Last Tuesday, a friend from CrossFit messaged me and asked me if I wanted to run the Baltimore Running Festival’s Half Marathon. She had mistakenly signed up for both the half marathon and the relay. Without thinking twice, I said “sure, why not?” I ran the Baltimore half back in 2011 and was not prepared. Both for the hills that Baltimore has (I trained around the harbor which is flat) and just in general. I ran the half in 2011 in 2:15:22.
Anyway, I woke up Saturday morning at 7 to begin getting ready for the half. This is the first half, and maybe because I hadn’t been training for it and was going into it just hoping to finish strong, that I took my sweet time getting ready and left my house (45 minutes away from Baltimore) at 8 when the marathon was starting. I obviously just did not have any sense of urgency Saturday morning. I hit a few road closures when I got close to the start but nothing that made me panic. I found a parking garage a few blocks from the start and watched the marathoners for a little while before hopping into Corral 1 at 9:30.
What I haven’t mentioned yet was the fact that I noticed my left ankle was swollen Friday night. It didn’t really hurt and I wasn’t sure what it was from. I was having a mental battle with myself and whether I should run the half marathon (13.1 on a swollen ankle???). I decided that since I did not have any attachment to this half, I would stop if my ankle decided not to work. Spoiler alert: It decided to work that entire race. Woohoo!
The weather stayed cloudy except for a few light showers/mists which felt refreshing. I had dejavu throughout the entire course remembering the hills that pissed me off in 2011 and the amazing, FLAT lake I ran around Miles 7 and 8. I also remember the bridge at Mile 11 that I cursed a couple of years ago. This year… it wasn’t so bad.
I crossed the finish line in 1:47:00. A 28 minute COURSE PR. A little less than 3 minutes shy of a distance PR but I was and still am pumped. I was hoping to finish under 2 hours. I didn’t bring my Garmin because of the rain and somehow my Nike Running app stopped working at .58 miles. I did not know my pace the entire way even though I thought I was running around an 8:45-8:50 pace. I finished at an average 8:10 pace with the first 6 miles at a 7:49 pace. What a pleasant surprise…
I hung out at the end eating and drinking for a little while before walking back to my car and driving to NJ for the weekend. Maybe it wasn’t the best idea to sit in the car for 3 hours after seriously racing this half marathon but I was driving home to a pizza dinner with Ashley and couldn’t wait!
The Baltimore Running Festival is a very well organized and fun race. Although you may run through sketchy areas of Baltimore, there is always a crowd and the spectators are great! The volunteers were also great! This year they made the finish shoot a little longer for the races that stepped over the finish line and the area with the food was also a little larger to hold the 27,000 people that run this race. There was lots of different food to choose from to include the normal bagels and bananas, as well as fruit cups, granola bars, oranges, olives (strange?) and Chick Fil A sandwiches!!!! After you made your way out of the runner’s area, there was a celebration village that was set up almost like a fair. There were vendors selling pizza, pretzels, and funnel case. Dunkin Donuts was also there giving out sample of their White Chocolate iced coffee and Pumpkin Spice hot coffee. I didn’t hang out long because it was already 1 by the time I left. The half marathon has a 945 start so half the day is gone by the time you finish. But I love sleeping in so I was OK with this.
Who else ran the BRF? Any PR’s? Share, share, share!!