WARNING! LONG POST AHEAD!
So half marathon number two is in the books and it was great! I didn’t meet my time goal, but I did PR by 19 minutes! This race touts itself as a “Big Time Race With Small Town Charm” and that sums it up perfectly.
I guess I’ll start with packet pick up. They offered packet pick up at various Sports Authority locations in the DC & Baltimore metro areas all week long. I wasn’t able to get my packet until the Saturday before at the Expo. The expo was held at the Frederick Fairgrounds, the same location as the start and finish of the race. I arrived at the expo at about 2 PM and there were no lines. Packet pick up was in one building and then you went over to the expo building to pick up your premium. The premium is a really nice long sleeve tshirt with thumbholes. This years shirt is a nice Orioles orange. Totally forgot to take a picture of my shirt and medal. I’ll post it later.
I walked around the expo for a bit, bought a few Gus and another tshirt or two (Falls Road Running was there with some Baltimore specific shirts – I couldn’t help myself). I got back to my Mom’s house at about 3 and just relaxed for a bit until it was time to head back over for the Kids Fun Run. Charlotte was running again this year and she was so excited to win. We lined up at the start with the other kids and when it was time to go we took off. She held my hand for a bit then let go. She had the biggest smile on her face. Unfortunately, I think the only kids that end up with official pictures are the ones in the front.
After her race, we got her medal and her snack and headed out to meet my mom and go to dinner. We went Italian and I enjoyed a salad and penne with meatsauce.
I ended up spending more time on my feet than I wanted which had me concerned. My legs and feet were tired. I spent some time before bed stretching my feet and legs. I went to bed at about 9:30 and my 4:30 wake up came way too soon. I had read other’s race recaps and knew that traffic would be an issue getting in so my plan was to leave my mom’s at 5AM to get there and relax in the car. I got up, dressed, made my coffee and peanut butter bagel and headed over to the fairgrounds. Parking and traffic were no issue at that time. I was able to use a fairly fresh porta pottie too at that hour. One strange thing I did see was a guy in the car next to me pumping himself up with Motown Christmas music (think girl group “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus.”) I mean he was rocking out like he was listening to Metallica. I wanted to take a video but wasn’t sure if I could do it without being obvious.
So at about 6:30 I met up with some friends that were running and we just chatted for a bit before making our way to the start line. The starting temperature was perfect, in the mid 40s. We were so far back that I couldn’t hear any announcements and finally noticed the crowd moving to the start line. I readied my Garmin and soon we were off. I was starting out too fast and really trying to slow down, but it was hard. The first hill didn’t really come until just before the Mile 2 marker as we approached the downhill into Market Street – Frederick’s “Main Street”.
The first several miles take you through downtown Frederick and there is a good amount of crowd support. There were even priests outside blessing runners as we ran past a church. The course went around Baker Park, Hood College, and Frederick Memorial Hospital. I ended up running the first 5 miles much faster than I wanted and paid the price from there on out. The sun was out and it got warm quickly. I tried to run in the shade as much as I could and took in water and/or Gatorade at every aid station. This race had 9 aid stations with porta potties at every one. I didn’t come across an “official” porta pottie in the Baltimore Half until just past mile 6.
Right before mile 9, I ran past my old high school. I thought about the girl that used to go there and how insecure and unsure of herself she was. Thankfully I’m not that girl anymore.
The rest of the race was a hot sweaty blur. It was hot, sunny, and slower than I wanted. The area wasn’t as pretty as the first half and there wasn’t a ton of shade to find relief in. The neighborhood was nice, there was a guy handing out full bottles of water and a little boy had set up a water station with his mom. There were actually a ton of “pop up” water stations. This is why Frederick was a great place to grow up.
Once I passed the 12 mile marker I knew I was so close. I had given up my time goal a few miles prior, but I knew I might possibly come in under 2:50. So I pushed and pushed. As I approached the hill leading into the fairgrounds, a girl walking next to me groaned looking at it. I had read another blog that called the hill a dream crusher. And at this point in the race, it’s not a hill you want to see. She stated outloud that she would run up it and walk again at the top. I planned to run to the start of the gaurdrail in the middle of the hill and walk to the top. At this point I didn’t want to waste what energy I had left on the hill. We both took off and I wished her good luck and she went on to charge up the hill.
Getting onto that track never felt so good. I took a few more walk breaks and then when I hit the Mile 13 marker I started running again and didn’t stop until I crossed the finish. I didn’t know it at the time, but my Mom had brought Charlotte to the grandstand and they got to see me finish.
Thankfully I had the VIP passes and went straight there. The VIP area was set up on the stage overlooking the finish line. It was catered by Mo’s Southwest, so they had burritos, chips, and salsa to eat. Along with apples & bananas. They also had unlimited free beer. It was actually really nice to be able to go up there and watch the finish. I watched Sid Busch cross as well as two active duty soldiers who walked the entire half wearing their 45 pound packs on their backs. I cheered and clapped for everyone and it was a nice way to finish out my day.
I can’t believe I’ve done this twice!!! I was a tiny bit disappointed about not meeting my time goal, but I still came under 2:50 with an official time of 2:49:54. What could I have done differently? Could I have braved the cold and run outside more this winter? Sure. Could I have made the drive to the hillier area to do my long runs? Sure. Could I have controlled the sun? Nope. Besides going out to fast on race day, there was really nothing more I could have done and I’m still thrilled with the results.
The Frederick Half is a really beautiful race. I don’t know for sure if I’ll do this one again next year, but I will definitely be doing it again. I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to run a relatively flat race in a beautiful residential course.
Next up is the Baltimore 10 Miler on June 6th. Not a lot of time to rest, but that will be the second race of the King Crab Challenge and will be the last race that I feel the need to be “trained” for until I start up Baltimore Half training sometime in July.
Whew that was long. What is your favorite post race snack? Is there anything you do during spring training in the cold to prepare you for the warmer race day temperatures?