Isn’t it just the worst when you wait too long to write a race recap and then you forget all the details about the race? It’s been a full week since the Charles Street 12 and I’m finally sitting down to work on my recap. While in some ways it’s good to take some time to process things, I also feel like my perception of the experience changes as the days post-race go by.
Charles Street 12 Training and Race Prep
In case you’re new here, this was my first race after having a baby back in December. I started running again (off and on) in late February, and began building back mileage in June. In July I started “training” which gave me about 7 weeks of specific workouts geared towards this 12 mile race. I had Laura write my training plan so that I didn’t overdo it but got in enough quality workouts to run a strong race.
I tried not to focus too much on a time goal being that this was my first race back. It was also my first long distance race (longer than a 5k) since October 2017 when I ran a half-marathon. I told Laura that I would like to run 8 minute miles but it would depend a lot on the weather and other factors. The Charles Street 12 is a net downhill course, with lots of rolling hills.
I’m going to include my pumping schedule in this part of the post, so skip over it if you’re not interested. I just think for some new moms this might be helpful because I had no idea how much this stuff would impact training and racing. Grayson sleeps through the night (7pm to 6am) but I usually get up once in the middle of the night to pump to keep up my supply and build a freezer stash. When I’m at work he tends to take more from the bottle than what I pump, so its nice to have extra milk as a backup.
On days that I run early I pump before I go to bed and then around 4am before I run. So on race morning, rather than having interrupted sleep by pumping in the middle of the night, I opted to get up at 4 to pump and then planned to pump again around 6:15 right before I left. The only problem with this plan was food. I’m usually hungry right when I wake up, but I knew I would need more than one meal if I ate at 4 and the race started at 7:30.
Ok, so back to my morning. I woke up at 4 and made coffee and oatmeal. I made about 1.5 servings of oatmeal and figured I would space it out throughout the morning. After I pumped I got dressed and ready, Meanwhile I was distracting myself by getting some work done. I pumped again at 6:15 and requested an Uber. It took longer than I thought but I still got to the race by 7am. This is a point to point race, so there is no parking at the start. They offer shuttles to the start if you park downtown near the finish, but I didn’t have time for all of that.
When I got dropped off I ate a Honey Stinger Waffle and then ran a few minutes to warm up. I went to find a bathroom and they were letting us use the ones inside the Shops at Kenilworth (which is like a mall). Unfortunately the line was super long and moving very slowly. I got in line at 7:15 and literally ran out from the bathroom over to the starting line and began racing. (There were only 2 stalls in the women’s room!) So I didn’t take any pre-race pictures or do any sort of dynamic warm up.
I did start in the correct corral, but I was in the very back so I was not with people who were running the same pace as me. I tried to hold a steady pace while passing some people but I also didn’t want to weave too much. The first few miles have rolling hills, and I always think to myself “this is NOT a downhill course!”
At first the weather felt ok- it was in the high 60s. Once I was running all of a sudden I felt the humidity. Then it got really sunny. I am used to being done with my long runs by 7am and this race started at 7:30, so I was not used to running in so much sun.
8:28, 8:00, 8:19, 8:06
Once we turn onto Charles Street it starts to feel like more of a downhill, but of course there are still some rolling hills. Its just that you know that once you get up a hill that there is a nice long stretch of downhill following it. There are also more sections here with good crowd support. We run through my Alma mater, Loyola University, as well as Johns Hopkins University.
7:58, 7:59, 7:52, 7:58
Then we start to get closer to the city and one second you’re running in a gorgeous neighborhood and the next it’s not so good. During once stretch I heard a bunch of cars holding down their horns. One lady was out of her car screaming and cursing at a police officer. I know it’s super frustrating for drivers because they can’t get across a main road for several hours. There may not be another way for them to get where they need to go. However, it’s not the officers’ fault. So I felt bad that they had to take the brunt of that.
