This was my second Baltimore Running Festival- my first being when I ran the half in 2012 (recap HERE) I had signed up back in April in attempts to do both the Maryland Double (Frederick half and Baltimore half or full) and the King Crab Challenge (Frederick half, Baltimore 10 miler, and the Baltimore half or full.) I was out of the King Crab though, as I had to defer my Baltimore 10 miler registration to 2015 when I hurt my foot in the Spring. On my Dopey Challenge training schedule, I was supposed to run 17 miles the day of the race. according to the BRF schedule, I noticed the 5K race started a whole hour and 15 minutes before the half started. I asked my husband if he wanted to sign up and do the 5K with me. Took some convincing.. but he decided to give it a go. So I was all signed up to run both the 5k and the half.
Friday, after my 7 mile run at the trail, my husband and I headed over to Dawn and Tony’s apartment to meet up with them. Randi and Aaron met us too, and we all headed down to the expo to pick up our race packets. Tony and Dawn are both Baltimore City police officers, so they had free parking passes in the garage they park at for work. We were out of the way for traffic, but it was a bit of a walk (at least 0.5 miles) away from the expo. Once we got there, we picked up our packets and got our shirts, then browsed around the expo for supplies. I’m starting to look for pieces for my costumes I’m making for Disney, and wanted to see if the expo carried anything interesting. I loved some of the official race merchandise, but didn’t really want to spend $30-$50 for shirts (even though they were Under Armour.) My husband wanted to look into a hydration belt because he doesn’t want to hold anything for the 10k at Disney.
I picked up a couple of new Gu flavors (Root Beer, Chocolate Peanut Butter, and Caramel Macchiato,) some Gu Chomps, and a new pair of Superfeet inserts (so I don’t have to keep switching my inserts between my two pairs of shoes.) Dawn was looking at a new hydration belt, which I ended up getting her as a gift for her birthday (which was on race day.) After the expo, we had a nice lunch at Panera Bread then headed home to relax and get ready for an early race day start.
Saturday, my husband and I got up at 3 am to get ready to go. We were running in the 5K, which started at 7:20. The race coordinators told people to plan to be in the area 90 minutes before the race, which meant we had to be down there about 5:30ish. We had breakfast, got ourselves together, and headed to Dawn and Tony’s place. We drove down together (with Dawn’s dad tagging along to spectate) and parked int he same parking garage as the day before. The walk from the garage to the race start was about half a mile, so I planned on using that as part of my mileage for the day.
We made our way over the the celebration village area where we used the bathroom and Dawn and Tony chatted with other police friends who were running in the races. Eventually we made our way over to the starting line, in time to watch the marathon start.
Once all the marathoners were gone, my husband and I lined up for the 5K. It was a beautiful cool, but not cold morning, and the sun was starting to come up. I ate my pack of Chomps and waited for the start.
Soon we were up and running. My husband, who has been training using a 90:90 interval, wanted to up the running interval time to 3:1’s. I was cool with that, and he kept up pretty good. He did have to tell me to slow down a couple times, but overall we ran pretty good together.
The first part of the course was uphill, with the second half being downhill. Initially, the hill from the start to the half way point was gradual.. and not too tough. (Although my husband didn’t enjoy it much.) We made a turn onto a side street and met a shorter, but steeper hill. That was tough and my husband enjoyed the brief walk breaks all the more. I was feeling pretty good, but I knew I had another 13.1 ahead of me, so I was focusing on taking it nice and easy. Once we made another turn to make our way back to the finish.. it was downhill and much easier.
We finished under our expected time in 36:21 minutes. Not a PR for my husband.. but a nice, easy 11:42 min/mi pace. He was a little tired, me less so of course, but I’m really glad he came to run it with me.. and I think it gave him great confidence in continuing on his training for the 10K. He even gave me the go-ahead to sign us up for the Turkey Trot in November. We meandered through the finisher’s shoot and picked up our waters. The volunteers were in the middle of setting up for the later races as we walked through, so I didn’t get a Mylar blanket. I didn’t feel too cold though.. so it wasn’t a big deal. As we exited the shoot, we got our medals.. and I was so happy for my husband to receive his first ever finisher’s medal!
After navigating through the finisher’s area, we met up with Randi, Aaron, Tony and Dawn. I changed my bib, re-filled my bottles, said my goodbye’s to my husband and we made our way over to the half marathon start. The starting line for the half was different than the start for the marathon and 5K. The half ran the first 3 miles on it’s own course before merging with the marathon right after mile 3 (marathon mile 16.) We got to the start with only a few minutes to spare. I managed to take a few starting line pictures before we were off.
I started off not feeling too bad. I stuck to my 4:1 intervals and ran around an 11 minute pace. Definitely wanted to take this race slow and steady. We hit a hill.. then another.. then another… every time we turned a corner, another hill. somewhere around mile 4 (my mile 7) I was feeling fatigue. Great. This was going to be a great race.
I remember from 2012 (the last time I ran this race) that the course was pretty hilly. I didn’t remember it being THIS bad. At one point I almost muttered out loud.. Is this whole race up hill!?! Can we have a downhill please!? Who designed this stupid course!?
Somewhere around mile 6.. my feet started hurting. I was wearing my new inserts I had bought for my second pair of shoes, thinking that I’ve run in that type of insert before, so it shouldn’t bother my feet. Maybe it was the new inserts.. maybe it was the hills.. but my feet were KILLING me. More than they normally do in a training run. Every walk break was a relief and I just wanted to get the race over with. I kept seeing marathon mile markers.. they seemed to come much faster and more frequently that my own. I also kept adding 3 miles to every mile marker.. hoping to remind myself that the reason I was hurting was because I was already 3 miles ahead of everyone else. I felt like I had been running the marathon.
I told Mike I would text him once I hit mile 12.. so I was holding on for that moment. Really had to dig deep.. my feet were sooo sore.. my knees were killing.. and my quads hated me.
I finished in 2:25.. about 5 mins faster than I thought at the beginning of the race. I was by no means racing for time.. but I was glad I came in under 2:30. All I could think about was How the HELL did I run that in 2:05 in 2012!? I felt like my legs were going to fall off. I made my way through the finishers chute and picked up my refreshments and beer tickets and went to go find my husband. I met up with everyone at the information booth and made our way over to the police area where they had chairs set up. (Dawn and Tony ran in the police division, so we hung out with them and some other officers.) I had never been so happy to sit down.
We still had to walk (hobble) all the way back to the car. I did make sure to pick up my Maryland Double medal.. so glad to finish one challenge at least! I felt much better after a shower and some sofa relaxation, although I had a nagging pain in my foot that worried me… as it reminded me a lot of my foot injury earlier in the year. Later Saturday night I met Dawn and Tony for dinner at Cheesecake Factory to celebrate Dawn’s birthday.. and yes.. I had the cheesecake 😀