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?

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Baltimore 10 Miler Recap

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.

Getting ready to cross the starting line.

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.

I couldn’t wait.

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.

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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.

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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?

 

  

  

  

  

  

  

Frederick Half Marathon Training – Week 2

Another week down and another week closer to my next half.  There was some exciting news on the race front this week too.  The Frederick Half is part of the King Crab Challenge that I signed up for last fall.  It includes the Frederick Half in May, the Baltimore 10-Miler in June, and the Baltimore Half in October.  It was a great discount to sign up for all three last fall and for completing the 3 races, I get an extra premium – last year it was a backpack.  They just announced this years prize:

King Crab Medal Rack

This picture isn’t the greatest, but it’s a medal rack for all 4 medals I’ll earn from completing the King Crab!  The hooks are crab claws!  My mind wants it to be October already so I can hang this up NOW.  The other awesome thing about this?  Typically, you don’t get a medal for completing the Bmore 10-Miler – but this year, if you signed up for the King Crab Challenge – you do!  So that’s a medal for Frederick, the 10-Miler, Baltimore, and the Maryland Double medal for doing both Frederick & Baltimore halves.  I hate to admit it, but I love bling – and this is just all kinds of blingy.

Okay okay, back to Frederick.  I grew up in Frederick, so doing the half marathon there was a no-brainer.  It’s a smallish town, and back when I lived there, even smaller – they didn’t even have a Target until I was away at college. Can you imagine???  I was so deprived!  I didn’t have a bad time growing up there but I couldn’t wait to get out when I started college.

Each week, I’d like to share a little factoid or tidbit about Frederick, so you can learn a little bit about the city I call my hometown.

 

Frederick Factoid #1

Francis Scott Key, who wrote the Star Spangled Banner, is buried in Frederick in Mt. Olivet Cemetery.  Frederick’s main shopping mall is named after him, as is the minor league baseball team, the Frederick Keys.  Nothing says “American Hero” like having a mall named after you and a baseball mascot called the Keyote (like coyote).

Keyote

Aaaawoooo!

Now, on to my workouts:

Monday – Body Pump – legs were still sore from Sunday, but class went okay.

Tuesday – Speed Work – There was freezing rain overnight so when I went outside and saw the sidewalks I was a little cautious, then when I saw the thick layer of ice on my windshield I said forget it.  My legs were STILL sore from Sunday’s run and I decided I would go after work.  When I got on the treadmill that afternoon, my legs felt like lead.  Speed work wasn’t going to happen.  So I decided to stay on for an easy 30 minutes, which then became finish out the 2.5.  So I did.  It was hard, but I’m glad I got in something.

Wednesday – Yoga – I held crow again!  Still only for a few seconds, I spoke to the teacher after class and got a few pointers.  So I’m hoping I’ll nail it soon.

Thursday – Tempo Run – This was a tough one to get started, but felt okay once I did.  I started with the 5 minute easy warm up like last week, did 30 minutes at tempo pace, then a 5 minute cooldown.

Friday – REST!

Saturday – 6 Miles – Treadmill – The first three miles were good. I stopped for a potty break and it was hard to get restarted. I finished the end of it strong though.  I started the Serial podcast and that helped pass the time.

Total Miles – 11.86

So I’m looking forward to Week 3.  I have some work things going on this week along with crazy weather, I’m hoping to be able to get all my runs in.  Next weekend, I’m scheduled for 8.  I’m hoping and praying for decent weather so I can do it outside.  Six on the treadmill was a mental struggle – I don’t want to have to experience 8.

I know others have done more, but how do you get through the longer runs on the treadmill?  When you are at the gym, do you take in fuel while running your long runs?  If you aren’t currently living in your hometown, have you ever gone back to run it?