Race Report – Baltimore Half Marathon

On Saturday morning, I ran the Baltimore Half Marathon.  This was sort of a first for me – last year I ran the relay, so I knew the second half of the marathon course.  But the first half was new.

I can’t talk about the expo because Kim’s husband Jon did packet pickup for us because he is a saint.  But I did not hear good things about parking and traffic.  Hoping that is fixed for next year.

One downside to the half marathon is that it started at 9:45 whereas the full started at 8.  That means that to get parking and to not have to deal with traffic, we all had to get there early early.  Of course, we also had to get there early early so that Jon could run the marathon.  So I didn’t mind.  We sent Jon on his way and hung out with a group of friends for a while.  This meant leisurely bag check and the opportunity to watch the 5K.  We all booed when around the 40 minute mark, a bunch of runners got stopped so the relay busses could go through.  It was probably only a 2 to 3 minute stop, but it seemed like forever.  There was a huge cheer when the race started again.

Finally, it was our turn to run.  The start was a bit of a letdown since we didn’t even know the race was starting.  It was crowded and the start was around the corner.  We did get to see Jon run by around his mile 9 though, which was exciting.  He was looking good.

Anyone who knows anything about Baltimore knows that it is hilly.  So don’t run this race expecting a flat course.  But what many people may not realize about Baltimore is that it most certainly has personality, and you see that out on the race course.  The spectators for this race are amazing.  The race runs through various neighborhoods and people are out all over the place.  Lots of cheering, lots of spectators in costumes, tons of fun signs.  It’s an incredible experience.

We set out without a firm time goal.  I have another race next weekend that I want to run strong and Kim was running with new insoles.   A number of people in our group shot off at the start, and we lost Jen just a few miles in.

I was running with a group of four friends, but their natural pace was just slightly off from mine, and I was starting to feel it in my hips.  I don’t know if they were slower or if just walk and run paces were different.  We weren’t running any slower than I naturally do.  Might have just been the run/walk pace breakdown throwing me off.  Either way, it hurt.  Kim and I stopped for an unexpected bathroom break, and when we finally caught back up to our friends, we kept going and ended up just a bit ahead of them.  I felt bad about this, but my hips felt so much better.  It’s strange how just a slight pace change can cause a weird ache.  It also makes me worry about the full in January because I have a group that I plan to run with.  I guess I’ll just go by feel and see what happens.  I don’t want to lose my friends during the race!  But it’s entirely possible that on the day, I will naturally be slower.  Who knows.

I have to admit, I like the hills at Baltimore.  What goes up must come down, so for every hill you power up, you get the benefit of gravity on the way down.  I know some people don’t like running down hills, but I love it.

We finished in a respectable 3:12.  Not my fastest, not my slowest, and without the bathroom break, I think I could have pushed through a sub-3, which is a good feeling.  I have one more half this season, and I think I’m going to do my best to run that one strong.  Not shooting for a PR, because right now it’s about distance, not speed, but I want to take that one and run it for me.  I love running with friends, since I can chat the whole way through the race, but sometimes I just want to run for me.  90% of the time I want to chat through the run though!

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Yes, that’s right.  Two medals.  One for today’s race and one for the Maryland Double.  To get the Maryland Double medal, you just need to run the Baltimore Half or Full and the Frederick Half.  And no, I didn’t run in that fleece.  I rocked two runDisney shirts instead.

The Baltimore Medal is awesome.  Obviously, it has a crab on the front and says “What hills don’t kill you make you stronger.”  On the back, it says “thirteen point one freakin’ miles.”  Love it.

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