Monday, January 2, 2012

Baltimore Running Festival

I was pretty close to the start
I need to take a page out Adam's raceplan book and ...well, actually stick with my raceplan.  Baltimore half marathon was supposed to be an easy one.  The course has a fair amount of hills, plus I hadn't decided if I was doing Marine Corps Marathon which was only two weeks away or not (basically, training didn't go as planned, but it didn't totally stop I was thinking of either running with my slightly abridged training or waiting until I felt more prepared).  For Baltimore, I was shooting for 1:50 or 1:52, but suspected I'd run a little bit faster than that.
The race was in, you guessed it, Baltimore.  I was planning to just drive there the day of the race, so my friend Kyle was kind enough to get my packet for me the day before.  Adam and I left Arlington with plenty of time to spare in case we hit traffic from the race or had trouble parking, which we were told might be likely.  Sure enough, we got near Baltimore and the exits were at a stop.  We noticed that our directions listed a different way to go as well, so we took a chance and got off at a different exit, somehow managing to avoid a really long line of traffic.  We went to one of the lots that was suggested but was farther away, and easily found a spot.  Things were looking good!

He was there to cheer me on at the start.  Isn't he great?
We met Kyle and his friends to pick up my number.  The race start was pretty spread out, since the start and the finish were different places and the bag drop-off area was near the finish.  Though we were there with a ton of time, we had a lot of wandering to do to drop off my stuff, get to the start, watch the marathoners cross the course, etc.  I made it to the starting area and I was in the first corral.  A bit surprising, but I usually feel that the closer you can be to the start, the better.  I think a lot of people intentionally list a faster starting time than they plan to run, so it can be difficult to navigate around them.
I'm ready!
The race start rolled around and I was ready to go!  The weather was really pretty mild and a pleasant temperature, but it was SO windy.  The start was shielded (or the wind picked up during the race, I'm not quite sure) and the first few miles were fine.  Even though the hills should have been tough since I don't train on a lot of hills, I just wasn't struggling.  We ran around a lake area, and it was very scenic and pleasant, though the wind was really bad on the return trip around the lake.  The upside was that it made running with the wind even faster!  

Overall, a very pleasant race.  We merged with the marathoners, who were about half done, near the start of the race.  I'm sure it was difficult for them to merge into a ton of fresh half marathoners, but it was a very easy transition for me.  We ran through some interesting parts of Baltimore (and quite frankly some I wouldn't have minded skipping).  The fans were great though!  Energetic and helped me to push through when I started to drag.

It was a pretty big race
It must be because I was used to running 15-20 mile long runs on the weekend, but the race felt so easy and I just felt very solid.  I didn't stop to walk at all, and the hills never bothered me.  I planned to start fast, then slow down when I hit the hills and cruise to the finish.  I did follow this plan slightly, except that I started faster than planned, and slowed down less than planned.  I finished strong, loving the crowds of spectators cheering us through the area right next to Camden Yards.  
 I was SO close at this point
My official time was 1:44:19, making this my PR race for the year despite the plan for it to be an easy race.  So great!  I was a little worried it would tire me out for Marine Corps if I chose to run it in two weeks, but I had felt so good during the race I decided to just go for it.  Those are the kind of races you love as a runner, where you feel like your training has prepared you well and all of the stars align for a good day.  I got to celebrate at the end with Adam, where we also picked up my second medal since I had run Frederick, part of the Baltimore series, which qualified me for a "Maryland double" medal.  I didn't get to hang around Baltimore too long after the race, but this was one for the books!
 Race medal and Maryland Double medal

No comments:

Post a Comment