Below is a recap of my 4th (Steven’s 2nd) half marathon:
EXPO – Due to the Orioles making the ALCS, the race organizers recommended attending the expo on Thursday evening due to the fact that the series could come back to Baltimore on Friday. Unfortunately, they were eliminated before the series came back to Baltimore, but I decided to stick with my plan and attend the expo on Thursday. Steven, Makayla, Gabby, Natalee, and I went to the expo. We parked at the stadium lot and walked to the convention center. After grabbing our race bibs, we found the computers to register Sam (Niebauer) since he had decided at the last minute to join us for the race. After that we headed downstairs to pick up our shirts and check out the rest of the expo. I bought a new shirt for the race. It’s pretty cool because it lists the names of the streets the race is held on (I think the full marathon streets are also listed; shhhh…don’t tell anyone I didn’t *really* run all those streets). Steven bought a shirt, a 13.1 magnet, and a cell phone hand strap. I probably could have done more shopping, but it was getting late so we decided to grab the shuttle to take us back to the van.
RACE EVE – The kids were staying with my mom so we dropped off their softball uniforms/equipment, said our goodbyes and left. After a quick stop at Kohls to buy some new race sunglasses, we decided to have dinner at Noodles. We both had the med salad, but I added chicken this time. We headed home, laid out my race gear, and I took a shower. I was actually very tired and thought I would fall asleep pretty easily, but after running over to Sam’s (Lent) house to have her French braid my hair, I was wide awake. We watched an episode of Big Bang Theory and I was still wide awake. Steven seemed to fall asleep pretty easily, but I kept having to shove him so he would stop snoring ;o) I am not sure what time I fell asleep but I think it was close to 11:30.
RACE DAY – The alarm went off at 4:20. I set my alarm ringtone to the Goonies, thinking it would excite me. Yeah, that didn’t really work like I intended it to. But we did get up and get ourselves together. Sam showed up just before 5:00. After gathering all our stuff we were on the road by a little after 5:00. Sam decided to follow behind us so that he could leave quickly after the race was finished. We had decided to take the light rail because I had heard traffic would be a nightmare on race morning. We had never used the light rail, but it was very easy to navigate and before we knew it, we were on our way (we never did scan our passes or even have anyone ask for them…hmmmm). Steven and I shared a pb&J sandwich on the bus and followed it up with my bag of nuts.
We arrived at Camden Yards and headed to the finish line to hit the port-a-pots, drop our bags, and take a picture or two.
After that, we headed to the start line, which was a couple of blocks away. When we got close to the start line, we stopped at another set of port-a-pots and that’s when Crystal and Terra spotted Steven in line. Steven and Sam were in wave 2. Wave 1 and 2 were directed to the start down a different street so we separated at this point.
I went with Crystal and Terra to find the wave 3 and 4 start. Near the wave 4 spot, we were able to watch the lead marathoner pass by. This was near the 13.1 mark of the full marathon that had started at 7:00. It was pretty awesome to watch. Afterwards we said goodbye to Terra and were headed to find the wave 3 start. Once I saw how close it was to the wave 2 start, I decided to try to find Steven once more to get my banana that I had forgotten. Crystal was able to spot him (she has a special talent for that). Crystal and I headed back to our wave, found a good spot, and I ate my banana and then had my sport beans. Before we knew it, it was 8:45 and the first wave was off! Around 8:50, wave 2 started, and around 8:55, we were finally on our way! Crystal and I wished each other luck and off we went!
MILES 1 – 3 – The first few miles were congested, as expected. Mile 1 is always hard, but I found mile 2 to be a little tough as well. Around the mile 2 marker, I knew that this wasn’t going to be my best run.
MILES 4 – 8 – LOTS of hills!! I found mile 4-7 to be particularly tough. I decided to eat my waffle around mile 4.5. There was a street on the course that we turned around on and doubled back. I looked for Steven and Sam on my way down the street. I knew they were both wearing gray and would be hard to spot, but I was still looking. I never did find them. They may have been too far ahead of me. I did see Crystal on my way back up the street! It was nice to see someone I knew and seeing her gave me some much needed energy. Mile 8 took us around Lake Montebello. This was one of my favorite parts of the course. It was flat and there was a lot of crowd support. And I saw a couple of bulldogs 🙂
MILES 9-12.5 – More hills! I tried eating a couple of shot bloks. I was able to suck on them for a while and then would have to spit them out. There was still a lot of crowd support. Dancing tigers, salsa music and dancing in the street, kids in costumes. These were nice distractions, but at this point I was so OVER the hills and just wanted to be done!
MILE 12.5 – 13.1 – I LOVED the finish to this race. We ran through Camden Yards. The crowd support here was really great. I took my headphones out to take it all in. As usual, the last .1 mile felt like it took forever, but I finally crossed the finish line!
POST RACE – I grabbed some water, got my medal and then went to look for Steven and Sam. While standing in the crowd, Ky spotted me! I found Steven and Sam and we all headed over to get our photos taken. Crystal finished shortly afterwards and we met up with her, and had more pictures taken!
We left the finishing area to find our Marlyand Doubler medal (for completing both Frederick and Baltimore half marathons) and we collected our free beer. I try to drink my beer, but always end up giving most of it to Steven.
We hung out for a little bit and then it was time for Sam to go. We met up with Terra around this time and some of Crystals other running buddies. Steven and I decided to get going so we said our goodbyes and walked to the Inner Harbor to have lunch at the Cheesecake Factory.
We were both really exhausted and decided to head home afterwards. We made our way back to the light rail and were on our way home (the light rail and drive home seemed to take FOREVER because we were so tired).
My official time was 2:21:38. Here are my splits according to MAP MY RUN (Keep in mind that these are not entirely accurate because my GPS was not aligning with the official race mile markers…almost .5 mile off!!) :
Mile 1 – 9:50
Mile 2 – 10:09
Mile 3 – 9:33
Mile 4 – 10:06
Mile 5 – 10:25
Mile 6 – 10:31
Mile 7 – 11:25
Mile 8 – 10:07
Mile 9 – 11:23
Mile 10 – 10:42
Mile 11 – 10:26
Mile 12 – 10:50
Mile 13 – 10:35
Mile .6 – 9:46
Overall, I thought the Baltimore Running Festival was a very nice race. It was very well organized and we had lots of crowd support. The course itself was a little hilly for my liking. Out of my 4 half marathons, I definitely consider this the toughest course.