarder, a switch of drivers and after a long long day we were home.
One state done.
State number 2 Maryland and the Baltimore marathon
This is the beginning of a double marathon weekend. The plan was to fly from Flint to Baltimore, run the marathon, drive 2 ½ hours to Atlantic City run the marathon, then drive back to Baltimore and fly home. Sounds easy right! That’s just the beginning of the story.
So, Mike, Leah and I took the ungodly 6a flight out of Flint on Friday morning. While Flint is much easier to travel from than Metro a 6a flight still means getting up at 2:30-3a which is not exactly fun (especially if you stay up till midnight watching the baseball game).
Our flight was so smooth! I just love flying Southwest. We picked up our white 17 passenger van, yes it could be classified as many things, trust me I’ve seen buses that were shorter than this extended cab vehicle, and made our way to downtown Baltimore.
Luck would have it that the weather was fine, fine if you were a DUCK that is. It was raining hard when we decided that breakfast was in order. Finding one in the rain was a bit of a challenge but after a few wrong turns we found the perfect spot just before entering downtown.
After a fabulous breakfast we decided to see if we could check into our hotel early. That’s when we discovered that there were a few down sides to having a huge vehicle.
You see most parking structures have a top clearance of 6’2 and our van was not petite. Downtown on race weekend with other local events going on made parking more of a chore than it needed to be. Mike, the best driver ever, took it all in stride getting us to the hotel safely running only one red light in the process.
After checking in (and getting an upgrade thanks to Leah’s Marriott rewards) we made our way to the expo just down the street. Luckily there was a break in the weather and we arrived dry.
The expo was of fairly small so it did not take us long to pick up our packets as well as Erin, Matt and Jenkins.
Erin, Matt and Jenkins were flying in late that night (and we were picking them up, your going to love that part).
Rain returned and we decided that we should rest just a bit before finding a place for dinner. Back at the hotel we got ready for the next day, checked the weather and searched out a place to eat. While waiting we decided to have a beer at the hotel bar.
There were quite a few cool beers on tap. The Marriott was also installing a self-serve tap system called a wall of beer and wine. It was so cool but they never did have it up and running while we were in Baltimore. My favorite beer was called “Oh what a Beer” but by far the best-named beer was “Sweet Baby Jesus”. You just had to love the names!
On the ride downstairs Leah and I shared the elevator with non other than Jeffery Tambor, a funny actor best know for his role in Arrested Development. Now being the kind nice gals that we are, we did not give away his identity (that his low pulled ball cap was clearly trying to hide) but once he left we giggled like school girls for our celebrity sighting!
To dinner we went. Brio’s offered a great pasta dinner followed by a stroll of the Inner Harbor. We didn’t get far before the rain once again forced us back to the hotel and before we knew it, it was time to head to the airport to pick up the rest of the crew.
Now the story really begins.
I should have known by Matt’s text that marathon weekend celebrations had started but it was all confirmed once we saw them in the arrival lane. They were sooooo happy! You see apparently drinking for them began at the airport in Flint, continued on the plane and then topped off with landing shot’s of tequila in Baltimore’s airport.
Though they landed, they were still flying.
At the hotel a welcome drink was in order.
SWEET BABY JESUS! OH WHAT A BEER!
It was then that Matt announced to the entire bar that after this weekend he was going to be a Certified Freaking (no he didn’t use that word after many drinks, but you get the idea) Bad Ass! Yes a CFBA for short. It was hilarious and a fun start to our weekend. But we did have a marathon to run in the morning so we headed off to our rooms.
This is now where I found out the true difference between men and women.
Leah and I took Erin upstairs, helped her get settled, encouraged her to drink a big bottle of water and eat some crackers before getting her to get some sleep.
Matt went with the boys and had 2 more beers. I don’t know when they went to sleep but I’m sure it was way after us!
Marathon morning arrived. We met in the lobby at 7a so we could drop our bags and make our way to the start. Jenkins was running the half under Joe Burns’s bib. His race didn’t start till 9:45 but he still got up and saw us off.
Okay, here is a little known fact. If you annoy a group of YPOM runners, you might not like how they might mock you.
There is this marathon maniac who usually runs with a beanie hat with a propeller on top. He is one of those runners that just won’t stop talking about them selves, what they run etc. Running next to him for any length of time may just cause you to run faster, just to get away. He’s not a bad guy at all, just a bit annoying.
Well last week Mike had emailed me that this runner would be running the same double with us and during my search for costumes I came upon beanie hats in blue with silver propellers!
I ask you, how could I not get them for everyone in our group.
The start and finish of the Baltimore marathon was set in between their two major stadiums. It was an awesome place to start. The marathon was billed as a bit hilly and it did not disappoint.
What the marathon did not advertise was how very charming it was. We ran through some really cool neighborhoods and some really run down neighborhoods, around the zoo, around little lakes and all around the inner harbor. The crowds were great and the course support was awesome.
We all ran together and at Mikes traditional mile 3 potty stop, Leah and I spent a good 3 or 4 minutes dancing to a fun salsa type band. We were a crowd pleaser.
The run involved a few dares too. Like I dare you to borrow that guys foam finger and do a Miley dance. Oh yes, there was twerking.
Of course the run also included finding a drink or two of the adult variety. One gal even went into her house and made us Bloody Marys for the road!
Another thing that we learned was that one person with a beanie is a tool, while a group of runners with beanies was spectacular. We were cheered all the way and even thanked by spectators as a moving target to find their runner.
One other thing I like to do if my bib doesn’t have a name on it is to pretend that my name is the same as whatever name is on spectators cheer signs. This marathon I ran as Liz, Heather and one other name that slips my memory. The funny thing is when those same spectators remember you in different spots and still cheer for you. Oh yes, Heather and Liz had a great run.
