On December 3rd, I finished my last race as a member of the 20-24 age group. Okay, so I’m not “competitive” in my age group but it is still a fun way to remember the race. In actuality, I almost didn’t even run this race. I wasn’t feeling confident due to a lack of a consistent running schedule and was dreading being up at 5 am to run in the cold! Like the Annapolis Running Classic, I hoped to do well in the back of my mind, but I really ran to have FUN.
The night before: I had a wonderful night out with my boyfriend (as well as my roommate and her BF) doing everything you probably shouldn’t do before a “race”. We enjoyed some Christmas lights, went square dancing and ordered gourmet french fries at 11 pm. I wasn’t in bed until 1 AM, and I was afraid I’d regret it in the morning. (I didn’t even do a Flat Sam!)
Pre race: I was up at 4:50 to get dressed and head out the door. The race organizers offered race-morning bib pick up, which was great. You were even allowed to change your race distance, which I almost did. I was slightly turned off by the fact that it was advertised to close at 6, which meant I had another 45 minutes to sit in my car and have my UCan before lining up. I met another runner to chat with, which was fun and took my mind off of the race. There were plenty of clean porta jons, and the start of the race was very organized.
Miles 1-3: I started slightly behind the 2:15 pacer, figuring that if it was a really good day, maybe I could handle that. I’d try to run without walking, but if I had to add some in, I would. I felt sluggish and very slow during these miles, and was so nervous about covering the whole distance. I was pretty socked in for the first two miles, but the course opened up after that. I lost the pacer after about a mile, and never found her again. Splits: 1o:30, 10:09, 10:24 (no intervals).
Miles 4-7: After mile 3 we were on the Promenade, where I now run quite often. Even with the lack of confidence in myself, it was nice to know where I was and where the course would take me. I started feeling a little better and knew I could push a little harder so I sped up while also adding in a :30 walk break every .5 miles. It was just enough to compose myself and catch my breath a little. During this part we ran through the Under Armor World Headquarters – something I’ve been trying to do for a while but I could never figure out how to get there! Around mile 6 I knew a PR was in reach – I was feeling good and I was gaining speed. At the turn around at mile 7, I kicked my butt into gear. Splits: 10:19, 9:55, 9:34 (with a 20 second stop to refill my bottle), 9:34.
Miles 8-13: Things continued to go smoothly after the turnaround – the course was the same on the way back aside from the last mile (on the promenade instead of the road). I kept myself going by setting my sights on someone and passing them. I kept knocking them off and it felt freaking fantastic. I didn’t gain any speed, but I stayed very steady. Around mile 10, I realized that not only a PR was in my reach, but so was a sub-2:10 if I could just hold on. I’d never felt so good in a half before, and I felt so energized with this possibility. The miles ticked by and I only checked my watch because it was a reminder that I WAS doing it. In the last mile I knew I would be so close to a 2:10. While in some races I get really emotional at the end, this time I was just so intensely focused. Splits: 9:35, 9:38, 9:38, 9:41, 9:43, 9:43.
Mile 13 – 13.1 nubbin: :42. 7:47 pace, y’all. I had a kick! I didn’t get passed at the end! (Actually, I remember only one person passing me, and staying in front of me, in the last 3 miles.) At the end I wanted to jump. I wanted to scream. I wanted to cry happy tears. And really, I didn’t do anything. I was in complete shock at what I just did. Not only did I PR, I PR-ed by 6:30 and finished with my first sub-2:10 (also my best time of the year by 10 minutes).
After getting my medal, stretching, and grabbing a bagel (from Panera) I headed to my car to leave, as I had commitments in the afternoon. Long story short – this part was horrific. I waited over an hour to get out of the lot, and paid $50 to park instead of $15. Not fun and so not cool.
Aside from the parking situation (great getting in, horrible leaving), this race was wonderful. The start/finish area was well organized, the aid stations were full with friendly volunteers and entertainment, and the course is FLAT (which is rare for Baltimore). Knowing that this was Race 13.1’s first year, I look forward to see how they can grow in the future!
Check out my Bib Rave review of the race itself here!
Disclaimer: I won an entry to this race through a #Bibchat raffle on Twitter. As always, all opinions are my own.
Have you ever run a race for fun and ended up with a PR? Do you count the people you pass/who pass you at the end of a race?