Race Report – Frederick Half Marathon

Titanium Girl Challenge – Complete!

This weekend, I ran the Frederick Half Marathon in Frederick, MD.  This race was part of a dual bonus bling challenge.  Run Iron Girl and Fredrick and get the Titanium Girl medal.  Run Frederick and Baltimore (in the fall) and get the Maryland Double medal.

Clearly, I couldn’t say no.  Actually, I was already registered for both Iron Girl and Frederick when Titanium Girl was announced, so it was a medal for nothing!  Except for being crazy and being willing to run two halfs within 7 days.

But onto the race itself.  Having just run a race the week before, I definitely had something to compare it to.  And I would say that Frederick was a much better race.  Corrigan Sports puts on incredible races, so I’m not surprised.

The course was awesome.  Not flat by any means, but the course support was incredible.  Lots of water stops and lots and lots of community support.  It was great to see that sort of support after the editorial in the Frederick newspaper earlier that week trashing the runners for “blocking” people from attending church.  There were tons of people out cheering and lots of kids handing out candy, water and fruit.  It was great to see.  (If only someone had been out there with a hose spraying the runners…)

Kim and I ran together after losing Jen early on (speedy girl) and losing, then catching, then losing Monica, and we just took it easy with a 1:1 pace.  She had been on her feet the day before and I was recovering from a killer cold (note – running a half marathon does not speed recovery) so we just went out to have fun.  We chatted most of the way and finished in a surprising 3:03.  Not bad for a race when we weren’t “trying.”

Expo was tiny, as is to be expected, but the race premium is awesome.  Instead of the standard t-shirt, the premium for this race changes every year and this year it was a zip up jacket!  It’s thick sweatshirt material, embroidered with the race logo and absolutely awesome.  I’m slowly getting to the point where I can outfit myself entirely in race gear.

I will definitely be back for this race.  Iron Girl remains questionable (partly due to the course, which is just too hilly to be enjoyable), but the crowd support at Frederick just makes this race incredible.

Race Report – 2012 Iron Girl Columbia Half Marathon

Holy hills, Batman!

Okay, so the hills weren’t a surprise.  I don’t know that the elevation chart was ever made public, but anyone who knows the area knew it would be a hilly race.  I just didn’t think about how giant some of the hills were going to be.  We didn’t even attempt to run up them, just walked as quickly as possible.

But let’s go back to the beginning.  This was an inaugural race, though a race being put on by a very well organized group.  So I expected some hiccups, but in general, things went pretty smoothly.

Packet pickup was easy, but one frustrating part was that we were told that all packets had to be picked up in person – no one could pick up a packet for someone else.  At the pickup, we all had to have wristbands put on our wrists so that we could prove no one was running with someone else’s bibs.  However, when I showed up, there was someone picking up 14 bibs!  (This may have been a charity deal, I suppose.)  And the lovely pink wristbands?  They were never checked.  Mine didn’t bother me, but I know some people found them very irritating.

Race morning, the parking was plentiful, but the porta-potties were not.   Lines were long and not very organized, though everyone was quite polite.  One complaint I saw was that there was only one potty stop on the course for those who missed the stop at the beginning.  Again, no problem for me, but I can’t imagine having to try to find a place to “go.”  I’m sure this will be fixed next year.

The race itself was nice – pretty course, but hilly.  There were some spots where I felt like we were shoved off to one little side of the road with cars passing by way too close and way too fast.  It would have been nice to have the whole lane in which to run.  It was to the point where we could basically run single file and that was it.  Not ideal in a race situation.

The finish line was tiny, but there was a nice little finisher’s village with food and drink.  The medals are pretty and we got a sterling silver bracelet as well to celebrate this inaugural race.

Will I be back?  I don’t know.  I didn’t dislike the race and can’t really complain about it, but it’s a hilly course during a time of year where there are a lot of races.  This might get skipped next year (unless they do the Titanium Girl bonus bling with Frederick again – that will get me here in a heartbeat).