When planning out my Fall race schedule with the Marine Corps Marathon in mind, I knew the Baltimore Running Festival was a must again this year. Despite a race that didn’t go as planned last year, I loved the course and I knew I had to be back. This is how it went down this year.
Expo: I ran to and from the expo from my boyfriends place, making it a quick and easy experience. Within 15 minutes I had my bib, shirt, and another shirt I purchased. With only a quick glance at the expo it seemed to be alright. I was sad that Sweaty Bands wasn’t back, but my goal was to save my $$ for the MCM expo anyways.
Friday night: I missed being with my best friend and her aunt like last year (and many other races), however I had a nice night in with Jake. Pasta with meatballs and some wine were consumed, movies were watched, “Flat Sam” was prepared, and I was in bed around 11:30.
Goals: I kept it to myself, but aside from having fun, deep down I really wanted to beat my time from last year (2:24:47).
Pre-race: The race started at 9:45, just four blocks from Jake’s house (SO CONVENIENT). I planned to sleep until 8, however was up at 7 with super pre-race anxiety. I had my UCan and made my way to the race area around 8:45. I was happy to spend some time with my friend/coach before the November Project bounce. Seriously – a bounce was just what I needed to calm my nerves and get my pumped to run in my favorite city. I met up with another friend, Erin. I’m so glad I found her because being alone at such a big race made me anxious. We started together but split early on so I could do my run/walk intervals.
Miles 1-7: I started out doing 2:00/:30 intervals, which I did the entire race. I did a lot of weaving, and got stuck behind groups of people running together and at water stations, but nonetheless I felt great. The hills were long, but they didn’t kill me like they did last year. My paces averaged between 10:42 and 11:21, about what I typically run during the middle of my long runs. I reached Lake Montebello, which is a bit past half way and felt tired, but good.
Miles 8-13.XX – Things started to go awry once I left the Lake around mile 8.5. Really, if you look at my splits I didn’t slow down all that much, but everything felt hard. The hills, while not horrible, never ended. The sun was super warm and I could tell I wasn’t hydrating enough. Getting to the November Project cheer station at mile 9.5 kept me going. BOY did I need it when I got there and it fueled me for a good mile. I really struggled in the last mile and a half – going over a bridge and coming back into downtown. I walked much more than I would have liked in the last mile, including stopping and keeling over for 20 seconds in Camden Yards. I felt like I just couldn’t move any more. If it wasn’t for seeing/hearing Lauren when I started running again, I would have cried from defeat the rest of the way to the finish.
Finish time: 2:25:11 (13.21 miles, 11:00 pace – time matches the BRF website exactly).
Last year: 2:24:47 (13.07 mi, 11:05 pace).
Did I meet my goal? No. Again. Not technically. But I sincerely gave it my best. There was a point around mile 11.5 when I just kept saying out loud “You CAN do it”. And while on the clock it doesn’t show it, I really did do better than last year. My avg. pace was better (I weaved so much during the first four miles) and I didn’t crash and die. Last year my first mile was 10:18 and my slowest was 12:11. This year my miles ranged from 10:42 to 11:44. I was much more consistent, and with a marathon in my reach, that’s super important to me.
Will I do this race again? Yes. Always. Every year until I can’t. I love this race. The spirit of the city reminds me why I love it here so much. I 100% intend to sign up for next year’s King Crab Challenge, which is the Frederick Running Festival 13.1, Baltimore 10 Miler, then Baltimore Running Festival 13.1 or 26.2.