There are some smaller but steeper rolling hills as we approach downtown. I always have issues with my Garmin around this part of the race. During mile 10 my watch beeped that I ran a 6:47 mile but I was nowhere near the mile marker. So I lapped it again when I hit the actual mile marker sign, 1 minute and 19 seconds later.
I was still feeling pretty good right up until mile 10. This is where it always gets hard for me. After all those downhill miles, the last 2 are fairly flat. Even a slight incline feels so hard when my legs are used to running downhill. I had done training runs to prepare for this, so physically I knew I could do it, but it was still hard.
During the final mile we actually ran into a headwind! I was wondering where that “breeze” was during the rest of the run. The place where we finished had changed from when I previously did this race, so I didn’t know exactly where it was. Even though I knew I had less than a half of a mile left I couldn’t see the finish line and that final stretch felt like forever.
7:56, 8:06 (my Garmin was all over the place during mile 10), 7:57, 7:44
Final results: 1:36:06, 8:00 pace (official)
Gamin Results: 12.13 miles, 1:36:08, 7:55 pace
Initially I had mixed feelings about my finish time. I was proud of myself for running a strong race and I knew I gave it everything I had that day. However, another part of me felt like that number sounded far off from my PR. It helped to remind myself that my last half marathon in 2017 was at an 8:33 pace. (Even though I jumped into that without really training and had been coming back from injury, this was still significantly faster).
I had to make my way home right away so after grabbing some water and my medal I wondered away from the crowds to get an Uber. Unfortunately thanks to all the race traffic it took about 20 minutes for my Uber to get to me and about an hour to get home. (It should have taken 25 minutes).
I texted Rob on the way home “I need food!” The post-race meal was Mission BBQ and that just didn’t sound good to me at 9am. So he ordered us breakfast sandwiches. They got my order wrong but I still devoured it.
Recovering from a race is a little different now with a baby. I had to jump right back into mom duties and of course when I tried to take a nap that afternoon during his nap he woke up early. At least I still got to rest for about 20 minutes. I totally slacked on the foam rolling and stretching too.
Last Week’s Workouts
I was a little sore on Sunday and that was a complete rest day. Laura had included my training for the week post-race so I followed that but moved things around slightly based on my schedule. Here is how last week went:
Monday: Rest/30 minute walk
Tuesday: 3 stroller miles
Wednesday: Strength training
Thursday: 3 stroller miles
Friday: Strength training
Saturday: 4 stroller miles
Sunday: 5 mile (accidental) progression run
Overall I am really happy with how this race went. I feel like I ran a smart race while taking into account the warm weather and hills. I started out conservatively so that I didn’t burn out at the end. I definitely felt like I had given it my all during that final mile.
For the most part I feel back to where I was pre-baby so I think sometimes its easy to forget everything that has happened in the past year. While I want to continue training and getting faster, I also don’t know how much more I want to commit to right now. The amount of training for this race was just enough. I felt like I could work hard and it was manageable. But I don’t want to miss out on time with Grayson or have to rely on Rob every single morning to take care of him while I am out running. I want to be able to get some extra sleep when I need it and be able to nurse him in the mornings most days of the week.
So for now I think I am going to do my own thing with training. I’ll continue to do some workouts and include some medium distance runs on the weekends, while maybe jumping into some shorter races when they work with my schedule. I’m eyeing a possible December 1/2 marathon but I’m not sure about it yet.
I’m glad I jumped back into training and doing a race because it got me back into a good running routine and gave me the confidence that I’m pretty close to being back to where I used to be. Thanks for following along!
Charles Street 12 Training:
7 Weeks to the Charles Street 12
6 Weeks to the Charles Street 12
5 Weeks to the Charles Street 12
4 Weeks to the Charles Street 12
3 Weeks to the Charles Street 12
2 Weeks to the Charles Street 12
Charles Street 12 Race Week
Do you compare current race times to ones from a long time ago?
Do you tend to forget details about races after they are over?
What’s next on your race schedule?