Baltimore Half Marathon Recap
I don’t even know where to begin writing this recap. So let’s start chronologically at the beginning. Friday night I hurried home, grabbed the hubby and we hit the road post work to head to Baltimore. I snagged a Priceline hotel room for the night before the race to make both our lives easier. Turns out it was a solid investment. We made it to the hotel in about an hour and half, threw our stuff in the room and walked the .2 miles to the expo. Since we arrived at the expo at 8pm and the expo closes at 9pm, we could see booths beginning to wrap up or either shut down. We made our way downstairs, grabbed my bib and shirt. It was a quick easy procedure and well-marked.
The next morning I crawled out of bed at 7:25 for an 8:45 race start. That’s right. We were staying literally across the street from the starting line and I intended to use that to the fullest. It was actually really great being able to take my time, not have to use a porta-potty, and not head down to the start until 8:35. That still gave me plenty of time to take a few pics and kiss the hubby good-bye!
This is a city race. That was never more clear than when we first took off. We were running through a city. It also seems that not all the streets were totally vacated before the runners invaded. During mile 1 we literally ran through traffic. A few dozen cars found themselves in the middle of a foot race. They didn’t look thrilled… From here we made the trek over to Patterson Park. I only know this because it was lovely. Really this little park area was super cute. Unfortunately, since we were still in the beginning of a race stopping to take a photo would have been a challenge. I did witness a girl fall here, because she clipped the heel of another runner. (There were lots of race etiquette rules that I saw fly out the window during this race… but more about that in another post….)
The weather was perfect, the sun was out and there was a breeze that always seemed to hit at the right time. Leaving the pretty park area is where we had our first water stop. This is also where we met up with the full marathoners. The merge area was done very well. I chugged down water and had one of my strawberry cliff blocks. I find it’s easier on my stomach if I take one at a time over 20 or so minutes.
These middle miles kicked my butt. The hills were ferocious and I thought my legs were on fire. I did my very best to run them all but eventually I just said screw it. I’m not running this for time and just want to finish.
It was right around that moment when I started to really look around and see what I was running through. I saw a little girl squeaking out a “Hi” to runners as they passed from the third story of a townhouse. I saw a lot of other people struggling just as much as I was. Miles 3.5 – 6.5 were rough for me. Hills have a way of really bothering my knee and throwing me off my game. The strangest part is, I remember the course being hilly, I just didn’t remember how hilly.
Things finally started to level off when I got to the Lake, which is my fav part of the course. It beautiful and FLAT! I’m not that familiar with Baltimore, and quite frankly it is not one of my favorite cities. So a lot of the appeal of racing around some more well-known parts is lost on me. But I do appreciate how beautiful this part of the course is. I also love how the fuel station is at the far side of the lake… this year they had Salted Caramel Gu… (OMG YUM!)
After the lake the rest was a blur to me. I knew that I was close to 4 miles from done, so I just powered through. I took more photos and admired the cute little houses that I saw and enjoyed the high energy of the spectators that I saw.
At mile 12 when I felt like I was totally out of steam, my husband surprised me! He had walked from the finish line to give me an extra push to finish strong. He could tell from my texts the race wasn’t going as well as anticipated. I love having him at races. 🙂 It was just the push I needed to run most of the way in and kick it in to the finish.
The highlight of this race is the downhill finish into Camden Yards. It’s an amazing experience to see all the spectators and have the opportunity to finish the race through an iconic baseball stadium. I love this.
Overall I’m glad I completed the race to finally finish the King Crab Challenge and Maryland Double. I also did finish the race 12 min faster than in 2013. However, I think this may be my last Baltimore Half Marathon. I may have had a blast last year, but for some reason it just wasn’t as fun for me in 2014. If you are looking to do a well run race on a challenging course, I say give it a try!
Did you race this weekend? Do you have any race etiquette pet peeves? What do you think of hilly course? What’s the most difficult course you’ve done? What has been your favorite race finish thus far?
Congrats on finishing another Baltimore Half. I know I will sign up for Frederick in 2015, but not sure if I want to run the double. I’ve run Baltimore 3xs, but have blocked out the hills 😛
Thanks!! I enjoyed Frederick last year. It was super cute and the neighborhoods really got into it. I would recommend it! 🙂
Congrats on finishing the MD Double and King Crab Challenge! This was the third year I’ve run the Baltimore Half and it was the most enjoyable experience I’ve had thus far (I love hills and made sure to over-prepare for them this year!). Those hills really are no joke – and they’re pretty stacked in the first half of the course. I was really surprised by the traffic on Fayette (mile 1)… I’ve never encountered that before. And Baltimore has been, by far, my favorite race finish. There’s nothing like it, coming down the road towards the stadium through the crowds that just get larger and larger.
Thanks!!! Wow 3 Years! You go girl! Those hills are are something else, that was smart over training for them. That running through traffic was not the norm, and really weird!
I just did my first half at Baltimore and Holy Hills! I thought the race was challenging, fun, and the finish was awesome.
Biggest runner pet peeve? Walkers not staying to the right or someone stopping right in the middle of the course ( saw someone doing this at Baltimore, they even had their shoe off checking for something) I’m by no means perfect, but be courteous to those running around you.
Congrats!! That’s an amazing accomplishment! I saw lots of people just stopping in the middle. The shoe thing is something new though! Never seen that before.
A girl bit it during MCM right behind me because she clipped my heel. She went down hard onto asphalt, and while I felt bad, she was trying to land where my feet already were. And I can’t feel bad because I had already claimed that spot myself. Good job for finishing, and I know what you mean by being done with a race. I think that is part of the reason that i don’t like to repeat races–I like the magic to stand alone.
That first mile is rough cause everyone is on top of each other and she clipped someone during a sharp turn. It was just mess. Thanks! It was mentally not easy. I may have to agree with you about the repeat races, but I’ll have to test the theory a few more times. I just know that I enjoy new and different course more.
Congratulations!! I find hilly courses to be the most memorable. It is difficult in the moment, but the challenge makes the finish that much more satisfying!
Thanks! The challenge made that finishing feel super rewarding. Like I earned that medal. 🙂
Great recap!!!! I loath hills, but can’t seem to avoid them, LOL!! I have a half marathon coming up in 2 weeks that I am SO not ready for.
Thanks! Me too! Good luck on your half coming up! I’m sure you’re going to rock it!
Wow, congrats! Way to go! Eww though, those hills. Yuck! Love the medals!!!
I did race this weekend – a 5k and a half marathon. PR’s all around!!!
Thank you! The medal doubles as a beer opener!! Congrats on a new PRs!
Another great recap of a race I was at 🙂 Those hills KILLED me!! Did you see the cars at the porto potties at the start? Crazy!!
I swear that race was just one hill after another! It was insane! I didn’t see the cars. We stayed at the Renaissance across the street and literally just crossed the street and walked into the first corral then waited on the grass till mine was ready to start. I still can’t believe that we ran through a road that was essentially a parking lots because cars were all over the road. (I don’t think i’m doing that race again….)