The Bondi Bands FINALLY came in. Took a month, but we were able to wear them for the Baltimore Half.. Dawn’s said “Run Like a BAMF” (bad ass mother f***er) and mine said “it’s just a hill… Get over it!” Two very appropriate slogans if you ask me.
The Baltimore Running Festival ROCKED!
The morning was the coldest it’s been all fall, (there was frost on my car!) We took the light rail down to the city to avoid traffic. By the time we pulled up to the station.. you could just feel the energy in the air! There were SO many people there! With 27,000 registered runners, and a city full of spectators.. It was like the whole world had eyes for Baltimore!
We made our way over to bag check and got situated. Then we headed over to our corrals. We settled in wave 3 and met up with some TNT friends. The sun was warming everything up, so I lost my throw away shirt and set my phone up for music. I downed my packet of Gu chomps and before we knew it, we were being herded to the start line. A 10 second countdown.. and we were off!
The race started at the Inner Harbor… It was so cool to run the streets of downtown.. Past buildings and landmarks I’ve know since I was a kid. One guy near us in the pack shouted “one mile down, 12 to go!” The pack of people were all pretty close, and it was crowded. Then we hit the first hill.. Not bad, finished strong. Then another hill and another hill… It was like every time we turned a street, we climbed another hill. But somehow, the hills didn’t bother me too bad. I don’t know if it was the adrenaline or if the hill training I had done this past week made it better.. But I got to the top of each hill feeling strong, not wiped. Dawn on the other hand.. Was not having a good time.
One thing all runners know… NEVER try or do anything new on race day. If you have not trained with it don’t do/use it! Dawn decided to try a Gatorade primer product.. And it messed up her stomach. She was having issues by mile 3… And by mile 5 she was feeling the pain… Bad. I tried to keep her positive and keep her going… And she put up one hell of a fight… But I lost her on mile 9 as I was trying to pass some people and jetted up a hill. I felt bad, but I also knew it was better for her not to try and keep up.. And take care of herself. So I continued on.
The marathoners, who started 1 hour and 45 mins before the half.. Merged with the halfers around mile 3. It was cool to see the marathon signs up near our half mile markers… Their merge was mile 16.. To see those numbers so high was strange.. Not what I’m used to seeing.. But got me thinking about how cool it will be when I’m racing that far for real. I can only hope I feel as good at mile 16 as I felt at mile 3!
Around mile 5 I realized I was making pretty good time… I could even make under 2 hours if I kept it up. I was supposed to be taking this race as a training run… But as I expected.. my competitive nature got the best of me. We had been keeping a pretty good 10ish mi/min pace.. So if I could cut it down to 9 min miles, I had a chance. At mile 9, I saw that I was doing 9 and a half easy.. So I kicked it up. By mile 10, I was hitting 8:30.. And on the downhills.. 8:00. I had 26 mins to run 3 miles.. A feat I’ve accomplished before.. Although not during a half marathon.
I decided I wanted it.. I ran with everything I could, without running too hard. At mile 11, I was feeling the pain. I had been hurting since mile 8… But now I was really feeling it in my quads, my hips, my right calf, and my feet. I was ready to be done. I could see the Bromo Seltzer Tower in the distance.. And I knew that was next to Camden Yards.. And the finish line! I kept chugging along. The crowds of spectators were getting thicker and louder. Running through the ball park was AWESOME… Then less than a quarter mile, through the crowd of screaming spectators… Across the finish line.. In 2:05. I BEAT my PR from Frederick by 2 mins! I didn’t get my 2 hrs.. But I couldn’t be happier. I ran a great race on a beautiful day in a wonderful town.. And I PR’d. All the training runs I’ve done since June lead up to this.. And I felt great! (Despite the fact that my body was deteriorating around me lol)
In the finishers chute.. It was dead stop. People couldn’t get their water, Mylar blankets and medals fast enough. I don’t know if you have ever just stopped running on a dime before.. But you literally can’t. Your body has to keep moving to function.. To slow down and catch up with itself. You feel it, and I couldn’t move! I stood there looking like an idiot marching in place to keep my legs moving.. I could just feel the blood rushing to them, and I was terrified I was going to pass out! But I got out of there and walked around a little.
I waited for Dawn, but didn’t see her finish. She texted me and I found her over by the bag check. We got our things and changed in the changing tent (best thing ever!) then we went to get our free beer and our Maryland Double medals! Because we ran in the Frederick half (in May) and the Baltimore half, we were entitled to a third Maryland Double medal. We joyously clanked around for the rest of the day.
We headed in search of food. Dawn loves this sushi restaurant down there called RA, and I love sushi in general, so we set off. If only we knew how long it would take us to get there. The place was 2 miles away. When we finally made it, we ordered way too much for two people and ate every last bite.. it was glorious.
We walked back to the light rail to head home in the beautiful afternoon sun, passed the inner harbor, sporting our new bling proudly. It was an awesome day!
When I got home… I realized that I was swollen everywhere… My feet, my legs, my knees. I iced everything down, took a shower (somehow made it up the stairs.. That was tough!) and attempted to get into my pajamas (couldn’t lift my legs up to get into my pants! It was both sad and funny, and painful all at the same time.) I have to say, that I feel better today, despite that I was on my feet all day Sunday working the Ravens game, however I took this evening off and elected not to work out. Tuesday I’ll return to the gym for some yoga.. And even do a light run/walk with the BF.. Because I still have a marathon to train for.. And Friday I have to run 10 (very slow) miles!