This race offered something I have never seen on any course… Full bags of snacks. Yes real snacks. We had all different flavor chips, pretzels you name it. The best thing about running and not racing is that you can really enjoy all that is being offered to you.
Sometime after running through the Under Armor headquarters, Matt decided to drop back. Then we lost Mike. All was well because before we knew it the finish line was in sight.
Baltimore off the list!
Since we only had one room with late check out it was a frenzy to get everyone showered and packed up.
While waiting for Mike to get the van I cheered in those running by the hotel in the last ¾ mile of their marathon. These runners were so tough! Figure they had all been out at that point for 7 hours. One gal came by. She was running with only one shoe on and the other in her hand. Clearly in pain she stated to me that nothing was going to keep her from the finish. Another set of runners gladly took the beer I was nursing with happy smiles.
That my friends is the spirit of running. Whether your first or last your always a winner and strength of human determination is endless.
Once we piled into the van the late night partiers fell into a coma. The piper had been paid. We did stop for a hamburger once we got outside of the city. Then it was back to sleep for half the crew. Leah and I kept up a steady stream of conversation to Mike. Being the gentleman that he was, he never once told us to shut up either.
It was dark by the time we rolled into Atlantic City. Divesh had graciously picked up our packets for us so after checking in we met him down in the lobby bar.
Divesh is incredible. He had signed up for the marathon just a few weeks before. Atlantic City was to be his first and we were honored that he chose to do it with us.
Since I’ve been going on Casino trips with my parents, the lure of penny slots was pretty strong but instead Leah went up to bed and I grabbed a carryout to bring up. Since it was once again raining, we all sent up prayers for a much dryer morning.
Marathon morning and prayers were answered, well sort of. The day was cool and dry but the wind was blowing a steady 30 miles per hour. Not my favorite running conditions but at least it wasn’t raining.
Today we dressed up as a full house. Kings and Queens complete with crowns. Sounds like a perfect costume for a gambling town right.
Wrong! I couldn’t believe how many people called out “Go Burger King”.
Here is some complete honesty. I was a crabby crabby witch with a capitol B. I don’t know if the weather was a factor or what but I just didn’t want to run.
Atlantic City’s marathon had us going out on the boardwalk, out of town, back on the boardwalk, then out to the Oceanside neighborhoods with a return and finish on the boardwalk.
I guess in my mind I thought we would have fun crowds like Baltimore. The whole 10 people who came out to cheer (calling us Burger King) were not much help. Running against the wind totally broke my spirit. There were times that I just stopped and walked because the wind was blowing me back.
The neighborhoods had some really beautiful houses but they were vacant. The worst for me was the finish. Yes Finish!
If you’ve run marathons of any size there is usually one thing you can count on, crowd support the last .2. Not happening on the boardwalk. As a matter of fact, people just walked right in front of you cause they didn’t know a marathon was going on (plus there was no barricades, cones or anything indicating that a race was going on).
I was tired, crabby and pissed. Yes pissed. As a matter of fact I was a bit vocal in sharing that to anyone who might have been listening. Ce Lo Green had nothing on me during that last .2 let me tell you. Leah tried to calm me down but I was too far-gone, nothing was going to make me happy.
Now I don’t want you to think it was all miserable. The company was great! I really enjoyed running with the group even when we split up. Jenkins who was not running came out and made a beer stop for us at miles 9 and 19.
We got to see Divesh at mile 19 or so and he looked amazing. There was a little dancing at a DJ stand. Leah gave the best zinger line when the marathon maniac from the day before asked about our beanies (his signature hat) and she told he “We upgraded”!
Mile 22 a restaurant let me use their bathroom and the water stops doubled as cheer stations they were just that enthusiastic.
At the finish they had amazing soft pretzels and beer. Okay and the finisher medal was really cool too.
I guess it wasn’t as bad as I made it sound now that I’m over my PMS.
Afterwards we showered and went for an amazing dinner at one of the top rated restaurants in Atlantic City, Docks Oyster Bar.
By now we were all starving! Everything looked great.
They had these huge goblets filled with homemade oyster crackers that we just devoured. It was only after we had eaten about half of them when we all realized that they were just table decorations, not really meant to be eaten.
Yes, after a marathon it is okay to eat the centerpiece.
With super full bellies and just a bit high on accomplishment we got a little silly.
Big Dare number 2. One of those goblets just had to come home with us. Thank goodness for big purses!
The plan was to meet up for a night of mischief but what ended up happening was that as soon as I got back to the room, turned on the Tiger game, I promptly fell asleep only to wake up in time to see the Tigers lose in such grand fashion.
Since the casino never closes, I went down to see if I could find the rest of the crew. After texting and calling I figured they were either too far gone to hear their phones or down for the count.
Penny slots were really good to me! I had fun playing and ordering free drinks.
We met up for breakfast the next morning (great food but lousy service) and played slots for a little bit before making our way back to Baltimore.
Our flight was super late so the plan was to drive to Baltimore, have a fabulous dinner in the Inner Harbor, walk around a bit before heading to the airport.
Dinner at Phillip’s was amazing. If you are ever in Baltimore I highly recommend eating there. Everything was delicious. Walking around the Harbor and remembering where we ran was priceless.
One of the things I most like about running out of town races in big cities is that you really do get to see the best that it has to offer. Baltimore is certainly a place I want to come back to.
Before we knew it, it was time to head home. Everyone was ready to call it a weekend!
We arrived in Baltimore as runners and left as CBFA’s! Matt and Erin both also became new 5 star marathon maniacs!
The journey had ended and success was achieved. Looking forward to doubling up Maine and New Hampshire next year.
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