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In the spirit of the Star Spangled 200 year celebration of our National Anthem in Baltimore – I took to the streets (and mostly the Baltimore Promenade along the waterfront) for my long run this week.

15238644511_218591d358_kThankfully, daughter Emma is ‘on top’ of my training calendar.   After weeks of misreading the training schedule (“don’t we have to run another 20 miles this week”) for the weekly long run – I consulted with her in person.  “We only have to do 17 miles this week”,  Emma explained, after noting that I had been ‘overachieving’ for the last several weeks.  Overachieving is another way of saying that I have been misreading the weekly ritual – and it’s time to put on my reading glasses!

Presented with *just* 17 miles – I may be able to do this without lining up Team Sherpa — friends and family who have been making this journey possible for me.   So, I opted to test my will, and see if I could make 17 miles happen by myself.

The temperatures were in the upper 50 degrees, with no humidity.  It was so delightful, I was giddy to get started.  The first 7 miles were completed in the Port of Baltimore.  This area is an industrialized shipping terminal along the Patapsco river, that consisted of very wide roadways, and barely any traffic.  It is the crack of dawn on a Sunday morning – and the only folks moving about were other runners who also had to get their long run in.  After a quick pit stop at mile 7, and top off of my water bottles, I changed direction to head directly toward ‘ground zero’ of the Star Spangled festivities.  My turn-around destination would be just shy of Fort McHenry – located at the tip of the Locust Point peninsula.

My route would be scenic.  First through the belly of the Canton neighborhood, then past distinctive Fells Point and onward toward Inner Harbor East.  An extremely large Naval fighting ship was docked at the Broadway Street Wharf, and I was tempted to stop and board (along with the hundreds of tourists who apparently get up early on a Sunday morning).  I nixed that though in the spirit of continuing to just run.   Somewhere near the Inner Harbor East lighthouse, I passed by 2 other naval ships that must have something worth protecting on board.   Behind fencing and gates, and a line of military persons carrying very large and menacing weapons – it was pretty clear that I would not be spending much time hovering.   Onward into the Inner Harbor – the tourists are out in FULL force.  My pace significantly slowed, as I practiced agility footwork – stepping right, stepping left, anticipating the moves of senior citizens, children and especially those carrying camera equipment.  It was good practice staying alert – and my mind had no opportunity to ‘zone out’.    The largest sailing vessel I have ever seen – US Coast Guard sailing vessel Eagle was docked.  I thought long and hard about stopping to take a picture along with all of the other tourists, but decided that the boat was too large.   It was something to experience, and not try to capture.  Back to practicing my agility moves – dancing with tourists.

Now into the Federal Hill section of Baltimore, the crowds started to thin out, and I was back to my running pace which was beginning to feel slow.  I had to remind myself to drink water.  With cooler temperatures and lower humidity – it is easy to forget that your body still needs the fluids!   Exiting from the promenade and entering the streets of Locust Point I had reached mile 12 – and it was now time to turn my ship around and return back to the Canton neighborhood.   I will be returning over prior footsteps – and likely larger crowds.

The crowds had increased two-fold by the time I had returned for my final pass through the Inner Harbor.  By now, the adults had consumed caffeine, and the children were high on sugary treats (the street vendors did not seem to sell healthy foods) – and this was the perfect test for more of my footwork and anticipation skills.   Through the Inner Harbor, parts of my run took me precariously close to the waters edge, and other times I narrowly escaped spontaneously moving humans and their dogs!   People were out on the streets, out on the promenade.  Tourists and locals – everyone was milling about, and enjoying the Star Spangled festivities.

IMG_5928IMG_5966Returning back to Canton with 17.17 miles complete – the satisfaction of running this alone (though not really alone in these crowds!) – was pretty special.   Not because I want to run alone (I much prefer company!), but knowing that I can.  Spent the rest of the day with family, morphing into sightseeing-mode with all of the other tourists – for the most incredible Air Show from the Canton shoreline.  (Thanks Bro for the Air Show photo contribution)

More photos from the 9/13/2014 Star Spangled Fireworks