When I signed up for the Baltimore 10 Miler back in May, it was still cold and rainy. Then the summer heat and humidity hit full force, and race day was no exception. I checked the temps the day before and it was supposed to be about 70 degrees at the start and cloudy, so I figured it wouldn’t be so bad. However, I had NO IDEA just how humid it would be.
The morning of the race I ate oatmeal with almond butter and a banana around 5:30am, along with some coffee. We left around 6:25 to drive to Druid Hill where the race took place. I read my recap from 2014 and remembered that it took a long time to park, so we gave ourselves plenty of time.
This was my 4th year running the race. I ran a 1:22:11 and 1:22:13 in 2012 and 2013, and then broke my PR in 2014 with a 1:19:12. Going into the race I felt like I could PR, but once I realized how humid it was I questioned how things would go.
After a short warm up I tried to find my way to my wave (the start line is always so crowded) and I ended up having to climb through a gate to avoid starting with the 12 min/mile wave. I wasn’t sure exactly where I was, but somewhere between a 7 min/mile and a 9 min/mile. The race started right on time (which was nice because in 2014 they started it at 7:40- 10 minutes late!) and the first mile is downhill. Other than a little weaving, I felt pretty good and ran a 7:38 which didn’t feel too hard.
I knew pretty much right away that the humidity would make this tough. It was one of those days where you start sweating just standing still. I tried to ignore it and just focus on running off of effort. It’s an out and back course, so every downhill we get going out means an uphill coming back. I also always remember that the hardest part of the course is mile 9, coming back to the park, so I try to save some energy for that.
I took water at every single aid station, and wished there was more. (There were plenty, but it just goes to show how much I was sweating and how hot and humid it was). With each cup of water I drank most of it and threw the rest on my head. So between the water and the sweat I was pretty drenched the whole time.
Around mile 8 I knew I was on track for a PR if I could hold onto my pace. As I climbed the hill back to the park I slowed down quite a bit and desperately wanted to walk, as many others around me were doing. I managed to keep running because I knew if I stopped it would be harder to stop again. Once I made it to the top of the hill I had about .8 miles to the finish so just gave it everything I had.
Here are my splits:
I guess the course was slightly short, because there were some street closures and usually my watch read about 10.1 miles due to weaving early on. Official results were 1:18:10, 18th in my age group, 64th female, and 250th overall. This was a 1 minute PR from my time in 2014!
After finishing I got a cold towel, water, Gatorade, and some snacks including watermelon. I found Rob and we went to get our premiums (which you only get after you finish the race). We saw Lauren (Salt) and chatted with her for a bit and then went and grabbed some beers.
When we decided to leave it took us FOREVER to get out of the park because the only exit from where we parked was part of the race course. There was another exit to the street but it was blocked off for some reason!
While I am really happy with my performance in this race, the weather conditions were frustrating. I know I’m not really acclimated to the heat and humidity but even in the middle of the summer this would have been a tough day to race. The hills are tough, but fair. I feel like I run pretty well on courses like this because mentally I know I always get the same downhills as uphills. It’s always a fun race environment with great crowd support, a nice premium, and good beer and snacks post race.
I’m sure I will be back next year, and I’m already hoping for better weather!
What are the toughest weather conditions you have ever raced in?
What is your favorite local race?
Do you like out and back race courses?