Saturday, March 21, 2009

Running Through the Ages

Age is relative. At least, that’s the conclusion I’ve reached – and mind you, I’m not just talking about MY age. In relative terms, our nation is pretty new – around 233 years, in fact. It is also one of the oldest continuing democracies in the world and non-native communities have been around since the early 1600s. However, having lived in Europe for a number of years, that is still pretty new; it was not unusual to see communities that could trace their origins back to the first millennium after Christ. So what does this have to do with running? A couple of our recent runs have been back east in areas where these earliest communities were established. Delaware in November was one of these and such was the case with our most recent run, the B&A (Baltimore & Annapolis) Trail Run in Severna Park, MD. Both Baltimore and Annapolis trace their origins back into the early 1600s – as do a number of small hamlets on Maryland’s “Eastern Shore” of the Chesapeake Bay. This trip provided us the opportunity to step back in time again – this time into early American history. Although I had been to Baltimore many times – and thoroughly enjoyed Camden Yards, the Inner Harbor, and the National Aquarium, I had never spent any time in Fell's Point (old historic district) or visited Mount Vernon (heart of Baltimore's cultural community, large memorial to George Washington, Peadbody Institute, grand Hotels, and affluent city residences) or the oldest Catholic Cathedral in the Americas. Nor had I spent time on the Easther Shore to visit a very interesting Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in St. Michaels, or historical Easton, both of which boast homes and businesses from the 1600s, not to mention a Third Haven (Quaker) meetinghouse that is the oldest frame meetinghouse in the country. Strolling along some of these streets was like walking through a museum. You won’t see these houses on the websites flaunting America’s most expensive residences, but they exude a rich heritage and attest to a bygone era, while capturing and preserving some of its history. We enjoyed our historical tour, but it was capped by a very current lunch at The Town Dock in St. Michael’s which, without a doubt, ranks as one of the best seafood dinners we have ever had.

The race itself was run along the old railroad grade which had been the Baltimore & Annapolis line – now a running, walking and biking path through the forests and suburbs between Washington, DC and Baltimore. It was a pleasant course, although not unusually scenic. The elevation changes were moderate and the race was pretty well-supported – notwithstanding the snow that fell the night before the race, making some of the wooden bridges quite slick and still snow covered. Otherwise, the trail was wet, with a few puddles, but generally free of snow. We feared this would finally be one of those races where we would, of necessity, run in pretty bad weather – but fortunately, it did not rain or snow during the race. It was chilly, but not windy – and we were grateful for the conditions that we knew could have been far worse. Karen and I both ran races pretty typical of our recent performance – perhaps a few minutes slower due to conditions – and we were impressed by a strong field that included the US Naval Academy Marathon Team and a large contingent of runners from the Annapolis Striders Running Club. All in all it was a good race and an interesting trip – State #29 in our quest for 50.

Post-race thanks to Jennifer for watching Rachel over our weekend in Maryland. It always feels strange when she isn’t with us, but we enjoyed our time together and appreciated knowing she was in good hands. And should you be waiting for my “race wisdom”, don’t forget to let history teach its lessons. (Because in this case, my deepest thoughts were actually BEFORE the race and consisted of self-talk basically designed to convince me that running in the cold and snow REALLY wouldn’t be all that bad. NOT!


Rachel's Mommy said...

Boy, you can tell who had the camera most of the time--where's Carl in the pictures??? Great race (they're all great) and fun post, per usual. I love you!

princess jen said...

You're welcome! Glad you had fun. Can't wait to see the photos from New Zealand. Will you have running practice wisdom too? (Really, I just want to see scenery shots!)

Super Daysh said...

WHOA! Karen's got some nice hair in that last picture!! Was it windy? Just had to say that before I went and read it. tee hee hee.

Mythreesons said...

Seriously, Karen. You should consider a comb as part of your racing gear. And then you let him post that on the blog? Have you no shame?!
OK, just kidding... a little bit. I'm always jealous of your races back East. I want to take Jared back East so bad! What beautiful and charming areas to visit. I love the history you can find pretty much anywhere back East (and definitely NO where in Vegas).