On Saturday I ran in the Charles Street 12. In case you don’t feel like reading every little detail about this race, I am going to start off by just summing up the race day’s key points:
- I ran a 1:33:41, which is a 7:48 pace.
- It was a really fun but challenging race!
- We had great weather, especially for early August in Baltimore.
- Overall the event was great and so well organized.
- I got to hang out with some other bloggers post race!
- I followed my recovery plan (as best I could) and it went really well!
- Rob beat me by 40 seconds. It’s fine, and it’s good to know that he will never “let” me win a race- I will have to earn it.
Alright so now to get into a little more detail.
Race Day Logistics:
The course was point to point, and started north of Baltimore City and ended down in Powerplant (which is right near the inner harbor). There were shuttle busses driving people from Powerplant up to the start of the race. We were a little nervous about how this operation would work so we got to the busses by 6am. We were able to get right on a bus and were at the race start by 6:30. The runners had plenty of room in a large parking lot to hang out, warm up, use the bathroom, etc before we lined up at the start.
The race started pretty much on time at 7:30am. I didn’t have any issues on the course- although I was desperate for water around mile 10 and there wasn’t another water stop until 11.5. By that point I was so focused on getting to the finish that I didn’t even take any water.
The finish area was set up well, with the finishing chute a block away from the post-race celebration area. It wasn’t crowded once you crossed the finish line- you got your medal and some water and walked across the street to everything else. One of my biggest pet peeves about races is when the finish area is crowded and you can’t move after you cross the finish line (ahem- Baltimore Running Festival). Runners were given a boxed lunch of a turkey or veggie wrap with a banana and chips, as well as a free beer. Since we were in Powerplant, you could also purchase your own food or drinks in the bars/restaurants there.
This being my first 12 miler, I didn’t have a time to beat. My plan was to use it like a half marathon (based on pace) to see where I am with that distance and help to figure out training paces for my upcoming full marathon. My plan was to go out at around an 8:15 pace, and gradually take it down to a 7:50 with a faster finish at the end. I think in the back of my mind my goal pace was a 7:50.
We got really lucky with the weather:
I felt good starting out but it took a good mile to get into the groove, with my first mile being an 8:23. From there we went up and down some hills which affected my pace, but during most of the race my average pace was 7:50. Once we got downtown my Garmin started to go crazy (surprise surprise) so I did my best to ignore it and run based on feel. Rob was within eyesight the whole time (I led for the first 5 miles and then he passed me on a downhill) so I just tried to keep the same or less distance from him.
I think the hardest part of the race was after my legs were trashed from 10 miles of hills, we got downtown and ran the last two on flat ground which suddenly felt really hard! I wanted to take another gel at mile 10 but there was no water so gave up on that idea. The last mile was a real struggle but that showed me that I paced pretty well but ran a hard race.
I felt like leading up to this race I was so busy that it was like the last thing on my mind. In a way that was a good thing because I didn’t stress out about it at all. The only problem was I didn’t think everything through as well as I usually do. I hadn’t eaten pasta in a few months while I have been playing around with paleo but it was the only carb option we had in the house on Friday night. So I ate it and hoped for the best. I also haven’t eaten bagels in months (which used to be my pre-race food the morning of) and I had been able to get away with just a banana when I was doing up to 10 mile runs.
Saturday morning I ate a banana and a lara bar (cashew cookie) before leaving (I think it was at like 5am) and then had a honey stinger waffle around 7am. I didn’t love eating the lara bar pre-race so I will need to figure out something else or go back to bagels. I already talked about the gel problem I had, but I took my first gel at mile 5 as we were approaching a water station. I think if I were doing a 12 miler again I would take in a gels at miles 4-5 and 9 instead of waiting until mile 10.
There were so many bloggers running this race! I saw Lauren from Breathe Deeply and Smile on the course, chatted with Sarah from Picky Runner for a few minutes after finishing, hung out with Lauren from Run Salt Run and was introduced to Amber from PBs and PRs, and then met up with Samantha from The Running Graduate for a few minutes before I had to head home.
I did a lot of things right, but it was not my best recovery effort. The problem I have with eating post race is that I usually don’t want to eat, and if I don’t like what they offer I usually opt to not have anything. The boxed lunch was nice but I really did not want a turkey wrap. When races offer an array of snacks I can usually do a protein bar or something like that. I tried to eat the wrap but probably only had half of it…and it was a small wrap. I did eat the banana but I definitely didn’t do the chips because they were bbq flavored. And of course I had a beer.
I finished running around 9:15 and we got home around 10:45, at which point I made a smoothie and then ate an egg frittata. I also foam rolled and wore compression tights for a few hours before we headed out to go house hunting. It was a busy Saturday from that point on (house tours, mani-pedi/church/grabbed dinner/packing) but I think wearing the compression tights for an hour post race and then an hour before bed helped, even though I didn’t wear them for as long as I would have liked. I also didn’t drink as much water as I would have liked with all that I was doing on Saturday. I got to bed by 9:30 on Saturday night and woke up naturally at 4:45am…not as much sleep as I would have liked but when my body wakes me up naturally I figure it was well enough rested? At least I get to relax a lot this week.
Ok so that was a lot of info. I am really happy with how this race went and part of me wishes it was a half marathon so that I could have set a PR. But I also know that when I crossed the finish line I had zero desire to run another mile. For a hilly course I think I paced the best I could. It is also exciting to think that I ran this before I started training. I’ll need to think about if I want to go for a PR when I run the Baltimore half in October.
Since a 12 mile race means nothing to me, I did some converting to a half marathon. With a 7:48 pace, if I had run an extra 1.1 miles at the same pace, I would have run a 1:42:15. This is 2 1/2 minutes faster than my current half marathon PR from 2012. Of course I headed over the the McMillan race predictor. It predicted a 3:35 marathon. As we all kind of agreed when I talked about this a few weeks ago, longer distances are better predictors on full marathons than shorter races, and marathon performance will still be very dependent on training and how things go on race day. It is also a whole different beast than the half. So all these things taken into consideration, it is just nice to see where my fitness is going into training.
What a marvelous way to spend a Saturday morning, right?
What was something marvelous about your weekend?
Are you able to eat after a race?
What is your favorite race distance?