Race Recap – Baltimore Relay

Time to catch up on the race recaps.

Working backwards:

This past Saturday (October 15) was the Baltimore Relay.  This was my second of four races in four weeks, and my 4th of 6 in 2 months.  Yes, I’ve gotten a little crazy.

I was on a team with great friends – Jen, Katie, and Kim.  We ran in that order, with me taking up the fourth leg.  We were lucky enough to have three other relay teams from our running group, so we all had friends with us at the relay points.  That was especially welcome at leg four.  I didn’t expect to start running until at least noon (the race started at 8am).  Jen’s leg was a hilly 5.7 miles through the zoo.  Katie’s leg was 7 miles involving zombies.  Kim’s leg was 6.3 miles run with the Godfather, and I picked up with the last 7 miles.  No, that doesn’t quite equal 26.2, but none of the exchange points avoided any parts of the course, so we’re sure that it actually adds up.

I was ready for the long wait at the relay point.  We boarded busses to get there at 8:30.  (I don’t know that I’ve ever seen such a long caravan of school busses.)  We grabbed ourselves a spot by the race course, set out some trashbags to sit on, and waited.  I brought food and snacks with me, and wore multiple layers, which was definitely a good plan.  We joked that next year, we need to bring a BBQ grill.

The wait wasn’t as bad as I feared.  Why?  Because of all the runners coming through!  We could get in lots of cheering, which we definitely did.  We were on an incline, and the hand cyclists were really struggling, even the first guy in the pack.  But they all made it up!

This course had an 18 minute mile pace limit, and my relay team all runs sub 13:30s.  We were actually running faster that day, but I was still one of the last people out of the relay point.  I think that made me want to run faster.  At first, I decided I wanted to try to run sub 13:00’s.  I was doing well and mentally adding up the time I was gaining (“Okay, that mile was a 12:15, so that’s an extra 45 seconds…”) which is how I race when I’m trying to hit a certain average pace.  Then one hilly mile hit me at a 13:10, so I decided to aim for 13:15’s, but still kept trying to push myself.  I really wanted to get the team in under 6 miles.  I wasn’t sure when Jen started, so I was basing it off of an 8:00am start time.

I kept passing marathoners who were slogging through the last miles.  Lots of pairs of people, with one experienced runner bringing a newbie through the end of the race.  Very cool to see.  Lots of people still going strong.  Power walking, but going strong.  One girl commented that this was her first and she was from Florida.  I told her to pick a flatter race for her second marathon.

It was kind of funny to see mile markers that I’ve never seen before.  My longest race has been a half marathon, so this was my first experience with mile markers 19-26!

I kept powering through, though my heartrate would get too high, and I’d have to walk.  I was running 2/1s, but frequently, needed to walk about 15 seconds early.  I think for next weekend’s race, I’m going to try to run 1:45/1, and see if that helps.  It can’t hurt to try, though I should probably try it in training at some point before I do it in a race.  Or not!

I knew I was running faster than expected, so I figured that my friends wouldn’t be at the finish line waiting for me yet.  But I was wrong!  I rounded a corner and there they were, all cheering!  Now that was a great part of being the last one in.  Everyone was there waiting for me!

I finished the race and the clock said 5:56!  I did it!  I got us in under 6.  But little did I know, I got us in well under 6.  Our final chip time was 5:51:36.  We averaged 13:25, which is an amazing pace for us.  And my pace?  Well, I got a little ridiculous out there.  I finished my leg in 1:31:26, giving me a 12:30 pace!  I haven’t seen those kinds of numbers in a long time.  I paid for it later – by 6:30 that evening I was ready for bed.  But it was great fun.  Makes me think that maybe my half marathon PR (a 13:01 pace) isn’t going to be as hard to beat as I thought.  Won’t happen this year, but maybe next year.

I think I do better on hilly races.  I love the downhills.  My half PR is on a very hilly course.  Maybe I should be searching out the hills.