I feel like I have talked about the BRF (Baltimore Running Festival) on here so much that you would have thought it was my goal race. I guess in a way, maybe it was. I had been itching for a new half-marathon PR all year, especially after holding the pace I wanted in both a 10 miler and 12 miler. My previous PR was from March 2012, and since then nothing has gone right when it came to half-marathons.
Race morning started out unlike most others. First of all, the race start for the half-marathon was 8:45. It is usually 9:45 but all the race times had been moved up because of a potential Oriole’s game. Still, this was later than I am used to. I spread out my food intake throughout the morning: 5:45- scrambled eggs; 7:15- honey stinger waffle; 8:15- 1/2 banana. This seemed to work well and luckily there were no stomach issues! I also took a Powerbar Performance Energy Blend at mile 7. I think it helped that the night before I had a sweet potato instead of pasta. (I ate a few bites but felt like the sweet potato was enough).
My parents and Rob were running the 5k, which started at 7:20. So my parents came by to park at our place and drop off their stuff around 6:15. After the three of them headed off I got ready, warmed up, and watched the start of the race on TV. I even got to see Rob start the 5k!
At 7:45 my friend Katie was dropped off by her dad to run her very first half-marathon! Shortly after she arrived, the other three runners made it back. My parents had run together and I think they were just happy to be done!
Rob had set a new PR in the 5k! He then had to get ready to run the half-marathon. (He signed up for both races, and told me after “Never again”).
Around 8:15 I headed outside and ran a warm up mile. I came back home and those of us running the half made our way over to the start. (Are you confused yet? I couldn’t really keep track of everything going on at the time). Also, my sister was running the first leg of the relay (which is like the first 7 miles of the marathon) but we never saw her with everything else that was going on.
I dropped off Katie in her corral and tried to make my way up to corral 1. I didn’t quite make it there when the gun went off because it was so crowded, but I made it to the front of corral 2. I was feeling good and ready to run!
Running through the starting line was just as awesome as I remembered it. As the half-marathoners are lining up, the full-marathoners are running by next to us. We will all merge together later around mile 3 of the half.
My first mile was an 8:15, mostly because I was a little boxed in. Each mile after was slightly faster and I felt like I was running the pace I had planned. I just wanted to survive the hills feeling strong so I could finish fast.
I was hitting the “lap” button on my watch eat time I passed a mile marker rather than using auto lap since it always ends up so far off. Mile 6 ended up measuring 1.1 miles and apparently it took me 8:50. This freaked me out a little but I was able to stay positive and focus on getting back on pace. I’m not sure if I was weaving, or the mile was actually long, or my watch was really that far off, but I also know that mile was mostly uphill and there was a quick turnaround point.
After we ran around Lake Montabello (which is nice and flat!) we had 8 miles done and I knew the uphills weren’t as bad from that point on. I began to pick up my pace slightly.
At mile 11 I did the math and knew I could PR. I didn’t want to take any chances, so I started to run harder, especially on the downhills. I realized I ran mile 11 in 7:16 and got a little nervous, but knew I could hold on for 2 more miles. Plus I knew I had given myself more of a cushion to PR.
As I got closer to the finish I could start to hear and see all the crowds. It is really amazing to run through the last portion with all the cheering.
As you can see from the pictures, I was actually able to smile at the end. I was so excited to see a 1:43:16 on my watch- almost a minute and a half PR!
The finishers chute was SO much better this year than last. There was no line so I was able to get my medal, some snacks, water, and beer tickets and make my way out of the runner’s area. I found some friends and then my dad. Eventually Rob also found us and then Katie finished and was officially a half-marathoner!!!
We all hung out for a bit and got to meet up with Katie’s family but then she realized she had to walk a few miles to their car. That is not something that someone who just ran 13 miles for the first time ever wants to hear! So they headed out to begin the trek before her legs could realize what just happened. Rob and I got food with my parents before they headed home.
While I am THRILLED with my time I do think I could have run a little faster if conditions were perfect. But the thing is, conditions usually aren’t perfect so I am very much accepting this time for now. Hopefully it won’t be another three years until I get another half-marathon PR!
Now it’s time to recover and get back into marathon training mode. Only 5 weeks to go!!
Have you ever run a local race with a lot of family and/or friends?
Have you ever set a PR but felt like you could have done even better?