Wednesday, October 19, 2011

2011 Baltimore Running Festival Recap

Notice the title above - yeah, I'm hoping that I make the Baltimore Running Festival a yearly occurrence and therefore need to date the post each year. At least that's my game plan and I'm sticking to it, for now.

Friday night my bestie came over and we hopped over to the Baltimore Convention Center pick up our bibs for Saturday's Half Marathon. It was an expo - nothing too glamorous and nothing to complain about. My only complaint is that in my transaction to drop down from the marathon to the half two months ago my projected finish time was never adjusted. I'll take some blame for that, but I was a bit ticked when we picked up our bibs and I found out I was in the fifth and final wave. That was so not happening. Add in my bestie was rubbing it in my face that she was in the first wave. Whatever.

On Saturday we slept in and then I woke up to make my go-to race food: Banana Bran Muffins with Flaxseeds. Two of them are all I need to get through a race and with a 9:45 a.m. start time for the half marathon I had plenty of time to whip some muffins before hopping in the car.

I will say, living 15 minutes from the start of the race is incredibly nice. We didn't leave the house until 8:45 a.m. and that gave us plenty of time to get to the race, check my bag, and then walk over a few blocks to the start line.

Some of my bestie's DC friends didn't have it so lucky and we actually missed the start of the race waiting for them to show up. Once they were accounted for we hopped in at the tail end of the second wave. Yes, I ditched my wave assignment - sue me. I didn't feel bad about it considering my bestie was supposed to be in the first wave and I'm not that much slower than her!

Off we went! It was nice to run a race on my home turf. I knew all of the streets, I knew where the hills were (hint - almost everywhere), and I knew where the hubs would be waiting for us. It was super nice because my bestie's friends made a big sign for us and they were camped out about a mile from the finish line. That was a nice kick to get our butts in gear.

My bestie ran with me the entire time and it went much better than the last time we ran a half together, which in my defense was my first half. We actually chatted during most of the race which was nice. Both of us are training for the Philadelphia Marathon and were treating the half as a training run with the intention to continue running once we were done with the half. Well, by time we got through the finish festival that was jammed full of people and picked up my checked camel pak my legs started to tighten up and I couldn't get in more than another mile.

That was the most frustrating part because I didn't fully race the half. I came in under two-hours, but just over two minutes slower than my fast time. GRRRR!!! If I didn't plan on running an additional 3-6 miles after the half I think I could have easily trimmed off some time. The worst part is everyone I've talked to keeps saying something along the lines of, "you ran just 2 minutes slower than your PR, in BALTIMORE?!?!?!?"

Apparantly, Baltimore is known for it's hills. I don't know, I grew up in the Catskills and I kind of like hills. I actually remarked to my bestie before the race that I was slightly nervous about the hills for the first time in my life because since I've moved I haven't run any significant hills. The two main trails that I do my long runs on don't have much in terms of elevation. Back to Saturday's race, my bestie yelled at me, "Heidi" every time I started to charge up a hill. Excuse me, but I truly believe that if attack a hill it takes less time to get up it and then you don't have to deal with it for as long. That's my defense and I'm sticking to it.

However, I will say it'll be nice to go from this:
to this in November:

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