This was my 3rd consecutive year running in the Baltimore 10 miler, and I have decided that I have a love/hate relationship with this race. I’ll probably run it every year, but I will complain about the same things every time. However, those negatives (the hills, heat, parking situation, crowded start to name a few) will always be overshadowed by the amazing atmosphere, beautiful views along (parts of) the course, awesome race premiums, and the best post-race celebration in Baltimore.
The race is pretty much an out-and-back course starting at the Maryland Zoo, heading along the streets of Baltimore, around Lake Montebello, and back to the zoo.
Typically it is really hot for this race, since it is always held in mid-June. Although it starts at 7:30am, by the time runners are finishing the sun is out in full force. We got lucky this year, as it was 68 degrees at the start with only 60% humidity.
I got up at 5:15 on Saturday morning and ate a half a bagel with peanut butter and a banana while drinking some coffee. I had planned to leave at 6:15, but by the time I got ready and warmed up a little it was closer to 6:30. I wasn’t too worried since it only takes about 10 minutes to drive to the race.
I knew there would be traffic around the parking area, but it was way worse than I remember. I sat in traffic from 6:40-7:05 but luckily got a decent spot that was less than at 5 minute walk to the start line. I warmed up a little more and decided to line up at 7:20. I had to make my way from all the way in the back up to the 1:20 wave. It’s kind of annoying because they have the sides blocked off so you need to push your way through the crowds to move up. Once I got to my spot I heard them say the race wouldn’t be starting until 7:40. I was glad I had gotten to where I wanted to start, but annoyed that I had to stand there for extra time. There wasn’t much room to continue warming up.
My goal was to break 1:20, but in past years I had run 1:22 and change. I really didn’t know if I had a sub 1:20 in me this year, but wanted to try. I decided to start near the 1:20 pace group but try to run off of feel even if that meant not staying with the group. When I started out I was holding about a 7:55 pace, right on target, and was a little ahead of the pace group. The first few miles are mostly downhill and I felt really good. I tried not to go out too fast, knowing I had many more miles ahead.
I ran with the pace group from about miles 3-7. It was nice to not think about pace and just focus on sticking with them. As we went around the lake (which is flat) I was still feeling good and was ahead of my goal pace.
After mile 7 I knew that there was some rough uphills at the end so I wanted to make up some time before them, which meant speeding up a little and leaving the pace group. The crazy thing is, I didn’t really slow down on those last uphill miles, and according to my watch, the last mile was my fastest one.
I remember thinking around mile 9 that I felt like I could continue that pace for a few more miles. I need to start thinking about a goal half-marathon to try to beat my PR from 2 years ago.
I finished in 1:19:12, 16th out of 432 in my age group, 76th female out of 2,358, and 352nd overall out of 4,059.
You can see my finish line video here: http://results.chronotrack.com/athlete/index/e/9380549
After crossing the finish line I was given a cold towel, and picked up some food. I love that this race has watermelon at the finish!
After a little stretching, I got my race premium and free beers. I sat in the grass just taking it all in and enjoying the feeling of accomplishing a new PR.
All things considered, I am really happy with how this race went. I think going from training in high humidity to racing in low humidity helped a lot. I also think some of my hill repeats prepared me (physically and mentally) for this race. I had raced a 6k only 6 days before this race, and this week I am taking it easy to recover from all of those harder miles.
What are some factors that help you to run a PR?
What post-race treats are your favorite?
Any races you do every year but love/hate?
Don’t forget to enter my matcha powder giveaway!