Baltimore Half Race Recap & Life Update

Again with the long gaps between posts!  Get it together Sara!  I’ve just been so busy with work, training, and raising a threenager that by the time I get some time to myself, I need to veg.  Some of you other bloggers with multiple children and crazy schedules that post daily?  I tip my hat to you.

Since I last checked in, I went to Disney World, I went to Cancun, and yes, fit a half marathon in there.  The weeks since the Chuck 12 were pretty standard, track night, tempo runs, long runs, and yoga.  However, during an 11 miler, right before the Chuck 12 actually, I had a horrible pain run down my butt and hamstring.  I stretched it and it seemed to go away.  I had a PT look at it and it turns out my left hip was out of alignment, causing piriformis issues.  Nothing serious, I could work on it at home, but at least I had an explanation for the pain in my butt.

Durning the taper, late September & early October, is when I went to Disney and Cancun.  I had intentions to get at least one run in while in Disney, but the Florida humidity did nothing for me.  Plus, I’m fairly certain I walked enough miles pushing a stroller to make up for it.  Besides, this made it all worth it.  #allthefeels


  
Cancun was the following week (and the week before the Baltimore Half) and basically recovery from Disney since it was just Brian and I.  Despite the timing it was a trip we couldn’t pass up for the price we paid.  It was beautiful and I’m determined to take more trips to all inclusive resorts.

On to the Baltimore Running Festival!  I went to the Expo on Thursday, 10/15, for packet pickup.  It was held at the Raven’s Stadium this year as opposed to the convention center like last year.  I was able to get my bib and shirt pretty easily, but the layout left a little to be desired.  I had bought some cute shirts from Charm City Run earlier in the week, so I wasn’t really in need of any new gear.  Of course I stopped by the Sweaty Bands booth and added to my collection.  I think I have a problem.

Flat Sara ready to go!

Race morning was expected to be cold.  That made me evaluate my goal for race day.  Being as burnt on running as I was, I just wanted to finish under 3 hours, and was okay without a PR.  I had been slacking and just not feeling it for the month prior.

When I saw the forecast, though, I thought I could try and PR.  I did 2:49:59 in Frederick in the spring, when had it not been for the heat, I could have done better.  I thought I could pull off getting close to that, so a PR was my going to be my goal.

On race morning, I took the light rail downtown to meet up with the others in my training group and to watch the marathon start.  The half started later than I’m used to running, 9:45, but that gave me plenty of time to hit the potty before the race started.  If you read my recap last year I was afraid of waiting and had to pee badly for the first 6 miles then waited in a crazy long line mid race.

I finished up in the porta potty line as my wave started walking towards the start, so I hopped right in and started my walk to the start.  As I crossed the starting line, I started my watch, started my Another Mother Runner podcast and got to work. About a 10th of a mile in I remembered that my watch was not set to Autolap and freaked out a bit.  Then I thought it might be a good thing, I decided to just run each mile, click the lap when I passed a mile marker and just not worry about it.

My plan was to take the first 9 miles conservatively (the uphill part) and then pick it up for the last 4.  I was afraid of working too hard on the hills and not being able to finish strong.  The first half of the race was uneventful, other than feeling good.  I passed the time by counting rats.  (Hello, I’m in Baltimore!)  I counted 10 up until about mile 7, when we hit Lake Montebello.  And those are just the 10 that I saw.  🙂

Brian and Charlotte we’re going to meet me at mile 9 by the YMCA, so I was really looking forward to that.  However, once I got there,  Brian asked me to watch Charlotte so he could go to the bathroom.  WTF?!  I kinda didn’t know what to say and agreed.  I thought it would be a quick in and out but it turned out to be about 3 minutes now that I’m looking at my splits.  Charlotte wasn’t even paying attention to me, so it wasn’t even worth it.  As soon as he came out, I took off again.

This is where in my plan I wanted to speed it up and so I did.  The last 4 miles (with the exception of mile 12 when I hit the Howard Street Bridge) were my fastest miles.  I had looked at my watch at some point during mile 10 or mile 11 and realized a PR was going to be out of reach – not that I slowed down or anything.  I still had some hope that maybe my chip start time was later or something that might make it work.  I’d be cutting it really close.  Once I hit the downhill on Eutaw street I was full steam ahead and ran strong all the way across the finish.  The clock time at the finish line was 3:08 and change.  My official time was 2:53:59 exactly 4 minutes over my Frederick PR.

BRF4

Now back to that bathroom break.  When I look at my “non moving time” it’s about 3 minutes, nothing scientific.  But the time was close enough to a potential PR that I kindly let Brian know how pissed off I was about his bathroom break.  While I understand he’s with Charlotte and taking her to the bathroom with him can be awkward – I told him I would have rather missed him on the course than had to stop.  He didn’t seem to understand that even though I wasn’t going to “win” I still didn’t want to stop.  When I told him how close I was to beating the other time, he felt really bad.  I’m okay with it now – I still had a course PR by about 15 minutes, so there’s that.  I’m headed to Cleveland in the spring for a flatter half, so that’s where I’ll get my next PR.

This was probably my best race ever.  I felt strong the whole time, I went into it with a plan and followed through.  Sometimes I think maybe I took the first 9 miles too conservatively, but I got my strong finish and that’s all that matters.

BRF5

So am I done for 2015?  I might have one more race in me – a 5 miler or something.  I’ll be traveling a lot in November, so I’m planning to spend some time on the treadmill, and come December come up with another plan like last year to get in some cross training and keep up my fitness.  Also – I’m going to the PT again to get the hip checked out and make sure the piriformis issue doesn’t become something bigger.

How has your training been going?  What’s next on your race agenda?  Have you ever been stopped in the middle of a race?