Sunday, October 16, 2011

Baltimore Half-Marathon Race Round-Up

A year ago today, I was on my way back from running my first marathon in Baltimore.  I was tired.  My legs ached in ways that I didn’t know was possible, and I wanted to curl into a ball and sleep until my legs felt less like cement.

Still, I was hooked and running became a huge part of my life.

Yesterday, I went back to Baltimore to run the half marathon with Nicole, Jason, and Ned.  I hadn't planned on running Baltimore when I set my race calendar, but when Ned mentioned that he wanted to run the race in honor of Steve - who was diagnosed with cancer shortly after running the marathon last year - it became something that I wanted to do for our friend.

It was incredible to be back in the city and lining up for the race that started it all, and I was surprised at how much of the course – including the exact locations of each of the water stations -- I remembered.  I also remembered exactly where I felt like crap and where I wanted to give up but had no choice but to get myself to the finish line. 

The race went so much better than it did last year.  (My guess is that my progress as a runner and choice a race that was 13.1 miles shorter had something to do with that.) 

Being familiar with the course, I decided that the first few miles should be run at a comfortable pace (9:00-ish).  When things start to get hilly, I would slow my pace but exert the same effort until the downhill portions came; then, I could fly.  I stuck to my plan and made it up all of the hills with no trouble – at least compared to last year when my internal monologue was screaming for me to stop.

The wind picked up around Lake Druid, making things a little more challenging. It looked like I had plenty of time to pick up my first sub-2:00 half.  Around Mile 10, it hit me that I’d run the Army 10 Miler the previous Sunday and was nowhere near 100% recovered.  


It wasn’t a huge deal, but I started to feel the miles enough to slow down a bit.

Heading into Camden Yards, I ran into friends who had come up for the race (and post-race beer and crab cakes) before crossing the finish line.

Gun Time: 2:12:49
Chip Time: 2:05:48 (New PR)
Pace: 9:36 mile

I didn’t look at my times yesterday or compare myself to my previous race, but I just looked while I was typing this post and saw that this race sets a new personal record for the half-marathon.  I get that I’m training, but really?  Even though I ran a race six days prior and had nothing but hills for about three miles on the course?  Are you sure?

Okay then.  I'll take it!

Week 17:
Monday: Stretching, very light cross training and strength training
Tuesday: Speed Workout – 45 Minutes
Wednesday: 5 Miles
Thursday: 3 Miles
Friday: Rest
Saturday: 18 Miles
Sunday: 3 Miles (easy), strength training

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