This was a great race. Corrigan Sports, in my opinion, always does an excellent job with their events. The course is great. It’s a lake to lake tour of nothern Baltimore, starting by Druid Park Lake and going over to Lake Montebello and back. Not the most scenic course, but definitely a good tour of the city. All that being said, this was not a great race for me for a couple of different reasons, which I’ll get into later.
Race day weather was good. Temperatures were in the sixties, but there was some humidity in the air. It was also overcast for first half of the race, which always helps. They started the race at 7:30 and had 4 waves. I hung out in the 3rd wave behind the 2 hour pace group knowing that I wanted to be within 10 minutes of them.
I had previewed the course and had run part of it during the Baltimore Half in the fall, so I knew where the hills were going to be. Right away, we started on a flat that led to a long downhill run, nearly a mile. The first few miles wound through Druid Hill Park, over to Johns Hopkins University, and then eastbound on 28th street. Back in 2003, I actually worked at an Enterprise Rent A Car down the street, so I was very familiar with these streets. The 2nd & 3rd miles went from 28th Street, to north on Greenmount, then east on 33rd. There were rolling hills and by the 3 mile mark, it was pretty much a downhill until Lake Montebello where it flattens out for the 4th & 5th miles. What comes down must go back up though.
I pushed through the sixth mile, which was primarily back uphill and I think it took a lot out of me because the 7th mile was my worst mile in a long time. Mentally I was torn between “I can’t run anymore” and “Damnit Sara you can do this!” The sun had made its way out from behind the clouds at this point, so it was a little warmer and my legs were tired. By the 8th mile I had redeemed myself a bit but then we reached the dreaded hill at mile 9. What was a delightful downhill in the beginning was a monster at the end. I thought that final hill at the Frederick Half was a dream crusher…that was until I met this one. Mile 9 of the Baltimore 10 Miler is officially my worst mile EVER!
I miraculously made it to the top – I didn’t bother running any of it. I wanted to save my energy for the 10th and final mile. The last mile actually approaches the finish, but you have to loop around another part of the park to finish the mile. It’s such a tease to see the finish line and have to see it from afar. I did make it though – high fived Blue the Crab as I crossed, and enjoyed the fact that I did finish.
On the other side of the finish line, there was a cold wet towel waiting for me (whoever thought of providing this deserves sainthood.) There was also water, chips, orange wedges, bananas, and watermelon.
After cooling off and eating my snacks I got in line for my medal and premium. Not everyone got a medal though. As a King Crab Challenger, there was a medal offered only to King Crab Challenge participants (to go on the awesome medal display that I will pick up at the Baltimore Half in October.) The Baltimore 10 was the second leg of the King Crab Challenge, just one more race to go! The premium is really nice too – a red heathered pullover, with thumbholes AND zippered pockets! Oh the things that get us runners excited.
I also ran into this lovely lady. Amber from PB & PRs! If any of you other bloggers out there are signed up for Charles Street 12 – we need to have a blogger after party!
Overall this is a great race. I want to do it again. I love running in Baltimore. Even though it is not my hometown, I’ve basically lived here since I started college in 1998 and it’s my hometown now. Corrigan Sports Enterprises also organizes the Frederick Half and the Baltimore Running Festival and I’ve had nothing but great experiences at all their races. This race is no exception, from the communication before the race, the packet pick up, to the Race Village & post race festival. I’ll be back for you Baltimore 10 Miler!!!
After the race, I raced back home because is was show week at Charlotte’s Little Gym class. She got to show off her favorite skills and they showed us what skills they were working on. She just switched from the Mommy & Me class a few months ago and it has made a world of difference. She’s doing so much more on the balance beam and her donkey kicks are insane. I’m so proud of her. She even got a medal too.
Now to cover something a little less exciting, my flaws in running this race. Hills. You cannot run in Baltimore if you do not train on hills. My neighborhood loop is hilly, but I never run more than 5-6 miles in my neighborhood. My long runs are typically done on the the flat NCR Trail which is minutes from my house. It’s just more convenient. The hilly area to run is not nearly as convenient, so unless I’m meeting a group there, I never go there. This summer I signed up for the half marathon training group at Charm City Run again so I will be running more hills in preparation for the Baltimore Half.
I also know that I am not as mentally strong as I would like to be. This race really highlighted that for me. Maybe it was the hills, maybe it was the heat during the second half of the race, maybe it was the “just barely enough” training I had done in my own mind. Either way, I definitely got in my own head and allowed myself to walk too much during this race. This is something I want to work on this summer. I have my little mantras that I chant to myself, but I need a little more mental training. So I’m going to work on that. Conveniently enough, the new issue of Runners World has an article on this topic to get me started.
What are your pitfalls and how do you work through them? Did you run or race this weekend? What is your favorite finish line goody?