Despite the fact that we were in the mountains, the course for Frederick is surprisingly flat. Oh there were a couple of hills here and there.. we mostly ran down them… but honestly, I feel like the hills on my long run course are worse. That being said.. this race was still a challenge to me due to my foot. But, I was going to take it slow and run/walk to try and stave the pain off as long as I could. Also remember that I had run a half the week previous to this.. and I wanted to go easy on my body.
We woke up early (5 am is rough on a Sunday) and got ready to head to the fairgrounds. We were early arriving, so we had plenty of time, despite getting stuck in traffic on the way. I don’t remember traffic being an issue last time I ran this, and I seem to remember parking right on the fairgrounds. this year however, there was a large back up, and traffic was diverted to an open field for parking. Still not a problem, just had to walk a little further to the start. Once we figured out where we were going, we made our way over to the starting line along Patrick St. It was a really beautiful morning, albeit, a little chilly. I donned my FRF half premium over my tshirt, as I forgot to bring one of my thermal blankets with me to Frederick. (I always save the ones they give you at the end of the race, so I can use them at the beginning of the next one. People look at me like I’m crazy.. but I’m telling you.. those things keep you so much warmer than cotton.. and who wants to spend money on throw away clothes anyways?)
At the start, they gave Sid (yes, he ran the half too!) a head start.. then we all headed out. The course took us out to the main road we came in on, and back towards the highway. It’s always so cool to run places pedestrians really never get to go.
Although I was running 4:1’s I definitely could feel the effects of running the day and week before. I said goodbye to Randi at the start, because I knew that I would be slow. It takes a lot of discipline to walk in the beginning of a race- because everyone around you are flying by! You don’t want someone to think that you are under trained or incapable of running the whole thing.. but at the end of the day, you got to do what’s best for you and your situation at the time. My half PR is 2:03.. but this day I was running slow. Everyone has their own story and their own shoes to run in. Sometimes you just have to talk yourself into it.
After mile 1, we headed into downtown historic Frederick. This was probably one of my favorite parts of the course. Lots of spectators lined the streets of their town, cheering everyone on ahead. I’m a huge history fan.. so to run through the historic district was very charming. The gorgeous weather didn’t hurt either. I lost my long sleeve shirt after mile 1.
While I was coming up on Mile 3, Randi came up behind me! I was a little confused because I knew she took off ahead of me.. and I was going way too slow to have passed her. Turned out she hit a bathroom and saw me as she was trying to catch up her time. It was a nice little pick-me-up at mile 3. My legs were definitely feeling it.. and it was way too early in the race for that mess.
At the end of Bentz St., we entered into my other favorite part of the course- a loop around Baker Park. This is a very scenic 3 mile leg of the race. It helps to have something nice to look at as you are trudging on.
After the park, I needed to find a restroom. I did not have to go as bad as I did for Nike, but I definitely wanted to stop at the next place I could. Lucky for me this race was planned well, and I found a port-a-pot somewhere along mile 7. There were two, but I did end up waiting a little bit and fell behind some more. At least I was relieved.
My foot was holding up ok.. but I was having some hip pain and my quads were killing me. One step at a time I told myself.. the walk breaks were more and more welcoming.
At mile 8 I met the course liar…
The rest of the race was run in and around neighborhoods and a few uneventful streets. Some people came out to spectate- some operated their own water stations.. which was really nice of them. It was getting hot, and I could feel that I was slowing down. I was also getting pretty hungry. On mile 9, while running up a fairly moderate hill, I saw a sign for free cookies at the top..
The neighborhoods were mostly uneventful.. but saw some nice houses. You also start to take notice of the people around you. One guy had on MD flag shorts.. a couple of girls in their senior year of high school were chatting nearby (what a great way to celebrate your graduation!!) and I was keeping up pretty good with an elder man who was also running in honor of a fallen warrior.
Mile 12 was a sight for sore eyes.. I was done by mile 9.. and just trying to keep moving forward for all the others. By mile 12, we were huffing it up the same hill we ran the previous evening in the 5K.. knew we were close! Soon after we were entering the fairgrounds, heading towards the finish line!
I Don’t know how.. but somehow I beat the previous week’s time by 10 minutes. My foot hurt, but I really think the tape helped. I met back up with Randi at and just sat in the grass and rested a bit. They had a pretty good band playing on the stage, so that was nice. Checkout time from the hotel was noon, so after a little while, we headed back to the car. We sat in the car half an hour and never moved. I realized that the line to get off the field from the other side had emptied and some people were turning their cars around to go out that way. I decided to try it and got out in less than 5 minutes. No idea what was going on with the other side of the field, but no one was going anywhere. Traffic had cleared out for the most part. We headed back to the hotel and had a wonderful hot continental breakfast (WELL, the breakfast was OK.. but after 13.1 miles, everything tastes better!) We showered, checked out, and headed back to Baltimore. I was so glad I had gotten through it.. and that I’d have a break before my next race.
I posted more pictures on my blog’s Facebook page if anyone cares to see more. Feel free like me there too for more pictures and blog updates as they happen.